Selected poems from 'Tabular Rasa' by Jeff Raheb

  • Havana      
  • Paro Dzhong - Bhutan      
  • Dal Lake - Kashmir      
  • Bamboo      
  • The Center      
  • I Pour You A Cup Of Tea      
  • For The Women Of Bosnia      
  • You Say It Is Raining      
  • Zimbabwe      
  • The Comet      
  • Pygmalion      
  • Ganges      
  • Nasca - Peru      
  • Zu Twa Szi      
  • Body Rain      
  • The Shadow Puppet (Jogjakarta )                      
  • Songkla - Thailand      
  • 5 Haikus
  • For The Women Of Bosnia

    Bosnia, March, 1994, from a NPR interview with a 15-year-old Muslim girl. Serbian
    forces were shelling the area we occupied. We tried to persuade her it would be
    safer to lie on the ground, as we were doing. She was indifferent and seemed to
    ignore us. She stood and talked freely amidst the noise. She told us she liked country
    music and that school was getting boring and in the same casual tone asked us,
    'How long are people going to watch us die?'

    She said she liked country music

    Exploding sky, color of death
    Exploding bodies
    Men, children, women
    Terror pounding ears like the heart beats
    of a four legged veal marsala waiting to die
    Putrid flesh, burning houses, torched spirits

    15 year old girl
    Steel eyes melting under the heat of genocide
    Imploding mind, split into a thousand screams
    Only war
    By whatever means
    Deafening anguish
    Running, deafening heart in throat, running

    She said she liked country music
    24, 41, 32
    15 years old
    This one here
    82, 12, 7 years old
    Said she liked...
    Tie her wrists
    Neighbor, aunt, niece
    Liked count---try music
    Grandmother, sister
    Spread her legs
    And that school was getting boring
    Spread her legs
    Daughter, mother, wife
    And that school was getting...

    Tears running down the blood
    running down the legs
    running down the
    Savage streets filled with broken Coke bottles
    Wider, shove it, shove it
    Coke bottles
    shove it
    Spread them wider
    Shove it
    Shove it …. in
    15 year old girl
    13, 7
    Faster, faster
    Knife in hand on throat in blood
    All the way, IN
    Who cares
    Fear disguised as hatred
    Turning sperm into bullets
    Piercing flesh
    Piercing humanity
    Just a female, just a body, just a toy
    Was getting boring
    No life, no more, no more
    Then she turned to us and said how long...
    Exploding wombs, death
    Eyeballs peeling off in horror
    How long...
    She said...
    Blood, legs, open, thrust, open
    She said...
    Point of knife, thrust in
    Thrust in center
    Center of humanity
    How long will...
    Thrust, who cares?
    Piece of meat
    Feed our revenge
    Feed our war machines
    Feed our weakness for power
    Shove it in

    The NY Times today stated that the UN council on human rights abuse has agreed that systematic
    rape is possibly being used by Serb forces as a tool for genocide against the Bosnian Muslims and that
    as such, may be viewed as a violation of international law. A warning will be issued to the...
    A warning will be issued to the...

    A warning...

    She said how long...
    After two years
    Brutal rapes
    After two years
    20,000 30,000
    Systematic rapes possibly being used
    Before, who cares
    International law
    Only now they decide to act
    Genocide, So what
    How long will...
    That systematic rape...
    Sperm like lead bullets
    Is possibly being...
    thrust the fucking thing all the way in
    Then she said...
    And then she...
    Wider, Wider bitch
    And then she...
    Get another, she's dead, get another
    And then...
    Get another goddamn bitch
    And then she said...
    Goddamn bitch
    She said
    Goddamn bitch

    She turned to us and said......

    How long are people going to watch us die?

    Copyright 2004 Jeff Raheb