Obiter Dicta

Abnormally crass

NY Times

Books section

9/12/01

“What should those

who have lost

friends and family

in yesterday’s

terrorist atrocities

read?”

I don’t know

looks like

no one

pays poetry

any attention

at least

outside

a few

that already see

it has no inside

refer the poets

in turn

to Richard Price

Observations on

the Nature of

Civil Liberty

Part II Section iii

“Of the Policy

of the War

with America”

And yet

we imagine ourselves

ill used

in truth

we expected

to find them

a cowardly rabble

who would lie quiet

at our feet

they have disappointed us

risen

in their own defense

and replied

by force

they deny

the plenitude

of our power

over them

and insist

upon being treated

as free

communities

this has provoked us

and kindled

our governors

into rage

1776

notebook

entries

pages apart

collapse

years

the only

method is

empathic

After Goya, James Perry

by Erik Noonan

Erik Noonan is from Sherman Oaks, California.  He is the author of the poetry collections Stances(2012) and Haiku d'Etat (2013).  He lives in San Francisco with his family. You can find his Medium account here.

Re-membering

Justice, Walking with a Bag (Aragón, 2015)

You woke up terrified today
Terrified

You didn’t know who
where
how
your You got here

Terrified
startled numb

no touch feels
even though you ache for a hug

no memory clear
yet the faint memory pounds

fuck
You don’t know
where You are

where are You?
can you hear me?
it’s me, your wife

but it wasn’t his fault you tell me
Terrified to grotesque sickness
your body is here
but your soul took a walk

the walk that you have been wide-eyed and desperate for:
an out of body experience
but You didn’t want this kind
No, not this kind

it had to go
i know it will return
it went to rehab
because souls don’t do Trauma

it’s there
but your You
it ran far far away
kidnapped

or told you to fuck off
you think
it would prefer another body

displacement
because souls need breaks
from bad memories
so now you have amnesia

You don’t know who is who
and why your You your core
left you

it just up and left
fuck that
it’s hanging out
with the perpetrator

You didn’t ask for it
You didn’t
You didn’t know it was wrong

they told You it was ok
that they do that
that way
and You looked up to them

fit of anger
fit of fear
just fits

another jameson nit please
another jameson alone

when will you come
back?

just more of
this nothing
this nada 
Vacuous &
Deafening
now at least familiar

where are You
where are You
you You
me me
me

is this me?

can You
that
your past
your terror
be me
be now
too?

i watch You
your other You
return

You do come back
and the nothing goes away
You are back

where did it go?
now You want in?

but You feel alien
who are you, You?
with this
now post rehab bandaged soul

trapped
wrapped in those
old memories
that are eerily present
and forgotten all at once

old memories
that haunt
      and      jaunt
now you know they’re there
now you know why Soul left
now you know You are back
with You

and You rage
You fucking rage
your Dismemberment
You rage
your lost Soul’s anger
You rage
to re-member
your lost You
You rage
that fucking asshole
that fucking asshole
that fucking asshole

i watch You in your terror
i bear Witness

and i remind You
i am not him
i am not that memory
i am not him
i am not him

and You cry
i am not him
You sob
Displaced years
i am not him
You quiver
dismembered Soul
i am not your perpetrator
You wail
a child’s uncried Desperation
at age 33

and i bear Witness
and i remind you of who I am
and i bear Witness
to your child’s wandering cry
crawl its way forward
begin to Heal
to reintegrate
into Today

it’s not a perfect script
or arc
or even really like this poem

it’s terrifyingly wretched

i hate him too
i hate all abusers
i fucking hate him and them for
making your You
your Soul feel
Alien
Erased
And so lost on itself

and to misogyny
for cloaking men in
Shame
for being scared

to misogyny
for choking men in
Stoicism
and Repression

yes, i hate You too

but i love You
far more than i hate him
far more than i hate our society
i love You far more than i hate him
i love You far more than i hate them

and so i choose to bear Witness
bear Witness to
the dregs of your child
Awakening
to
the dregs of your Soul
Resurrecting
Remembering itself
into that You
and this You
all of You

and it’s terrifyingly wretched
and wretchedly beautiful

for even though You woke up terrified
drowning in lived nightmares
now You are awake and being born

and i want all of it
i want all of You

by Vicky Munyoz


 by Fallujah.

Shaad

 Photo credit: Adult Magazine

Shaad walked down the serpentine path leading to the Edgeware Road tube station. A lanky Tunisian guy he had met at a Sunday-morning rave sat on a bench smoking a cigarette. Shaad approached him non-chalantly and asked for a lighter. They had never really talked to each other, but they were allied against the world for now. The rehearsed shake of hands swapped cash and cocaine.

Someone once told Shaad that there is never a good enough reason for drug use. 
He has two. Self-transcendence and music. He finds solace in music, art and the abandonment of an indifferent metropolis — where public buses have free wi-fi, places serve coffee all night long, and no one has the time to talk about revolution.

If memory is at all reliable, he remembers his first encounter with the waltz of multi-colored club lights. People, young and old, ripped their chests open till the place was strewn with the sound of silence. Night after night, the synthesized tunes of Orbital devoured lonely beings. The dungeons of the underground music scene symbolized the advent of a new religion, a new-age politics that gripped him with a violent peace.

While walking back from Edgeware to his flat, Shaad realized that he hadn’t been home in months. His face, a spitting image of the son his mother had lost.

His elder brother Mir caused a stir when he didn’t come home for three nights. He eventually returned to their house in Balochistan a transformed man draped in a sheet. A hero, a terrorist, a martyr, a separatist — more of a man and less of a man.

Shaad’s thoughts often drift to his mother who suffers from an incurable ache of a soul. The only possibility that interests her mind is one in which she can crawl her way back, inch by inch, to the whispers of the ominous, all too vivid in hindsight.

