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Poem of the Week - "Ten Years Later in a Different Bar" by Zeina Hashem Beck

I was sat in the office, perusing the wonderful Emma Press anthology Homesickness and Exile (I do occasionally do some work, I promise) when I came across this beauty from Lebanese poet Zeina Hashem Beck.

Maybe it’s the time of year - everyone travelling back home for Christmas, catching up, reminiscing and what-have-you - or maybe it’s Beck’s brilliant handling of form, but something about this poem really grabbed me.

Ten Years Later in a Different Bar

The city has changed like cities do;
the bar where we sang has closed.
We have changed like cities do.

There is an alley where the young, the new
drink their beer in sun-drenched clothes.
The city has changed like cities do.

We once drank beers on the street too -
the bars too small for the dreams we chose.
We have changed like cities do.

Graffiti on the walls, red blazing blue,
says this city is more poetry than prose.
The city has changed like cities do.

Laure and I light up, smoke a few,
search for what we dropped here: shadows.
We have changed like cities do. 

The liquid light reminds me of you,
The laughter, the ceiling pipes - who knows
if the city has changed like cities do,
if we have changed like cities do.

Okay, so maybe I wouldn’t want to drink beers on the street in December, but I still feel like there are some seasonal links there.

Zeina Hashem Beck has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various literary magazines such as PloughsharesNimrodPoetry NorthwestTampa ReviewThe CommonMiznaSukoonMagma, and Mslexia, among others. More information (and brilliant poetry) on her website.

More excellent, heartfelt poems on similar themes by a wide selection of very talented poets can be found in the above-mentioned Emma Press anthology. We happen to sell it, of course.

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