Darfur Deranged

"The government fills their bombs with shrapnel to mark us with their hate."
Mohammed Dufala Ishak, Darfur Survivor, Time ad, Dec 25/06-Jan 1/07

Your story is not news to us.
Not new, its novelty wears off
on us. Even as we say this, we cry with
you, people of Darfur, a land of pain
and sun and moon and rage

and bombs.

A survivor tells us of your tale,
its title in his pocket for fear
of making it into another bomb

or bullet

against his surviving people
who, because of hatred
hate themselves
hate hate itself
until there is only hatred left
such as those that they need
to kill their people's smiles
to murder their hopes
to imprison their desire
to live. In times like these,
you do say, and I hear you clearly
like the wind in the dessert,
cold and inviting and just right
for the feasting
that we all think think think
after all this raging: Death is life.

But the government is not wont
to let you call the spirits
from the mountains
the many beginnings in your rivers
the breath in your fields:
to waste bombs bullets bread
is good business
the return a million times more
more than caring for babies
who dream of milk and food and caress
the cooing of mothers long dead
the lulling of fathers decaying
in the trunks of trees
with the brown leaves for comfort
with the soil to complete the ceremony
of a million Darfur deaths.

It could have been only
in Darfur.

But no.

In my country,
lives come in cheap:
lawmakers are lawbreakers
and they salvage those who say so
or those who call them thieves
braggarts pretenders opportunists
leeches devils honorable murderers.

In my country, they execute
poems that tell us of our common pains:
they mark the bombs the bullets
the babies and they all call them
our resident terrorists,
the first lines of novels too
or the ends of short stories
so that in fiction as well as in fact
we are Darfur through and through
we are Darfur on our way to genocide
well, we have been long before
it ever became a fad
long before some powerful country's president's
speech on the need to make painkillers
for quick relief, instant and effective
while wars everywhere continue to be waged
the wars against peoples and faith
wars against food and hunger
wars against poverty and knowledge
slogans all, like some parts of a Darfur decalogue
meant to deliver us all from a sinful world.

Yes, we are marked with hate
and the winner, I know,
is the one who makes the sales pitch
for the commerce of war
some little emperors somewhere
in your midst, some warmongers somewhere
among your country's powerholders
like ours.

We recap your sadness
and we can only grieve.

Our stories are not different.

A Solver Agcaoili
UH Manoa/Dec 26/06

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