As An OCW


Poverty brought me to Hongkong,

Singapore, Saudi Arabia, London and Italy.

I infused into my tongue the different idioms.

I tuned my body to the different beats,

Movements and sounds of submission,

Answering,

Obeying.

I studied how to show

I understood the explanation,

The order,

The instruction.

 

Careful, might make a mistake--

This is the destiny of one who has a servant,

Now to serve in a foreign land.

 

The memory clenched in mind

That afternoon at the airport:

Do you have a visa for your destination?

Where is your passport?

Hurry, show me! Show me!

Maybe your documents are fake,

Maybe you are illiterate,

Maybe you are stupid.

 

Lucid in memory

That afternoon at the airport:

If short, dark, and flat-nosed,

Surely a servant!

You cannot make a mistake

IDs decorate the luggage,

Bringing only boxes.

Departing to/Arriving from Qatar, Iraq, or Bahrain,

Wagering/Wagered their honor

For riyals or dinars.

 

Lucid in memory

That afternoon draped across the airport:

A widow awaiting a decapitated corpse,

Refusing to answer queries.

Who asks?

Friend or foe?

Can this shame be revealed?

They say he was accused.

One dark night he smuggled

The cruel employer's money and jewelry.

 

But, but, but

The truth wails.

Wanting to be heard and pampered--

One dark night

The hairy employer sneaked out.

The hairy employer

Approached his bed.

Come on,

Come on,

My wife has her period now.

Come on.

Sir, I am also a man...

Come on,

Lie on your stomach, and raise your butt,

Let me caress your butt.

Smooth, smooth.

Clean, clean.

 

He was terrified at the scratch of the touch.

Sir...

This won't be long!

Come on,

Come on,

Lie on your stomach, and raise your butt,

The employer violated him.

The servant was horrified

As he felt something sticky.

A hardness thrusted

While curly hair

Grated his skin.

 

The repulsive odor whirled

In his room.

There?

Pig! Pig! Pig!

He shoved the hairy employer.

Kicked.

Hit.

Pig! Pig! Pig!

(A swine among people who do not eat pork.)

 

A sharp obscenity lodged

Into his ears

When the employer left the room.

 

Later,

The military came,

Arresting him.

 

Lucid in memory

The images at the airport--

Sir, only loose change there.

Ma'm, take care of me!

Don't we have anything for Christmas?

What can we serve for dessert?

 

They seem like enlarged frames of experience

Tears and laughter from

The search for a destiny.

 

My tongue remembers your wounded taste.

Under the cover of my face

Your shadow hides;

My shoulder

Your suffering stabs,

Forge me to hasten

My search

For my true colonizer;

Smoothen me to further soften

The conquest of my own fears.

Worry and grief.

The search

For a dignified means of survival

Is a myth.

Like

Searching

For a heron's egg,

Like

Pursuing

A rainbow

To bring home a pot of gold.

 

I will wager everything I can,

I will erase my accent,

I will change my personality

To assimilate to you

My colonizer.

 

Open your door

Let me in,

To your country,

To my cell,

To my tomb.