Cursed is the Refugee

By Thomas Parker


Cursed is the refugee

Blessed is the expat

To be in the expat’s place

Many a refugee’ve died for that.


Across the Mediterranean, the EU’s dead policies

Are eulogized by the effigies of drowned bodies.

Therefore, it is on the old world order’s behalf

That I do write this oh so beautiful epitaph.


Cursed is the refugee

Blessed is the expat

How different a reception

When their destination they arrive at.


Accept their human brother, they decry “Not Doable!”    (Hahahaha)

My deepest apologies for laughing at the funeral

But the world order’s death truly was tragicomic

Look at this rejected application stamped “Too Islamic!”


Cursed is the refugee,

Blessed is the expat

When only of these words

Carries oh so great an éclat!


When they fled for new homes, suddenly it’s a crisis.

But their old ones were destroyed by Asad and ISIS

And naught but silence as they were read their indictment.

“Keep them in the dark, they know naught of enlightenment.”


Cursed is the refugee

Blessed is the expat

When only of these has “GO HOME!”

Written on their welcome mat.


Humans pay in cash or blood for capital to move free

In the order set up by World War Two, god forbid three.

For in the last crisis this size, we rebuffed refugees to Israel

And we’re still just as willing to reunite refugees with Azrael.


Cursed is the refugee

Blessed is the expat

They say “Brown people are invading!”

That’d make it tit-for-tat


Please have no fear of the big bad brown other

There behind you! Knife raised! Your own brother.

Of the wolf and his brothers, who’d more mercy?

Ask of Yusuf, for a similar story, I do foresee.


Cursed is the refugee

Blessed is the expat

For of heaven on earth, only

One of these expects that.


Have no worries brother, paradise has no passport

Nor visa, and never does its citizens it deport.

But a bureaucracy it has. In that line, we’ll all wait

As refugees to learn our final citizenship and fate.


Thomas Parker is a Muslim-American poet, writer and translator from Texas. He writes original poetry in English as well as translating from Turkish and Arabic. He is the co-founder and poetry editor of the Bosphorus Review of Books and is currently at work on a debut novel. This poem is a re-publication, as it was originally published in the second edition of Zendeh Rud, a German literature magazine for Middle Eastern poetry in translation. You can listen to a recording of this poem from Zendeh Rud's soundcloud page here: