[ poetry - may 08 ]
here in the departure lounge
is a man,
with bruises on his neck,
and epaulettes crowded onto his shoulder.
like us he is dead
and like us he is stranded on the queue
that spills from the boeing-to-baghdad-and-beyond.
He could be anyone,
a modern-day Nebuchadnezzar,
or the last king of the Scots,
or a hutu civil servant who listened to the wrong radio station.
on the TV screens that staunch the flow of boredom
here and everywhere else,
are images of ravenous tombs feasting real-time
on east African football fields.
I can't shake off this feeling that only the waters
of neworleans®, ("liquid contents only")
can quench the thirst
that will follow this dinner
and the many others on this dinner-table
of a planet.
But what I didn't know was this:
that onboard entertainment systems now offer translations
into every language known to man,
perestroika, reforms, free world, hiphop
Gunners. And gunners, with or sans turban.
Later today, in six, or sixteen hours, friendly lights
pulsing in rhythm to the music of the world
will guide us down,
lights that speak "welcome" in neonsignese;
and music that we have grown
accustomed to; a deathly dum-te-dum
dwelling in the (ear)drums
of amman, beirut, calcutta, dhaka, everywhere
unto vientiane, windhoek, x, yamoussoukro,
and the farthest ends of zagreb.