by Ruth Awad
The Cedars: Beatitudes
who’ve loomed centuries over city-tops
resurrected and cut down again.
Pity those who must idly watch
the machinery of this world click as it was meant to—
my god, they are children, barracks of them.
Pity those who shudder all day in your light,
who reach to you like minarets knotted from the earth.
Pity those whose silence is like your own
falling on the mountains, swelling on the waves.
Battle of the Hotels
Beirut, Lebanon, 1975
where the only tourists are shadows
strolling arm in arm and the juice stand
has long since sold its last pureed pineapple,
along the sea’s slow chew
milling dust and dishrags,
bar soap, ice pail, and bone,
along the bullet-cogged cinema
where sprockets of sunlight looped in reels,
above gulches clutching
above balconies and slug-stung palm trees,
on the rooftops there,
on the broad-shouldered Holiday Inn,
on the Murr Tower, men,
all these gun-strong men
and their astral rounds strung
window to window,
men who fall for stories,
whose reflections chase them to the ground,
who are coins dropped
into the endless well,
who drip the pavement
with what wishes their bodies carried.