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(DV) Corseri: Here is the Head of Ahmed the Barber







Here is the Head of Ahmed the Barber
by Gary Steven Corseri
January 15, 2006

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Here is the head of Ahmed the Barber,
calm in the roadway,
propped on the stump of its too-short neck,
with a small, tight grin, eyes closed,
as if in the middle of a joke or a blink.

In front of the head of Ahmed the Barber:
someone else’s sooty hand,
a woman’s dainty foot (toes polished red)
in a circle of left-over parts;
and beyond this oasis of quiet and calm,
rippling waves of terror growing:
Invaders in desert fatigues running;
police barking; children crying; sirens blaring;
old women keening, beating their breasts.

Ahmed the Barber has no harsh words now
(and, truth be told, he never did).
When the Invaders came he shrugged and whispered,
“They will get tired -- then they will go.” 

He could shave a man in four minutes flat,
and never nicked a face
even when the bombs fell in the souk.
Shiite and Sunni were one to him: 

“Are we not children of the one Father,”
he said, comb and scissors flashing --
“even the Jews who want to disown us?
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob -- and Ishmael.
Poor Ishmael, wandering, wandering …” 

“But the Americans--,” someone protested.
“Like dragons over the seas they come
to the land between rivers, the place of beginnings --
seizing our orchards,
and the black gold beneath --
like the Anglos before them,
sipping their tea …”

“As they do unto others, it must befall them.
So it is written,” said Ahmed,
Spraying cool, scented astringent
on desert-hardened cheeks. 

But now his good face
dreams in the roadway,
and we have no tears to weep for him,
all our tear ducts all dried up.
Quiet it sits, as if calmly waiting. 

Over police now and over Invaders,
rising in cities and the great halls of justice --
implacable, seething waters rising,
vengeful, venomous waves breaking.

Gary Steven Corseri’s articles, poetry, fiction and dramas have appeared at DissidentVoice, CounterPunch, CommonDreams, The New York Times, PBS -- Atlanta, Villlage Voice and elsewhere.  His books include: A Fine Excess; Holy Grail, Holy Grail; and Manifestations (edited).  He can be reached at: corseri@verizon.net

Other Articles and Poems by Gary Corseri

* Torture, Executions and Domestic Spying: A Catechism
* Prez Says Constitution Ain't Worth a Damn
* Thanksgiving Day Fast for Peace
* Whose Freedom Do We Mean?
* Imploding the Empire: Metaphors for the Age
* Toys
* Waiting
* Anagrams for the Disemployed!
* Buffoon Harry and the Clash of Civilizations
* Rumsfeld's Defense
* Rice Espies Mushroom Cloud in Morning Coffee
* The Six Best Reasons Not To Vote
* The Three Best Reasons to Vote for Nader
* Gung-Ho Dung Beetles Spin the World
* Dick Tourette Cheney Renders Great Moments in American History
* The Judgment of Solomon
* Ronald Reagan Kicked Out of Hell!
* Out of Iraq and Plato's Cave
* Bush Admires Blair’s “Cajones” & “Only Seeing Tit in Iraq”
* Who’s on First? The Bush-Cheney 9/11 Dog & Pony Show
* “Out, Out Damned Spot!”