During my long, boring hours of spare time
I sit to play with the earth’s sphere.
I establish countries without police or parties
and I scrap others that no longer attract consumers.
I run roaring rivers through barren deserts
and I create continents and oceans
that I save for the future just in case.
I draw a new colored map of the nations:
I roll Germany to the Pacific Ocean teeming with whales
and I let the poor refugees
sail pirates’ ships to her coasts
in the fog
dreaming of the promised garden in Bavaria.
I switch England with Afghanistan
so that its youth can smoke hashish for free
provided courtesy of Her Majesty’s government.
I smuggle Kuwait from its fenced and mined borders
to Comoro, the islands
of the moon in its eclipse,
keeping the oil fields intact, of course.
At the same time I transport Baghdad
in the midst of loud drumming
to the islands of Tahiti.
I let Saudi Arabia crouch in its eternal desert
to preserve the purity of her thoroughbred camels.
This is before I surrender America
back to the Indians
just to give history
the justice it has long lacked.
I know that changing the world is not easy
but it remains necessary nonetheless.
— Fadhil al-Azzawi
Fadhil al-Azzawi was one of the many academics and activists incarcerated after the 1963 coup in Iraq. He spent two years in prison. In 1976, he was jailed again for reading a banned poem in public. After his release, he fled to Germany. He has been living in exile since 1977.