We Are, Each of Us, Refugees

ref·u·gee noun: a person who flees for refuge or safety

“We are, each of us, refugees
when we flee from burning buildings
into the arms of our loving families.
When we flee from floods and earthquakes
to sleep on vouchsafed mats in sanctuaries.
We are, each of us, refugees
when we flee from abusive relationships
or shooters in cinemas
and shopping centres.

Sometimes it only takes a day
for our countries to persecute us
because of our race, religion, or opinion.
Sometimes it only takes a minute
for the missiles to rain down
and turn our towns into ruin and destitution.

We are, each of us, refugees
longing for that amniotic tranquillity,
dreaming of freedom and safety
when fences and barbed wires
will spring into walled gardens.

Lebanese, Sudanese, Libyan, and Syrian,
Yemeni, Somali, Palestinian, and Ethiopian,
like our brothers and sisters,
we are, each of us, refugees.
The bombs fell in their cafés and squares
where once poetry, dancing, and laughter prevailed.
Only their olive trees
remember music and merriment now
as their cities wail for departed children
without a funeral.

We are, each of us, refugees.
Don’t let stamped paper tell you any differently.
We have been fleeing for centuries
because to stay means getting bullets in our heads.
Because to stay means being hanged by our necks.
Because to stay means being jailed, raped, and left for dead.

But we can, each of us, serve as one another’s refuge
so they don’t board dinghies
when they can’t swim.
So they don’t climb walls
with snipers aimed at their chest.
So they don’t choose to remain
and be killed instead.

When home turns into hell,
you, too, will run
with tears in your eyes screaming rescue me!
and then you’ll know for certain:
you’ve always been a refugee.”

Kamand Kojouri

Try As I Might

“Try as I might,
I can’t write
you—it’s like
nailing sunlight
onto this white
page. I cannot,
for you are a dream
of yourself. You
who is my beginning
and my destination, even
my path is You.
This is Love.
But what is love? A silent
four-letter word,
when the music
of the entire language is You.
You see beyond me,
and into my possibilities.
But all my possibilities lead
to You.
For it was written that I
would love you,
that it’d be your destiny
to greet me. That You
would be my destiny,
and the rememberers
will utter my poems
only because
I loved
Try as I might,
I can’t write
you—it’s like
nailing sunlight
onto this white
page. I cannot.
But reading this here
it is clear:
You are the poem
writing me.”

Kamand Kojouri

“There is so much of me
in all of you.
You are a way
for me to know myself.”

Kamand Kojouri


“I urge you to listen.
I beg you to pay attention
for these are the most important words
I will ever pen:
Do not succumb to the half-life!
To the indifference and apathy of those cool
and aloof individuals. Nothing affects them,
their lover cries out desperately for affection
but they shrug their shoulders—for they are always shrugging—
and transcend the messy drama of the human situation.
O this transcendental invincibility—I tell you: the shit
of the bull! We are not gods. We are human.
Even Christ chose immanence
so He could feel as the people felt,
suffer as they did.
You must revel in your neuroses,
your sensitivities and sensibilities.
Burn your excitable character, do not extinguish
this fire. Stay within.
Taste the immediacy of living.
Be in life with others.
Do not yield to the hypocrisy
the world demands!
Do not succumb to the shadows,
to the half-light, to the half-life.
We are not gods.
Be human.”

Kamand Kojouri

What Use Is Your Beauty to Me?

“There is no shortage of beautiful people in this world.
What use is your beauty to me?
Your beautiful hair, your beautiful eyes
and legs? I will only speak of your beauty
if your beautiful soul shines on it,
for I am blind to that other beauty.
What use is your hair, eyes, and legs to me
when I am the seeking the light within.”

Kamand Kojouri

I Am Not Separate From You

“I am not separate from you, my neighbour.
If you are my enemy then I am my own enemy.
If you are my friend then I am my own friend.
Today, I have stripped off my masks
and come to know myself.
I am Christian. I am Jew. I am Muslim and Hindu.
I am European and African. Asian and South American.
I am man. I am woman. I am intersexed.
I am homosexual. I am heterosexual and asexual.
I am abled. I am disabled.
I am all these things because you are,
and you are all these things because we are.
I exist in relation to each of you, this is what gives my being meaning.
Why must I label myself like a bottle of wine?
When I am the bottle, the wine, and the drunkenness.
Why must I label myself at all?
When I am the flesh, the light, and the shadow.
When I am the voice, the song, and the echo.
Tell me why I must label myself
when I am the lover, the beloved, and love.
I am not separate from you, my neighbour.
And you are not separate from humanity.
We are all mirrors, reflecting one another in perpetuity.”

Kamand Kojouri


God Is Not Dead

God is not dead—She has forsaken us.
We wipe our angry, hate-filled tears
after another shooting, as a man
polishes his gun outside a mosque.
All those stolen lives—we scream
for justice! But God has quietly left
our temples and churches.
She will not return, for what WE have done
is much worse. We have murdered
God has deserted even the devout of us
who save our love and compassion
for those good and righteous, as we abandon the bigots
brimming with hate. Yes, those least deserving
of love, but the most in need of it.
God’s agony rings in our hearts. She wails for the future
shooters. Though we reject them,
God greets these cracked and confused creatures—
the least deserving of compassion but the most in need of it!
These suggestible souls who are susceptible to the systematic vitriol
spilling from cult leaders and politicians, brainwashing them.
We’ve read their spiteful tweets, but when we pass
them in classrooms, in trains and markets, we dismiss
those seemingly small opportunities for kindness.
We don’t know—and how ignorant we are—
that every time we ignore them,
we sharpen our daggers
and stab humanity in its pink raw flesh,
not in dark alleyways. No, we do this openly
in broad daylight, for hating them
shows how loving we are. For condemning
them proves how moral we are.
But every shooting illumines
the failure of our collective duty to love
as God loves, to be compassionate as God
is compassionate.
Your prayers heal, yes,
but for God’s sake, let God be.
I say: First,
resurrect your humanity!”

Kamand Kojouri


“When I am gone,
break the night.
Set my remains on fire,
so I can still be your light.
For I am forever indebted to you.
O people of the world,
O love,
I am eternally yours.”

Kamand Kojouri


“Why is it surprising that I,
your Little Sequin,
can write devastating love poems?
Tell me how you can spot
the violent storms inside a heart?
Can you identify which person
is going through a revolution?
Which is revolting against their thoughts
and overthrowing their mind, only
to make their heart king?
There is a world inside each of us.
By writing,
I hope to share mine with you.
So please,
step inside.”

Kamand Kojouri

“I wish to have known you before you were born.
To have seen your naked soul
and to have kissed it.”

Kamand Kojouri