by Brandon Marlon (June 2018)

Old English Gentleman, Ed Gray, 2007


Actually, habibi, I’m going to have to pass

on the rent-a-mob recruitment drive, though rumor

has it that your busses are amply air conditioned.

And just to be perfectly clear, I really don’t appreciate

being disturbed during my lunch hour while

engrossed in my shawarma, whose seasoned lamb,

by the way, is to die for, unlike the half-baked aims

of your professional rioteers en route to the border.

For all your talk of “martyrdom”, I don’t see you

personally joining the polluting tire-burners,

molotov cocktail throwers, slingers, or knife-wielders

who form what those reliably useful idiots

of the global media will tonight term

peaceful protesters. Why might that be?

Look, I enjoy the occasional rage fest as much as anyone,

but I can think of a thousand and one better ways

to while away a warm afternoon than enlisting

in your zombie brigade frothing at the mouth

for Yahud blood. Backgammon, for one. You any good?

Plus, the football match starts soon. It’s Italy’s year.

Who cares if you can pay cash in Israeli shekels

instead of Iranian rials? The irony of that aside,

walla, I’d much rather savor this delectable

couscous with harissa and postpone my virgin harem

for another time, shukran. Pass the tahini, would you?

Send my regards to the rabid hooligans on the frontline;

no doubt few things are as cathartic as pyromania.

Personally, though, I prefer by far getting my kicks

from soothing backrubs in the hammam, the music of

Cheb Khaled wafting gently in the background.

Lovely way to unwind. Listen, you get any tours

going to Abu Dhabi or Dubai and, yalla, I’m your man.

Hey, is it true your sister Fatima is single again?

Someone told me she and Umar finally broke up.

Whatever, just asking. No, no, for a friend. Yeah.

All right. Fine. Aleikum Salaam.


Brandon Marlon is a writer from Ottawa, Canada. He received his B.A. in Drama & English from the University of Toronto and his M.A. in English from the University of Victoria. His poetry was awarded the Harry Hoyt Lacey Prize in Poetry (Fall 2015), and his writing has been published in 225+ publications in 28 countries.

More by Brandon Marlon.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast



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