We are all here, Swaleh, Fuad
Death and I,
Of our own will we stay.
Everything here is momentous-
Friendships firm up overnight over a shared joke,
Daring the desert dust, watching idly smoke -
Idly Life and callous death casually cast lots for us.
And, mum, am in love!
I saw her in a dream- a Libya of open minds!
Of tender hearts, long cast their rinds,
No liege nor royal , no rajah nor vassal
Just us, many men, women and all...
Like the Delta, mile upon mile-
Back bent in a humbled curtsy;
Egypt kissing the sea
Egypt swallowing the Nile!
Just like that.
Oh, but I saw her in an apartment on a hill,
When Misrata came back to us last week.
Right upon the last blast, in the gloom of falling dust -
Foot-soldier in victory drill.
There I was; and she:
fairer than the desert moon
Shinning shyly on the ridge's peak ,
Fairer- than the nightlights of Tripoli.
And my heart will be crashed totally
If it wasn't me she smiled at!
We saved them, mum, from Gadhafi's men.
She must've seen me!
No doubt there.
She like me too, I think.
That's what I think
Everytime a shell comes crashing, or a bullet
Comes tearing; then death among us dances
Squeezing life out, kneading hard without let
Then, mostly then, do we most miss home,
But I, mum, just your water bottle.
For the home street has nothing for me
Whitewashed, sand-lit with neat idleness…
Littered with my bothers,
Swaleh, Fuad and I…
At home but lost, too small:
Like the smallest kiosks
Along the busiest street
In the biggest city!
Who am I in Tripoli?
Where hides hope? Where lies love…?
One can't even die quick!
My dreams, mum, have gone stale
No one needs them.
Someone else always knows better
Someone older always has the platter.
In my home street, I’ve felt even small
Like the lightest dust
On the tiniest tin
On the lowest shelf
Of your shop, mum.
I have felt like nothing
Lost in a pile of… nothing!
I have felt… feelingless!
So I won't be home yet!
I will keep my head low and duck fast,
If we must all die, I will die last!
I crouch here in dirt, so you can sit at ease
Allah grant us victory, then I will come in one piece.
But not yet.
Just a little longer, mum.
With every minute Ideas gather, the future coalesces:
From the narrowest hole to the highest crest,
The tamest dune to the wildest tempest-
At sea, on land sighs hope:
Facebook- the new face of friendship!
Twitter- calling all to fellowship!
A voice! A tune! A low rumbling call-
Piped in underground tunnels;
We listen: revelation! Revolution!
Voices south, voices north
Young dreams voiced forth…
Tunisian, Egyptian, Lybian
Music brewing, boiling in hidden pots
The sound of a common cry
Crying a summon to all
A clarion call
Decrying a common foe
Crying but calling to war-
Suddenly, I am strong!
I shall prance with aplomb
The young forgotten bomb!
Left to right ; back and forth
Death or life, water or dust, peace or debris.
I'll think of her, I will miss your water bottle
In the gathering dusk, tobacco smoke and the dawn after;
Hope and nerves.
We shall sit-
Swaleh, Fuad, Death and I
Quietly looking out for a route home-
An honourable route or none at all.
PS. I have since taken my Tunisian hero's name
I have kept my family name, in case I come to fame.
Spare me no pity, just the water bottle, mum.