06 January 2009

Benjamin Alire Sáenz

[from Benjamin Alire Sáenz's Dreaming the End of War, Copper Canyon, 2006]

The Fifth Dream: Bullets and Deserts and Border (excerpt)

. . .

I am the man.
I see clearly. I am
awake now.
It is me. It has taken me
a long time to know this.
I am a Palestinian.
I am an Israeli.
I am a Mexican.
I am an American.
I am a busboy in a tall building
that is about to collapse.
I am attending a Seder and I am
tasting my last bitter
herb. I am a boy who has learned
all his prayers. I am bowing
toward Mecca in a house
whose roof will soon collapse
on my small frame.
I am a servant. I shine shoes
and wash the feet
of the rich. I am an illegal.
I am a Mexican who hates all Americans.
I am an American who hates all Mexicans.
I am a Palestinian who hates all Israelis.
I am an Israeli who hates all Palestinians.
I am a Palestinian Jew who hates himself.

I am dying of all this knowledge.
I am dying of thirst.
I am a river that will never know water again.
I am becoming dust.


I am walking toward my home.
Mexico City? Washington?
Mecca? Jerusalem?
I don't know. I don't know.


I am walking in the desert.

I see that I am reaching a border.

A bullet is piercing my heart.

Dreaming the End of War

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