Summer Underground

  Photo credit: Key Soto, 2016

Heat thick
to the oversaturated
senses
Times Square 42nd St Port
Authority underground
waves

Laced with
saccharin
vomit
and
Memorial Day
get-it-while-it’s-hot
messages

the fallen and forgotten
inspire
a good deal
here and here only
sixty percent off
authentic tragedy

Further underground
throngs of
overheated tourists
trapped workers clocking in late
9 to 5ers on their days off
God-saving screamers
hormone fed
rats and roaches
march in harmony

Don’t step on
or rat poison me
Just save me with
a mind-numbing
even better
than sixty percent
off all-forgetting sale

Vet without arms
carves out perch
amidst the scurrying rodents
and MTA weekend
service delays
he can’t wave
no hands
with mouth
like animal
begs to be seen
on this Happy Memorial Day Weekend
for sale

To all forgotten soldiers Worldwide: In Memoriam

by Vicky Munyoz

The Ides of March

I read about the

Ides of March

When in high school

We read Julius Caesar

 

That was March’s terror

 

I never read about My Lai

That wasn’t part of the

Curriculum

No

The mass murder

the slaughter

No

the mutilation

extermination

No

excuse me

active killing

shooting spree

of 500 and something

unarmed civilians

with our (un)proud and great american

weapons of massacre destruction

No

That wasn’t part of the curriculum

That’s what my teachers told me

by neglecting to get to it

 

When I asked my parents

They didn’t really know what to say

Friends had been drafted

returned forgotten

labeled with

the newest shiniest four letter acronym

letting pharmaceutical companies take care of them

 

They knew that

They knew America

Had its faults

But

america, america lullabies justified

their hard work

their first generation identities

and anyways

This one (they were told)

Was complicated

So they had no answers

 

This fell into

The Nothing Narrative:

Maybe if we don’t talk about it

We’ll still get to be Heroes

It wasn’t until I was

studying in Paradise

I felt the sting of March

 

The sting of Nothing

 

The US invades Iraq

I hear one night

After going out for sushi

That I paid for with my hard working parent’s visa

 

Some of my peers

Who were raised

On america america rhymes

And told they will be Brave

(Who wouldn’t want to be Brave?)

Offer their souls to a life

Of ptsd or early death

For a fight they don’t understand

 

I know they don’t understand

history class didn’t get to it

And anyways math and science

are more important

 

Well,

Students in Paradise critically read

study

talk March’s terror

war and peace

our humanity

But

None of them enlist

We’ll never enlist

 

But the sing-song rhymes

And pledges of allegiance

America, o America

This land is your land

This land is my land

 

And yet those left singing

(medicated and dead)

will always know far more about

The ugliness of war

March’s terror

it’s horror

Than the elite who study it or buy sushi

 

We both do as we’re told

Both make our way

Both

we

longing to be brave

important

 

America america lullabies

And america america prayers

hushes reason and worships

fundamentalism for the unwealthy

While global Money

graces moments of discussion

and parents entitlement

for rich kids out to dinner

 

(So) when my kids ask me about Iraq

I won’t know what to say

(The Nothing Narrative)

I’ll feel embarrassed for a few seconds

And hope they’ll want sushi

 

by Vicky Munyoz

Les étoiles de Halabja

Les étoiles de Halabja (Aragón, 2016)

Morning has been
chopped up in little
pieces of mirror
and the Moon
has been corrupted
with a few coins.
The crystal silver
pieces have been
extended throughout
the night;
they are trying to cover
their children from the gas
and they have died.
The sky is just
the reflection
of the mothers’ corpses
that shall be buried
with their children
where the trees
will grow
again one day;
death was carried in the
men’s throats like
a silent city;
when they slit them
the world was infested:
the rotting bodies
left to dry
were used
as parchment paper
to write History,
and their ragged clothes
were used as nets
to capture
doves
and jail them.

To the victims of the Halabja Massacre (16/03/1988), In Memoriam. (Number I of a Halabja Trilogy)

by Angel Aragón

Sorrow - Kandahar

El Colapso de las Estrellas - The Stars' Collapse, (Aragón, 2015)

Today
hearts are made
of shattered crystal
mixed with ash
and the blood of those
killed;
with the hands it is
formed
into a paste
that is used to model
a little bird

hearts are dead little birds
the old women
save them when they fall
from the skies
for when they kill their
children
to try and revive
their hearts
with the once singing
noble beast

this is how
humanity has
survived
(has it?)
until
the women die of sorrow
and the trees grow
old enough
to have a heart attack

that is how we die:
with an orange vest
put on
and inside plastic
bags

until
babies stop
crying
for their
murdered brothers

(inside plastic bags)
rotting,
like the tree’s
thrombosis
when taken out
by a corrupt doctor
we call democracy

till the old women
stop saving
the little corpses
and building hearts
for us to wear
alongside the dead trees
to sing a lullaby
and stop
the babies’ cries

only then can we go all
to sleep
covered in sorrow
and eternity,
with our tongues slain
and the transvestite
clouds
mocking us,
waiting for the sun to go away.
Waiting permanently.

