Tag Archives: humanity

The Joy That Tends Toward Unbecoming by Joseph Fasano


Say five men carry a sixth from the birches.
He is thin from his night inside the river.
Someone has pushed his wrists through his belt
so it seems he has been out gathering blue flowers.

Someone is shouting the richer gospels.
I remember a woman leaning on the window,
thinking death had loosed its bird in the house.
I remember the bird fell on the third day

and I had to line my hands with a nest of old straw.
That night they found a boy in the square
like a foal, smelling of onion grass.
Someone had let a black swan

into the barn where the boy was kept
and in the moonlight we saw dark plumage in his fists.
Say you were the wild gift, how it had quarreled
and come near. Say you had been torn.

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Men of Yemen by Max Merckenschlager

Max and his wife taught English to Arab students in Taiz, Yemen Arab Republic during 1989 and 1990.
He wrote this soon after arriving.


Ali, the sportsmaster and school disciplinarian,
took my hand in his
and led me, unselfconsciously,
to where I’d sought directions.

And did a human current pass between us?
And did he sense a sweating of my palm?
And did our students stop their chat to watch us?

I think not.

Later in the souk,
men in skirts embraced and kissed
and walked off holding hands,
as I observed and mused “what’s normal?”