After a While, We See It

Fenced in by deadness,
The final babble of egrets.
Busy bodies roam the Grecian shorelines,
Lights on the ready,
Apes going bananas.

A large Hellenic sun,
A brutal red orange contagion sets.
It’s been hours now,
Since one kid in bright red washed up ashore,
Onto a perfect beach near Bodrum.
Pale, snuffed, sainted and long dead.

I could use a drink,
But since we are here to be unsmiling,
Unsmiling we shall be.
The newsmen make this a hot zoo,
Hungered for a tight headline,
Perhaps another frozen child.

Soon they announce almost miracles.
Wait for it, ladies and gentlemen,
Breaking news, this just in.
Oh, never mind.
Alas, just another floating shoe lost at sea,
Many of them, shoes without feet, climb ashore.

These dark rocky shores are wild and witnessing,
Vermin crawl up boots,
Mud traps are pitiless.
White waters strike the skies,
A fine sprinkle wanders,
Bearing witness to donkey years of such fantastic migrations,
Any wrong move and a forehead breaks on these smooth black backs.
My eyes freeze in the biting dusk.

The editor-man rings me up to ask for his take,
Listen boy, bring it in,
Right this minute.
Dammit, whatever you’ve got is good for now, he says.
But I have learned to run without evil spirits and cheap wine and
pointless concern for men and their supreme needs.

So I wait,
Unwavering,
At the ready,
For the promised last boat to show.
An entire herd of migrants seen headed this way,
Any minute now.
They choral on a rickety fishing boat
Heading fast into this ghastly dream.

After a while, we see it,
Mad frenzy on dry land,
Velcro bags unsnap,
The swish of tripods,
The rubbery applause of raincoats,
The white lights come on,
And we are ready to roll,
in 1,2,3…

O, they are so beautiful.
I root out my disease too,
And kill a cigarette afoot.
Lesbos Island,
And all that heaven moves farther away as they drift nearer.
A garden of foreign eyes,
Coughing hazes and such.
Souls far too dead to sense the vulturing.
We pose with mics and cameras,
Everything, textbook,
With the best skies you ever saw sinking into the black ocean,
Subḥān Allāh.

I see a trifling Syrian boy in the flashes,
Little red eyes thru lens,
Damp inside and out,
Spitting salt,
Crying like he’s laughing,
Click and click, I shoot my best work. 
An animal with large red eyes is drowning on his pajamas.

The boat spews its affliction,
Of Kobane women in damp burqas,
Of Syrian women clutching prayer beads,
And Pakistani men with little pride,
And little girls with pink backpacks uprooted from sleep,
Another boy, recently broken, is lifeless, purple-lipped.
Life has taken its toll,
He is flawless,
Just as we like them,
Flattened, broken,
Smelly refugees.
They don’t speak any English,
only whispered begging,
So we pinch snapshots.

A girl with one shoe stands still.
She lost her spirit at sea.
I imagine her grown and deadly,
This girl,
Forcing on others her lifelong sickness,
It all started one night on a tiny fisherman’s boat,
She will say.

A girl clasps her father’s trousers,
and crying a river.
A man blinded by the brights,
Loses his footing on the rocks, he squeals,
Booted men rush to him,
Others hold back ambitious reporters,
They speak a weird lingo,
Stand back, stand back, is all the English we hear.

The others off the boat
Seize metal railings and dry fingers as they wash ashore,
Rinsed one last time.
Hurled into this oblivion,
Into a nest of a perfect scandal.
They will never see heaven now.

A man with a rifle smiles,
Poses for the camera,
Two finger up,
His yellow teeth is bright in flashing lights,
He asks to be sent a copy.

Photographers,
Stain the mainland,
Since there is no more dead,
Some cameras leave upset,
Behind us, city lights wink.

One man talks into a megaphone,
Tonight–fifty
That’s all for now,
Those who will come into the city lights,
He screams some lingo.
Orders are orders.
The only English we catch.
Send the rest to hell,
Tis’ implied.

The Red Cross choir arrive with tin foil blankets
I tuck camera,
Ask around for a pub,
Ante gamisou,
Go fuck yourself,
Is all one man says,
He knows too much,
I wrap a scarf tight around my throat,
And fade into the winking city lights.

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One thought on “After a While, We See It

  1. Pingback: After a While, We See It | Plain Black Tees

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