SOS: An American Poet Is Waiting to Be Rescued

Image by Gary Lee-Nova

Cody Maher, expat American poet and world traveler living in Heidelberg, writes in an email message that he was sitting around “watching countries go to the dogs feeding the people nothing but lies” when it occurred to him that “the only safe place one day might be international waters.” This must have been before the Somali pirates stuck their noses in, but his poem makes more sense today than ever.


I wanted to run away to a country
Where people weren’t running to get out

I arrived at one country
And I was greeted by a soldier out of uniform
but well armed

In another country
A doctor offered me what medicine he had left

In another country
A priest was hurriedly packing away a cross
three wise men and a few lambs in straw

Another country
Looked good from a distance
But when I got up close
I couldn’t bear to look

In another country
A man was fighting for his life at a bad
rate of exchange

In another country
Dust was being kicked up to cover the dirt

In another country
A document was gatherering signatures at an agreed upon price

While another country
Fought back its tears
With the gas

Another country
Was cleaning out its cage
When I stepped in by mistake

Another country
Was advertising the country next to it at reduced rates

While another country
Was putting sand in its pockets to soak up the blood

Another country
Was in the middle of a transaction under a hood

Another country
Had its blinds down so I couldn’t see in

While another country
Kept seeing things
That still weren’t there

Another country
Was putting itself back together
From two rotten halves

While another country
Spoke eloquently about what kind of a country
it had dreamed it would be one day

Another country
Excused itself and continued to fight off flies

While another country
Carried a woman
Over a threshold
Into a dark hole

Another country
Was rolling out the red carpet
As heads rolled behind the scenes

I waited in international waters to be rescued.

— Cody Maher

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  1. says

    Really like the poem. For the curious, Cody has a website here:

    Some famous cat said, “The son of man hath no place to lay his head.” Artists question cultural values. This leads them to see things from the outside, and eventually they can only be on the outside. True artists are by nature homeless. They have no choice but to sing their worlds into being, assuming that can be done at all.