Mali (lesson via radio and NY Times)

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Mali slides through my speakers
like a desert snake tonguing my ears,
that word close to what I named
a doll once, and another name:
Malia–the name my mother wanted to call me
but didn’t for reasons in 1966
that carry no weight now,
but I still feel kinship
to that sound
similar to my almost-name.

Regardless.  I digress,
chasing paths of memory the second
I hear the country on the radio
while I read of Konna
where burned-out tanks and broken guns
litter the fish market.  Pay attention,
woman in New York,
women everywhere, 
because the indigo people
and other jihadists would love to change
your flag, just like they supplant
green, yellow, and red
with white paper,
fluttered up that pole
for all to read:
Assembly for the Spiritual Ideology
to Purify the African World
bordered by machine guns.

This western woman
knows little of jihad,
but nothing in this war
seems holy, over-running
the already converted.
This is no lesser jihad,
mujahideen turned outwards
against other mujahideen
their cracked sixth pillar
holding nothing up
but hunger for more.

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37 thoughts on “Mali (lesson via radio and NY Times)

  1. dang, nice journey in this…as the music brings out different memories…your name, that is a cool connection and then into the poignant present of what is going on in the world around us…nice warning…and tension you create there…purification, some scary history around that as well..

  2. oh i’m glad that you write about this.. yeah..it’s all wrong and i hope they get things under control over there…it seems far away but it affects us as well..really good write…

  3. Nice to know your almost name ~ Ah, the war is closer than we think ~ If we ignore it, one day we will wake up and find its in our soil ~

  4. Wow. You write beautifully. Your words really spill from your heart. I like the passion in this, the warning and the caring. Very, very well done.

  5. Mali is this week’s news – and maybe next week’s too – but the media moguls will soon find themselves fascinated by something else, somewhere else and then almost everyone will forget. Your poem will help to remind some people – and that’s a good thing :-)

  6. The flow here is so interesting from the personal to the global than to someone else’s personal – the personal for women in Mali. Agh, what a terrible situation. And so many of them. Well wrought. k.

  7. Ugly ugly ugly. They only know how to destroy, because they are failures are trying to build, so they find vulnerable people and places and pounce. I knew someone who was in Rwanda at the start of the genocide, she was leading a troop of tourists. They crossed three countries in their flee.

  8. “Purification” always fails still people try it. There was a time when it was used as elimination but now it’s called “cleansing” even though it’s the dirtiest thing when life is destroyed. Political pornography is all it is.

    • Yes, it would. I like the personal definition of jihad, which is the inner struggle (or is as this non-Muslim sees it). Problems happen when one (or a group of ones) start to impose their views on the rest of the world. Sad and scary.

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