It's exactly what the description says it is. Aaloos = Potatoes (in Urdu). Just thought you should know.
Bosnia hit me hard, and for many reasons. Helplessness. Haplessness. And the moral meaningfulness, or lack thereof, of it all. When I took my first tour group to Srebrenica, I was fine as we walked through the battery factory, composed even as we watched the movie, but then it hit me, not incrementally but suddenly—like someone set off dynamite all across the weakest points of my mind.
Flooded with emotion. Anger and rage. I wanted, needed to punch someone. But you can’t punch your tour group, can you? And sobs, huge waves of grief that roiled me, that tossed and turned me, making me dizzy with tragedy. I thought I might fall to the floor and just cry, and I had no idea I’d be so affected, or could be so affected. So I left. Even though I shouldn’t have. I just walked, and walked, and walked.
One guy from our group did the same. Walking, walking, walking. He exited and went left. We caught each other’s eyes and realized: There are no words for this moment. I wandered to the prayer area, where I did ablution in the presence of some seven thousand tombstones, and I just fell to the marble, and did not know what I said, or how long I stayed, except that when I raised my head, there was my group, doing the same.
This is a poem for Bosnia, for Spain, for when prose fails and only poetry can try.
Andalucía, 1614; Mecca, Possibly, 1615
There must’ve been a last Muslim, meant to turn off the lights,
Who took for Semitism’s stake a final fumbled step off Spanish soil.
‘Better,’ they said, ‘to love, to lose and to know,
than to live in existential limbo.’
What the hell did they know?