Dreaming America by Sam Hamod (lst draft)

Dreaming America     9.15.15   © sam hamod  lst draft

 

Where it was once

This dream of a dream,

This place of dreams,

Where it seemed

Money grew on trees, where

You came to send money home

To those poor left behind, their dreams

In your pockets,  that you used

On each day, each week

And sometimes, each month of

The long voyage, on deck in sweltering sun,

No water, no food, just more cargo, not human,

Not sure of what we were after the fevers set in,

Blistering heat, and a language we

Couldn’t understand, it wasn’t Greek, it wasn’t

Arabic, it wasn’t Italian, it wasn’t Farsi, it

Was an odd language, almost like some Germans

We’d met during their field work, studying

Our Roman ruins, but it wasn’t’ clear,

And we knew it wasn’t French, even the Christians

On board, who  knew French, knew it wasn’t French,

They yelled at us, the waves cooled us off but

Ship rocking  back and forth, up and down, now

Huge waves washed some  overboard, others yelling

To hold on, to hold on to them to keep them from washing

Overboard—but we held on, held on, sweated,  felt the salt water sting,

But we held on, held on, held on into nightmares and dreams

Of home, of the fields, the quiet, the goats and sheep,

And our mothers, sisters, brothers and fathers

Waiting for us, at the table, praying

Knowing we would rescue them, but as for us,

We needed someone to rescue us

And we hadn’t even gotten to that new land yet

 

© sam hamod, 9.15.15 Section I   lst draft

 

Section II

 

After the Funeral of Assam Hamady

Sam Hamod

FOR MY MOTHER, DAVID AND LAURA

Cast:
Hajj Abbass Habhab: my grandfather
Sine Hussin: an old friend of my father
Hussein Hamod Subh: my father
me

6pm

middle of South Dakota
after a funeral in Sioux Falls
my father and grandfather
ministered the Muslim burial
of their old friend, Assam Hamady

me—driving the 1950 Lincoln
ninety miles an hour

“STOP! STOP!
stop this car!”

Why?
“STOP THIS CAR RIGHT NOW!”—Hajj Abbass
                                                     grabbing my arm from back seat
“Hysht Iyat? (What’re you yelling about?)”—my Father
“Shu bikkeee? (What’s happening?)”—Sine Hussin

I stop

“It’s time to pray”—the Hajj
                                yanks his Navajo blanket
                                opening the door

“It’s time to pray, sullee
the sun sets
time for sullee”

my Father and Sine Hussin follow
obedient
I’m sitting behind the wheel
watching, my motor still running

car lights scream by
more than I’ve ever seen in South Dakota

the Hajj spreads the blanket
blessing it as a prayer rug
they discuss which direction is East

after a few minutes it’s decided
it must be that way
they face what must surely be South

they face their East, then notice
I’m not with them

“Hamode! get over here, to pray!”

No, I’ll watch
and stand guard

“Guard from what—get over here!”

I get out of the car
but don’t go to the blanket

My father says to the others:
“He’s foolish, he doesn’t know how
to pray.”

they rub their hands
then their faces
rub their hands then
down their bodies
as if in ablution
their feet bare
together now
they begin singing

Three old men
chanting the Qur’an in the middle
of a South Dakota night

    “Allahu Ahkbar
    Allahu Ahkbar

    Ash haduu n lah illah illiliawhh
    Ash haduu n lah illah illilawhh

    Muhammed rasoul illawh”

in high strained voices they chant

    “Bismee lahee
    a rah’manee raheem”

more cars flash by

    “malik a youm a deen
    ehde nuseerota el mustakeem
    seyrota la theena”

I’m embarrassed to be with them

    “en umta ailiy him
    ghyrug mugthubee aliy him”

people stream by, an old woman strains a gawk at them

    “willathouu leen—
    Bismee lahee”

I’m standing guard now

    “a rah’maneel raheem
    khul hu wahu lahu uhud”

They’re chanting with more vigor now
against the cars—washing away
in a dry state
Hamady’s death
he floats from their mouths
wrapped in white

