Contents, in sequence:
Gaza Ground Zero 2014, Yoblands, “Palestine Never Existed”, Deir Yassin, I’ve Nothing but Your Name(for Ali Safi), April Fools’ Day, In Response to Moshe Feighlin . . . In Defence of Ayalet Shaked, To a Young Israeli Praying on his Tank in Gaza, Before Gaza Was, We Are, Remnant as on Aran, Why Am I Smiling? “Even the Olives are Bleeding”, In Memoriam, Jihad Shehad al-Jaafari, Month’s Mind, Another Cana Revisited Gaza Ground Zero 2015.
Gaza Ground Zero 2014
Today Gaza is Ground Zero
Flesh still clings to the bone
In the hot dust, young and old.
Another Sabra, another Chatila
Today Gaza, your cries echo
Re-echo now round the world.
We cannot assuage your woe
Only reach out a hand to you,
Weep with you, heads to the floor,
Not worthy to go indoors
Into your mosques, where all that soars
Is dust on a sunbeam.
The yobs are celebrating in the streets.
These are big boys and girls after the spoils.
They have drinking money, lots; soon, Gazean oil.
For the Galilean, they’re just a line in a parable:
Peter’s gang roughing up another Simon with eyes of hate
In Jerusalem or Rome because he can’t levitate.
The yobs grab every suspect Sergio Yahni.
This is yobland waiting for the call up
To shoot fish in the barrel that’s Gaza.
This is yobland celebrating the destruction of Gazean schools
Where enemy children might learn to read and write,
This is yobland cheering the laying waste of Gazean hospitals the kids are brought to.
This is yobland fed by the prophets.
Yobland, the gut voice of Israel.
Palestine Never Existed
(and never will, what Edom Ho!)
So the gut slogan reads. Miriams dance their ant hill.
They have been here forever, so it seems, well at least
In the mind, and the mind of their great god corporate.
In their darkest hour they were psalming here and when
They’d come again, they’d walk right back in and claim
It regardless. And their gent in the sky that will smite
Or smote for them, or his reps plot a drone or two,
Consider another bombed Cana an O.K. collateral.
Christian churches and the synagogues all proclaim
The OT / NT nexus, an obligatory belief still.
Truth is, we’re all standing on our Hebron Hill.
Better to kneel, embrace the clay of those we killed,
Ask their forgiveness. Belief grows ever that bit shitty.
What’s your poison, boys and girls, what myth kitty?
(after Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s “Babi Yar”)
Over Deir Yassin
no memorial either,
no Shostacovich for Mount Jerusalem,
only the names written in infamy on the wind
Shamir, Ben-Gurion, Begin
sepulchres that stink to high heaven
for what they engendered here
and in the hundred villages.
“April is the cruellest month”, wrote Eliot,
got for the ultra orthodox a choice spot,
“a time for war, a time for peace”
the slaughter for Ecclesiastes:
Yahweh, bless them, blessed gents
clearing a corner of the Promised Garden for May Independence.
So, go on Yitzhak, David, Menachem, you’re up to it,
the mutilation of young teachers and the rape.
All Fools’ Day Planning in forty-eight.
Hagana: every house a terrorist den
and males the manhood side of ten.
Throw in the babies, pregnant mothers for rapine, good measure
Kids writing their asri’ essays, their death a pleasure.
O my people, Palestine, how can mere verse
solemnise the pacts you made with new neighbours, not worth a curse,
for Moloch’s on the march again, and at his back across the sea
another Moloch with his drones, another with Popeye.
Yevgeny, writing still, take up your pen
for the parade of dead men walking in spoil-time New Jerusalem
dumped in a blood-letting quarry,
Deir Yassin wiped off the map, from the memory.
But, see, among the weeping walls of Deir Yassin, two women
one old, one just a pregnant teen , both are walking past the wooden
Nazi Star of David nailed still to the window of old Muhammad
Radwan’s, both in undefeated voice with their old Magnificat,
“He will put down the mighty from their seat,
He will exalt the humble”.
April Fools’ Day
In the dead of the night
(well, the early hours here to be precise),
Another depression is passing over with high wind
And the rains add to the pools in midland fields;
The soldiers come, over one hundred of them
To knock down the house of Nureddin Amro,
And his brother Sharif Amro. Both men are blind.
