Arrived, never left
For peace was found in you
Always in pursuit, elusive, momentary
Drawn into the light for darkness seize

Arrived, never left
And like a Finnish song in a summer, hämmentävä
African hats tempting in all its colours, resisted
Summer was over, lavender wilting

Arrived, never left
New and unknown, controlling
Words with confidence, questioned
For brevity is the language of pain

A coffee maybe one or two
For in silence, we speak
With no intent for goodbyes
But never to stay, never to stay

I always think about her every time idleness would knock on my door. This is about a woman I met in France last summer. She was petite, with Asian eyes, warm and hospitable. It was Thursday afternoon when I arrived at her place, rented a room for a couple of days, and she welcomed me with refreshments. At first I was doubtful if I was in the right apartment because certainly she wasn’t the person I was talking to on the Airbnb App — so I asked, “Where is Ahmed?”

She told me her husband lives in another city because…

*Not a Love story*

Green shirt, jeans, and a red bag — three things I recall, and the aroma of a freshly brewed coffee enveloping the busy halls of the train station. It was a picture-perfect scene only in movies I have witnessed, seeing strangers come and go; waiting for their trains to arrive, and yet with the intention to leave. It was melancholic, accompanied with a gloomy weather with no pretense for warmth despite summer. I extended my hand as a form of greeting, you sincerely responded with an embrace — how kind and welcoming.

I knew you because…

In the age of information technology, the atrocious reality of the Uyghur Muslim minority in China’s autonomous region of Xinjiang has been fed to the palms and appears before the eyes of the global citizens with frequent leaked images and reports on mainstream and social media. However, the global responses from individuals and states seem far less significant as compared to the outrage expressed over human rights violations in Yemen, Syria, Palestine, Myanmar and elsewhere. …

RJ Barrete

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