By Gary Corseri
Please help the people in Houston, Lord.
And, while You’re at it, in Palestine, too!
Though worlds apart, they are kindred,
as all suffering creatures are kindred.
Is the child who is crying black or white?
Do I speak the same tongue as the mother,
holding her frightened child—against the storms,
against the bombs; against cold and hunger?
That old man and woman, alone in a home
in Seoul or Pyongyang could be my parents.
Those siblings stumbling across burned-out fields,
scratching at roots for food, are my siblings, too.
In Alabama or Massachusetts–
the same gnawing. In Rio’s favelas,
in Delhi or Beijing: cancer carries away
the beloved father, husband, son or daughter.
The veterans of war remember friends
whose lives bled out in foreign lands,
in nameless places where speakers came
to lay down wreaths on withered graves.
Please help the people of Houston, Lord,
and of Chicago, Moscow, Damascus, Tehran,
and all those places I have heard evil dwells
and turned my eyes away…in fear
that I would see myself—trembling, alone,
confused, bitter, failing…shouting at ghosts,
full of regrets, too easily misled,
believing lies dividing one jeweled world.
– Gary Corseri has published two collections of poetry, two novels and a literary anthology (edited) with work by President Jimmy Carter and others. He has published/posted articles, fiction and poems at many global site and publications, including The Palestine Chronicle, CounterPunch, UncommonThoughtJournal, Village Voice, Common Dreams, The Seattle Star, ICH and Alternet. His plays have been produced on PBS-Atlanta and he has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library. He has taught in universities in the US and Japan, and in US public schools and prisons. Contact him: firstname.lastname@example.org.