Monday, January 30, 2017

Fly Over Lethe

In the meeting there is a fly
Fresh from the chrysalis
It stalks my coffee cup
I wave it away 
It finds a refuge
Gray white wall, its flatness, drywall
I am bothered by the fly
I imagine that it is drowning in my coffee
Overcome by the bitterness that is not Lethe

I remember my first cup 
I am Iraq
On my left, Iran
And next to me, Israel
A girl
I was unkind to her in elementary school

Her resolution has made the floor
She reigns fury
But if she recognizes me
I am grateful she pretends she doesn’t
The storm her brown eyes are gathering will belie her retort
I wonder how the Jewish girl got lucky
Got Israel
Private schools
One day I will figure out
Nothing is left to chance when you have the money to pay for it

This is the human rights committee
Even in 1990 it is ironic
Saddam Hussein is fashioning the new Babylon
Hitler style, with a distinct Third Reich cut
The Kurds are not in, but gassing them is
Weathered yellow ribbons linger like moss on oak trees

A proper fascist, I can’t deign it
My resolution won’t make the floor
Wrought with youthful liberalism and pseudo socialist glean
I didn’t follow Iraqi script
An American woman does not a good Iraqi make
If the burqa doesn’t fit, you just can’t commit

I see Turkey standing in the doorway
Looking fly in a wide red bandanna
His mop of blond curls pulled tightly off his pretty face
His blue eyes shine as he ditches
The environmental committee

He rescues me because no one cares
What Turkey has to say either
We are unsexy countries
Other countries will know how to better solve our ugly problems
Our opinion is not necessary

In the wide corridor are break out groups of model American teenagers
Resolving issues the way the Christian Science Monitor told us to
I spy a silver coffee urn atop a table cloaked in red
I decide I am going to start drinking coffee
Not wanting to ever be dependent on the crème or the sugar

An executive order cools the coffee
Cold from the window to the wall
Where have all the yellow ribbons gone
Fibers degraded by weather
Time and the economy of oil
The pretty fly, with the petulant buzz, I wave away

I ascend the spiraling staircase
To look closer at that gossamer web
A fine pattern of longitude and latitude
Meridians and time spanning backwards to tomorrow
Distracted by the bleeding faces of Syrian children

The maddening buzz of degenerated flies
With their fancy mirrored crowns
Parrot other men’s thinking
Cloaked in the velvet of green and purple robes
Drink from the cup
Filled with the sweet bourbon of Lethe