    “Allahu sumud
    lum yuulud wa’alum uulud”

striped across his chest, with green

    “Walum yankun a kuf one uhud
    will thouu leen”

his head in white, his gray mustache still

    “Ameen . . . “

I hear them still singing
as I travel half-way across
America
to another job
burying my dead
I always like trips, traveling at high speed
but they have surely passed me
as I am standing here now
trying so hard to join them
on that old prayer blanket—

as if the pain behind my eyes could be absolution

 

[Author’s note:] The Muslim prayer in this poem is analogous to The Lord’s Prayer

NPR READING, AFTER THE FUNERAL OF ASSAM HAMADY, SAM HAMOD

Sam Hamod– please see author’s complete biography on the home page, in additional works in this issue, and on the author’s page.

Sudanese Woman

Jack Marshall

 

Coarse, prematurely creased as animal hide,
skin blackened sun-baked flour, unrisen,
shrunken tight around her skeletal
bone base underneath; pooled eyes
filled with having seen dawn and sunset’s
blood-red on the dunes; with drinking
the water of the sand scavenged en route;
chalky palms lifting mush meal to her
fly-ridden mouth. Stripped of
children, husband, kin, and home’s
mud walls is party to slow dying, surely
as from the stones nearby, one day
a smiling statue will grow out of lies.
As if more arsenals needed emptying;
as if more generals needed to perfect
maneuvers, and not enough wedding parties
are thinned out. As if breath’s
witness must be kept vagabond, death-bound,
and, struck like flint, refused a spark.
For her, in wrapped in widowhood’s cloak,
in heat’s long tearing veil, all colors
are blended, bleached into corpse-clotted
waterholes. In whipping, flimsy fabric,
she stares out, one among countless
grains squatting on the bare gravel ground
of their lives. The freshness that time
had once laid in store, lays no more,
and a promise to satisfy, that could not then,
is farther away than the farthest
cry now.
  
 
 
 

 

 
 

please see authors bio in his additional works for CWPJ and on the Author’s page.

 

 

TROLLEY

Marc Carver

 

I look outside the window
and see the shopping trolley
that is sat in the park.
It has been there now
for about two or three weeks
I have lost count
Of how long.
 
I have seen young children being pushed about in it.
But there is no one there today.
The park is empty
and so
is the trolley.
 
The clouds get blacker and the rain gets heavier.
A bird flies over the trolley
And out of view.
 
I change my view
But still
I
Feel the same way.

 

 

Marc Carver has published four books of poetry, worked on a poetry site in New York City and has had two hundred poems published individually. He has performed in America and all around the venues in London and southern England. He resides in the United Kingdom.
  

 

CASSANDRA IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

Oriana Ivy

 

Te idiotki, my hostess calls
the American women.
“These idiots go in public like that,”
she exclaims at the sight
of housewives helmeted in rollers.
Hawaiian muumuus splash
hibiscus in the produce aisles:
 “That’s how these idiots dress” –
When we see a young family:
“These idiots marry at eighteen
and have five children.”

           

With a wave of her bony but still
elegant hand, she points to
an overflowing shopping cart –
skyscrapers of canned soup,
soda pop, Puffa-Puffa Rice –
“Isn’t it vulgar?”

 

Then she turns toward me
as I stand there with my meek
girl-from-a-good-home smile.
Eyes me sharply
up and down.
For the first and only time,

 

she addresses me in English:
You will never make it.
You don’t know
how to sell yourself.
Her hard “r” in never
laughs like a knife.

 

 

Oriana Ivy please see Oriana’s full biography in her additional works in this issue and on the Author’s Page.

 

 

¿Qué sucede en este mundo? What Happens in this World

Pietro Grieco

 

¿Qué sucede en este mundo?

 

Las abejas están desapareciendo
Del aire de la primavera.

 

Los pájaros con el corazón
Quebrado caen del cielo.

 

Los peces de a miles salen del mar
Para depositar sus cuerpos clamando una
misericordia de ojos abiertos sobre las riberas.

