By Imran Ali

-Part One - Imran-

I open my eyes to the morning light,
Dreams recede to subconscience.
Birds in duets, grass in dew,
And I, a tainted soul.
The television's on; war in my sight,
A war of utter redundance.
Deaf to their lies, I see what is true,
From the whole, behold, a hole.

Later, I take to the city,
Death, from my eyes, dissolved.
Embraced in light, kissed by heat,
Then suddenly released to reality.
Faces, seemingly incapable of pity,
Pass by, with none absolved.
Such beauty, colours, tongues, I want to greet,
But to some, is worthless vanity.

Hundreds of eyes pierce my skin,
I wonder of their envisage.
Their stares, so acuate, sink into me,
Their thoughts deafen the ambience.
Then, ahead of me, a screeching din,
I thought, at first, a mirage.
A woman, in black, covering her beauty,
And a pathetic driver seeking an audience.

-Part Two - Laila-

"Take off that f***ing thing", he said,
"You'd see better with that off your head!",
Satisfied, he left with a parting screech...

I wanted support, an equal disgust,
Instead, all faces unswayed, robust,
My veil secluded my beseech...

I proceeded, still quivering in shock,
Unconcerned with glares that mock,
My scarf clung to my throat...

What did I do to that horrible man,
To recieve such words, which deserve a ban,
That appeal to those with a silent gloat...?

Women pass, eyes cast me down,
With short skirts, their hair as a crown,
Their low-cut tops serve to boast...

I much rather not flaunt my breasts,
I cover and won't succumb to the tests,
But other's don't see; I am, to them, a ghost...

I walk along, so innocently,
Yet in my peripheral, all eyes on me,
I am drawn to the side, I stand...

A TV in the window shows a man,
In Palestine, I think; as fast as he can,
He runs, lifting the sand...

-Part Three - Abbas-

I ran past cameras, away from debris,
Like they care for me.

Patrol these streets, from a higher economy,
They come to watch us scurry.

No time for them, I have to run,
Have to escape the guns.

Soldiers play their serenade, 
And we evade grenades.

I see an alley; to there, I sprint,
I dodge the bullets, every glint.

Over the bodies, I must fly,
But can't escape that mother's cry.

Can't stop now, tear gas rains,
Close my eyes to the pain.

Shrapnel in my leg, lancinate,
I fall; for death, I wait.

I look around to a once joyful street,
Now the ground and houses meet.

I remember the people, the view, the breadth,
Now all I see is death.

I gaze skyward, a rocket falls,
I await my end to it all.

My final sight is a girl in her house,
I pray that she-...

-Part Four - Asiya-

Why did Ummi and Abb have to go,
And leave me all alone?
What if they die like that man outside,
And I'll always be alone?

"Wait here, don't move or scream",
That's what Ummi said to me.
Why did Akhi have to go and fight,
Instead of staying here with me?

Wait, I can hear my friends outside,
They're screaming; I'll see.
No, I must not move... they've stopped now,
I think they're playing quietly.

I don't know why bad people are here,
Abb and Ummi won't say.
I'll give them all my dresses and toys,
If they promise to go away.

Ummi's screaming downstairs,
Screaming... screaming for Abb!
I want to go, but I have to stay,
I cry, I want my Ummi and Abb!

I can smell fire, all is quiet,
Ummi... please don't be dead...
I want to go, smoke is filling the room,
I want to, but Ummi said-...

-Part 5 - 'Salaam'-

The world continues to spin,
On the axis of inequality.
We have all been made beautiful,
And yet we will deny it.
Our stares, and glares, 
And the cold words we share,
So unjustifiable...
So unrectifiable...
Where is the sanctity of life,
That some enjoy,
And others deprived of,
Denied of...?
Colour has made us blind to love.
Tongue has made us bitter to beauty.
The land of which a person resides,
Becomes an excuse for derogation,
Without reason, every season,
Treason, I believe!
Faith should be empathy;
Shouldn't result in sympathy, 
For all who are killed mercilessly,
For their belief and aspiration,
Of peace...
No, I am not of such practices;
I cast them away,
Let me show you my way...

When I say... Salaam.

To those I pass,
Who ridicule my colour,
My heritage, my faith,

To those who think,
They are superior,
And I inferior,

To those who protest,
Against my presence,
And seek my demise,

To those who yearn,
For my banishment,
For my undeserved portrayal,

To those who fear,
That I am a threat,
The truth of the media's façade,

To those who ponder,
Over a side to take,
Light or Darkness,

To those who kill me,
Beat me, shoot me,
Annihilate me,

To those who hate me,
Humiliate and mock me,
Send an army against me,

To all of my friends,
Never dwell in ignorance,
Let me show you enlightenment,

To my brothers and sisters,
My mothers and fathers,
Alive and beyond this world...



Arabic Translations:
Salaam = Peace
Ummi = Mother
Abb = Father
Akhi = Brother