Thursday, December 15, 2016

Kit Kelen #351 - Aleppo


they're writing last wills again this night

the men have gone God-knows-where
the young men
some of them left wills too
if they had the time

alley to alley
the last day is coming

there's nothing much to leave
they're writing last wills again this night
they don't expect the morning

bombs fall
where the records are kept
rubble and dust
everywhere concrete formwork shows
stretchers are borne away
but to where?

if you'd looked in the lawyer's office last month
you'd see that by now
those to whom this town was left
are mostly gone themselves
as are the houses, the shops, the schools

the few still upright
the few still breathing
they are leaving Aleppo this evening

after the five years of wait
five years to come to this

the bombing, the mortar fire
all of war's rhythm
all endless possession
all the atrocities of a persistence
this having-lived-thus-far

they are by last candles
writing their names
in such circumstances
one needs a new will

the images present no pity
they are testament too

the face of the dictator
the rage of the fanatic
the sniper
the conscript
the ones who kept heart
by-standers, ones too weak to move

have almost finished rewriting their wills
some speak last words for you-tube
these are their last-day words

the teachers
the doctors
the children who played
through the worst of the bombing
is there a game for them today?

the other side of the city is coming
the party of the garden looks through the wall

who said a whole suburb could be condemned?
no, nobody said, nothing is admitted

all fall to dust
blood let first
bone shattered

the banners are coming
the cruel tyrant's eyes
bore deep into a child's

toys have been made
from splinters of timber
but there are no rules
for a game
not today

these few now
were the many who dreamt
and their own deciding

their reward
more mortar
the sky raining hell

the last dream is just to live

this is the last day of Aleppo
bombs fall thick
where there is no rain

the terror is a block ahead
it's from the air
it's here
it's through the broken doors
in walls collapsing
roofs come down

it's alley to alley
first light
is last

everywhere else time slips away
here it piles
it's dust
we're dust

the foreign powers all peer in
it's chess with broken pieces
clumsy clumsy paws

a hospital is a moving target
the hospitals are gone

this is the last day
all the wills that will be written
are already signed by now
are there enough witnesses?

this one made bread
this one sold groceries
here was the farmer
the orchardist visiting
here is the one who made wine

lay them out each to a box
is someone left to close staring eyes?

just a pit for the young men who've been taken
is that what they are digging now?

someone somewhere
safe at a distance
is writing a poem for them

a day is full of such useless events
yet must we not witness
tears wept for Aleppo?

city besieged with animal urges
city made parts won't agree

I dream there is piano music
all dissolve in
makes the murder stop
I dream
from my comfortable distance

something bites me
and I slap at skin
I still have sensation
sundry aches of age

I forget Aleppo

today is the last day

a tribe won't understand belonging
a tribe won't ever share
only the people have that power

flat as a map they're laid out
a funeral in no time

was it for freedom?
was it for right?
was it so that they all could decide?

none of this can matter now
not even the great truth to bear through the town
the heart has stopped for that

but listen!

Aleppo –
we must say the word

they are no other
than you and me

by what grace
do we sit, take tea
and leave this world intestate, later
never having had to flee, to learn
these facts of time piled
of power spent?

banners drape
only over a coffin

but not on the last day
there's no one to shoulder
there are no last rites
there are only the mortal remains
only the dust we are and will be

what does one town leave to the world?

there's always a tragedy somewhere
why should I weep today?


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