“Strangers in the Same Land”, “Jyoti” and “Circular Haiku Circle”

by Emily Parker

People of Addis Ababa welcoming President Isayas, 14 July 2018, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Photo by Hailu Wudineh TSEGAYE at Shutterstock. 

Strangers in the Same Land

—in response to current events in Eritrea and Ethiopia

Hello?

You don’t know me; but,

I am so excited to speak with you.

Strangers—

at once the same…but different.

Divided by violence

Splintered and torn from one another

Families…

Friends…

Strangers…

At once so close

Yet so far

Now they are working together to close..........................the gap.

The border which became a

silent

canyon.

Echoing......................................................................echoing.....

Echoing only with ORDNANCE!

With SCREAMS!

Tearing tears rolling down cheeks so similar on either side of the void—

Chasm filling with

Bodies

Different tongues….

The border/canyon is closing

Slowly

Impossibly possible

The earth closes her metaphorical wound,

Knits together once more—

More than a decade of salt poured in by divisive ideologies

Is being washed clean and

The Birth Place and the Cradle seem not so distant from one another

And from a knitting of flesh

Of blood

Of bone

Of brothers

From the scar shared between them—a flower of tentative hope

Opens its face to the sky.

Hello?

You don’t know me, nor I you; but,

I am so excited to speak with you.

Jyoti

South Africa: Star Khulu said, “I try everything, everyday not to get raped.”

Bangladesh via the Rakhine State: Fatima, name changed for privacy, raped into unconsciousness said, “I don’t know how many times they violated my body.”

Northern Iraq: Aveen, in a halting, whispering voice, “There was nothing they didn’t do to me,” she tried to hold back tears.

She.

Tried.

To.

Hold.

BACK.

Tears.

Names and accounts melt

Into numbers

Countless numbers

Numbers.

Beyond counting.

Too many

No country/no city/no village/no family

Nowhere too safe

No immunity to a virulent, Holocaustic disease

It makes plague seem like a lark

And what could be worse than that black, unclean death?

This—shocked to zombie state life.

This—look over your shoulder life.

This—bruises that I make excuses for life.

This—never again un-suspect/suspicious life.

This pandemic.

This cancerous, ulcerated canker

Is treated op-ed

Diagnosed and medicated in sound bites

We are women.

The Sheila-na-gigs

Willendorf goddesses

Gaping mawed Kalis from which all draw breath even from death

Again and again

We are #metoo and even that seems

A distant cry

Tinny

Lost in and amongst distance, indifference inducing diffidence

Yesterday’s news

We are holes

We are wholes

Even in this disjointed world

Age-upon-age-upon-age

Nothing has changed

Teju Cole wrote, “Not all violence is hot. There’s cold violence, too, which takes its time and finally gets its way.”

I supplicate

I am prostrate with ocean wide tears

Fallen to silence

My waves do not crash

Do not create

But they implore

Do not forget

Grow careless

Stop listening

To the uncomfortable quiet

From the voided vessel

There is no scream loud enough

No silence long enough

To bear this.

To not bear this.

Circular Haiku Circle

She, stone in water,

Bedrock. Will wear to nothing

In passage of time.

For she adds herself

Into brackish solution

Giving, as it takes.

Imagination

Firing in bold empathy,

Shakes ashes from flame.

Breath of nothingness

Stirring mindfully, waking,

Breathes deeply again.

Transmutes into earth

Solidifies. New construct.

Grows, so lives again.

About the Author

Emily Parker

Emily Parker has been writing for as long as she can remember. She holds an MFA in directing and has more than a decade of acting and teaching experience. She seeks to help students to recognize and develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes and discipline required for pursuing future study and/or careers in the theatre arts as well as the skills necessary to observe and think critically and communicate effectively. She has written 14 volumes of unpublished poetry and continues to write daily--foremost for herself, out of need, and if they resonate or provide shelter to another...that's a wonderful bit of lagniappe.