The Road to Damascus

aziza-jalal-Aziza Jalal, this goddess of song,

flavours my coffee as I wait

for my love to return.

Shattered by expression, emotion…

I cannot understand any of her words….

I wave to and greet Bashar’s portraits

on the road, especially near

guarded military bases that

set in wait for the next war.

Trees grow in front of the portraits,

concealing the faces of emergency.

(Damascus is surrounded by

fortified hills, building, preparing

for the ever-impending invasion).

He is waving back with

a funny, awkward smile.

The terrain is rough, dry,

with blooming orchards,

olive trees, grapes, and figs.

Half way between Aleppo

and Damascus, we stop at

a petrol station – immediately

a frenetic smiling man pulls

us out for tea and shisha.

He is watching ‘Neighbours’ with

Arabic subtitles, he asks

in a rhetorical way, ‘Isn’t it good?’

We drive past a new university,

dancing to Arabic music – it will

have its own shopping mall.

The cab driver sings to us, pointing

out the site of an Israeli bombing.

We pass by Damascus to the suburbs,

to Cora Assad, Assad Villages, where

my love’s parents await our arrival.

Damascus will have to wait.

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1 Comment

  1. charleyjk4 said,

    September 5, 2009 at 8:51 am

    Dr Bashir seems to be quite popular with the hoi-polloi.Do you think that there will be a war with Israel?.

    My intuition is that a negotiated peace will be done with Israel through the auspices of the US.The Golan heights will be given back in return Syria will close all Hamas’ Offices in Downtown Damascus and recognize the state of Israel.

    Nice reference to Heidegger though.The road to Damascus contains imageries of time-Time and being-Being.Man is in time,yet remains removed from it.


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