I am a Drift Generation poet,fiction writer, and social and political commentator. I left Morocco one summer and have since been wandering around the world. My travels have taken me to Asia and Australia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and North America. Sometimes, I would visit an enthralling place and decide to settle down; few months later, I would pack my bags and move on. I have thus lived in many countries, met wonderful people, left with memorable impressions. Other places, by the sheer intensity of misery inflicted on its people, made me realize that Man is Man’s worst enemy. I trekked with the tribesmen of Afghanistan, and helped an East Timorese family escape from machetes yielding gangs in Dili. I visited families in Iraq and shared their fears and frustrations; I scurried along Baghdad’s dusty roads; I saw the statue of Saddam topple in Al Ferdaws square, and I too kicked it. In 1993, I was in Mogadishu when the U.S. Army Black Hawk came down. I taught Salsa dancing in Nepal. I crossed the Moroccan desert on a donkey. I worked as a farm laborer in Nebraska, a crab fisherman in Alaska; I shoveled snow off rooftops in Utah, and dug mines in West Virginia. I was a lifeguard in San Diego, CA, and a line cook in a flying J in Texas. I fixed bicycles in Hong Kong. I was a teacher, an advisor, and a strategic analyst. In the shear heat of summer, I crossed southern Arizona desert and illegally entered Mexico. I ate a puppy in South Korea (unknowingly) and a kangaroo steak in the outback of Australia. I was detained in Amman, Jordan for coming into the country with two laptops and too many books, and I was arrested in Saudi Arabia for taking a picture of a group of women covered from head to toe. I almost died in Thailand and Iraq. On weekends, I continually sing happy birthday to people with Alzheimer’s disease. I swam with sharks in the Red Sea, but they swam away. I couldn’t see a single cow in Philippines, but I saw a lot of water buffalos; I don’t think they saw me. In one of the small, dusty corners of the world, I found the human rights the Arab world lost. Right now, I am not anywhere nice. People atrociously die here everyday. I hear Ben Harper singing: “I could change the world with my own two hands … I’m gonna make it a better place; I’m gonna make it a safer place.” Right this moment, my right hand is on my computer, Which I have uploaded with all the sacred books of all the religions known to man, and I am swearing that this is the truth and nothing but the truth, so help me whoever.
A. T. B. Copyright © 2008