Imogen Lambert: They tweeted martyrdom with lattes

Tower of Babel

yrakhahipa 6

By Youssef Rakha

And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do; and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined…

Night bites my shoulder. I turn to you, through a nylon window

To a state of limbo, there on a map

Under rivers of paper

We never drown, gazing on bridges

Night hugged my waist, like my mother, wailing

Where are our parents?

They left us as orphans unable to reach each other

Scattered apple seeds across our desert

The coup awaits in stale smoke in my mouth.

Sirens awoke to a street of shooting motorbikes

And uniforms locked us in a cell where walls rage:

‘We are coming to get you oh little lovers, to fuck you, without a glance at your bodies

Keep you watching out for us, forever.’

Seven sleepers awoke to the nightmare they dreamed of

At four AM on a brick of Babel, where head and aches are inseparable.

Lock the door you will never walk through, dive into my lap,

Ltap up the buzz of my night….

They tweeted martyrdom with lattes

T targets waving red flags,

Decorated prison bars with their blood,

Scrawling slogans written in the British Library,

Stuck us reading behind walls for an age

We cannot mourn Husayni as the city is besieged

By Delilahs who loved Him more than Gaza.

Grave by graves, by the grave in graves,

Patriotism dies, replaced with nothing

But comparison, of books bound

By those who ignored our pages,

For I am the daughter of failed revolutions,

I am what men say when talking is over;

The sister of apathy; the abyss of experience.

I ate the heart from your martyrs, and vomited history whole

Becoming this body

Dug up, chopped up, raped, and no one came,

Became pregnant with stories aborted at one month;

The Priestess of a people who prayed for logic,

A wife in a marriage never consummated,

The mother of a birth to protest without demand.

Let me rise from my mattress of rotten feathers, cry on your neck at last, knowing it is

almost done.

Deferred promises of ‘one day’ have come. Rip the passport that only tore

On arrows was God’s spit, not angel’s blood

Gasping, as the tower explodes, spewing confetti

Without compensation. Say, This is not solidarity.

This is love.

This is not solidarity, it’s all our faults.

So wait for me, and we will crawl in a box

Under other lovers nailed to seats

For their right to sit without being shot.

We sink further into borders, until hands protrude from sand

Just able to touch-type finger tips in the sun.

We lie crushed in the tunnel

With those strangled by roots

Where time moves only with I miss you.