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Thursday, September 12, 2013


by Judith Terzi

Jean-Paul:      La ligne rouge? Have you crossed the red line?

Bashar:            Qu'est-ce que c'est?

Jean-Paul:      Did your regime use chemical weapons?

Bashar:            Facebook is a loaded pistol. A powder keg.
                          We are Syrians, not tweets. The story does
                          not hold together. Let me tell you the truth:
                          Hell is social media.

Jean-Paul:       If you were a philosopher, what would you do?

Bashar:            I would stop dyeing my hair, for one. It looks
                          horrible on screen. I would strive to become
                          authentic. How do you say: authentique?
                          I would dance naked with French women.
                          Naked as a worm. French women kiss like rebels,
                          n'est-ce pas? Oh, pardon, I mean like...terrorists.
                          I would sing  Non, je ne regrette rien. Wonderful
                          song. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha...
Jean-Paul:       Did your regime use chemical weapons?

Bashar:            When the rich go to war, women and children
                          die in the blink of an explosion in a tunnel. Red
                          line, red blood, red tulip, jungle red (my wife's
                          lipstick), Russian red, Rudolph red. You see,
                          Syria is a secular regime, Jean-Paul. Stockpiles
                          have no meaning if you are condemned to be free.
Jean-Paul:      Would you leave Syria if safe passage were offered?

Bashar:            Ah, Jean-Paul, the chips are not yet down. How do you
                          say: Les jeux ne sont pas faits?

Jean-Paul:      Oh, you have it wrong, cher Bashar. Les jeux sont faits.
                          So you read my play? What will happen if France
                          decides to strike? Or the U.S.?

Bashar:            I am no fortune teller, Jean-Paul. You can expect
                          the unexpected anywhere, anytime. Ha, ha, ha, ha...
                          Your peoples are no strangers to the accessories
                          of war. Engagement is an act, not a Kind
                          regards from my wife. She wishes you would chill.

Recent poems by Judith Terzi have appeared or are forthcoming in: Malala: Poems for Malala Yousafzai (FutureCycle Press); Myrrh, Mothwing, Smoke: Erotic Poems (Tupelo Press); The Raintown Review; Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the 60s & 70s (She Writes Press); and elsewhere. Her fourth chapbook, Ghazal for a Chambermaid, is forthcoming from Finishing Line.