Where you are, it's probably dark
and the screams of others are the
only thing that lets you know
you're still alive.
Here, death doesn't have the colour
of khaki that we know.
It's everywhere, it's colourless and
everywhere and I just can't escape it.
It's in the empty room I got to call home.
It's along the walls that have no scent,
no voice, that never recognize my shadow.
It's in the park, it sits on the bench
beside me and drinks my coffee every morning.
Here, death knows migrants and tortures
them and this patch of grey that
we call homeland doesn't really look
as defenseless on a map as it
does before our eyes, then why are
Where you are, souls usually
lay silently on a sidewalk.
Here, people die in hospitals, on white
beds, with their families. But I find
dying in an old military car beside
you way warmer.
Don't linger too much in that
scary desert that you once showed
me photos of, okay?
Don't starve and don't bleed, and don't
be a hero, and don't whisper at night
because I can hear you and it hurts.
Don't love me there. Love doesn't like guns.
One day, maybe, the borderlands
between your world and
my world will be less crowded
with mortars and we'll hold
One day, hummingbirds will
trace the daylight along those one-floor
buildings and I'll hear your voice again.
One day, maybe, the streets of Damascus
will love our feet again.
One day, we'll have its air, its
jasmines, its bus stops, its garbage,
its soft mornings, all pressed
to our hearts and we'll fall in love
Noura, this piece is riveting. From start to finish, the expression and depth of emotion behind your words stuck me straight into the bleak world you've described in this poem. I'm scared to choose favorite parts, because each line is so good I don't want to do any of them an injustice. But I'll try. The start, for one. The darkness and the screaming, that the screaming would be all that would let someone know they were still alive, that's horrifying, truly. And you chose to START the piece like that. Great choice, really. I love (but I hate) that death sits with you on a bench and drinks coffee, I hate (but I love) that dying in an old military car beside someone you care about is warmer than dying in a hospital. Emotion-wise, I really think "It's everywhere, it's colourless and everywhere and I just can't escape it" and "Don't starve and don't bleed, and don't
be a hero, and don't whisper at night because I can hear you and it hurts" are probably the strongest lines in this piece. I hear your voice and I love that you've managed to make this piece so accessible to any reader, from any country, because the depth of human emotion isn't limited to country lines, and because "Love doesn't like guns" is so true, and so obvious, and nowhere in the world is it said often enough. One edit though, "it's" is a contraction of "it is," not a genitive form. If you mean to imply belonging it should say "its." Anyway, can't wait for judging to be over so I can add this to my favorites. :)