Manifest Adversity

My dear Joy Dorany,

I messaged you earlier
in the morning,
to see if you were home,
to see if i could come over
with handmade bread rolls
and words of foreign lands.
your wide-eyes must be
on the other side
wandering in search 

of meaning.

Now, my lacerated hands,
bristled-clean from steel
hold firmly on to the greens
of Germany
and I welcome the dirt
to remain
under my nails.          


man can breathe of fresh air,
of something sweet.
This something has filled my lungs
and released the smoke                                  
and smog
and sulfur                                 
from all those
Middle-West American Nights.

I have kissed young children,
too young to know hurt,                          
too new to be burned
by the knowledge of
Kierkegaard’s “ressentiment”.
They returned me to my innocence            
and for that, I am grateful.

Chicago friends and I
drove past-picket signs                    
in perfectly sculpted Indiana yards
adorn with support
I sigh —
and protect their eyes
from the hatred
they do not (yet) know.

I have kissed black drag queens
as they showed me their beauty,
a beauty not queer,
not of form or identity,
but a beauty too hopeful
too forgiving, too venerable,
that I dared not mention of
the sirens and gunshots
and violence                 
in their neighborhoods
just one night before.

I swam in chemical waters
and watched my mother
too high on prescription pills
too shy to leave the trailer
of her mother
to buy ANOTHER microwave oven
another toaster
another fast-food burger
because Sankt Fernseher
told her so.

And I hugged her 
and told her I loved her.

I met with Joseph, my true savior
St. Louis poet and dear friend.
He rescued me one night
to no end.      
We sat and looked at horses
on the most humid night,                   
our faces toward the sunset                      
not missing a word,
not falling in love,
not settling for injustice...
but just being together.

We shared some cheap beer
as we counted the open wounds                 
on these beautiful Arabian Mares.             
Their owners must have beat them               
and starved them
and welcomed the flies
to finish them.

But the little children
clinging on our legs
and asking us questions about God
and what’s the name for a "baby cow”               
kept me balanced
on my shaking calves.

And it is because of immigrants                
and refugees
and men of war
that those animals got there
in that strange Indiana backyard.

And you, Lovely Joy
 at a beautiful 22
have eyes so focused                      
and a mind so sharp                        
I often wonder and wish that
I could see as you see.
because we are the "privileged",
my dear Joy Dorany.   

To America, we are white enough
to be believed,
white enough to be alive
and what is that for reason?
and that if you and I
wore hijabs or darker skin,                   
we would be dead in those States.
We would be the mares
with the scars on their legs
and the police would not blink                   
or remember our names.    

The creators I know,
the artists and undermined,           
their voices, subterranean,
they are the true face of this place
of this blossoming,
hateful Nation. 

And all the rest
of the western worlds
think that we relate
to those disgusting politicians         
that infested, green bacteria  
consuming our future,             
buying “morality" and “justice”                
for the cheapest price possible.

But just the opposite is true.

The America I know is beautiful.
I can tell you,
 I cry,
many times
just thinking about it.

But to you, Joy,
do not shame yourself.
Do not be heavy
with worry and question.
It is not you that gave birth
to that thick smoke
on that once beautiful,
native Earth.
I look forward to learn
what ideas
what newness will come from your mind,
what you found,
what you have read,
after you have some time
to rest, digest,                          
and rewind,
from that wilting world
once my home but never really so,
in the “land of the free
home of the brave.”

Your friend,

This poem is about: 
My family
My community
My country
Our world
Guide that inspired this poem: 


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