I Will Die A Stranger -- a Poem

I Will Die A Stranger

By Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)
September 28, 2004

I will die a stranger
away from family, friends and foes
in a land where no body
knows my name, nobody cares

I will die a stranger
on a day when hurricane will
rush from Pacific, maybe from Atlantic too
a stormy day from coast to coast
there will be arctic flow
from the north dumping snow
in uncaring porches

I will die a stranger
my lifeless body will be washed
by illegal aliens fleeing economic
deprivation and meaningless wars
they will sing and pray in their exotic tongues
while their soap brushing earthly dirt
off my dirt bound corpse

I will die a stranger
I think my funeral will be attended
by a few unknown men, maybe
one or two women wearing business attire
their presence will be required
for official sacraments inscribed
in "land of free" constitution

I will die a stranger
in remarkably unremarkable day
except winter birds will be seen resting
on the lowest branches of tree
drenched from storms and snows
savoring the warmth of a sun beginning to glow
after a cold stormy day

I will die a stranger
away from poetry and oceanic waves
in a time of dry passion
and unmarked graves

Special Note: I'm resending this poem, some spelling corrections had to be taken care of. "I will Die A Stranger" was written after being inspired by Donald Justice's poem, "Variations on a Text by Vallejo" that was itself based on a Peruvian poet Cesar Vallejo's poem "Piedra Negra Sobre una piedra Blanca". Both of these poems are presented below. Thank you.

Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)

Variations on a Text by Vallejo

By Donald Justice

Me moriré en París con aguacero...

I will die in Miami in the sun,
On a day when the sun is very bright,
A day like the days I remember, a day like other days,
A day that nobody knows or remembers yet,
And the sun will be bright then on the dark glasses of strangers
And in the eyes of a few friends from my childhood
And of the surviving cousins by the graveside,
While the diggers, standing apart, in the still shade of the palms,
Rest on their shovels, and smoke,
Speaking in Spanish softly, out of respect.

I think it will be on a Sunday like today,
Except that the sun will be out, the rain will have stopped,
And the wind that today made all the little shrubs kneel down;
And I think it will be a Sunday because today,
When I took out this paper and began to write,
Never before had anything looked so blank,
My life, these words, the paper, the grey Sunday;
And my dog, quivering under a table because of the storm,
Looked up at me, not understanding,
And my son read on without speaking, and my wife slept.

Donald Justice is dead. One Sunday the sun came out,
It shone on the bay, it shone on the white buildings,
The cars moved down the street slowly as always, so many,
Some with their headlights on in spite of the sun,
And after a while the diggers with their shovels
Walked back to the graveside through the sunlight,
And one of them put his blade into the earth
To lift a few clods of dirt, the black marl of Miami,
And scattered the dirt, and spat,
Turning away abruptly, out of respect.

Piedra Negra Sobre una piedra Blanca

By Cesar Vallejo

Me moriré en París con aguacero,
un día del cual tengo ya el recuerdo.
Me moriré en París -y no me corro-
tal vez un jueves, como es hoy, de otoño.

Jueves será, porque hoy, jueves, que proso
estos versos, los húmeros me he puesto
a la mala y, jamás como hoy, me he vuelto,
con todo mi camino, a verme solo.

César Vallejo ha muerto, le pegaban
todos sin que él les haga nada;
le daban duro con un palo y duro

también con una soga; son testigos
los días jueves y los huesos húmeros,
la soledad, la lluvia, los caminos...

Translation of Vallejo's poem (from Google.com)

Black Stone of a White Stone

I will die in Paris with heavy shower,
a day of which I have the memory already.
I will die in Paris - and I do not run myself
perhaps Thursday, as is today, of autumn.

Thursday will be, because today, Thursday, that proso
these verses, the húmeros I have put myself
to the bad one and, never like today, I have become,
yet my way, to see me single.

Caesar Vallejo is dead, beat to him
all without he does nothing to them;
they gave him hard with a hard wood and

also with a rope; they are witnesses
the húmeros days Thursday and bones,
the solitude, rain, the ways...