-sharing reflections on what I've heard and am hearing, learned and am learning,
from voices in the Holy Land, the USA, and Rwanda-

Poetry - Palestine

A Dream

Years since my last sci-fi nightmare,
I churned in my sleep, woke up,
and melted to realize I
was just dreaming.
If only I could
open my eyes and realize
this, too, was all a dream
summoned in a jet-lagged coma,
and I had a year still before me.
But it would be a nightmare
to suggest a life without the reality
of this past year's time,
so I gladly stay in my place--
offering abundant hallelujahs--
rejoicing tenfold more 
for all that has past
than I rejoiced
for all that hadn't
when I woke with a start
from last night's nightmare.

*written June 9th, 2011.   I wrote this on the last day of school.  I was looking back over the year and wanted to express how wonderful it has been and how bittersweet it is to see the clock ticking down on my time here.  Since I really did have a odd terminator-esque nightmare the night before, I decided to include it to try and lighten the mood of the poem while also expressing how much this year has meant to both want to do it all over again while also wanting to hold all of my memories close. 


Fishing was a friend of mine
until I hooked myself.
Flinging wriggly worms--
the more frantic the better--
into a clear glass pool
past the mirror's liminal surface
into a whole new world,
into sure as apples death.
I sat on the edges of the banks,
or sometimes on top of the water,
and whistled happily until the
tell-tale tug came true and I knew
my worm was doomed.
Fighting, reeling, flicking, feeling
the fishes last battle through
its homeland, cursing all
those others who told'er so,
until dancing in the air she
came gasping for whatever
the opposite of breath is.
And just like all the other times
I relished in my prize and realized its
pierced cruelty as I fought my fear to catch
a firm grip on the situation and
let myself go to make amends once more.

*written May 25th, 2011.


One day I will write a book
that you will read in your dreams
of dreams that become as real
as my dream of dreaming about what
can and will be

One day I will write a poem
that you will love to love
of a love so deep and pure
you swear the poem was about what you
can and will be

One day I will write a verse
that you have hoped beyond hope
to hear and learn, of a hopeful yearning
that you've sought and spoken of that
can and will be

But for today I will write one word
that in your most hopeful dreams of love
where you swore to seek a spoken dream so pure and true
the word seemed to be the reality of it all
it can and will be

*written may 12th, 2011.


I understand joy and sorrow;
I understand anxiety and relief;
I understand frustration and revenge;
I understand fear and intimidation;
I understand why it is hard to understand
anything other than what one feels and believes,
but I don't think I will ever understand
why we celebrate war
believing it is the way
to peace.
like everyday,
I pray for the world (as one)
to become
as one.

*written on May 2nd, 2011.


Your land's found in whose control?
I travel where you can't go.
How it burns my throat to do,
all the things you're wanting to.
Do I understand this pain--
creation made just to maintain.

I give leave to shut me out
floundering--naive, in doubt.
Flawless in my mind's ideal
to grasp tight to those who feel
what I long to know about,
and what I cause in this long route.

If I plant myself refrained
could then I still own my name
given now in calls called new,
calling eyes to these pains true.
I'll travel that you may soon
to your land go in peace immune.

*written on April 4, 2011--This year, a major struggle has been reconciling the difference between the access I am granted in this country and how many of my friends are forbidden to travel without permission.  This poem is one of my attempts at trying to tackle some of the feelings that pop up in that struggle.


And here you walk tall
And those who see you are tall
        Found your place at last

Give them a turn about you life
Show'em the trials, feed'em the strife
    Offer no reason
         Try not to please'em
Simply help them to dull their knife

And they will feel small
You will show them they are small
        In your place at last

*Poem written on March 14, 2011.


Forced myself to
Emancipation's history.
Disregarded.  Determined
On achieving
Much shorter, much more peaceful

*Poem written March 1st, 2011.  I've changed this one around a lot.  I don't know if it's quite where I want it yet, but just something to read and think about.


Refined in your complacent
Effort to control the
Park your horse and jump on down to
Entertain the notion of
Community and mutual,
Total Respect.

