Almost Equal

featured in the poetry forum November 3, 2017  :: 0 comments

This game we were playing making faces at each other
Except I was the only one to end up on the altar
Turns out that with my name I should not have been playing this game
And also that I was a shade too dark
I tug on my freedoms before I write
Please God, please
In another life let me be blond, blue-eyed and white

editors note:

There it is! What color is privileged where you are? – mh clay

News

featured in the poetry forum July 29, 2016  :: 0 comments

News of gloom
That of the impending doom
Negative news and then some
That lump in the throat
Reporting on the ugly, broadcasting the terrible
Over and over
A disproportionately pessimistic view of this world
Dampening of the good, exaggerating the bad
Keeping us on the hook and edge
Calling, one disaster after another
Ignoring most of which is better
And our misery addicted minds
(Misery often that of the others)
Keep buying into this sick sensationalism
A frustrating experience it is
Most of what we get as News
Whatever sells and is good for business

I guess

editors note:

No guess work! Satisfaction guaranteed! Buy more, be happy; rinse and repeat! – mh clay

Us Muslims

featured in the poetry forum March 16, 2016  :: 1 comment

This is our circus, our monkeys.
The question begs us how to best respond to all this.
Blame everyone else to the hilt for our ills.
Stay in our shell, shocked, shy, never to step out, never to mix.
Keep our eyes closed and pretend all is kosher.
Or wait for some other divine miracle.
Where each one of us is a brand ambassador, I believe for a Muslim today just showing up is not enough.
This is the time to step it up without apologies or excuses.
With smiling eyes and heads held high, at work or play, crawl if we have to go that extra mile.
To reach out, help out, love, impress.
Create some magic, make some good news, lay ourselves out to excel and embrace.
Step out from behind those walls.
Leave our surrounds a better place.

editors note:

What “we” make “them” do to live with “us” makes “them” the better. – mh clay

Aylan

featured in the poetry forum January 3, 2016  :: 0 comments

Wash away the washed up Aylan from our conscience
Pretend that it never happened

And somehow undo this stirred up hornet’s nest
Anything that helps prevent bursting our bubble

If this is the Arab Spring
It has to get better than this

Or some other galaxy’s Armageddon
For ours would need to wait its turn

Dog eat dog
Never on this planet, not on our watch

Shall we gather our pieces and do it better all over again
For all of those Aylans who are not going to have a picture taken

editors note:

Long after the news cycles go cold, lives go dead while we go on. Remember… – mh clay

Your average Muslim Joe and Mary

featured in the poetry forum July 2, 2015  :: 0 comments

Eradicated en masse by the Muslim fundamentalists for not being Muslim enough and siding with the West

Tried unilaterally in the media, embarrassed, condemned, regarded with suspicion, frisked at the airports, many having lost their lives and checked off as collateral damage by the warring West

Often misunderstood and taken out of context

Never for a conflict, we like it quiet and out of limelight

Not expecting anyone to bail us out or elevate our status

Some fault for all this surely lies with us

We are your average Muslim Joe and Mary, the single largest casualty, the silent tragedy of this war on terror

And it is for us to find a way out of this rut

To become a world-class scientist, a politician, an artist, an entrepreneur, a philosopher

Excel at living and never say never

editors note:

A little perspective, right? A little empathy. A little tolerance… – mh clay

Peshawar, Thar, Newtown

featured in the poetry forum March 1, 2015  :: 0 comments

How do we tell children apart?
Our children from those less privileged?
Our children from those of a terrorist?
Hungry children from sick children?
Pretending to play dead children, from dead children?

How in the hell do they tell?
Which one to let live, which one to kill?

