My Kurdish Shia Friend


I had no inkling that she was Muslim,

that she was not Christian like me.

I had no knowledge of her Kurdish heritage,

and that Kurds were a branch of the Iranian tree.

I knew not that she was a Shiite,

nor did I understand what that word meant.

What I did perceive, and still do,

was that her name, Niran, meant fire.

In Baghdad, she lived across from me

in a house with a blue door.

Her mother was a beautiful woman

who treated me like a daughter.

We both wore our hairs in ribbons and braids

and were the best of friends

until our lives dramatically altered

because we had to abandon our homes

due to other peoples’ addictive interpretations

of politics, ideals and religions.
















Redder and Redder


I turn redder and redder

each time they slaughter a human being

in a manner that resembles the slaughter

of a sheep for a fancy feast honoring a big celebration.


I turn redder and redder

each time they command a woman to remain a prisoner

in her body and home, giving her a punishment and a sentencing order

merely because God chose her to be a certain gender.


I turn redder and redder

each time they train impressionable children how to execute acts

in the name of Allah, acts that are insane with void and aggression,

acts that are frowned upon even by the animal kingdom.


I turn redder and reader

each time they spread their wings, possess more land,

swim into the hearts of the innocent and conquer peace

rather than overcome their own terrifying addictions.














Fighting Over Names


Every day my parents’ once Christian villages of Iraq

are raped, butchered and burned

while here in America the grand children of these villages

fight over whose name is more legitimate –

Chaldean,  Assyrian, Syriac –

and so the voices of the raped, butchered and burned

goes unheard.


Trying to figure out who is right and who is wrong

is an impossibility unless they can find a person who lived

over seven thousands years ago, a person who

can validate these facts and figures, a person who would likely

tell them, “What difference does it make?”


Hopefully the new generation will be free of the arrogance

and need of being “the firsts” of everything.