Marwa Helal


after Philip Metres “Black Site (Exhibit I)” from SAND OPERA

poems do the work journalism can’t and dreams do the work only dreams can do. i dreamed a dream within this poem: the fly wishes for the prisoner’s freedom at the exact moment the prisoner sees the fly and wishes for its freedom. imagining it slipping underneath the door. in waking, i skim the headlines. one reads: guantanamo detainee refuses offer of release after 14 years in prison. the one who wrote it, his name is “savage.” which is real? and which is dream?

the unlikely is likely in reality and in dreaming. journalism is the work of those who are sleeping. poetry is the work of dreaming and dreams do the work of awaking. we each arrive in the same dream with slight variations: a boy dreams the fly goes unnoticed and his mother dreams of swatting it splat on the door, it crumples in another’s hand but the fly is now free as the prisoner is awakening in his sleep. shhh. the prisoner has become a poet and you’ve walked into the unacknowledged legislator’s dream.

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