Thursday, May 17, 2012

Detroit Poet in the War Zone: M.L. Liebler Flying Home from the Kabul Beat #7

Posted By on Thu, May 17, 2012 at 8:19 AM

With the Kandahar, Jalalabad, Kabul and the Afghanistan experiences behind me now, and in hindsight - most of these visits had elements of serious danger sometimes for members of the audiences, for the military who assisted us at each location, and, dare I say, for me. But I was warmly welcomed in a very loving ways by each of my hosts and my audiences and the high school and college students along the way. I am heading back to the USA now by way of Amsterdam to my sweet, sweet Motor City, but I am leaving part of my heart and soul here in Afghanistan, and I am carrying the poems, the many kinds words and overwhelming love and goodwill of these people home to Detroit. No Americans stay in Afghanistan forever. Most of us are short-timers, but what a week that was here in-country.

Like my Detroit buddy Em said “Look, if you had one shot, / or one opportunity

To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment / Would you capture it / or just let it slip?” I “captured” that moment in Afghanistan, and I took it for a ride on the Kabul Beat. I think, and I sincerely hope, I brought something to the cultural and educational table that worked here and will last for a long time to come.

As that best selling novel The Kite Runner states, “We have a chance to be good again.” We do America. We do Detroit! Keep the faith. These people matter, and what happens to them matters to all of us whether we understand it or not. After 12 long years, their lives are now forever intertwined with ours, and these lessons of war and struggle can teach us in Detroit how to “rise from the ashes” once again. Rise Up, I say, Rise Up Detroit! We’ve got “one opportunity,” and another chance “to be good again.” Let’s capture it.

As the plane took off from Kabul International Airport in a light rain, I put my earphones on, pushed my seat back and pressed play on my iPod. I closed my eyes, thanked God for this important time, and just then, my pal Blair’s voice sweetly washed through my ears and over my soul:

And every raindrop falling from the sky

is like a tribute to the blue skies following behind,

And every raindrop falling to the sea

is like a testament to a new life that will come to be.

(from the song “Every Raindrop” by Blair)

Motown! I’m comin’ home now. The swallows of Kabul will continue to soar and rise into the blue, dusty skies above the city, and I will keep your memory alive in my American soul. The struggle is long and hard, but peace is an eternal fresh spring that can quench the thirst of a nation and keep its cities alive forever.

Watch for The Made in Michigan Literary Walk at Wayne State University Saturday, June 30 from Noon-5:00pm featuring Jim Daniels, Anne-Marie Oomen, Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Susan Whitall, Brett Callwood, Bill Harris, Philip Sterling, Melba Joyce Boyd, Doreen O’Brien, Francine Harris, Rev Robert B. Jones with M.L. Liebler, Terry Blackhawk, Teresa Scollon and more. FREE. Sponsored by The WSU Student Senate Budget Committee, The WSU Press, Poets & Writers, Inc. The WSU Motown Learning Community and The Detroit Artists Market. For schedule and more info go to

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