Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Heavy on the mind
a man left without much to eat
while I throw old apples in the back-garden's bin

The dance of war is a beautiful thing

 Dance- to move your body in a way that goes with the rhythm and style of music that is being played. The Webster Dictionary

on the floor, you move
under your steps I hear, a thousand child scream
as the bomb drops

and I remember how the longer I shivered-
I thought- the sooner I would learn to enjoy
music and fireworks as an adult

growing old is different than growing to heal
or heed to the sound of danger, a dancer

you lift your hand with the softer set of arms
without rhythm, a confused anger,
glide a blade in the hands of those who lost humans

gained power, to stand and speak
with the voices borrowed from those who were refused
the right to words or to moving lips

flaming hips, chant a mantra that is incomprehensible
to the back-drop of a celebration
kill to live and let live

isn't it the first rule of survival
those who are fit decide on those who are not?

the dance of war, you comment, is a beautiful thing
it only takes awareness and the right amount of appreciation
to the making of music from the clash of two swords

or the clash of two bodies, created from the same material
bone and skin,
breath and brain

rattle like hollow wood, tries to beat optimistic music
from lonely flutes

the dance of war, beautiful feeds on the same ground
where we stand
counting how many shoes can we donate to one-legged children

this is a result of movement,
eastern or western to the beat of music

your body shakes, it is beautiful you say,
to dance on flattened earth, you cannot tell
that there will be music, coming from the shaking ground
careful where you set your dance of war, for there were people
 there will always be, in flattened lands, old-hidden music.

The letter I wrote

Folded, in your breast-pocket
a letter I gave you, like another wrapper
left between your heart and the rest of us
who do not sleep, lay waiting for answers

Giving way...

'Or being hated, don’t give way to hating'- Rudyard Kipling

Run from the nearest place on the hills into the desert
but do not ask for Tiresias to predict rain
force an oracle when he is half-made of a snake

snakes make of the desert a home,
it is always like that, the cure is in the belly
of monsters

the monsters decide who lives
who dies, it is not up to God
anymore, decision-making is entirely human

made plausible before the first moon of the new month
a month left to God where all the devils are locked
but a few had gone astray, like normal angels would

in El-Manya you would hold a gun in your right hand
a flyer in your left, at arm's length,
pray before you act, not act and pray for forgiveness

in El-Manya, you would hold a gun in your right hand,
a flyer in the left, does not ask for forgiveness
the precision of a shot on a six year old's neck

heroic, the act of blood over bravery
made to receive
payment in ripe blood

Go tell the mothers of the children
who receive coffins instead of flowers
to grieve silently

between the afternoon meal and the dawn's call for prayer
sorrow has to wait until the word of God
settles among us

run from fear and contain another
that you are slotted 'interesting' in airports
at the sidelines of conversations, slaughtered for following

an ideal, a difference, a belief
but this is not how I was raised
not how I would expect;

a bullet from a stranger whose mother fed from my mother's
orchard, who with prayer I had showered
with love I had practiced, turning both my cheeks

where my lips caught the blow
where a son of mine died because he obtained my last name
because our names are kofor, blasphemy

blasphemy is the other side of love
where I put you down, in the name of the one who reigns
the skies, where I break your back and wish you a speedy recovery

blasphemy is when my prayer is without direction
but with aim, blasphemy is when in El-Manya
going to God means a death

of little flowers left, untended to,
where children are not sent to play or arrive at church
but later in the day, the blasphemous
stiff, yet white, like angels
fallen in the wide deserts of the pharaohs.

a tenderness

Three sets of novels sit on the windowsill
three books of poetry on my lap
your voice, in between the pages, is tender

Sunday, May 28, 2017

in this East

In the back-yard, you take the children to plant flowers
digging up spaces for the little pink and red petals
trust you are fine,
in between the shots, other children dig spaces for the bodies.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

De-colonizing my kitchen

Colonize my tongue
cut the words of my language into several pieces
but leave the kitchen counters clean of your cutlery
calming chamomile, charred fish, Falfel with chick-peas
you cannot claim the way I calm down my anger;
I chop the vegetables and the world goes still around me
better cut-out vegetables than colonized cookery.

What the eight year old said

I want my mother, she cried
the eight year old who knew that the light was coming
yet all she wanted was comfort of darkness on a familiar shoulder
close your eyes little one, let us hold you
in our minds, in your innocence, in our collective shame.

trust the weight

if I put my weight forward, on a high roof
would you let me fall?

