Friday, December 10, 2010

Where I'm from

Have you ever had a scent seize you
as it laughs at time, at space
and throws you down a maze of memories?
To a place far, far away
one whose name has been effaced.
For me, that scent has always been
fresh fallen rain
mixing with that precious dirt.


I was born in a beautiful cradle
of ancestry, culture
a bedrock, a treasure house
of humane wealth.
But the clash of beliefs
the bitter taste of dispute
and a history of foreign exploitation
has made men of cloth
into ragdog generals
who enforce Orwell's 1984.

Where I'm from
it's custom to hear of a cousin
an uncle, disappearing
for having a tongue
and for daring to use it.

My father came from a family of seven brothers:
wrestlers and revolutionaries
who lost one of their own in battle.
I get my strength from my mother, her sister and my grandmother
who raised a university professor and a teacher 
but had to secretly sneak her two daughters to school everyday. 
I am a child of the revolution
born during war
laughing in the playground
of my mother's kindergarten
as I pointed up at the sky
while air raid sirens went off
and jet fighters flew by.

Trying to be heard
I've stalked over stifling walls
felt them close over me    
as I was discovered
like a common thief.
[For holding hands
I've ran from men in berets
their boots pounding on pavement
as I swallowed my own heart.]  **Needs revision

having two scheduled times
to use the washroom each day
in an isolation cell for thirteen months
at sixty-five years old
your family, unable to speak
even in their own home
house raids and wire taps.

There are welcoming ceremonies
for freed political prisoners
more joyous than weddings
more melancholy than a funeral.
For the rest
there is absolute


..I think I write poems
but there is endless poetry
that beats in the hearts
of those in dark, quiet cells
which will sometimes never be heard.


No comments:

Post a Comment