It hardly matters, Yahweh long gave up the count
Of the hairs on the heads of Palestinians.
Their 79-year old mother, wives and kids are in the house.
The soldiers cut the electricity, the phone lines, internet.
They start to demolish while the family are yet inside.
The soldiers have dogs and even aircraft thundering overhead.
They lock all the family in one room while they knock down the house
Four long hours it takes to bulldoze to rubble, the kids’ toys on top.
The soldiers destroy the garden, kill the children’s pets, rabbits and chickens.
In their exodus the family may not salvage anything.
The army leave them a wailing wall to wail against.
So, no electricity, water, toilets, or a telephone line.
The Holy City is expanding, what’s another Arab Family.
The All Fools soldiers threaten, they will be back.
I’ve Nothing on Your Name
for Ali Safi
Like eternal moths against their mortal flame,
With your mates you daily dash yourselves,
Who have nothing but instinct, are game
Only fisted stones to resist the slaves
Israelis makes of you. And, off afar, we,
Who look on day after day and grieve,
What can we do? Yet we believe
The more the grabbers vainly try
To eliminate you at an early age
With bullets, the greater your raw courage
Is. I remember you in a fleeting Facebook photo
drawing nails or staples from a fence post, a handy fellow,
from chores to study. Looking after the young ones in the family,
both kids with disability.
Remnant as on Aran
answering the lady , who likened you to rodents
You’re like any other remnant cowering by the sea.
The grabbers want to rout you out and for this they pray.
They must have as theirs even the low tide Jacob promised
By the strand, and to this their long sewery-minded twisted
End will starve, block medicines, aid, plain cement –
Delighted in their psalms to see you live as rodents
Sleeping in strewn pipes, sewers, in extremis, make-shift tents.
So it is too far forever west by the coast on Aran
the last remnant of the De Danann still cling on.
But you have neither their pure atlantic wind, or sky, or chevaux-de-frize
only stench from the bombardments, phosphorous and smoky skies.
Fir ‘s mná bolg, Storm us, Storm us with your tweets inflated.
And you, with what you nibble on, be goodly, godly, sated.
In Response to Moshe Feiglin, Ayalet Shaked, Rabbi Kirshner, Benjamin Netanyahu et al…
So, masks drop with the Chosen. Normal Yahweh
Service is resumed: after the five hundred a day
Roman crucifixions outside Herod’s Eternal City,
Yeshua dead, Mary fled from Galilee to Ephesus,
Mad-Pope crusades, the pogroms, Germanic ovens, ‒
Gaza is just a blip, after all, with Edom and Chanaan
En route, though resplendent with texts and tweets
Shattered infants on our screens. Highway, streets
To Eden. A Knesset member will rationally explain
His world view in a TV interview to chill the spine:
He himself devoutly favours the option of the nuke
Like a Carlow farmer Round-up for a fallow acre:
What odds we goyem caught in his fiery twister.
Weeds in his New Eden. Gazean. Brother. Sister.
In Defence of Ayalet Shaked, Israeli Lawmaker.
if such be the word in the green wood , what will it be in the dry
Not a gram of compunction. The Great Yahweh Elsewhere
Guides all of this. I swear,
Do you show a viper mercy
When you grab it by the throat, take pity
Suddenly because it’s just a spitting kid?
Let no one accuse you of genocide.
You can still show that breast is best.
A Cleopatra carried away by the test.
Stamp, Stamp, Stamp all little vipers underfoot:
Lady of Good Counsel,
Each baby viper
Gasping at your feet.
To a Young Israeli Praying on his Tank in Gaza
“No place for a good Hebrew boy”, quote from another young Israeli
The youth is reading from his You-Know-What on his tank in Gaza.
A few streets away they are sweeping up the body parts after him.
He’s a devout young fellow by all appearances.
He’s swaying to holy texts like a body to sex.
He really does not want to know if he’s had bulls-eye.
He’s praying the same Creator that was Emptiness over Dacchau.
There are no tanks to fire back.
