Poemas Politicas-2012-01

I, Mohamed

"Mohamed suffered a lot. He worked hard. But when he set fire to himself, it wasn't about his scales being confiscated. It was about his dignity." —Mannoubia Bouazizi, mother of Mohamed, Tunisia, in K Andersen, Time, Dec 14, 2011

I, Mohamed, am about
to do what is right.
I am going to set fire
to myself, and now,
and extinguish what I can
from my soul. This is Tunisia,
and its moon and sun
were my life, or what
passes for one. Its air
was my breath, its stars
my guiding light.

I walked the streets,
peddled what strength
can be vended from door to hope,
from the gawking eyes
of those who can manage
to give out what mercies
can be given each day.

The cart was my life,
its rusty wheels
in slow motion leading me
to a dream of food for mother,
an uncle who lost the courage
to go on in life for another day,
siblings desiring to dream
like the Pharaoh’s or sphinx’s
in every act of pushing
that leads to a ritual riddle
of want and more
while those who have the riffle
the strength of their voice
the baton to whip out what
honor has left of our sinews
beat us up to send the message
that we are not what we are.
I am a child of these claims
to life and faith,
and here I am, an orphan
of many promises
even as I look for no one
who has done before,
not in these streets,
not in this homeland
of my forefathers. It is this
fire that will bring out the gold
from this mulct of our lives,
and we will have pride,
on the table as in our prayer,
in our shrines, mosques, temples
as in our search for truth
we can feed on and on,
the good that comes out
of our death, given in freedom,
given for freedom.

Dec 15, 2011

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