he said ‘In the moment I am going
I am already on my way back to you’
he told me ‘I am amazed to be here today
to see happiness and peace
so different from my life’
(my son suffers from dislocation)
the moment before the bullet hits me
only the sea is between us
the official papers come
the signatures and stamps in wax
the clean set of clothes
wait folded on the sleeping mat
the phone is handed to him to ring his brother
the drive to the airport in a car with shielded windows
the infinity of minutes waiting for boarding
infinite heart beats until the lift off
the hot tears of relief and release
as weightlessness defeats gravity
on his way home he knows
the infinity of living
the infinite distance/time/space/hope/despair
between minus one and plus one
the end of four hundred days of infinite waiting
the time it will take to re-assert
the lack of infinity
2 February 2015 Al Jazeera journalist, Peter Grester, was deported from Egypt to Australia after an unjust trial and 400 days in jail, for reporting in a way that spread false news and aided a terrorist group.
While we breathe ideas of freedom
and speak those ideas whose time has come to be spoken,
as we journey to our Ithaka’s
assuming we know our path and time and fate,
our lives and words and voices
stand up, stand out, and invite sunlight
into the grey dust and shadows
of what was once unspeakable.
I am Charlie, we are all Charlie,
Allah is appalled.
You will have to shoot us all.
Can you shoot us all?
In our next-to-last dog years *
when ten thousand people
per day are turning sixty
in the hottest year on record,
can we settle the history
of our family stories
make some word parachutes
so we can jump together to safety?
* We can measure the time we have left in the number of dogs we may be able to have – one dog equals about 14 years.
For ten thousand years
since our evolution began
we created genetic blue prints
that are more or less the same.
I want to wear jewels
and armour glittering
reel in the threads
of a life story
examine them for truth
and lies deliberately told
Contributor to In Response to Triage – a collection published by the School of Music Poets (2014) in response to an exhibition of paintings by Karen Bailey, who was a volunteer appointed military artist with the Canadian Military Forces at the Role 3 Hospital, Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan. Published online and in print.