 

¿Y los humanos? ¿Qué sucede con
Los humanos?
¿Te refieres a esos ciegos
cadáveres que caminan?

 

What happens in this world?

 

Bees are vanishing
From the air of spring.

 

Birds with broken hearts
are falling from the sky.

 

Fish are coming out of water
And deposit their bodies on the shore
Claiming mercy with big open eyes.

 

And what is going on with humans?
You mean those walking
Corpses who lost their eyes…

 

 

Pietro Grieco is Doctor of Divinity, has an OBD in Administration Sciences, and a Master of Arts in Literature and Writing.  He taught at the Buenos Aires University and Belgrano University in Argentina, and  at the California State University San Marcos, CA.  Mr. Grieco wrote academic essays, poetry and seven books. Some of his articles on spirituality have been translated into German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.

The End of the World

Pietro Grieco

 

Golden letters engraved in wood
tell travelers they have reached
the end of the Pan-American Highway.
A tranquil landmark lucid as the sun
leaving me speechless and alone.
the end…  the abyss…  the end…
the waves…  hypnotizing the silent
loneliness of moss, soul and stones
receiving the beat of the surge
a mantra for iris and retina
perplexed unknown at the end
of the labyrinth of this world.
Facing a gray and frosted horizon
imagining an ephemeral continent
behind the feared Cape Horn
and the mariners graveyard
whitens my mind.
Steps in long decades
drove me
to the world’s end:
Tierra del Fuego.
Stunned in this Land of Fire akin
to an original Patagonian Ona Indian
wide eyed to flames dancing
under the Southern Cross at
aliens coming from Finisterre.

 

Moved
I closed my eyes.
Facing an invisible threshold
        the temptation was nearby to
                embrace the cross or steal the fire or
                jump and be swallowed by the whale
                sacrificing for something bigger than
myself bypassing the line of madness
                to live not by bread alone, be
or descend into the darkness of time
                losing my being in the transformation
                while this epiphany plays an arrested
                rhythm between this instant and eternity.

 

Stepping over the end
of a global universe,
end and beginning have
the same meaning as
the end of winter or the start of summer,
in a meaningful and futile
temptation we define
the end as a lucid revelation
                where not a bird sings
and we draw the line
where we break our dreams
and we step over our hearts
where we decide to pass on
                        and awaken the next day
                where an end seems to be
                        is never an end but
                        a new stone to step on
                        a new path to transcendence
                where  the best Victory of Samothrace
                        flies away from the furnace
                        of our burning chest.
The end of the universe is not a destiny.
The end of the universe is not a place.
It is only a location in our minds where
We step upon immanence for a new experience

 

My sight stirs
the same pebbles resembling
faithful dogs at my feet. Similar
to those mysteries of life
the same small miracles that
keep us going. Thus
the end of the universe is not a destiny.
The end of the universe is never a place
It is an act of imagination!

 

Breathe in
breathe out
Breathe in
breathe out.
The horn honks
Disrupting my reverie
The head turned toward the empty
bus for our return to Ushuaia
walking this clear tear of joy
like a simple speck of dust
I realized we are all part
of a poem
the universe is writing with us

 

Pietro Grieco – please see author’s bio on author’s page, and in additional works.

 

Deluded

Kristen Scott

 

at sixteen I swallowed

ten Tylenol – the robin

egg blue ones,

with a fifth of Lord Calvert.

a painting of Jesus by

Palestinian shores

pushed me out the front door –

seeking adventure,    rowing

 my own delusional boat –

 

on 10th street I caught fish,

reeled them into my

501’s.   I decided to throw

them back on Bonair

and, so,  St. Paul sent me out

to the Sea of Galilee,

surrounded by MALE apostles

and that infamous prostitute –

Ah, Mary,      the one no one likes

to mention, not a prostitute

but BELOVED

FEMALE

AN APOSTLE –

 

Mary, I followed you from

sea to shining tomb,

awaiting the resurrection –

Instead, I got my stomach

pumped and a lecture from

my Philippine doctor.

my mother just wondered

why it was so hard to raise a girl. 
 
