To the Jordanian Pilot

I did not raise a pen in honor of Charlie,

but I wrote words that dropped out of my mind and saturated a page

with mis-matched blotches, a Rorschach Test of distress and frustration.

Today, I gathered my courage in my fingers and I looked for you,

Looked at you

This delicate man within a cage, an open-air cell of metal rods soldered together

To hold you in.

To hold the world out.

And you were lit on fire, a dear phoenix, a humble sacrifice, a hideous testament to evil.

My dear sir, whose name I have read but can’t recall,

I see you, oh Burning Man in the desert.  You are not a primal

Resurrection of artistic transcendence.

You are merely an orange match alit with torture, used as a landmark, a milestone in history’s path

To pull one country against another country, to force the kings to move their pawns

While the queens wait, and ponder.

I did not hear your screams.  I could not gather enough courage to watch your life extinguish

Beneath the weight of amber flames writing their calligraphy against your body

And incinerating your dreams into a fine ash.

I chose not to listen to the men chant praises to the metronome of your screams.

Maybe, in my deafness, I have given you a voice that still whispers across time and miles

And fills me with sadness bordered by uncertainty.

I want this to be my declaration for good, but I am weary of this,

Weary of people who surge into the darkness while holding little boys’ hands

And make them swear allegiance to a white curlicue on a black flag.

I feel the fatigue curl around my feet, push me into a sense of distance-induced ennui.

I am feeble with my loneness, my isolation.

My dear, dear sir, I live in a tiny corner of the world that is huddled in happiness and obliviousness.

But I stand here, holding the edges of your memory.

And I promise that I’ll never let go.

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