The king’s anger quakes the earth,

buries men alive, splits women open.

Soil-scented pleasures

inflicted by him, mud-wet

treasures and swords

belong to him.

He planned it all out as a boy

on a pile of dirt

in his friend’s driveway.

rue Mont Royal

Easter Sunday.

Mont Royal metro station

Mont Royal metro station

Spring sun opens my eyes-

white curtains, lime walls

church bells chime.

Spring sun hits sidewalk.

Many feet hit rue Mont Royal-

some of them furry.

Some stop at the Metro-

$2.00 maple taffy

from a tray of sweet snow.

Spring sun sings with me,

a fiddle, a guitar and an accordion.

I don’t know how long I will dance here,

who will speak to me,

where the flow of feet will lead me


Community Kitchen


Community Kitchen

Literacy 3 class made stone soup.

Eman brought onions.

Ling:  lemon.

Anisah:  carrots.

Hamed:  lentils.

Others:  celery, mushrooms,

tofu, tomato, parsley, pasta,

spices I couldn’t translate.

I brought 2 huge pots,

plenty of take-home containers.

I taught food words, cooking words,

“community kitchen”.

It turned out pretty good-

one Asian, one Middle-Eastern.

After lunch, the pots were empty;

the take-home containers were empty.

“Where is the soup?” I asked.

“Will you take soup home for your family tonight?”

“Finished!” They laughed.

“Why finished?”

“Free! Students eat.”

They’d given it away.

“150 students?” I asked.

“Yes. Students happy lunch free school today!”

Pleased proud Literacy 3

taught me “community”.


-Laurie Fraser

Kurdish poetry

Jaffer Sheyholislami, Words and Kurds, Nov. 2014

Jaffer Sheyholislami, Words and Kurds, Nov. 2014

     by Sherko Bekes

From my poems, if you take away flowers,

One of my four seasons will die

If you take away the wind,

Two of my seasons will die.

If you take away bread,

Three of my seasons will die.

If you take away freedom,

My whole year will die,

and so will I.

Translated by Jaffer Sheyholislami

as performed at Words and Kurds Cultural Event, November 15, 2014



Bright red turtleneck 
wiggles, trapped, 
She is lifted 
by the bib of her overalls 
and dropped to the ground: 
a bag of hard apples 
rolling rosy-cheeked 
through the autumn leaves.