Doom

On the shores of the Med,
I saw humanity drenched in salt,
Face down,
Dead,
Eyes gouged,
Hands up to the sky, praying,
Or trembling in fear.
I could not tell.
The sea, harsher than the heart of an Arab,
Dances,
Soaked with blood.
Only the pebbles wept.
Only the pebbles.
“All the perfumes of Arabia will not”
grace the rot
this Ummah breeds.

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Freshly Baked Souls

As fire balls and sparks descend,

And the little ones rejoice,

Look up, and cheer, unable to comprehend,

Sooner than they expect

They will be blown

(It’s none of their wishes

If only they had known!)

And more freshly grilled balls of flesh ascend.

And fall on full dishes

And fill the boxes.

And the hollow minds.

The full bellies.

They look down. Rejoice. Cheer.

“Freshly baked!”

“Freshly baked!”

“Who wants freshly baked flesh for breakfast?”

“Throw me a piece. “

“Throw me  four.

I have just eaten but crave for more.”

***

The hearts are not hearts.

The eyes can’t see

There are no eyes there

The bellies craving for more

A house destroyed except for the door

The family, all of them, gone

Save a photo album

That has to be buried with them

No one was left to cherish the memories

No one.

Except freshly baked souls in bellies.

Except for a poem .

I am You

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Two steps: one, two.
‏Look in the mirror:
‏The horror, the horror!
‏The butt of your M-16 on my cheekbone
‏The yellow patch it left
‏The bullet-shaped scar expanding
‏Like a swastika,
‏Snaking across my face,
‏The heartache flowing
‏Out of my eyes dripping
‏Out of my nostrils piercing
‏My ears flooding
‏The place.
‏Like it did to you
‏70 years ago
‏Or so.

***
‏I am just you.
‏I am your past haunting
‏Your present and your future.
‏I strive like you did.
‏I fight like you did.
‏I resist like you resisted
‏And for a moment,
‏I’d take your tenacity
‏As a model,
‏Were you not holding
‏The barrel of the gun
‏Between my bleeding
‏Eyes.

***

One. Two.
‏The very same gun
‏The very same bullet
‏That had killed your Mom
‏ And killed your Dad
‏Is being used,
‏Against me,
‏By you.
***
‏Mark this bullet and mark in your gun.
‏If you sniff it, it has your and my blood.
‏It has my present and your past.
‏It has my present.
‏It has your future.
‏That’s why we are twins,
‏Same life track
‏Same weapon
‏Same suffering
‏Same facial expressions drawn
‏On the face of the killer,
‏Same everything
‏Except that in your case
‏The victim has evolved, backward,
‏Into a victimizer.
‏I tell you.
‏I am you.
‏Except that I am not the you of now.

***
‏I do not hate you.
‏I want to help you stop hating
‏And killing me.
‏I tell you:
‏The noise of your machine gun
‏Renders you deaf
‏The smell of the powder
‏Beats that of my blood.
‏The sparks disfigure
‏My facial expressions.
‏Would you stop shooting?
‏For a moment?
‏Would you?

***
‏All you have to do
‏Is close your eyes
‏(Seeing these days
‏Blinds our hearts.)
‏Close your eyes, tightly
‏So that you can see
‏In your mind’s eye.
‏Then look into the mirror.
‏One. Two.
‏I am you.
‏I am your past.
‏And killing me,
‏You kill you.

O’Live Tree

O, beat me more.

Hit me with your sticks;

Step on my leaves

Smother my twigs under your boots

Like how you always do.

The beating I bear;

The humiliation, I do not care

But take me not,

Steal me not.

Even if I burn,

Here I belong

And to them I shall return.

***

If you hear my talk,

You may feel my pain

But you belong not here:

You do not even know

How to touch me,

How to gently squeeze me,

How to hug me,

How to wipe off the dust,

When I am ripe,

And when I am not,

When I need water,

And when I do not,

And how to pick me

Like how they always do.

***

Your smell and heavy boots

And the metal on your backs

And your metal bars!

For God’s sakes who on earth olives picks

With metal bars for sticks?

***

But I ramble again.

Because you won’t understand

And if you understood me,

You would not, in the first place,

Be here.

***

You come and go.

I see you once or twice a year

With either flames or sticks

And I weep for the rest of the year.

But one day

My twigs shall grow,

The oil shall flow,

My people shall glow,

And you, you will go.

When I Stoop

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A poem for Mahmoud al-Sarsak and Lina Khattab

The walls of my prison

Whisper to me;

They tell me stories of people who were here

Of people who lived here.

There was the weak

And there was the old.

There was the child.

There was the lady.

They were here,

But now they are there.

***

In my prison,

I talk to the walls

And they to me talk

That one day I will walk:

One day my jailer will stoop

At my feet

To unlock the chains.

It does not matter why

But he will stoop.

***

Inside my prison I draw my future

With minute details.

On the other side of the wall (Behind the bars)

Sits the jailer.

As he turns back

And looks me in the eye,

He pours mountains of boredom

And let’s loose of a sigh.

I look back and smile.

He clears his throat

Blinks once then twice

And moves his lips.

I walk away

And give him my back.

I smile again Winking at the wall.

‘See,’ it tells me

‘I know,’ I reply,

And bend down

And shake my chains.

The look in his face,

The fear in his eyes

Both make my day.

***

Inside my prison,

I also stoop,

But when I do,

I stoop to conquer.

And Gaza lives on…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And another war in Gaza

Another day in Palestine

A day in prison

And we live on

Despite Israel’s very much identified flying objects

That we see more than our family and friends

And despite Israel’s death sentences

Like lead

Cast upon the head

 As we sleep

Like acid rain

Gnawing at our life

Clinging to it like a flea to a kitten

And stuffed in our throats

The moment we say ‘Amen’

To the prayers of old women and men

Despite Israel’s birds of death

Hovering only two meters from our breath

From our dreams and prayers

Blocking their ways to God.

Despite that.

We dream and pray,

Clinging to life even harder

Every time a dear one’s life

Is forcibly rooted up.

We live.

 We live.

We do.