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Poems by Sheema Kalbasi


Nothing Nothing is all I am
Nothing overloading nothing
Closing the doors,
Opening an extra into an empty space,
Nothing ensues but a further war.

The bombs, lights that blind and Damascus,
Burning after Tehran. Sisters calling in despair,
Brothers callous the arms of infidels. Nothing happens
But children die, and journalists are filming for a deadline.

Nothing comes after nothing but I,
Kneel, cry for nothing,
and still the no shepherd birds burn at flight.

Nothing happens. I walk by the Central Park
Next to nothing, and the no flight zone is
Just nothing yet throat slides over throat,
Bullets shut and blood drops. Here nothing happens
But I write to keep nothing from overloading nothing.

* * *

Kaddish 1

And on the eighth day
God created his bloody sore,
the Middle East
Where only the streets
silently speak of the dead,
where the buttercups
cups, cups are red
from blood, where bodies are tossed
in oil, oil,
hot hot oil.

Don't burn your finger God
on the ziz 2,
red, red ziz.

Allah-o-Akbar 3!

1Kaddish: Jewish Prayer for the dead

2Ziz: a flower, a cleft or pass, probably that near En-gedi,
which leads up from the Dead Sea in the direction of Tekoa; now Tell Hasasah.

3Allah-o-Akbar: Arabic for God is Great --------

* * *

Ivy Nights

Deep in the mouth,
Ivies have grown.
It is rather tricky
To claim her as mine
Now that I have given her to you.

Take good care of her.

a line

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