Reactive governance, absent strategy?
Politics of war, political warring?
Failing diplomacy, content apathy?
In a burden we all share
This child play is for real
There, here, elsewhere, anywhere
Children will be children, they are dying everywhere

Paying the price, laying their lives
Crying out loud then going quiet
Our past, our present, haunting our future
Children are children, they are dying everywhere

Is there something wrong with this picture?
How is this not our mutual shame?
How is this not our shared failure?
Children our children, are dying everywhere

editors note:

Shamed, yes; but, stirred to action? You? I? – mh

Catch my plea

featured in the poetry forum December 19, 2014  :: 0 comments

What is with all “that light”
For just another ordinary day
How in the world can it end this way
No warning, no nothing
And there I lay
Not breathing
Motionless
A heart gone silent
And “that light”
Oops
Wait
It cannot be
I am not ready
This has to be a mistake
I thought I had time yet
To clean up my act
To wipe off my slate
I’ve repeatedly wronged myself
The horror show of my transgressions
And a closet load of skeletons
Have been plenty cruel to me
Please
Someone, anyone
Catch my plea
Can I live it over
Do it right, do it better
Try and make amends
Get another chance
Go back once

editors note:

Everyone wants a “do over.” Better done now, than regretted later – forgive yourself. – mh

For the sake of heavens, for heaven’s sake

featured in the poetry forum September 20, 2014  :: 0 comments

“The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”

The world bleeds around this most chronic ill
The mother of all conflicts
For such little space, a tiny area on the map
The history of hatred is mind-boggling
The central issue, the bottom line, is NOT ENOUGH LAND,
LAND which the World can help create over the sea
Or little some the expansive neighbors can graciously add

If Abraham was to come alive today
Would he not gather his entire family and probably say
“Do it over, do it better, step it up.”
“Come on people, get your act together, enough is enough.”
Albeit
Would his say in this day still carry any weight?

Moses, Jesus, Muhammad
How do I feel they are faring up there?
How do you think they are holding out?
Content, ecstatic, full of joy?
Or disappointed, dejected, thoroughly annoyed?

You are so wrong, I am so right
And together we create
For the sake of heavens, for heaven’s sake
Unending bloodshed, this never ending plight
Never pausing, never thinking
That at the end of the day
It is the same genes, the same blood on both sides of the aisle
One Big Unhappy Family
Where misery is shared and so is the destiny

editors note:

50 days of violence for the sake of someone’s heaven; resulting in heaven forsaken. Nobody wins! – mh

Of I and Me

featured in the poetry forum June 29, 2014  :: 0 comments

My will and want, my drive, and the choice between right and wrong.
I battle myself in the same old battle ground.
Here I can walk the clouds and conquer the world.
Or fall from grace with a loud thud.
Here I can be my own best friend.
Or stay on as my worse enemy yet.

Here I can work to improve on my story.
Here I can fly, aim high, reach for glory.
Take a leap or do it a step at a time.
Though there is that one small matter,
Left for me to master,
Of I and Me,
To let go of my fears,
Take charge of my mind,
Assume control of my being.

editors note:

We all play tug o’ war with ourselves, then try to hide the stretch marks. – mh

Where are the Mandelas, the Gandhis of this Century

featured in the poetry forum May 2, 2014  :: 0 comments

The pandora’s box of terrorism and a world spinning on its head
For our choice of dying, which is a better death
From terrorism or as collateral damage
Either way if you notice
The dead invariably stay dead

Watching, waiting Gods, please look away
Show some patience, hold Your say
Wait till Your judgement day
Unless
We the chosen ones
You are confusing with angels
Lest You forget
We are not done killing our own
Not just yet

Whatever happened to kindness
The good old goodness
Thoughtfulness
Why is bitter the new norm
Where are the Mandelas, the Gandhis of this century
Fourteen years in, we are waiting, and so is history
Can you step forward and make yourself known
Before we ruin it all, before it’s all gone

These crazy proxy modern wars
With people dying on all sides
Some not knowing why or for what cause
If killing would make the world safer somehow
Wouldn’t this be a very safe planet by now
If wars were the solution
Where is the “lived happily ever after” conclusion

editors note:

Such damning questions, so beautifully asked. We keep looking for those beautiful answers. – mh