blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2010  Vol. 9  No. 2
print version
translation by William M. Hutchins

Emergency Meeting

Baghdad, be patient.  What’s the rush?
We’ll come solve the problem.
We’ve never forgotten you;
We’ve just been busy with related tales.
When we called an emergency
Meeting at a moment’s notice,
We were caught off guard by God Almighty:
The date conflicted with Elephant’s Day.
For your sake, we bore the brunt
And showed ourselves icons of self-sacrifice.
So we met, despite pressing concerns,
Abandoned the blithe world,
And convened the initial session harmoniously,
But quarreled over the opening prayer,
Because it was religious and might
Excite divisiveness.
We were forced to examine the fantasies that
Some people might nourish
And what others might use as
Propaganda, a rebellion, or a bomb.
For your sake, we bore the brunt
And showed ourselves icons of self-sacrifice.
Then some of us yielded to others,
So we surmounted our differences on this subject
And moved on, a few days later, to
Another issue that created a stir.
We had earmarked a reasonable sum
To cover our reasonable attack
But fell out over counting it: in
Pennies or raindrops?
For your sake we bore the brunt
And surmounted our differences on the subject.
Then we passed a revolutionary manifesto
Rejecting the military aggression and any attempt to justify it.
(When our enemies read this tract,
Their lands will react explosively.)
We differed, however, on a release date
And agreed not to release it.
Be patient, Baghdad, because we’re a nation suffering
From grievous wounds.
We hadn’t concluded our funeral
For a martyr assassins betrayed
When we were outraged that Mira had been excluded
From competition in future episodes.
This turn of events is of such questionable legality
That a separate session will be devoted to it.
Baghdad, we form a single body, and
Should any member object, we’ll amputate it.
That’s why in desolate corridors of the Diaspora
Severed members curse us.
So be very calm till they’re dealt with
While we’re obliged to look the other way.
Tomorrow, if history thinks ill of us,
We’ll concoct some phony tale.
Be silent in a seemly way, Baghdad,
About shameful rituals of forced entry
And expose your massive privates to them
Along with other used goods.
If they need a theater for wickedness,
Kneel when the rabble rise.  end

return to top