And, what is happiness,
if not a fleeting moment
flush of cheek
brush across mouth
what is it,
if not a moment
that one two-minute
dance that lasts lifetimes
a strong whispered, “I love you baby,”
soft moans in the darkness of bed
when does it go missing?
making your whole- wide- world
as you know it change,
so swift as a twirling leaf
dwindling, sinking, to ground
once devoted to limb and bud,
by unexpected winds, blasts, gale forces
the head spinning, snaps back stops.
feet come downhill touching ground
stranded in everyday
splitting seconds of time
Kristen Scott has her MA in Literature from National University in La Jolla, California and will graduate with her MFA in Creative Writing in fall 2011. She has published in several anthologies, newspapers, and online journals. She resides in Princeton, NJ.
Lisa Suhair Majaj
Always knew it would come back
to haunt me. It was war, time was short,
the truck was leaving, and with it my hope
of safe passage from that besieged city.
She was in another place, phone lines
down, no time to search her out.
I had to flee. And so I did. I knew
the spool of time would never
rewind, that there would be no
going back; that with that leaving,
I would lose my chance to find her
before the bombs exploded–
her home destroyed, her brother burned,
her eyes torn to darkness.
Where is she now? Would she
remember me if I found her?
And if I kissed her cheeks three times,
Lebanese style, and called her habibti,
hayati, would she speak to me,
smile? Or would she turn away,
her life so changed, her griefs so far from mine
that there would be no point in saying, even, goodbye?
Lisa Suhair Majaj is the author of Geographies of Light, winner of the Del Sol Press Poetry Prize. Her poems and essays have appeared in over fifty journals and anthologies worldwide. She is also co-editor of three collections of critical essays: Going Global: The Transnational Reception of Third World Women Writers; Intersections: Gender, Nation and Community in Arab Women’s Novels, and Etel Adnan: Critical Essays on the Arab-American Writer and Artist. She lives in Nicosia, Cyprus.
Lahab Assef Al-Jundi(لهب عاصف الجندي)
If the planet were covered with wildflowers,
and someone dies a cruel death in China,
all the blooms would disappear.
A space of darkness would fill their place.
A time of sorrow.
Have you ever drank from eternity’s cup?
Eternity has never tasted so good.
Why would I wake up with a wildflower-
covered world, death in China, and eternity?
Only my dreaming-self knows!
All poetry is assembled from letters of an alphabet.
All these diverse faces are two eyes, two lips and a nose.
Everything we ever knew or will know
can be told with ones and zeros.
You still think creation is that complicated?
My heart is covered with wildflowers.
I think I will go back to sleep and grow some more.
This world could render me arid with blowing winds
if I did not drink and drink,
Pour thunderstorms of blue grief…
إذا كان كوكبنا مغطى بالأزهار البريه
إذا كان كوكبنا مغطى بالأزهار البريه،
وماتَ أحدُّ بقسوة في الصين،
تختفي كل الزهور.
وَيملأ فضاءٌ من الظلمة مكانهم.
هل سبق لك أن شربت من كأس الخلود؟
طعم الخلود أطيب من أي وقت مضى.
لماذا أستيقظ والأزهار البرية
تغطي العالم، وموتٌ في الصين، والخلود؟
فقط… ذاتي الحالمه تعرف.
كلُ الشعر مكونٌ من أحرف أبجدية.
كلُ الوجوه المتنوعة…عينان وشفتان وأنف.
كلُ شيء عرفناه أو سنعرفه
يمكن أن يُروى بالآحاد والأصفار.
مازلتَ تعتقد أن الخلق عملية معقده؟
قلبي مغطى بالأزهار البرية.
أظن أني سأعود للنوم وأزرع أكثر.
سيجعلني هذا العالم قاحلاً مع هبوب الريح
إذا لم أشرب وأشرب،
وأُسكب عواصف رعدية من الحزن الأزرق…
- Photo by Melanie Rush Davis
Lahab Assef Al Jundi (لهب عاصف الجندي) was born, and grew up, in Damascus, Syria. He published his first collection A Long Way in 1985. Assef’s poetry has appeared in numerous literary publications, and many Anthologies including: In These Latitudes, Ten Contemporary Poets, edited by Robert Bonazzi, Inclined to Speak, An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Poetry, edited by Hayan Charara, and Between Heaven and Texas, edited by Naomi Shihab Nye. He currently resides in San Antonio, Texas, with wife Sara and two cockatiels Yoda and Princes.