Do not drink with a sore throat

The milk left from the Santa Claus days
do not drink with a sore throat
your imagination will be contaminated by soreness

Before the banging sounds

Before the banging sounds there was song
a dance between the screens, the stars and the singing teens

before the banging sounds was music
an escalation of notes, joyous around the packed rooms

before the banging sounds was breath
from which we all became, to which we all return

before the noise was silence
a break in the middle of the sentences and a cheer

before the noise there were claps
a wave of enthusiasm and a feeling of achievement

like a world full of chances for dreams to become real

that was before the banging sound
where the city lay by sea

where the children never needed to rearrange their names

before the war was the peace
we had imagined to be, a young boy waiving a flag

before  the banging sounds
was a belief that the breath that made us, assured we are one

before it crowds my head, I will speak
I am not made silent yet.

Sunday, May 21, 2017


Three bruises on the jaw,
a burning sensation behind the eyes,
I am subjected to your muscles

Dreams, caught

Do not hang me loose, above your sleeping head
catching your old dreams, sifting in me
exposing my back to the bare wind while you rest carelessly
I am not responsible for your nightmares.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Fresh blood

Where does it generate from?
this fresh blood, not the youth, nor the old
does it, then, grow on trees?

Using the letter P too many times

This is your country
she said to me, before the map was clear

paves with poppies
because poppies are red, like blood, no

these are your people
confusing their letters

there are too many peas in the pod
but not enough to make dinner for the mother with three starving children

you use the word slanting too many times
but the ground under you doesn't slant, it shakes

there is a difference in the two verbs
she insists with a sense of wonder, as if one can predict the ends of earth

this is your bird,
it pointed its beak towards me, not a peacock but a phoenix

to rise from the fire you built with your bare hands
who told you phoenixes where mythological?

the proteas burn and they are as real as the back of your hand
touch it, I will never lie

this is your country,
where the letter P is used so many times
the softer it is on people's palettes makes it melt like ice-cream
to erase the taste of thistle on their tongues.

the poet wonders

She ponders if the natives are the color of the sky
or if the have fled the earth or become it-
I think of my grandfather, hunched over the land
watering the sky

on to your night-stand

One box of juice, for thirst, for vitamins
one box of tissues for night-wakings
you sometimes find your self in a strange room
the realization will take you by storm

a tray, untouched- the food is growing cold
with anger, with server lack of appetite
the light is high and strong
maybe too strong for your soft green eyes

a buzzer, for the calls- to those who can help you stand
your phone charging in the distance
blinking yellow and white-lights
like candles we used to trace, young enough with our fingers

away you sleep for a night
I pretend not to hear, the phantom snoring
that makes your absence clear
on your side of the bed.

the voice in your throat

You are born with two vocal cords
the argument had already started in the kitchen
there is reason, he tells me, that you have one moth and two chords
your voice is more powerful than the set of lips you color every morning.

Opening night: PalFest X

The night opens, outside the court,
in the auditorium we can hear the outside world dwindling
call for prayer and a pause for the call for words
nothing sacrilegious about the sun-set, the sound, the word

Ten years, write
read the voices that speak in the name of those who listen
read the words that have shaped nations
pushing them forth like ebb and flow

mark their words, with power
write: this is how the words gather to form you
a body, an audience, a history
write, let the words become you

back-dropped to the old court
back-lit walls, back-dated posters
a celebration is a sound you make in the throats of others
to cause jubilation; make noise, use the words

ten years merit the celebration
of nights opening and closing under an old fig tree
near where Mahmoud Darwish sipped his coffee every morning
watched the birds in flight and made the letters dance

a decade of dedication to the voices
that have once thought dead, fished from the rubble
nicked by the hands of time,
we are all aging, aren't we?

