The Urban Range Welcome to the Urban Range.  A collective of poets with diverse aesthetics, we celebrate the expanse and multiplicity of poetry today.
Ruth Danon Elisabeth Frost David Groff Amy Holman Melissa Hotchkiss
Blog News Projects Art
Stephen Massimilla Hermine Meinhard Elaine Sexton Soraya Shalforoosh

Featured Poem

The Summer I reread The Stranger by Camus and then The Meursault Investigation by Daoud…

…was also the summer I was told again and again that people have more sympathy for the bombings in France because they gave us that values of liberty and justice, or that mourning for one does not mean we do not mourn for,  the other.

…was also the summer that the French banned the burkini and a woman named Siam made the international news by speaking of her humiliation after being escorted off the beach

Siam said she wasn’t aware that Cannes beach had a ban on “clothing with religious affiliation”, and wasn’t wearing a burkini but leggings and a tunic, along with her headscarf.

On Tuesday, pictures emerged of a woman who was fined and ordered to take off her long-sleeved top on a Nice beach. Yes, a long sleeve top.

“Today we are forbidden from going to the beach. Tomorrow the street?” she said

The summer I reread Camus my father in law arrived to visit us in our home from Algeria for the first time.  At 86 tells me how he was a prisoner by the French government over and over and one night he was to be executed. 

M’hand exclaims the hour before the scheduled execution his Jewish friend saved his life, he was well connected and paid a ransom for his release.  M’hand was warned he was a dead man in his town of Bejia, so he snuck onto a train headed for Algiers to start a new life.  He found factory work and across the street the French barman, gave him free wine, bread and scraps, he survived like this for weeks. 

The summer I reread Camus our Professors French assistant said the French had lived in Algeria for a long time and considered it their home.  

The Summer I reread Camus, I felt humiliated with Siam that French woman ejected from the French Riviera, she was with her kids and three generations French. Her liberty; her headscarf.

The summer I reread Camus, I realized the nameless Arab in The Stranger also had a nameless girlfriend, you know the one the character Raymond Sintes beats and beats, (Meursault’s friend) Meursault even read her name and said he recognized it to be Moorish.   She doesn’t even make the list of characters in the Cliff notes.  So, is she nameless if it’s read and written by the character in the novel but deliberately not shared with us the reader? 

Last summer I was relieved when I first read about The Meursault Investigation in the newspaper.  This feeling of naming the unnamed gave me hope.  The murdered Arab is -Musa and the narrator is the living brother, Harun. Genius, I thought.  “Harun becomes a stranger in his own country, which is caught “between Allah and ennui.”

Double checking the definition of ennui I read ¨a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement.”  And the word occupation leaps out as ironic. 

I am also aware I have not yet mentioned the Amazigh, “the Free People” which my son is half, my husband is, my in laws are.  You know the indigenous people of North Africa, 

My husband stretches out his arms and says our land stretched from the Canary Islands to Morocco to Niger to Egypt.  The water, the land, the earth the desert all ours.

The summer I reread Camus, I watch my father in law talk to our fig trees, tomato and mint plants out of respect to our Earth.

He tells me of his youth as a farmer and how he drank fresh goat milk he milked himself each morning, a wonderful time before the government burned their olive farms.

“Why did they burn them” I ask, “Jealousy” was the only reason he could think of, it was our land.  

I am amazed at M’hand’s ability to tell me each story without sadness but calmness.
Until, I asked about his mother.  That’s when he wipes away a tear and pauses because when he was so young, his

Mom died. Yemma

This poem originally appeared in Black Earth Institute.
  Featured Art

Gary Buckendorf - Sailor (detail)


Credits | Copyright © 2019 The Urban Range