Paris

Paris, my love. I hate seeing you like this;

bruised and dull and busy being blue,

bleeding colorless woe

across oceans and beyond borders.

Paris, my love, I hope you can still hear me

over the soundless sound of social media litany.

I stand by you, so hear me.

I won’t pray for you.

I haven’t believed in prayer for the longest time

so forgive me,

but it’s hard to believe in a God

when you’ve lived through the better half

of such a short life

wondering whether you’ll make it home

in one piece;

wondering, whether that was a gunshot

or whether it will be the last time you see

humanity lying beside human remains

on routine. As if on cue.

And when I see your story rolling off tongues

of men and women

trying to tight-rope dance between

sympathy and apathy

I almost make it to the altar,

I swear.

 

Paris, you are beautiful and elegant

and nothing close to the normative of being

a seasoned battleground.

So excuse these children

trying to belittle your agony;

they are children

and what do children know of war, after all.

Cry if you have to

until your tears are enough to quench

the thirst of those fighting battles over Facebook

about the supremacy of grief  and

I will almost lay down that prayer mat,

I swear.

 

Beirut. Baghdad.

Kabul. Kenya.

Pakistan and Palestine

And whatever is left of Syria.

I will not pray for these either.

They are the mothers who lost sons

and sons who lost fathers

and daughters whose tears run as dry

as a Middle Eastern summer.

These, I sometimes fear,

are beyond repair

so why pray to a God

who I don’t even know is listening?

Do you think God was tagged “safe”?

God does not check Facebook, I think.

Does God have a Facebook? Twitter?

No matter.

I don’t really want to be friends with someone

who can’t seem to get his s#%t together.

 

Paris, can I just say how lovely you look

painted on a digital canvas,

daubed over faces and pictures and articles

opinions and arguments

and this poem and other poems like this.

You are a one-hit wonder of sorts, I guess.

You are the brief fleeting light before sundown,

when all is lit to the nines so the world can see

the world beyond our reach,

illuminated in one shade of crimson

and fifty shades of death and sorrow and misery,

So no, I will not paint you with my tears.

I will not paint you like this;

naked and trembling and afraid and aware

that you are as vulnerable as you are human.

I will not paint Beirut

or Baghdad

or Sri Lanka either because

my tears don’t know red from blue

or blue from green.

My sympathy does not know geography.

It is without borders and religion and ethnicity.

It has a universal kind of solidarity.

 

Paris, dear Paris, your wounds will heal.

I will stand by you at this cathedral

of corporate hegemony and

I’m truly sorry

for all that you’ve lost,

I swear,

but I will not kneel before Gods I cannot see.

Let me, instead, perfect the art of listening to ourselves

talking about this world’s tragedy while

sipping on brimming cups of acrimony

served with a generous amount of selective grief.

I can only pray – no, hope –

so hard they don’t choke on it.

Is it wishful to wish for a day when we’re all tagged

not safe but “free”? Maybe.

I can only be lost in the hopeless hope that it will

be okay.

So I will hope

and I will stand

but no, I will not pray.

 

Image Courtesy : http://alessandro-iovino.com/

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