These are unsafe times, Sumaiya. One cannot just write or say anything.

Haunted by the yearning to see her beloved rise from the abyss of death, his mother spends hours tending to the orchids and lilies in her backyard. 
“Our memories keep the pain alive, but they also keep our loved ones alive,” she often says.

Photographs of a political resistance underway in his native land surround Shaad on the rare occasions that he visits his Ilford house. The mounds of Makran, imposing charmers, are spectators to a senseless war announced by the state, socially contracted in all but theory. This certain occupation that Baba speaks of, especially when he’s two drinks up, could be happening galaxies away from London and its imperialism-funded post-modernism.

Taped on Baba’s study, Nazim Hikmet:

You’re my bondage and my freedom, my flesh burning like a naked summer night, you’re my country

Why is going home so awkward?

There are spirits of his land, conjured by his conscience, that haunt him every once in a while.

Drugs take you near God,
But your people,
Their mournful eyes, 
Their fables and smiles,
will make you One with Him.

Memory works in strange ways. The drug devotion of the high class and the low class, a crazy-creature class standing in queue to overcome the limits of its wakeful consciousness, reminds him of the mass graves of Balochistan. The dark calm of lines laid out on a coffee table reminiscent of writers resting in the dark tunnels of Quetta.

by Megha Arora

   by Fallujah. (On Topic)

The Transgendered Dust

  Justice - (Aragón, 2015)

I’ll send you my address

in a letter written in my blood

and our children’s blood

mixed with dirt

and some grease

from our people’s

coronary veins

so you can come visit

me

now

            in

                        exile.

If you come

please bring a blindfold

to cover your eyes

and your throat

from the microscopic

rubbish dumps

our alveoli

have blown into

the land

when we extracted them

mixed with our veins

to plant the tangled breathing branches

inverted like a tree

or an eternal fist

of condensed smoke.

 

Here in this new soil

the bird’s mouth

has dissolved

in pancreatic acid

and the slit lips

resemble the broken windows

and the stolen roads

taken from us,

taken away.

 

My father

was called one day

in a foreign tongue

made of concrete

by a liberal time

called hunger

he was called to die

to become the salt

of our country’s leaves

for when the soldiers

came to use him as fuel.

 

The livers they

extirpated from

the grey doves

have already been reduced

to ashes

and now

the misplaced children

together with the displaced sea

drowning

without hands or legs

beg god

for a stable boat

but he is somewhere else

his eyes

a handful of torn dollars

sprinkled with oxide

in the silent wind;

 

if you come please bring

two blindfolds

to cover your eyes

and your throat

in order to not scream

and to not see

the drowning child

not helped

by god’s

microscopic handful

of transgendered

 

dust.


by Angel Aragón

 by Fallujah.

who am i?

   Photo Credit: Key Soto

who am i?

to be birthed

on this side of validated dreams

far away from a wall, a fence, a barrio, or a movement

that must claim that their lives do matter, too

 

who am i?

a person of (pale and blue eyed) color

who decides when and how

to celebrate

her one drop rule

her mixed match blend

or when to melt into

a palette of non-identity glamour

 

who am i?

to be placed

in so many of the right boxes

to be placed

at so many of the right times

 

who am i?

what did i do different

than They

than You

 

but who am i?

not to live out these american dreams

that shall otherwise go, (rest)

Undreamt

 

who am i not?

if not They

if not You

 

they told me

to take my deserved place

among the limited amount of stars

who dared an entitled belonging

 

yes, see they told me

and maybe i would start to see

only maybe

(because i was taught to believe)

and that maybe

(because i believe)

in They, in me

i mean even they keep telling me

that

 

maybe i do

maybe i am

maybe i am, We The People

 

more than They

more than You

 

stitched, placed

into

Red

White

& Blue

my boxes

my stars

my breath

my beauty

my thoughts

my being

my i

my White blood

sometimes

often

Deserve

need

Breath

Voice

Place

Dreams

 

more than They

more than You

 

and me

and i

and we,

 

These Deserving people,

Have worked so hard, (Goddammit)

To wash away

This one drop of color

And those never lived

and unremembered

blues

 

by Vicky Munyoz

        by Fallujah.

Misplaced Persons

(Photograph by Marcelle McIntosh)

When I climb into bed with my mother, I try to hide away from the world.

One day my baby brother also joined, typical for him to do so as the mama’s boy.

For him it was routine and acceptable, as for me being a college grad, not so much.

As my baby brother clambered into his favorite spot,

My mother looked at us and playfully said “I take no refugees ! “

while fluffing out her king-sized pillows.

I stayed anyway and had a restless sleep,

Wedging my new nose piercing into the cartilage.

My body notices the intrusion and fights it, rejects it.

By morning I try to painfully remove it to relieve the swelling.

Blood, clogged and crusted around it.

The titanium stud was sinking in, becoming one with my flesh.

Like the shrapnel that must have struck those in their homes in Syria,

Unaware in the night that they would not see morning.

Leaving children behind,

who become misplaced, motherless, fatherless.

No beds to crawl into, no one to crawl next to and sleep.

To feel safe and secured by.

It’s like these people are falling off the Earth as it rotates, and it’s up to us,

the ones stable enough to set out nets to catch them.

Open up our King sized, kingdoms.

We must join in and do it together, not with scissor fingers but with our hearts on our sleeves.

Not to instinctively become territorial and fight

As if our resources will be threatened.

Why make other people’s life a living hell, when you already know

that they tried to escape it?

Inhaling the ash of it burning around them,

Drowning in the endless ocean

It’s so easy to reject what you don’t know.

What you feel does not belong.

What to you seems out of place.

When you can crawl into the comfort of your own bed.

 

By Marcelle McIntosh

                 by Fallujah.