New Somalia

Wherever she walks

that is Mogadishu.

Her ruby-colored veil cascades to her knees.

Her posture is not left to nature’s vices

like these impressionable

sidewalk-tamed and -framed trees.

The crosswalk blushes beneath her feet

for she weaves a red carpet out of its common,

striped concrete and, as she glides past,

cars stand at attention on the street,

giving her all but a military salute.

As she forges ahead, resolute as a general,

the mind conjures the flourish of a trumpet

and a desert wind is felt, carried inexplicably

upon an ocean breeze. Meanwhile,

seagulls on curved lampposts sit still

and the second-story dentist looks on,

mesmerized, at his window sill.

The traffic light gives green cards

but not all take off at once.

Somalia, for one, is still learning the roads

but she is with strength and drive replete.

I do not worry about her, that Somalia,

for, though she comes as a surprise to this town,

this town doesn’t surprise her in the least.

the (snow) globe

an arab who looked up to the west

until she looked it up

got the rundown

got run down

now looking up at stars

a female under males

trying to understand them

trying to get around them

without getting around

an american idolizing

the rising sun

but damning its horizon

a zealot searching for absolutes

in a chain reaction

a civilian hoping her soldier

will not be killed

by friendly fire

his memory steeped, dyed

in cold blood

people building up walls

walls tearing people down

human aliens invading

old stereotypes gracefully aging

actors without stages staging protests

picket lines shouting for an audience

lines of itinerant workers

for hire

and hopes for higher wages

falling to the ground

foreigners working as domestics

brown eyes becoming statistics

children whose existence

is resistance

unsympathetic weather

unnatural disasters

parents beating each other to pieces

trying to stay together

a family dilating and constricting

as the light comes out a rainbow

a human trying to be humane

a predator climbing down

the food chain

a storeowner resisting a window sale

a dog chasing after its own tail

an independent girl

still a dependent

a prisoner escaping

to confinement

a misguided man who considers

all but himself lost

another religiously secular

an atheist who wants to believe again

but has forgotten how

a virgin who always chastens herself

but wants to do it now

a millionaire who flies coach

a poor man with a porche

a liberal with a crocodile purse

a mercenary unattractive nurse

innumerable iterations of 0 and 1

wars both peoples lost

ones both countries won

ignoble nobel laureates

a disunited united nations

an inoperative surgeon

leading countless operations

sky rises raising eyebrows

not standards of living

and standards waving

over double-parked cars

over double-doubles

over double standards

i stand sometimes looking

at this small curious world

in a snow globe


in the snow globe

looking out


at the world


I didn’t know what to do, at first,

with their last remains

so I lined them shoulder to shoulder

and ran over the bodies.

If burning a book is sacrilege, then what of human flesh?

If burying is cruel in life, how much more in death?

This way they’ll not repel the eye should they be unearthed.

This way not gods but simple men will trigger their rebirth,

and if a chance puff of dust tempts from you a sneeze,

it’ll be a comfort to know that those weren’t arms and knees.

So bury the urn and burn the blasted coffin.

I want to be the death of a few hundred trees;

I want to be a character in your memories.

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