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Lahab Assef Al-Jundi

 

Protest

 

When you are a slave,

bought and sold like livestock,

used and abused like any possession,

the anthem of your owner

is but a symbol of your suffering

 

When your fellow former-slaves,

who, on paper, were emancipated

decades earlier,

are being lynched across the country,

the flag of your tormentors

is another reminder

of the terror you feel

in the land that is supposed to be

your own!

 

When, after years of struggle,

equality and civil rights are law;

some of those charged with enforcing the law

are killing you for no reason,

as if your life does not matter;

you have the right,

you earned the right,

to kneel,

to sit,

to raise a clenched fist!

 

Those who fault you

have not tried to walk a mile in your shoes,

lack compassion,

or worse.

 

 

 

There is a Field

 

Some loves

are a million years old.

This world

does not know what to do with them.

 

They can get you in trouble.

If not careful,

they can get you in trouble, again!

 

            A look of recognition.

                        Words igniting fires long dormant.

                                    Persistent fantasy

                                    demanding a life of its own.

 

But that was hundreds, thousands

of lives ago.

This one—

Raindrop on tongue.

Scent of one gardenia.

Glimpse of smoldering ecstasies.

 

And the rules say:

Don’t you dare!

Do not upset the shaky balance.

Do not agitate minds that know nothing

of pure love.

 

            Ah, pure love.

                        There is no other kind

                                    for those who know…

 

Arabiya

 

 

Her ancestors carved an elegant city

in desert mountains.

Built a splendid empire.

 

Her beauty legendary.

A glimpse into her eyes is known

to rouse the flames of passion.

 

Like all women around the world,

her wings were clipped. 

Creeds and traditions caged her.

 

She straddles past and future.

Chasm between them

a thousand years wide.

 

One side, safe and familiar.

The other, enticing and perplexing.

Internet a dazzling porthole!

 

Women seem to have embarked on

freedoms she could only imagine.

Choices include triviality.

 

She does not know how urgently

this aching world needs her.

How desperate its wait!

 

Sometimes all it takes

is one step to cross

a thousand years.

You

 

speak of meeting me.

 

Me,

who spent a lifetime

looking for you!

 

Lost boat

in orphaned horizon.

 

Anxious dreamer

on lotus sea.

 

Yes,

we may have met

“before the word before”.

 

What matters now

is this:

 

Obliterate

this gulf between us.

 

Burn

this image of you

blinding me.

Lahab Assef Al-Jundi’s poetry has appeared in collections such as In These Latitudes, Ten Contemporary Poets and Inclined to Speak, An Anthology of Arab American Poetry, as well as many other anthologies and literary journals.  His latest poetry collection, No Faith At All, was published by Pecan Grove Press.