More Than Wanderers

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I.

They tell me that to end our torment
we should forget your lovers call
of hopeless streets
alive and swimming in burning embers
of longing and revival.

They wish we would lay bare our hands
and force from our palms
the hurried prose
that we etched across our hearts
which tell the stories of a thousand ephemeral mornings
with the sun rising
defiantly
to kiss your mountaintops.

But how can they demand that we
let slip from our memory
how distance has clipped our wings
and stolen every morsel from our stomachs
only to leave us stranded in the cage of longing
made to fill the fibers of our pillows
with the salt of the sea.

II.

"Nothing lasts," they tell us
"Nothing lasts," they say
but so long as home is still a taste
that wraps itself around our tongues
we care not
that we will trek across the fires
until the land becomes that which clings
to our feet
instead of the heavy distance
between each breath.

There is no remedy for the end
so let the oil run dry
and let Atropos’ scissors
creep towards the thread of life
for we have already found eternity
clinging wrestlessly
to your olive trees and cedars.

For even in our exile we gladly eat this bitter fruit
if it will end the stranger's lullaby
about the suitcase forever shackled to our ankles
if it will end their questions
of where we are from
like daggers to a lonely lover's heart
whose supplications find no answers.

III.

Paradise will forever be
the plucking of the oud
an intoxicating rapture
that draws my grandmother's chamomile tea
to my lips
and gently lays the perfume of belonging
around my neck
nestled beneath the noose of desolation.

Our lives are love letters
drawn in pomegranate seeds
and the heavy footsteps our fathers took
against marble floors
we make ablution with the tears of our mothers
whose bodies are maps
marking our way through tragedy.

The day will come when we'll burn the suitcases
and throw our passports into the sea
and we will be more than wanderers.

Roqayah Chamseddine is a Sydney based Lebanese-American journalist and commentator. She tweets @roqchams and writes 'Letters From the Underground.'

Comments

The grand children , but even more so, the great grand children of migrants who came to Australia looking for a new life, are going "HOME". It doesn't actually matter when, how long ago they originally migrated to Australia, it still happens.
It is a funny thing, this yearning for your identity.
These young people go looking for home & family & the aunts & uncles & cousins & old photos & documents & the familial land & stories of the past.
At first it is a visit, then it becomes a year, then they decide to move there indefinately. They get homesick & come back home to Australia for a short visit & return home again. Eventually, it usually takes 3-7 visits they get too busy to return.
It is estimated that around 30% ish of young people go home.
There is also the aged pensioner who goes home to live out their last day & die back home in their land of origin. This is aprox: 20% they say.
We are talking about people of all ethnic origins though peoples from the Asia Pacific Region have a higher representation.
Mainstream information agencies, have not got a clue what is actually going on in any sphere of life - they just make it up as they go.

Very nice.

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