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from the March 2016 issue

Against Tradition

At just that moment
I was eyemate to a blind one
and went among you
You must have thought we couldn't see
Some of you said you'd show us the house of God,
then led us to dwellings you’re still building after centuries
We didn't mind
Some of you without a second thought
told us your diaries and wives
were your sacred customs
We didn't mind
Some of you claimed to speak of love
and untied the knots concerning your bodies
and tried to pin upon us the flowers that grew there
We didn't mind
Saying, “This is our writing,”
you laid books upon the table
and entered us into them
we two blind ones looked, but
pictures hanging crooked on yellow walls
prophets seeking water among the pictures
angels on cliffs, holding up the heavens
fair girls drinking love in burnt nests
fishes ready to turn into the sky
monks whose wine craving comes from the ocean
None of them were there
We didn't mind
Some of you walked holding your fate,
and shocked to find our fate had fallen
you grandly gave us the one in your hands
We wore your fate
we fell to flames and burned it
. . . we didn't mind
But there was one thing none of you would give
In the box of your souls
there was a black jar
and we had the key to that jar
it was in our blind eyes
We spoke of that jar
you said we were blind
and saying, "We never had such a jar,
you're no travelers, you're wounds that never heal
you're no people, you're Satanic fragments
you're not really blind, you're thieves, you're ravens that break the peace,"
you drove us away
We didn't mind
It's true we have no love, no curses either
It's true we have no tradition, no breaking either
It's true we have no fate, no blindness either
For all that, we didn't mind
But what seemed so curious
at just that moment
was that our eyes could see . . .


© Osmanjan Muhemmed Pas’an. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2016 by Joshua L. Freeman. All rights reserved.

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