 
 
 

 please see author’s full bio in additional works and on author’s page.

Knowing How to Die

Lisa Suhair Majaj

 

I’ve owned it forever, a dark seed,
one of those possessions you know
you’ll need one day, but till then
 
shove to the back of your mind,
ignore.  It permeated my being
from the moment I pushed down the birth canal
 
into life-light, and before, from that first eruption
of synchronicity, cells multiplying madly
deep in my mother’s womb-nest
 
where I swam, nine months, practicing for life.
Once born, there was so much to do.
I learned how to breathe, how to suckle—
 
my mothers’ chest a savannah, her nipple
an oasis – and from there the whole world
waited.  Oh, the busyness of life!
 
But that death-knowledge
slumbers, imprinted in my bones
like a birthright:

original, indelible,
the one thing in life
I won’t have to earn.

 

 

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.

The Life of Poetry

David Kherdian

 

Any biography must be divided into two parts; the years prior to 16, which are unconscious, or consciousness opening, and the years after 16, which are invented. We believe what we say, especially when we write what we claim is the truth. Aside from writing, what I have done since that age of 16 is irrelevant, no matter how damaging it may have been, and supposedly real on that account. It is my early  life that concerns me, but it is very nearly impossible to talk about this life except perhaps as art, because that is the dimension it most nearly approximates. What we know as growing children is instinctive and inseparable from our ecology, because we are controlled then by sun and tides, and our moods are more animal than human. The delicate thread then was not the dichotomy between fantasy and reality, family and solitary wandering, but my own unknowable relation to the sun and plants, and the mysterious upstream movement of fish (that I followed with such rapture and attention as to become fish myself), that determined the flow and current of my own life. This is the world we forfeit when we acquire adulthood, and this is the world of the unconscious that only children and artists know about. And it is as an artist that I am returning to what was once mine by birthright.Therefore, I have no biography worth telling as exterior event, and I will not tell that biography until it becomes the equivalent of and moves parallel to my own created life, which is poetry. I find in my writing that I gain the future by reclaiming and making whole the past. Only poetry can do this for me, because only through poetry can I achieve a working relationship with my unconscious, which gives shapes and forms to periods lived in chaos and ignorance. It takes years to understand an experience and a lifetime to know who we are. Therefore, in this true sense, all of  my writing is autobiographical because my own story, when truly told, becomes everyone’s.

 

 

David Kherdian is the author of 69 books: poetry, novels, biographies, memoirs, anthologies, bibliographies, retellings, translations, and children’s books (many illustrated by his Caldecott award winning wife, Nonny Hogrogian), which include a narrative biography of the Buddha, a retelling of the Asian classic Monkey,10 poetry anthologies, including his major groundbreaking anthology: Settling America: Fourteen Ethnic American Poets; Forgotten Bread: Armenian American Writers of the First Generation. His biography of his mother’s childhood and survival of the Armenian genocide, The Road From Home, was a Newbery Honor book, among other awards and prizes, and was nominated for the American Book Award. Kherdian’s forthcoming book is titled, Gatherings: From the Selected Writings of David Kherdian.

 

 

 

The Lyre

Dorianne Laux

 

They say Nero fiddled while Rome burned, though
 of course there were no fiddles, and the violin
was still curled like a secret inside the trees, waiting to be
cesareaned by Amati, carved from ebony, maple and spruce,
the most famous and oldest among them, the most
pristine, being “Le Messie” or the “Salabue”
made by Antonio Stradivari in 1717, and never used,
hung like a cadaver in the Ashmolean Museum.
 

