the Nurse is In

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

a poem

America, America

I too love jeans and jazz and Treasure Island
and John Silver's parrot and the balconies of New Orleans,
I love Mark Twain and the Mississippi steamboats and
Abraham Lincoln's dogs.
I love the fields of wheat and corn and the smell of
Virginia tobacco
But I am not American.

Is that enough for the Phantom pilot to turn me back to
the stone age?

let's exchange gifts. Take your smuggled cigarettes
and give us potatoes.
Take James Bond's golden pistol
and give us Marilyn Monroe's giggle.
Take the heroin syringe under the tree
and give us vaccines.
Take your blueprints for model penitentiaries
and give us village homes.
Take the book of your missionaries
and give us paper for poems to defame you.
Take what you do not have
and give us what we have.
Take the strips of your flag
and give us the stars.
Take the Afghani Mujahideen beard
and give us Walt Whitman's beard filled with
Take Saddam Hussein
and give us Abraham Lincoln
or give us no one.
We are not hostages, America
and your soldiers are not God's soldiers...
We are the poor ones, ours is the earth of the drowned

the gods of bulls
the gods of fires
the gods of sorrows that intertwine day and
blood in a song...
We are the poor, ours is the god of the poor
who emerge out of farmer's ribs
and bright,
and raises heads up high...

America, we are the dead.
Let your soldiers come.
Whoever kills a man, let him resurrect him.
We are the drowned ones, dear lady.
We are the drowned.
Let the water come.

-Saadi Youssef


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