Arab World Books and ACT Writers' Poetry Evening in Australia
Hal Judge is a versatile creative writer of plays and screenplays and award-winning
poet. Over the last decade he has produced many cabaret and poetry slams at top
live entertainment venues and has featured at the Tasmanian, ACT, Northern
Territory and Ubud writers' festivals. His poems have been published in over 20
literary publications in Australia and overseas.
Hal gave voice to several of our Arab poets during the evening. He read for
Salah Jahin, Maher Kheir and Adeeb Kamaledeen.
"Where is Arabia?" was short-listed for the ACT Poetry Award and published in
"Muse" magazine in Canberra in Dec/Jan 2003/04 and was published in the national Bahasa Indonesian magazine in "Azzikra", September 2006.
Where is Arabia?
by Hal Judge
Where is Arabia when language
is the grumble and clatter of tanks
in the mother of armies
borderlines cut in sky and sand
swept by spangled desert storms?
Where are the deep brown eyes squinting
at the claw trail of high altitude bombers
below the quick camera pan
of leaping AKs, chequered cloth
and the flash of black moustaches?
Where is the second and ninth brigade,
the entire third division
the young conscripts teeth in the homeland dirt
uniforms shed, trucks smoldering
beside the Baghdad highway of bones?
Where are the gods and devotees
when holy men are stabbed in mosques
caliphs installed by the edge of a scimitar
and presidents grow stronger with crafted gesture
pause … and market-tested phrase?
Where is a tin of clean water
on the mined path and shrapnel alley
when blood dries quickly
and oil is impossible to rinse
from the crease of our hand?
Where is Arabia when every barefoot boy
named Mohammed holds a stone
for each member of his family
the precision missile turned to pink mist?