I wake up in the night thinking about children

not mine but yours

you broken mothers

snatched from security and comfort

thrust into a divide uncrossable

left at the bottom of the rubble

from a sectarian blanket bombing campaign for peace

and domination

 

You wanted something you had no right to request

democracy would never replace the Shahs and Kings

did you believe they cared about God more than power

as they hauled off your sons and husbands

in the springtime of their lives

the Arab spring

as fire and brimstone rained down from the sky?

 

I see vast expanses of barren mountain desert

scattered with scant shrubs and giant boulders

hand planted by Allah

moonlight catches up to the shadows

traversing a border into the unknown

where pregnant mothers will give birth to offspring

who will never have a land to call home

 

Charity packed on trucks

tangled in red tape and cease fires

no medicine exists to quiet screams of pain

brought on by seeking freedom

where none can be obtained

the dream turned on them

and cut them off

 

If you have nothing you are nothing

no papers no proof, no proof no help

humanitarianism twenty-first century style

orphans never fear becoming widows

for they have no fathers to give them away

but how many orphans end up as prostitutes?

 

no one wishes to say

 

I see a toddler passed out in the noonday sun

slumped into the depressions of a jet black burka sitting on the street

lifeless, the pose instantly elicits sympathy

until you know the child’s been drugged by the arms that hold them

but nothing is done, no one will stand up for the unwanted

disrupting the balance they never wanted to be weighed amongst

children always receive the shortest measure in war

 

Slumlords and pedophiles circle like vultures

shop owners become slave owners overnight

schooling is replaced by work, books by brooms

childhood ended when the first bomb fell

which erased their Mosque and blew their school to hell

scattering them to the wind

to fall like debris on unwelcoming lands

 

Weekly, whole families drift painlessly off to sleep

as the tiny UN heaters deliver carbon monoxide dreams

of the paradise that awaits them as they huddle in their tents

freezing and starving

soon the neighbors will want them to move on

with their problems and children

without a home

 

I have the right to say this because I have been to the source

I’ve seen the agony and outcome of this war first hand

the optometrist has blinded the world to his crimes

killing his own sons and daughters

while westerners watch for an opportunity to cash in

on the chaos they created in the first place

but no children crossed their minds

 

On the border between Syria and Lebanon I met a man

who had lost everything he owned

he had sent his wife and children on ahead towards Beirut

he told them he would follow soon

instead he turned as they drove out of sight and headed back to Syria

to rejoin the fight

and bury his brother, facing east

 

Seven million people, seven fucking million people displaced

and Christianity could give a damn

that western greed brought this all upon them

while they withheld aid and intervention

when the civilians were dying by the hundreds in Aleppo and Homs

the news gave them thirty seconds

which most of the world missed

 

It’s spring time again

the jasmine flower fell from its place of pride

four years ago and has never recovered

its roots twisted, its beauty destroyed

seeds cast to the wind unable to re-root

to eventually rest in the ruins

of what was a civilized habitation

 

I wake up in the night thinking about children

my children

and how they better get it right

how important it is they stand up for others

who can’t

because one day not too far away

this all could happen to them.

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