Tag Archives: Palestine

First poem of this new year.


This is done 5 minutes ago, will need revisions. It may make it to the third book,
which I guess means I started it today…first day of my new year, one year older.
I read a headline, as I do everyday, and thought, “Shit, that’s awful”.
Then I thought, I have been thinking that for years. Is there no reprieve?
Here is what I thought after the first initial horror. Doesn’t matter what the first headline was, they
are all the same.

Dubai, 22/4/2010

What is it this intake of breath
the word fuck hissed as if shock was
new to this body
as if this news was new to this body
what is it this slight widening of nostrils flare, tongue bloated inside
lips burnt in despair, too laden with history to
envision present, what is it, this gaping stare at jumbled remembrance-

deported from west bank to gaza- IDF pass law- apartheid
state blossoms-

-bodies shoveled by bulldozer to mass graves-

-girl, 12 yrs old,
found dead on way to market-


-sniper tshirt draws belly of arab womb is target
twice successful-

Where do all the tents go?
land grab graphs- walls through a father’s face
sullen concrete of his seed-

what is this

-plume of
white toxic hides shadows of the daily exterminated we

from where does it rise up, like bile, like vomit, like
acid- this surprise?

This has always been the way it is,
this has always been.

In 1983,
a 5-year old refugee slams her body on a warm bed, revolts a tantrum when
adults kindly confirm…‘They have to call it Israel now, honey”… what does that child
know of stolen family?
Children learn.

What is this
this intake of breath at headlines- gaza ramallah jenin-
-netanyahu dines at white house- clinton says security first- abu mazen seeks presidency- old man dies of lack of electricity-

I have heartburn where I once had pulse, I have
spasms of stomach too full to chew this new
news I digest no more,
what is it, this surprise…”how could it possibly get worse


they slaughtered over 400 children just last year alone


Jehan, oh Jehan, How I love your words.


Jehan is one of the delights of running the Poetician gang. Even though she ran off and is now living between kabul and nine other locations, I still love her. And her big eyes. And blue shoes. And small poems that leave me wondering how she can say so much in three lines while I need to ramble for 6 pages.
From all over the ME, but specifically from Palestine, comes a girl with so much attention to the unsaid in our world, and for her efforts to read with us in different countries and for her shy smiles and straight bangs, I thank Jehan and hug her virtually.

by Jehan Bseiso

Your last note said ‘his name is Adam, he does not remind me of you.’
Postcards and letters,
Some open, some lying with their face down on the kitchen table.

I unlearn reading.
Alphabetics can be such mathematics. And I was never good at counting.

Remember the woman in the tube who thought she was Um Kulthoum?

I never let my thoughts wander anymore, but they touch your face from time to time.
Memory, a vault that the mind can open only in dreams.

Accidental remembering, or not being able to forget her voice

thick, heavy: ‘Ya Habibi…’

I pin my hope down with a tack.
On the fridge, a photo of you with a big fish you caught.
You look small.

You were always a fan of the dramatic, avant-garde theatre, in the style of Gertrude Stein.
I prefer her quiet poetry.

This just one of the ways in which we didn’t meet. There are others.

Nizar Wattad- The Roofer.


Nizar- AKA Ragtop- is a comic book lover, a scriptwriter, a poet, a hip hop artist, a creator and an all round awesome man. He is also very tall.
He was part of the Human Writes Project that flew out to Dubai to perform a hip hop event with us and then grace a luminous and memorable Poetician event before flying back to LA. I am so grateful.

The Roofer


God bless that man”

said Max, relaxed looking

out off the patio

past the bush whose name

I do not know

but back home

we call her crazy girl.

Crazy, like that man

past the bush across

the street atop his roof.

He’s there every day,

even Sunday,

hammering tarmac flat so hot

it reflects the sun blackly.


His daughter left the house

at 6:10 in the morning,

chilly walking fast in the dim

pink light a bundle swaddled

on her chest not

sixteen years old if not thirty.

She clutched her child,

drew him close passing

into the shadow

of that bickering old elm.

She looked like the woman from Atitlan.

Fog kissed the broad lake as her fingers plucked coffee…