*Poem written on February 28th, 2011: During English Club, I joined one other student in writing an acrostic about "Respect" since she didn't want to write a poem about violence. By the end of our time together at the club, she was about half-way finished with her poem. She is also hoping to use it for a poetry English assignment she was just given. I'm excited to see her final product.


Victimize my
Inner soul, terrorize my
Own heart's woe
Longing for that
Even score
Never peace
Can't stop this war
Eternal stream of violence caused--
                 pause, explore another concrete escape

*Poem written on February 28th, 2011: This poem was actually written quickly after school as an example of an acrostic poem to share with the older students in English Club. Todays activity was our first attempt at creative writing in the club, and having just come back from a conference on "violence in schools" I was curious to hear what they would articulate in their poems. While some of the poems were a bit more on the joking around side, I was still impressed with the end of one of them "Never underestimate this violence, sis/Cuz it's even worse than Rihanna being beaten by Chris*/Energy flowing through my body so I took the risk." (*Rihanna and Chris refering to American pop culture). The poem was really about Arabic grammar, but I was impressed by the imagery for this being the first time they've written an English poem like this! My poem is attempting to articulate what a painful cycle violence causes and how we need to learn to step out of the cycle with a concrete method, though my idea of 'concrete escape' is of course figurative. Unknowingly, when I wrote the concluding sentence the words were close to spelling 'peace' acrostically, so I changed a few things around to keep my message the same. Though difficult, peace is possible without committing violent acts.


When a child runs for the sake of running,
nowhere in mind, with no destination,
so I'd like to find joy in not knowing, yet running.

As a baby giggles at simple peek-a-boos,
certain of only uncertainty, then surprise--life does still exist!
so I wish to relish in anticipation and doubt, jumping with joy as ghosts reappear.

While schoolboys claw for the credit of providing the correct answer first,
relentless in their competitive continual discovery of the world,
so I crave that fight where the answers are known and begged to be spoken.

Then why might I not cheat my time,
and turn yet again to a child.
For then I would climb up and down slides with joy,
rather than trip through life afraid of falling.

*Poem written on February 9th, 2011. --Yes, yes, I know. Twenty-two going on twenty-three is not all that old, yet I sound like a dinosaur as the author of this poem. Believe me, this isn't a 'Woe-is-me! My youth has slipped away!" type of poem. Rather, I wrote this poem with different children/students in mind--many of which I interact with every day. Until coming and working at the Lutheran School here, I had forgotten how much knowledge children have on how to lead bold lives. I really value watching them interact with each other with such vibrancy and wanting--seeing them smile, run around, and beg to be called on in class every day reminds me of how I lived my life not too long ago. These kids are a simple reminder that I should relax and live grateful for each day rather than live constantly worried about tomorrow, forgetting to enjoy what is around me.

(Arabic Coffee*) "قهوة عربية‎"

I'd give all my time, all my attention,
all my perfection
to your creation.
The energy of my mind soothing
and soothed
by your intricate, supplicating,
delicate, prostrating

I stir you just as memories of times spent with you stir me--
where your smell perfumed
the room with plumes of fortune,
where your taste made me as a child
enjoying bitter chocolate for the first time,
where at your touch to my lips I was giddy
with the comfort of your communion--

where at just the site of you I gave thanks
for the people I love.
For you represent the good times, the bad times, and
all those times in between,
when to love meant simply sharing a pot of coffee.
And so I will leave a part of me in this ground,
in these grounds,
even as I take these memories away.

*Poem written on February 2, 2011. --I wrote this poem during a break at school one day as teachers around me drank their small glasses of Arabic coffee as usual. In the two days before I wrote this poem, I joined others in three celebrations of life--attending a baptism, paying respects to the family of a loved grandmother who passed away, and enjoying a double birthday celebration in my landlord's family. At all three events we shared with each other over cups of Arabic coffee, just as we do every day at school, and just as I do in most of the homes I'm invited into. While it's a commonplace activity for everyone who lives here--drinking coffee with friends--I cherish every small cup I receive knowing that it is practically "community" in liquid form. Not to mention... I really, really like coffee.

Slam Poetry--powerful words to reflect on:

No comments:

Post a Comment