Thursday, July 13, 2006

ummi

for khayyeh ashraf, khayyeh ahmad, ikhteh maya, ummi and father. for the osman family. my heart goes out to you more now than usual.


we wrap our concerns -
final and fleeting -

in knit blankets and promises
_____of another strike

*

you wrapped your burns
in scented lotions and gauss

allowing for medication
to cure the heartache

*

is the city of your youth
in need of new scars?

broken _____ cloaked
in a putrid layer of ash

*

letting my eyes sting
from the threat of tears

shed in empathy
_____and memory

of what's hidden beneath the wax
that hangs on your dining room wall

*

*

*

*

help his cause

13 comments:

ozymandiaz said...

Startling and moving.
This Earth is traumatized over how much blood is shed over the illusion
that we actually own peaces of her
and what we do for that illusion.

katy said...

beautifully put, ozy. thank you.

and while i agree with the sentiment of the earth as something no human nor group of humans can posses, what hurts me most is to hear my dear friend ashraf say that most people don't care, because i know just how true that is; i see it.

yes, it's a fight over an idea (an illusion), but that's what humanity has built itself up on; ideas and beliefs.

everyone believes that they are on the right side. others believe that it doesn't matter. some kill for what they believe in, some turn a blind eye from what they don't understand.

i admit here that i might not have as much vested interest in the situation in beirut were it not for the people there that i have grown to love. in order to encourage the kind of universal care, i am doing my part. i am falling in love with one country at a time... i wish everyone else had the same dedication to detail to realize how special, how unique, and how important each and every view point, way of life, and tradition is in today's tumultuous world.

one cannot and should not dominate another. least of all with violence.

i am struggling to imagine that the place on the television is the same as the one where khayyeh ahmad sat, writing a letter to me mere months ago. to imagine the picture he took of the mediterainian through mud coloured buildings up against the grey, ash covered streets of beirut today.

breaks my heart a little.

thanks for commenting, ozy, and reading and listening and understanding.

arch.memory said...

Katy, thank you.

I am so glad you cannot hear me or see me right now, because you have just unleashed the dam I have been bottling up all day... And the eyes of this stupid avatar of mine keep on smiling... I'm going to change it.

Thank you, dear.

ozymandiaz said...

Such a great and wonderful empathy you envelope, Katy. You honor our meager and often pathetic race. I find it difficult to summon that empathy sometimes to be honest. I must remind myself of the innocence. I pride myself in the release of judgment and yet
I fail far too many times in my compassion.
I feel the distance
Not just to Beirut
Not just to Mumbai
Or Darfur
But sometimes
Seemingly
To my own skin
I struggle with my humanity and the contempt I harbor for the same
I shed tears for dead birds
But I have to chip the ice from my heart to find that connection
To the traumas we, as a race, incur upon one another
I question my soul

Anonymous said...

perhaps, ozy, it is a case of disbelief, deinal, or a defense mechanism.

we've all got it, built in, hard wired.

i think it's very dificult to admit to one's self the power any single human has over another, and even more challenging to comprehend the power of a group or mass of people with the same goal in mind.

the mob. the unstopable force.

we're animals too, but we've stopped living like them and stopped dying like them too.

perhaps it's more human, more natural, to sympathize with natural death. or rather, to sympathize with something natural killed in an unnatural way.

i'm not about to give up indoor-plumping, but i do think it's very important to realize and understand the nature we cover up every second of our lives. we are more and more synthetic, dying in synthetic ways.

bombs are not natural.

it's curious though... we fear natural causes of death, like the flu, more than we fear bombs.

do we believe that we can overcome something our species has created, like we can un-create it with hope? maybe that's the underlying cause here, for your empathy with the dead bird, instead of the dead child.

that, too, and we have been so desensitized to human violence from news.

ah, and, i have seen dead birds, but i have never seen a dead human. what about you?

katy said...

that was me, by the way, i don't know how i managed to post anonymously...

Cecilia said...

Oh Katy. Thank you for this heartfelt voice that speaks to my heart...and from my heart to Ashraf's.

Nothing seems to be "natural" anymore. It frightens and angers me, yet I remain helpless...and guilty (as I wrote in Ashraf's). It's not because I don't care, it's because there's nothing I can personally do....or is there?

ozymandiaz said...

I have, on several occasions (other than funerals). I have seen several people ran over by vehicles, though I didn't know them. Most recently I watched my grandmother pass. She was 90, and up till the final month or so was independent, living alone and getting around without assistance. I sat in vigil over her death bed. I missed her passing by less than an hour as I went to work. My wonderful wife was present at her passing.
I have not, though, witnessed atrocities as are happening in the aforementioned locations. I could not imagine the horror.
I wonder, if I did witness these things, would that serve to bring about my humanity or distance it?
I have seen those consumed by the ferocity of war. I have seen great strides of compassion and I have seen blank faces and cold stares.
Is it perhaps our true metal revealed in such fires?
I wonder of the metal beneath my skin...

Erin Monahan said...

Katy~ your first reply here describes me perfectly...

I have been mostly ignorant to this war... not ignorant so much as having closed my eyes. My parents were preachers - they taught me (by way of the bible) that Israel would win because God said so, and that allowed me to ignore it for many years, somehow telling myself that what would be would be. Lately though, I've seen more and more about it, and have tried to take time to understand it, and the ridiculousnes that my mother and father ingrained in me - as if one entire group of humanity didn't matter because one religion "said so."

Truth is, for me it is about the fact that people are dying, people are killing, and people are suffering. Neither side seems to be willing to make any compromise, and so people will continue to suffer.

It makes my skin crawl to know that such absolute hatred exists. I can only hope that somehow it can be put to an end, but I fear that humanity, in all its human-ness, will always find a way, a reason, to belittle, enslave, and massacre each other, particularly in the name of religion.

katy said...

cecilai, thank you dear for letting me speak to the most precious part.

ozy, i don't have any ideas to try to wrap your experience in this time. i couldn't begin to differentiate between the death of a loved one (sat by their side for the last breath) or for someone you don't see on the news until they're dead, someone you'd never heard of before it was too late.

i cannot pin point the difference between the way one might feel about seeing a dead rabit on the side of a familiar road to seeing a dead child on the side of a foreign one.

erin, yes. sometimes it feels like there's nothing we can do but sit back and watch. other times it feels as though we try and try our hearts out to no avail, or we give up when our energy has worn out.

it feels to me today that the world is out of energy. i look at everything ashraf is doing though, and he is my hope. it's his family on the line; if nothing else gives us strength, then let the powerful bonds between individuals be the driving force that makes peace possible.

thank you for your honesty and opennes here, erin and cecilia and ozy and ashraf.

Shirley said...

Katy, what a beautiful write. I cannot give Ashraf a hug so I will hold my own family a little closer. Sometimes it feels like the only blessing from such tragedy is that we become more aware of the gifts we have in our own lives and appreciate them a little more.

arch.memory said...

Hello all,
I have been so wrapped up in my own little share of hell, in trying to console myself by doing things and pretending that they make a difference, that I have only just read this wonderful and enlighting discussion. Some other time I would have had the energy to rattle on with my thoughts about it, but I am afraid I have too quickly lost steam in recent days. Still, I did want to read and not leave a comment... Maybe I'll try to write tonight. Well, after I go get some more gauze from CVZ before it closes... (What a trailing comment if there ever was one! Ok, Ashraf, just click Publish--

thepoetryman said...

Very nice.

Quite a stepping down portrait you've painted with this poem.
It brings the dirt...
It brings the death...
It brings the hope
and
The impetus for change
To stand before me
as I read.