Author Topic: CAPTAIN SYRIA  (Read 1884 times)

Offline x-man

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« on: February 05, 2020, 05:36:58 am »

In many parts of the world including here in Malaysia some of the initial small-talk you employ to get to know someone new is to ask about family.  Usually they love to talk about it—their parents, their spouses and children, etc.  Your questions will invite them to ask you the same. 
Last year when I met Shad who was working in the middle eastern restaurant next to my hotel, I was about to get to the family questions.  Suddenly I froze and realized that if I had any decency at all it was an area I had to avoid at all costs.  This poem suggests why.

I am newly back here and so far haven't seen him.  He told me he wasn't happy in Syria and not here in Malaysia either, so perhaps he has moved on in his search for peace of mind.

24 March 2019 Penang
to Shad (“Happy”) but to me always: Captain Syria

A Malaysian shawarma shop
is surely an unlikely place for me
to ponder the anguish of another man.

Oh Captain Syria--
looking so fine,
skin brown, beard so black
against his bright white uniform.

I struggle not to stare,
but his smile speeds my heart.
And then we talk,
and I look close.

When in unguarded moments he turns away,
the muscles in his face begin to clench.
His eyes are so much older than his smile,
his face care-worn,
his eyes despair-worn.

In the night of his eyes
I see flashing bombs exploding,
his burning children screaming.

Now he is safely here—alone,
dishing out falafels to laughing tourists.

Happiness is the lasting pleasure of the mind grasping the intelligible order of reality.      --Leibniz