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Poem: 'Please Send Me Flowers' by Jennifer Rahim

Photo by Deepak kumar on Unsplash

 

Please Send Me Flowers

(Thinking about "Fuck your Lecture on Craft, My People are Dying" by Noor Hindi)

by Jennifer Rahim

 

What if, today, I write this line,

                        hesitant

as an indulgent hypothetical

in a dark time:

if ever I asked for anything,

it would be this: Please send me flowers.

            Especially now,

when death storms down on a people

everyday robbed of ground;

when across the hemispheres screens flash

cratered earth, bloodied petals, snapped stems,

wailing roots, grotesque blossoms – someone’s beloved –

will it make me, too, colonial,

if colonizers write about flowers?

 

            Today, of all days,

I want near only flowers – not wreaths

or those reluctant showpieces

that sit in hospitals.

            Send me blossoms from my landscape,

uncut brilliance – ixora, heliconia, hibiscus,

bougainvillea fortified with sunlight.

Send hosts – ten thousand-thousand –

and if push comes to shove,

even those deserving of the metaphorical kick.

           

            What if – for the people of my geography

all flowers are roses

and I knew no litany of names –

            I ask simply for roses,

any kind, from any soil,

            every perfume and hue,

released from tyrannical histories –

and all I can do is welcome each with a zillion thanks,

push aside my clutter: my grief, my rage, my fear,

all my abstractions, to make room

                        front and centre

just for them and, for a moment,

behold each fragile life,

let them all breathe, be light, 

allow their glory to greet my shadowed corners

in this my world –

its betrayals, brutalities, murders.

 

I write about flowers now,

when a colonizer is flattening a country;

I want to have near what is beautiful

as flowers are beautiful and, like a new moon,

signal turning seasons.

            Will I have done nothing for Gaza

to be a poet from a region, a history,

where remaking style has always been life – thunder

in a world, an Order,

never disarmed of means, that tries

but has failed to make ghosts of us…?

            Palestine, your flowers must be yours.

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