medina walls….

framed photos
of children
lining the walls
of the old city
names whispered
in prayers
prayers offered
in behalf of a life
a life torn
from a mother’s womb
placed upon war’s altar
as a sacrifice
to intolerance
but like the sands
of the sahara
the names shift
forming the pillars
of resistance
that cannot be
destoryed
or moved
from within
the living
memory
of humanity
or anyone
with
a
soul

son of the desert…

shoes off
he runs
through the sahara sands
a desert fox
free from the city’s cage
no longer dashing
between motor scooters
and cars
that wind their way through the medina
in this haven
he moves among the tall grass
ears tuned to the sounds of
wind
jackals
and calves
each one moving toward
a common goal
a desert pool
hidden within these dunes
the giver of life
this is his playground
where he belongs
gently caressed by the sand
like his mother’s touch
when he is ill
warm
as when she presses him to her breast
soothing away all fears
and when he returns to the city
the desert’s arms
with fingers of sand
reach for him
as if afraid
to let him go

hands of the begger….

outside the hotel
at nightfall
sat a woman
in a door way
of a closed shop
sitting alone in the night
on this half deserted street
at the gates of the medina
where earlier hundreds
moved with purpose
to lunch appointments
closing business deals
gathering wealth
like bees gather honey
but now they were home
warm and sheltered from the night
but she
she has come out
as if embarrassed to be seen
in the light of day
asking for alms
for her generation
did not do so lightly
only in dire need
would one make such a request
and once no one would have refused
such a call for mercy
for they understood what courage it took
to make such a request
but things are modern now here in tunis
and many do not recall such acts of bravery
but i a foreigner understood this
for i have read their history
and so as i place the coin
into her warm hand
she grasp mine with hers
and i was blessed ten fold