By Raj Shekhar Sen
From a Boston cemetery
Mary Anthony Barker
Died in 1776, Boston,
Six months after her husband.
I stand before her grave
And I think how she would have lived
Had tears and heartbreaks
And felt the first rains and snows
for sixty years, she felt it all
But what remains.
Like that twenty year old
in a dreamy restaurant
at 10th arrondissement, Paris
Hoping for a Christmas surprise.
And Aylan, too,
You must know Aylan,
The one we do know
a few million others we do not.
I stand here and I know
All those who live, die
Here lies Mary Ann,
Somewhere in Turkey
Some other names
In Paris today.
I do a little, too,
And a little every night
And a little every night.
I do not share borders with you
for my borders, like the rainbow,
exist only in the rains
and salted tear drops.
I share warmth, of a winter morning
and small palms writing alif, be
not the smoke and siren
or the smell of the overwhelming gun powder;
and I share with you a cup of Qahwa
and some togetherness
for there is no blockade that can fence the heart;
I share verses, sadness and death
and the trembling faith of a father
who holds a dying child;
Gaza, I offer you my words
and the ghetto of a poem,
amidst this falling ancient city of crying mothers,
I offer you my ruins
to hold, and make
an imagined home.
Three Poems that end in Pain
Once I met an old Palestinian man,
the ones who cannot breathe and speak together
while talking, I told him I write poems;
He looked at me with face dry as the Gobi;
and said in a hushed voice,
“I do not understand your business;
how many ways after all
can you rewrite
I walked to DMZ from the side of the south Koreans
the sun slightly tilted towards the north, was lighting up my face across the border;
There was a woman,
who said but you have to know Korean
to know us.
The pain that a brother feels for his sister,
who lives a few miles and yet across the border; can only be felt then.
I looked at her and said:
pain has a universal language;
pain opens all borders,
and pain knows Korean and wounds;
In San Francisco, over tea
I meet a Kashmiri man,
the men from estranged land have a lot of stories
and they laugh a lot; sometimes too loud; sometimes artificially
So, I ask him
Darvish, what is your pain?
He tells me, he had land
and they grew apple
organic, as they say here
that if he closes his eyes he can almost taste it;
but it has been twenty two years since,
he has not had any apples
and he quivers, to look for words,
“they all taste of blood now
they all taste of blood.”
Raj Shekhar Sen is based out of San Francisco, California, having lived the majority of his life scattered around cities in Central India before renegading to the US of A. He considers writing to be primarily a hobby but has been fortunate enough to be published in a few journals, including Nivasini and Aquirelle. His day job is internet surfing and sometimes business consulting.
Cafe Dissensus Everyday is the blog of Cafe Dissensus magazine, based in New York City, USA. All materials on the site are protected under Creative Commons License.
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