Monday, June 23, 2014

Tomorrow the War Will Have a Picnic

By Abdul Razaq Al-Rubaiee

Tomorrow the war will have a picnic:
Decorate the hospitals with medicines, bandages
And sharp lancets.

Tomorrow the war will have a picnic:
Dust off the graves
And dig fresh ones —
War detests the smell of rotting corpses.

Wash up with mud, then
Brush your teeth white so they’ll gleam
In the darkness of its pompous entourage.
Throw fragile joys out of your heart —
War has no use for bubbles or balloons.

Tomorrow the war will have a picnic:
Prepare your bodies for pain
Your limbs for amputation.
War’s affection is heavy-handed—
It loves to mess with your body.

Tomorrow the war will have a picnic:
Abandon delicacy
And laughter.
War does not like chocolates
Or kissing in public—
These things are not good for the heart
Of the war
Which is having a picnic tomorrow.

Empty the salty streams
From the faucets of your eyes.
The war’s blood pressure is high,
Its arteries hard,
So it doesn’t like salt in its food,
Or on your cheeks.

Tomorrow the war will have a picnic:
Break mothers’ hearts now,
So the force of their tears won’t expand,
Cracking the crust of the earth,
Nor sleeping volcanoes erupt
Inside our chests.
Tomorrow the war will have a picnic:
Turn off the moon hanging over the roof
So it won’t dim the tracers and flares
That light up war’s path.
Let death come in beauty and comfort, soft
As a pillow of angel’s feathers.

Tomorrow the war will have a picnic:
Let’s close the parks,
The gardens,
The flowered balconies,
To allow it to stroll at its ease.
Sweep those big, messy clouds from the sky
So they won’t get airplane wings all wet
And swerve them from precise, pinpointed
targets.

Tomorrow the war will have a picnic:
Plant flowers,
For graveyards will grow.
And besides, they will cheer up the dead
Who will hang in garlands from our necks,
Awaiting the Judgement Day.

Tomorrow the war will have a picnic:
Store water, bread, and air.
Because the war gets hungry now and then,
And if our tender bodies aren’t enough to
satisfy it—
Our childish pranks, our innocence, our
dreams—
It will be compelled to eat the buildings,
Bodies sleeping in graves,
Books, streets and biscuits.
It will be forced to eat unshakable mountains,
Statues and stones—
Anything to feed its body of smoke,
Bullets and shrapnel.

Tomorrow the war will have a picnic:
We must go out to meet it—
Out of our bedrooms, our
Schools, barbershops, public libraries,
Mosques, shelters,
One Thousand Nights and
a Night,
Caves, post cards, fields, graves, trenches,
Bread bags, soft drink bottles,
Al-Tawhidi’s
Isharat,
tooth brushes,
Ibn Malik’s
Alfiyah, Rawdhat Aljinan,
family
trees,

Cradles and news bulletins.
We have come out from our
Skins and our milk names to meet it
And join its parade
to the al-Salaam graveyard.

Tomorrow the war will have a picnic:
Abandon delicacy,
Laughter,
Dancing,
Childhood
Women,
Beds,
Cups of tea and milk,
Classroom desks,
And what’s left of dreams
Splintered in corners.
No more chocolate,
No more kissing in public—
Things like these
Are not good for the health of the war,
Which is having a picnic tomorrow.

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