They'll Say, 'She Must Be from Another Country' by Imtiaz Dharker When I can’t comprehend why they’re burning books or slashing paintings, when they can’t bear to look at god’s own nakedness, when they ban the film and gut the seats to stop the play and I ask why they just smile and say, ‘She must be from another country.’
When I speak on the phone and the vowel sounds are off when the consonants are hard and they should be soft, they’ll catch on at once they’ll pin it down they’ll explain it right away to their own satisfaction, they’ll cluck their tongues and say, ‘She must be from another country.’
When my mouth goes up instead of down, when I wear a tablecloth to go to town, when they suspect I’m black or hear I’m gay they won’t be surprised, they’ll purse their lips and say, ‘She must be from another country.’
When I eat up the olives and spit out the pits when I yawn at the opera in the tragic bits when I pee in the vineyard as if it were Bombay, flaunting my bare ass covering my face laughing through my hands they’ll turn away, shake their heads quite sadly, ‘She doesn’t know any better,’ they’ll say, ‘She must be from another country.’
Maybe there is a country where all of us live, all of us freaks who aren’t able to give our loyalty to fat old fools, the crooks and thugs who wear the uniform that gives them the right to wave a flag, puff out their chests, put their feet on our necks, and break their own rules.
But from where we are it doesn’t look like a country, it’s more like the cracks that grow between borders behind their backs. That’s where I live. And I’ll be happy to say, ‘I never learned your customs. I don’t remember your language or know your ways. I must be from another country.’
Other poems I enjoyed this week: (complete poem in link) "Because my mother was on a date with a man in the band, and my father, thinking she was alone, asked her to dance. And because, years earlier, my father dug a foxhole but his buddy sick with the flu, asked him for it, so he dug another for himself. In the night the first hole was shelled. I’m here because my mother was twenty-seven and in the ‘50s that was old to still be single."
-Why I’m Here by Jacqueline Berger
"Remind me again—together we trace our strange journey, find each other, come on laughing. Some time we’ll cross where life ends. We’ll both look back as far as forever, that first day. I’ll touch you—a new world then. Stars will move a different way. We’ll both end. We’ll both begin.
Remind me again."
-Our Story by William Stafford
"In each inch of skin one finds thirty feet of nerves prepared to fire or fail, almost two hundred committed to touch, ten times as many dedicated to real, remembered, and expected pain. In a lifetime you will shed half your weight in skin, cells expended in the search for the pains you prefer or deserve."
-Practical Anatomy by William H. Wandless
"look at what i did: on the TV the man from TV
is gonna be president he has no words
& hair beyond simile you’re dead, America
& where you died grew something worse"
-You're Dead, America by Danez Smith
Recommended Listening: River by Joni Mitchell
Lucy Dacus: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert
Like a Mountain - Timber Timbre
Message from Miranda - Nicolas Godin ft Miranda July
Links of the Week:
Becoming Poet: Jane Hirshfield
A Centuries-Old Art Form Hides Within the Gilded Pages of Antique Books
Feminist Fight Club: Femme Feral
A Complete Guide to Getting What You Want
Van Gogh Museum Puts Nearly 1,000 Paintings and Drawings Online
"I found the poems in the fields And only wrote them down" -John Clare