Enter Home Planet News Poetry of Issue #5                        Page 9
                                   
Table of
Contents



LIFE IN ALEPPO

a day without bombs,
is good. You can
leave your apart-
ment, wander thru
small oasis of color
and light. No words,
only the sense of
loss. No color except
for an plot of green
and one plum tree,
not turned to drift
wood. One man who
has not left, says you
must live on the lower
floors to try to escape
airstrikes, shells, rockets,
phosphorous bombs,
cluster bombs. Dreams
blend with nightmares,
ghosts rise from the ruins.
Stark white bones litter
the streets. No more
dancing, no more violins.
No flamingos or pelicans.
Terror blooms under a
blue moon. When a small
bomb lands on top of
a building, it often takes out
just the top 2 or 3 stories.
Lately Basha al-Assad and
the Russian military have
been using a new kind of
bomb that demolishes the
whole building. People
stay out of any rooms near
the street. There’s no electricity.
Families rarely leave the apart-
ment, prefer to die together

  lyn lifshin__

THE LAST GARDEN IN ALEPPO

this small oasis of color and life
as cluster bombs, barrel
bombs, missiles rain on houses,
hospitals, schools in this
hazardous, unpredictable place,
a gardener was able to grow
flowers, vegetables, broad
leaved plants. Roses, gardenias,
bougainvillea. The gardener’s
whole existence dedicated
to the beauty of life, a small
courageous attempt to promote
peace. Dust and smoke blur
the stars, the watered ferns and
lilies in the shadows. Shivering
thru the raids, dreaming of
his dead wife until eventually a
barrel bomb lands near his
garden, kills him, his dream that
the “essence of the world is a
flower,” the color, smell, how it
can inspire. But in the time
since his death, Aleppo seems
mostly defined by another
floral attribute: fragility


  lyn lifshin__
THE CHILDREN

in Aleppo have to stay
off the streets or they’ll
be killed. Their parents
listen for sounds of war,
planes or shells, or cluster
bombs. “We try to live like
underground rodents,” one
father says. There are some
underground schools but
many parents find them
too risky. Some families
who live close to the school
let their children go if its
not too long a walk, one man
opened a school called al
Hikma which means wisdom


  lyn lifshin__

____________________

IN ALEPPO

if you have a car
you’ll have a hard
time getting gas
for it. If you’re
hoping to keep it
from being blown
up or damaged
by shrapnel, you
might store it in
an empty garage or
shop. Open the
windows too. Other
wise the glass may
crack from the pressure
of bombs exploding


  lyn lifshin__


LISTENING FOR SCOUTING PLANES

they sound different from
fighter jets on bombing
runs. The scouts fly lower
and they make a constant
buzzing sound. If you hear
them, you’ll know that shells
will be falling soon, bringing
death with them. If you go
outside make sure you don’t
end up in a group of more
than 20 people one man says
or you might attract a plane.
Scouting runs are especially
dangerous in summer when
there aren’t any clouds to
obscure pilots’ vision. But
they’re also bad on clear
days in winter. Going out at
night is especially risky because
you can’t see planes coming over
head and you have to drive with
out headlights. One man said
he suddenly felt pressure in
his ears and the windows of his
car cracked. It was an air strike
less than 100 meters behind him,
reminding him he was still alive


  lyn lifshin__