THE NAMES

THE NAMES
Paul Hostovsky
 
I want to say something about the names—
Ahmed, Fuad, Tarek, Toufic—
that are in the news these days—
Yusif, Anwar, Umar, Ismael—
and the way the newscasters have had
to practice pronouncing them. Abdul, Amar, Abu,
Muqtada al-Sadr. Don’t you just
love saying, “Muqtada al-Sadr?”
If you lined up all the names and just
said them, one after the other,
it would sound like you were fluent
in Arabic. You could pull one over
on your friends down at the pub:
lubricate your tongue with a few beers,
then turn to Geoff or Bill or Steve, and say,
“Muqtada al-Sadr Ahmed Fuad
Abdul Abu Umar Muhammed,” and just
wait for a reaction. Chances are
a painful silence would swallow the pub whole,
because everyone would think you had been praying,
or reciting a poem, or a fatwa, when in fact
all you were doing was saying the names,
just lining them up and one by one
firing off those frighteningly beautiful names.

©2012 This work is the property of the author.

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Posted on April 3, 2012, in Paul Hostovsky, POETRY and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Another humanistic poem from Paul, fully communicating the edginess of its subject; and gently confrontational.

  2. It’s great the way you use the sounds of each name almost like musical notes. Brilliant I thought.

  3. Fantastic poem. Just awesome.

  4. Names have truth and consequences. Shakespeare asks what’s in a name more than words,
    words,words.

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