By Nomi Stone:
WAR GAME, AMERICA
The war scenario has: [vegetables stalls], [roaming animals],
and [people] in it. The people speak
the language of the country we
are trying to make into a kinder country.
Some of the people over there are good
others evil others circumstantially
bad some only want cash some
just want their family to not
die. The game says figure
WHAT IS GROWING IN THESE WOODS
Green in here, gleaming like
being inside a fable but with
stalls of fruit you can’t eat.
To go home, leave crumbs.
When the wood circles you
back here instead, let the lost
and the impossible ripen in
you, ripen and go.
US AND THEM
“I would make love to one of our
whores before I
would fuck one of their
bourgeoisie.” There was a proverb,
like this: Don’t trust a if
he becomes a even though
he remains a for
forty years. And the sister opposite
proverb: Don’t trust a even
though he has been in the grave
for forty years. It was a difficult day,
a bomb had spun open
a bus, and children
had been crushed down by
a machine. Each wondered if he was born
too soon, if later would have been better, if 40
+ 40 + 40 + 40
“War Game, America” and “What is Growing in these Woods” previously appeared in Painted Bride Quarterly, and “Us and Them” previously appeared via The Poetry Foundation. These poems appear here today with permission from the poet.
Nomi Stone is the author of the poetry collection Stranger’s Notebook (TriQuarterly, 2008), a PhD Candidate in Cultural Anthropology at Columbia University, and an MFA Candidate in Poetry at Warren Wilson. She previously earned a Masters in Modern Middle Eastern Studies from Oxford and was a Creative Writing Fulbright scholar in Tunisia. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, Memorious, The Painted Bride Quarterly, The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish Poetry, at The Poetry Foundation, and elsewhere. She is currently researching and writing a book of poetry as well as a book of non-fiction about combat simulations in mock Middle Eastern villages erected by the US military across America.
Editor’s Note: Nomi Stone’s poetry is a veritable minefield of experience. Politics, war, violence, history, proverbs, culture, peoplehood, nationality, borders, mythology, folklore, fairy tales, and biblical referentiality lie in wait for the keen and unsuspecting reader alike. The unsaid is as present and powerful as what is written, so that her poetry echoes the Bible’s black fire written on white fire. This is a poetry rich and blooming. Thick with the sights and smells of Near Eastern markets, yet heavy with human tragedy. Herein lies the old world. Herein lies the Levant. Herein lies the wild woods of our imagination set against the all-too-real world of war. If you cannot find your way out, “let the lost / and the impossible ripen in / you, ripen and go.”
Want more from Nomi Stone?
“Many Scientists Convert to Islam”
“Trapped on Djerba, Island of the Lotus Eaters”
“Purim, Spring Festival: How to Escape Massacres”
Interview with Nomi Stone with poems: “The Notionally Dead” and “War Game America”
An interview about Nomi Stone’s research on war games