Ghazal for Doha: A Blog Poem

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Apologies for the late post. I started to write a rant for this week’s blog post about the tax reform that was passed late at night by the Senate Republicans, about the direction that I saw the US heading, and about how I was glad to be outside of the US during the remainder of the Trump presidency. However, I quickly soured on this topic.
 
Instead, I chose to write a ghazal. For those of you unfamiliar with a ghazal, here is more information about the form. Since Qatar’s National Day is December 18th, it seemed apt that I write something in the spirit of the day, so I poured my energy into a poem rather than polemics.
 
It’s been a while since I wrote a poem, maybe 20 years? Not since my creative writing days at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Writing a 20-line poem took me two to three times longer than writing my average blog post, which is usually about 1200 words. Moreover, the poem still feels raw, like something I rushed through the proper incubation period. 
 
Still, weekly blogging requires weekly blog posts!
 
If you are interested in reading other, better ghazals, please check out “Cast-Iron Ghazal” or “WWE“. (Note: I have a soft spot in my heart for poems that reference professional wrestling.) Enjoy!
 

Ghazal for Doha

Three years of my life I was willing to trade                                                
for money and escape, for the lure of Doha—                                             
 
A chance to stroll Al Corniche at night, to watch the
flashing neon lights of the dhows moored in Doha.
 
So all that I owned, hastily, I gave away                                                      
my decades of trinkets—bargained for Doha                                               
 
Like a rash vendor in the alley of a souq.
“I give you best price. Better deal not in Doha!”
 
Still, not all that I loved would freely fit into
four check-in bags: some things could not come to Doha.
 
A son off to college, the other in high school—                                           
Would they hate me for disappearing to Doha?
 
Worried, one son asked, “Dad, you will come back someday?”
I promised, and they promised to visit Doha.
 
That left you. Was there a plan for us too? Or was
I meant to mourn under the moonlight of Doha?
 
In your last message, after I told you I was leaving,
no spilled feelings, over my exit to Doha: 
 
Conan, I enjoyed the year that we shared. I hope
you find happiness. Have a safe flight to Doha.

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