Motherlands, Fatherlands,

Holy Lands, Promised Lands,

Homelands, Dirty Hands!

Borders dissembled by race, faith, or tangled DNA strands

boasting accidents of birth born of random circumstance

manifest destinies contingent solely on chance.


Hence once upon a time a wise rebbe opined

while assessing the dawn of true human kind:

Forsake foreign identities in the face of an Other

for a kinship relation seen as your sister or brother.


The Arabian Prophet presented a similar theme as well

in performative dimensions rather than inherited cells

whence he revealed there can be no coercion in matters of belief

which theocracies promptly jettisoned to provide them with relief

from accountability for a nobility naming haves and have-nots

who maintain status quo through butchers, gas, and gun shots.


Thus beware of kneeling before gods you create

whether in identities, scripture, or political states

equalize your moments – each and every one

by editing past presents in future nows to come

and as you lay claim to be truly noble and pure

apply a balm to the heart before you race for the cure

one that unites us rather than casts you alienated and apart

like the uselessness of a nag placed behind the apple cart

instead bind the threads of narratives that invariably begin and end

between which we personalize inherited themes, memes, and trends

making mediating consensus a call for the highest art forms

molding selflessness and compassion into societal norms.


Kevin James, age 67, resides in Brooklyn, NY, USA. He is a retired New York City firefighter, arson investigator, and attorney who was one of several Muslim Americans profiled in the PBS documentary Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet. He’s also a former Revson Fellow where he participated in Columbia University’s 9/11 Oral History Project and later graduated from Columbia Law School.

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