To the victims of the Kandahar Massacre 11/03/12, In Memoriam.

by Hussein Balawi

by Fallujah

America, will you be my valentine?

Photo credit: Patrick Chang

 

America, will you be my valentine?

Since it's Black history month

And my heart is heavy

 

Stars are white

Stripes are red and blue

America, whatever happened to....

 

Amadou Diallo

Unarmed black man

Who bore too much resemblance to

Another (scary) black man

 

Stars are white

Stripes are red and blue

America, whatever happened to....

 

Yvette Smith

Unarmed black woman

Who mistakenly called the police

For help but instead got shot

 

Stars are white

Stripes are red and blue

America, whatever happened to....

 

Malcolm X

I know Black Muslim men killed him

But America, sometimes I wonder

If you hired them

 

America, will you be my valentine?

I know it's Black History Month but

 

Can Brown lives matter, too?

Should I wait for Islamic American heritage month?

Is that coming soon?

 

Because, America, America

My heart beats

Whatever happened to...

 

Deah Shaddy Barakat,

Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salahar

Razan Mohammad Abu-Salahar

 

Chapel Hill students killed in their home

Because of a parking spot

No, because they were Muslim

But somehow still not a hate crime

 

America, I know this may be taboo

To share this valentine with you

But I thought you might be touched that I thought of you

 

and we're suffering from heart failure

 

And we used to be in love

with

Dreams, equality, freedom of speech

and at least want for justice

 

But...

 

And I thought....

 

Stars white

stripes red and blue

Went well with love and remembering

And sacrifice

 

America, America?

Or should i just..

It's too uncomfortable

 

Don't worry,

Black history month and Valentine's day are almost over

 

Stars are white

Stripes are red and blue

Sales on chocolates at a local chain near you 

To those victimized by American hate and racism during the month of February, In Memoriam.

 

by Vicky Munyoz 

by Fallujah.

Rosewood

Pre Scottsboro boys

Pre Emmett Till

  Photo credit: Public Domain

Yeah, this stuff still happened

In those good ‘ole days

 

We were allowed to be blatant

Decimate a town, make ’em flee

Because we were Worthy savages

Unquestioned, unreported

 

White woman in all of her weakness

Cries rape by a black man

This time in a mixed town

In a 1923 mixed southern town

 

Justify not her —

White woman cry

But her commodification

 

Protect not her

But the right for her to be owned,

enslaved by us,

deserving, well-meaning White men

 

Justify and protect

Our red, white, and blue right

With massacre,

Destruction

 

Create living Hell

For those borne black

Lest black body, black mind, black voice

Forget their pre-1865 destiny

 

A circular Fate

You don’t belong

(As equals)

No, you don’t

She doesn’t either

No, she doesn’t

We own you both

 

That white woman cry burns through Rosewood

The cry is white, alabaster, god-loving, virginal,

and voiceless

 

Cry is the only way she learned voice

Worth, place, attention

But men didn’t cry

Don’t cry

 

But that cry burned through the city,

Luckily it did

 

Images of crimson

Spattered against alabaster canvas

Contrasted with more veracity

Than thick-hanging fruit

or blood on the leaves

 

No need to put that to trial

The rumor alone

Denied my rights,

Denied me

 

And maybe untrue

But truth and evidence

Never were the origins of

An American justice

Of my justice

 

Let us be the rapists

The killers

The History writers

The voices

 

So that you know your place

And my descendants

(And even you)

Think it's your fault

 

Born guilty, die young

Not one

But a one forgotten unreported

Displaced black community of Rosewood, Florida


To the victims of the January 1923 Rosewood massacre, in memoriam.

by Vicky Munyoz

Consent

The Gawkadal Bridge stands witness to Paradise lost
The cold silver of Jhelum drapes the bodies of her brave children;
Where is consent of the governed in this land?
Where is political participation in the world’s largest democracy?

Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast
Hameen ast-o hameen ast-o hameen ast (1)

A lost generation sings:

I can withstand injustice — 
Understand it to seek Truth,
But I abhor the depravity of violence

I can withstand pain as long as it makes sense;
It is senseless suffering that I fear

I can withstand the djinns of anger, 
As long as there is growth

I fear an impotent rage

1. A Persian couplet uttered in reference to the staggering beauty of Kashmir by the iconic Sufi poet Amir Khusrau. It means:

If there is paradise on earth,
It is this, it is this, it is this.

To the victims of Gawkadal massacre (20/1/1990), in memoriam
(Photograph by Vivek Menezes)

by Megha Arora

         by Fallujah.


halluci nation

asphyxiated by prejudice chains

annihilated by nationalist art

lynched for the love of territory

a rave of violence, routine

us versus them

where roses appear savage

where waves glisten in blood

where the sun makes love

to the bay of Haifa

(us versus them)

now our genetic code

in the land that once knew peace

the river of red howls, unfettered

O ignorant one! When we die,
It will be proven to us:
A dream was what we have seen,
And what we have heard, was a tale. (1)

  1. By Mir Dard.

To the victims of the Haifa Oil Refinery Massacre (30/12/1947), in memoriam.

By Megha Arora 

     by Fallujah.