Daily Archives: May 19, 2016

The Palestinian Elvis by Antony Owen

I am not a silent poet

“To make a bed for these children you must tuck their dreams in properly”

He once sang In the Ghetto a stone’s throw from the giant

and once to his wife when they were tiny in the crosshairs.

He once brought Vegas to the orphan in a little girl’s eyes

And when she smiled he was the greatest rock star in the world.

He once called his wife Priscilla and just for him she played that role

except for nights when she played Sinatra so olives would grow.

They’d make impossible plans yet talk like one day they’d happen,

“Palestine is the Aral sea and we are the rusting boats” she said.

He last sang Love Me Tender as Gaza rocked like a crib,

“Listen to the chaffinch” he laughed, “it’s singing its rain call,

their bombs and the water pipes have made it sing he laughed.”

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Drone by Andrew Shields

I am not a silent poet

Will he be leaving the bank after getting the loan

to add another story to his home?

Will he be sitting in the park alone,

the first snow falling as he gets up to go home?

Will he be driving on a country road

past so many villages that so many call home?

Will he be calling ahead to his son to slow down?

He can’t keep up with him when he runs home.

Will he be laughing in the bazaar at a joke

his father told a thousand times at home?

Will be hearing the call the muezzin intones

and turning to go to the mosque instead of going home?

Will he be remembering a poem

about someone who had to leave his home?

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Bataclan by Andrew Shields

I am not a silent poet

We saw L’origin du monde; we went to Notre Dame;

we wandered down the Champs-Elysées.

We went into a bookstore, saw a cat with no name

and had coffee at a famous café.


Mona Lisa’s still got the highway blues;

Napoleon’s still in his grave.

We’ve paid up our tourist dues;

I need some time for a shower and a shave.

………It’s been a long day in the City of Light;

………who’s playing at Bataclan tonight?


We saw that place called Deux Amis;

Let’s get tapas and a glass of wine.

That’s what we are: we’re deux amis,

on vacation and feeling fine.

…….. It’s been a long day in the City of Light;

………who’s playing at Bataclan tonight?


……………..We’ll sing along if we know the song,

……………..and if we don’t we’ll clap our hands.

……………..We’ve been walking the…

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Atta Boy by Andrew Shields

I am not a silent poet

Tomorrow for the young poets exploding like bombs

W.H. Auden, “Spain”

He had a dream. And when at last he walked

through the security check, unaware

of the camera capturing his final journey,

he collected his carry-on bag from the X-ray conveyor

with growing confidence and surprise. The gate

waited down the corridor, as patient

as his years of silent preparation.

His comrade’s nervous glances, as bright and quick

as breaking glass, only served to nourish

his certainty: with every step, he grew.

Now he knew why he had learned to fly.

He had a dream. He fastened his seatbelt, closed

his eyes, and ran down the checklist he’d memorized

so many weeks ago, calmer than

a bell unrung. He felt his fingertips

gently stroking the armrests, heard someone beg

his pardon, stood up to let a woman through

to the window seat. The words he spoke

with her were…

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Another Dictator by Andrew Shields

I am not a silent poet

They’ll hang another dictator come sunrise.

They’ll take him outside, where his last stars shine.

Boots will clatter on the stoic stones

like his last words, which will not be his own.

His stride across the square will be just like

the stride of those who died before him. He’ll take

his steps onto the scaffold with his head

as high as theirs. The warmth of his last bed

will have faded. The noose was tied with care

by his successors. When a final prayer

has finally ended, they will crack his neck,

and they will pray that they won’t make it back

some other morning as the perpetrator

when someone will come hang the next dictator.

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