It was April 20th, 2010 when the oil began pumping
into the Gulf of Mexico.  We watched the news
on our flat screens and ipads.  We watched
ripe beds of kelp wash up on the beige sand,
the gloved hands scrubbing the blackened beaks
of pelicans, that collapsible bird that’s been around
for 30 thousand years.  We watched the last
great buckets of grey shrimp poured and weighed
 

like grain, and the faces of fishermen give way.
We saw the trawlers head out, dragging
their long booms, capturing little acres of oil,
we saw the sheen, like an old silver mirror,
we saw fire on the water– it was so real
we could almost smell the sweet black plumes.
Some of us sang.  Some of us stood racked
with fear.  Most of us went about the business
 

of our day, discussing the price of gas, buying
lottery tickets at the supermarket, a bag of chips. 
Mostly, we didn’t think about it.  Who could? 
Because it was so deep under the water, out of view. 
It’s not like the city itself was burning or even
the forest around the city. Therefore we woke
and worked or looked for work, so many of us
out of work by then, and after work we walked
 

to the park with our children and friends, barbequed
through the long weekend, Memorial Day, the day
we once set aside to commemorate the Union dead
in the Civil War, though now we try not to think of it
as the Civil War because it’s too confusing-
The Greys, The Blues.  Just the war dead in general
was how we took care of that.  If this was the end
of the world as we knew it, we didn’t know it.
 

We were a large country, a country that ran on luck,
and the year had been both unseasonably warm
and unreasonably cool.  We didn’t know
what to do.  But yes, some of us sang.

 

 

Dorianne Laux’s most recent books are The Book of Men and Facts about the Moon (W.W. Norton), recipient of the Oregon Book Award. Laux is also author of Awake, What We Carry, and Smoke from BOA Editions, as well as Superman: The Chapbook and Dark Charms, both from Red Dragonfly Press.  Her poems have been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, Korean, Romanian, Dutch, Afrikkans and Brazilian Portuguese.  Her selected works, In a Room with a Rag in my Hand, have been translated into Arabic by Camel/Kalima Press, 2009. She teaches poetry at North Carolina State University.

First appeared in Orion Magazine.

FACTS ABOUT THE MOON

Dorianne Laux

 

The moon is backing away from us
an inch and a half each year.  That means
if you’re like me and were born
around fifty years ago, the moon
was a full six feet closer to the earth.
What’s a person supposed to do?
I feel the gray cloud of consternation
travel across my face.  I begin thinking
about the moon-lit past, how if you go back
far enough you can imagine the breathtaking
hugeness of the moon, prehistoric
solar eclipses when the moon covered the sun
so completely there was no corona, only
a darkness we had no word for. 
And future eclipses will look like this: the moon
a small black pupil in the eye of the sun.
But these are bald facts. 
What bothers me most is that someday
the moon will spiral right out of orbit
and all land-based life will die.
The moon keeps the oceans from swallowing
the shores, keeps the electromagnetic fields
in check at the polar ends of the earth.
And please, don’t tell me
what I already know, that it won’t happen
for a long time.  I don’t care.  I’m afraid
of what will happen to the moon. 
Forget us.  We don’t deserve the moon.
Maybe we once did but not now
after all we’ve done.  These nights
I harbor a secret pity for the moon, rolling
around alone in space without
her milky planet, her only love, a mother
who’s lost a child, a bad child,
a greedy child or maybe a grown boy
who’s murdered and raped, a mother
can’t help it, she loves that boy
anyway, and in spite of herself
she misses him, and if you sit beside her
on the padded hospital bench
outside the door to his room you can’t not
take her hand, listen to her while she
weeps, telling you how sweet he was,
how blue his eyes, and you know she’s only
romanticizing, that she’s conveniently
forgotten the bruises and booze,
the stolen car, the day he ripped
phones from the walls, and you want
to slap her back to sanity, remind her
of the truth: he was a leech, a fuck-up,
a little shit, and you almost do
until she lifts her pale puffy face, her eyes
two craters, and then you can’t help it
either, you know love when you see it,
you can feel it’s lunar strength, its brutal pull. 

 

Dorianne Laux – From her forthcoming book, Facts About the Moon.  Please see author’s complete biographical information in her additional works for SPRING, 2011 and, on the Author’s Page. 

 

 

A Bit of A Pout

Imen Bennani

 

I am here with the Viscaria,
left the Hyacinth behind,

brought Petunia instead
 

Do you hear the leaves growling?
the stigma gritting its teeth?