I meet them,master of the words, at the dark hour,
fresh from flight, unaware of the hearts
of the cities to come, with the week passing by
one week of their lives and a minute into mine

to go somewhere, you leave your whole self behind
but to come forth is a gift you give
those who are unable to move
too long is their absence and our fury

The night opens, outside the court,
in the auditorium we can hear the outside world dwindling
call for prayer and a pause for the call for words
nothing sacrilegious about the sun-set, the sound, the word

the night opens outside the court
and the outside world is alive
a call for prayer rings in the night
in respect we ask, do we stop for the voice of God,
or do we continue to hear, the voice of God reflected in our words?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Call to St. Jude

I will call out to Saint Jude
three times between prayers and the beeps
of the dangling machines, that speak of a language we do not understand
Biblical or not, one call never changes
save us, the last of the lost causes.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Collect v.s. practice

Too long I have practiced the art of collection
with what fits my hands, shelled-out acorns,
twigs, a soft stone here and a jagged one left to the wild
I have never practiced leaving behind what is not mine

this is our selfish desire, to collect and claim ours
what has been given rightfully to others,
without apology, but with a sense of wonder,
now the collection's pieces line up like soldiers

over an old desk, a mirror or in an old closet
with practice, I keep at hand a continuous set
of doings; lifting a bucket to paint the sky
turning around in sleep to dream better

making shapes of the same clouds over and over
repeating to myself that with collecting and with practice
it can be fixed, what I cannot retain, describe
or make mine by sole ideas in my head.

when grace arrives

Put your grief away in a bag
the sun is here, already, and you are late
there's no room for pain when grace arrives

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

hanging on her chest

He hangs on her chest
like a photo in an ill-fitting frame
heavy, chipped and fraying except for seven year old jokes
he goes but his photograph on her neck stays

explaining a jukebox

I would have liked to walk with you that day
instead of walking with lonesomeness, the whoosh of autumn leaves
behind me and a turn at every corner, to imagined otherness
I would have like to walk with you that day

arrive exactly where I found you, at the end of October,
with a cigarette half dangling in your mouth
smoke inhaled, not yet exhaled, until you saw me
a dress, short with pride and patches of black and white

you carried around an intense energy,
yet bound your ankle a shade of guilt between the beads of your anklet
of things done in secret; lovers kissed on the mouth when marriage
was the only tie that lead you home

still I would have liked to walk with you
to the end of the crowded bar, where you asked
for the source of music, pied-pieper, piped to the wall
before the dingy bathroom, behind the pool table

across from the bar where we sat, served expensive alcohol
in cheap glasses. You protested, again, on the sound of the Beatles
not coming to your years and I had to explain
how to flip years of music-making into compact CDs, black on the outside

holographic with notes and somber melodies. A dollar in and a few arguments
over whose music suits best the minute,
for each minute has its song, each memory, river-long a piece
to undress it to its core

I turn my head and explain how row behind row
like schoolchildren the songs line up,
from the belly of the old-looking machine that matches nothing
in the bar except an old sofa, this is not a place for youth

but it is a place for the present
for a few moments a jukebox, I say, is the world.

a pocketful of past

Had I lived differently, you say
Had I not done, not talked, not walked the line, you tell yourself
but you remember too, that the coin with these two faces
shamed, regretted, is unwanted in the pockets for too long.

sweetness, sometimes

sweet sweet,
hunger is the sweat of duration

no food in our stomachs
but privilege covers for our vices

like a mother, like an old mother
we look for reasons for the consumption

to consume, is to loose everything
let then, this hunger consume us

like those on famine,
you cannot afford to start eating because you waste resources

why are we getting scientific,
hunger is not about science, it is about a feelings

but cannot all feelings be tamed
trained and honed, or yet replaced

like those substituting the sun
with synthetic light

like seeking water for an answer, water hasn't always been a solution
all soluble, not this hunger

not that primal need,

for a change to happen assure, our collective hunger and anger, are suppressed.

Summer is back

I see you, with your back turned to the grass
your head is already in the stars
you whisper, summer is back

I do not want to tell you
that I already know, I have reached
summer's hand on the back of my shoulders

the fly's buzz in my back-garden has told me
a soft air of wine and a long lull in the night-time
a dance with broken toes on the roof

summer is all about open;
looser shirts, smiles, shorter tempers to the direction of the sun
your hand finding mine, is the ultimate reason
for summer to return.

Monday, May 8, 2017

reminders of the plight

Do I keep a sand-clock
to remind others of their plight
asked none but the time that remains present.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

sent into light

Sent into the light
those thoughts, three dreams by the firewood
collected from dried-sap trees

Thursday, May 4, 2017

She remembers

How spoken to her, addressed
a sense of  a midnight escape and a new star
dragging its tail onto the night
a lot like goodbye and a little like a meeting

Monday, May 1, 2017

Poppies and thistle

In the fields, were poppies, last week
today all I found standing was leaves
the poppies have withered
at the hands of the purple thistle,
much like me and you.