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They found you like a river stone
in the Orontes where the people fished
you out. And like oil on water
you take the tint of all colors.
Now a streetwise nation wakes,
thousands on the Brooklyn Bridge,
down Broadway, Cleveland,
L.A., on the lawn of the Capitol
jailbreaking our jobs and mountains,
our houses foreclosing or falling down.
There’s no due process to undo
a quarter-century of bankers
clapping the beat of a pop tune,
people lost to a blindfold of interest.
Listen. They’re singing your song
in the square, old and young, a voice
wading out where the cameras can see.

Laren McClung is the author of Between Here and Monkey Mountain (Sheep Meadow 2012). She lives between two cities.

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Levi is a poet from Wyoming who got his MFA at NYU and has spent time as a teaching artist in the Bronx and Manhattan. He is a co-founder of the online literary journal Paperbag magazine, and has made himself useful to Ugly Duckling Presse and Brooklyn Rail/Black Square Editions. He is currently employed in the Journals division at MIT Press and can be found squatting online at

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  • Dan July 20, 2012, 9:31 pm

    I don’t understand this poem. I think I like it. But I don’t “get” it. I’d like to talk to the author about it – not just because she’s smokin’ hot and, I don’t doubt, a great writer – but because I knew Ibrahim for a moment. And I wonder what his death had to do with Broadway or Cleveland. But on the other hand, the very fact that you’re thinking about his lyrics, and the Brave Syrians Who Are Defining History, is good enough for me.

    In those faultlines, I saw
    men fall and rise anew
    And Women stronger than
    I’d ever seen
    protecting their young things

    that’s all history now
    as the world makes mocking
    sounds. And all we see is
    The blood and guts
    While a creative revolution
    Goes unheard

    It’s OK.
    Kelmti Horra
    One day. We will be in chains. Again.
    We’re still in chains.
    Listen to the song of history.

    Look at the knife-like precision,
    To borrow a phrase from
    Another Great Terror
    The face of fascism creates

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