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5:45am 45 minutes to Kabul

May 18, 2010

JB, an aid worker and poet currently working in Afghanistan, sent ewz this haunting poem she wrote on her way to Kabul.

45 minutes to Kabul


Always the same things go into ‘Being’, just ask Heidegger, It’s ‘Time’ that’s the fucker.
At my elbow is a woman putting her face on. Touching up her mascara,
flattening her hair, pinching her cheeks to get the red in them,
dabbing a little lip conditioner.. a dot of heavily scented handcream
on each finger.

I look at the chicken in front of me, and wish I had asked for beef.
People don’t change. Behaviors change, but instincts don’t.
I stopped waiting for you to write.

I left a note. It said ‘Back in two weeks, please don’t forget to feed the cat’

As the plane hovers above Jalalabad, past Kunduz, Khost, Kunar,
Kandahar I can see a splendid sunrise made of pure gold.

On any other plane, the cries of a child are unwelcome; here this is a sign of life.

I want to hear babies crying on a plane to Kabul,
because it gives a sense of normalcy, balances the eeriness.

Lately, words have not found me. I have chased after them without
much success, and in the vagaries of silence, I can’t find words to
sing neither of innocence nor experience. Blake may have been a
soprano. He hit the right notes.

I have a heavy feeling, I look at faces around me and the feeling is
slightly confirmed. What a freak show. prostitutes and sheikhs and
sheikhs who may very well sleep with prostitutes
and oily US -Army-Money who sleep with anyone they could.

I can feel what must be a mix of nausea and excitement, never took
myself for a thrill seeker, but I catch myself sometimes saying:
‘Darfur? No never been there, but hopefully. Helmand? Yes inshallah on
this trip. Baghdad? No,thank you. Not in today’s political climate..
just wouldn’t feel right’.


It’s true that anything could happen anywhere in fact, behind my
apartment in Brussels on that gorgeous road around the lakes. Last
month there was a train crash, on the everyday train. You could trip
on your own feet anywhere, my jido always says, now that may be true,
but tripping on my feet in Kabul.. now that’s a whole different
equation I think.

One Comment leave one →
  1. StrangeGlobal permalink
    May 24, 2010 11:09 pm

    “Always the same things go into ‘Being’, just ask Heidegger, It’s ‘Time’ that’s the fucker.” – The one opening that could get me to read something like this. Great work. Although I do have extremely mixed feelings about Heidegger. Who doesn’t? (I make it a life mission to digress, feel free to ignore.)

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