Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Homs, Syria, 2016

Today, Homs, Syria
stretches for miles without gates,
a field without a fence
nothing worth protecting.
Anyone can walk in holding a gun,
and plunder its treasures,
rape its women,
and radicalise its children.
Homs is a ghost city
wiped clean from the map,
its walls bombed back to the stone age,
its neighbourhoods and street names,
turned to debris and dust.

Homs perchance was
my imaginary ancestors' birthplace,
and tears roll down when i see,
Homs, my ancestral land, today,
torn and twisted by bombs and mortar,
crumpled buildings, empty doorways,
vacant spaces where people lived,
and fled, in utter panic,
from death, rape, and terror.

Those people, those refugees,
"boat people," "tent people," without rights,
want to lead a normal boring life,
like the rest of us,
and, find a place to cry and stifle sobs.
For them Homs, Syria, was once
a city of sunny streets and languid squares,
beside the beautiful Qattinah lake,
on the banks of the Orontes river,
built by Roman maurauders,
alas! no more, destroyed by another.

In Homs, Syria, my ancestral land,
nothing moves, nothing except maniacal metal,
from barrels cast from steel.
The vestiges of its culture are torn down,
churches and mosques are but rubble,
there are no homes, roads, or, parks,
schools have been shut long ago,
and desks have been burnt,
and children woken from sleep
by singeing fires and crash of concrete
and told to go wash their faces in fire.

Neither do I want to visit Homs,
nor, do i want to walk its streets,
it’s a ghost city when darkness falls,
nary a mongrel's barks there,
or, morning chirps of birds,
it’s not home to anybody,
its water poisoned by death,
its fields planted with gelatine mines,
it's said there are more land mines,
than blades of grass.

It’s a wasteland, this once thriving city,
which its inhabitants abandoned,
they say it’s the new biblical exodus,
of Moses, Aaron, and Joshua,
leading Israelites into the promised land,
Where peace still remains elusive.
Across the seas in the coldest of lands,
they wait in long lines in the rain and cold
to rebuild their lives,
wash, clean, and cook,
send children to schools,
waiting to be given visas and work permits,

to re-build new colonies and ghettos.

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