 

 Let me undo my hair…
remove this diamante slide,
release those tresses…
throw those golden rose pins and flower grips on the floor!

like a little spoiled girl
when contended with

 

Let me linger for a while with this pout
I need it to shape my serene smile afterwards

 

 

Imen Bennani

Imen Bennani

is a Tunisian teacher and scholar. She graduated from the faculty of Arts of Sousse (Tunisia) where she worked as assistant and taught English Literature. Imen Bennani made her MA on the poetry of Emily Dickinson and is currently preparing her PhD on contemporary Arab American Poetry. She now works as researcher at CEREDICREC (The Center for Research and Studies in the Dialogue of Cultures and Comparative Religions), Sousse, Tunisia. Her fields of interest include American Literature, Arab Literature, and Literary translation.

 

 

THE DOWNTOWN OASIS

Helene Pilibosian

 

My disbelief tunneled in the ground
like a found fixture
as an oasis peered at me.
Yet my surroundings bloomed green,
and buildings grew tall as infinite hats.
I tried not to ask why.
 
The only dryness there paid
the debt of occasional doubt
to the tax officers.
The world indeed alternated
between light and dark
in mood and reason.
 
Let not the mirage
of dresses of satin
on the stun gun of models
become only a deception.
The glow has proved necessary
to our civilized stance
 
where naturalists
see a pond for egrets,
not wanting to note absence,
where financiers
finalize trade agreements
across the international board,
 
where nutritionists
give people vitamins
to arrange sustenance.
This world consists
of continents in the blend
of constant community.
 

 

Helene Pilibosian

Helene Pilibosian’s poetry has appeared in such magazines as The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, Louisiana Literature, The Hollins Critic, North American Review, Seattle Review, Ellipsis, Weber: The Contemporary West, Poetry Salzburg Review, Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies as well as many anthologies. She has published the books Carvings from an Heirloom: Oral History Poems, the Writer’s Digest award-winning At Quarter Past Reality: New and Selected Poems and History’s Twists: The Armenians (honorable mention). Helene’s early work has been cited in the Greenwood Encyclopedia of Multiethnic American Literature.  She holds a degree in humanities from Harvard University. She is the current head of Ohan Press, a private bilingual micropress.

Drifting Off, East North East

Beau Boudreaux

 

I’m the one
inside the crowded bistro

reading alone
with an untouched martini

a young woman in floral dress
pedals by

and there’s a boy cross-legged
at the trolley stop fumbling papers

why close the sculpture garden at night…
I’ve never been to Boston

Baltimore or Philly—
the window, people sip
 

outside the coffeeshop
form a patio

may be too much
with myself

like a cheap shot
of tequila after many rounds with friends

is not last year, but a decade
when I sat for the first time

through a matinee
sunshine cooking car seats

a shock sitting into
like biting a lemon

  

 

 

Beau Boudreaux

Beau Boudreaux is a poet and professor in Continuing Studies at Tulane University in New Orleans.  His poems have recently appeared in Antioch Review, Cream City Review, and Margie

SPEAK

Faiz Ahmed Faiz with Translation by Shadab Zeest Hashmi

 

Speak out
for your lips are not slaves
Speak out
for your tongue is yours yet
And body strong yet
Speak out
     Your life
        is still yours

At the blacksmith’s
How swift the flame
          how red the iron
Locks are slackening their jaws
Fetters are dropping to the ground
Speak out
This meager time is enough
Before death snatches your body
                                              your tongue
 

Speak
For truth is alive yet
Speak
        Speak your heart out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FAIZ AHMED FAIZ

Faiz Ahmed Faiz was one of the greatest of Pakistani poets in the 20th century. He spent his life as a writer working for the good of Pakistan and its people, often being so critical of the  prevailing governments that he was imprisoned for many years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shadab Zeest Hashmi’s poetry has appeared in various publications including Poetry International, Hubbub, New Millenuem Writings, Nimrod and  The Bitter Oleander. Her work has also been published online in The Courtland Review as well as other places. She is the author of the newly released book of poems The Baker of Tarifa.