Is he praying the TV camera will record his selfie
So the folks back home in down-town Jerusalem
Or on the beach at Haifa, or over in Capernauma
Can go plan a feast of feasts for his safe return?
Is he into Exodus, Psalms, or The Song of Songs?
In no time the last of the tunnels will be blown up.
Supper, he’ll regale all the relatives, raise the cup.
Before Gaza was, We Are
How many teenage years did I chant that crap
How many seminary years as a poor singer stop
In that tenor-laden choir of clerics to draw breath,
Mocking each murdered Edomite, each fallen Chanaanite. . .
Until a nameless dead kid sits up, looks me fair in the eye
And I seize forever in the throat from that fatal day:
Hey, it’s me you sing of, don’t you know? Dumbo,
Your Moloch, He could have said to us Open Sesame, we
Might have shared it, you know, our milk and honey.
But you come, demolish our roofs, bull-doze our homes,
Kill my brothers, sisters, for Solomon to raise his domes.
Your scholars grow ever more curious, collecting our bones –
You are digging into my hands and feet, you are numbering
all my bones –
In the cool of the day sit pretty on twelve rickety thrones.
Why Am I Smiling?
Snap video of a duo from the Model Army
Just to prove Drogheda isn’t fiction;
Soldiers take a quickie of their dog
Ripping into a Palestinian child
Amusement of Facebook Friends.
So many Likes, LOLs, ‘tis hard to reconcile,
Smiling everyday tanned faces looking on
In this Kristallnacht for a kid.
One hopes it ends well for the dog.
Another writes it is a joy to watch.
Another sympathises with the dog
forced to taste trash.
Another, it’s a shame the child doesn’t die.
Another, ad nauseam. Lamentation the boy
His body mauled head to foot. Blood spilt.
“Even the Olives are Bleeding”
As-Salamu alaykum, salam, “Peace be to you”:
My uncle, he greets us with an olive in his hand,
And I wonder, how can peace ever be with us
For the settlers are taking chain saws to the orchards?
We’d sooner trade our throats
Change places with the olive trees.
Olives have been here three thousand years
Seen the coming and going of messiahs.
North to south, a month long swathe of families
Come harvesting. Meitheal by sunlight, moonlight.
Our fingers calloused, stained, small price to pay
Upsetting the Israeli scanners, alien checkpoints.
Occupation. Our roots go back a long way too.
Bulldozers move into us, two by two.
In Memoriam, Jihad Shehada al-Jaafari
murdered by Israeli forces 25 march 2015
In the Bethlehem the Christians like to sing of yearly the world over –
Where they believe a divine boy came to earth to sow love and olives –
Before they exchange gifts, salute the goodness that is every human,
That refugee camp of shepherds, mangers, three old wandering men
Lingering on with their presents for the baby and his mother’s eyes,
Angels, they say, with a thousand ghetto blasters in the starry skies,
Today a mother and her precious baby. He is grown to nineteen.
Pietà’s too crude a word. That undying wail, her sky-rending keen:
Soldiers who left her boy to die, his blood to drain into the ground
Blocked an ambulance. Samaritans that would dress his wound.
For as surely as there is a cancerous evil that’s personified
(Spread and adored, psalmed Sabbath and Sunday deified),
There are forces stronger than the badness in hooded eyes.
Look to us, Jihad al-Jaafari, your wounds healing in paradise.
for Jihad Shehada al-Jaafari 25 March 2015
There’s a live practice on this island called the Month’s Mind.
Folk close to a dead person meet up again in remembrance.
The shock of death, it’s not worn off, it’s only in abeyance.
Talk is calmer, tears and sighs fewer among the human kind
Present; talk rising, falling: about you doubtless in your photos,
Sun-kissed trees. You, your mother said, defending your “home”,
No great crime that, stone in your fist, or not, neither a bomb.
Jihad, you could be pardoned for either in your people’s loss.
Jihad, it seems – before the M16 bullet lodged by your spine –
Your thoughts were on College, culinary arts, a grand cuisine,
But a violent 3-am Tan soldiery, an IOF Gestapo-blooded teen,
Did for you point blank.
Too much to ask that your family go home to pre-Nakbah
Deir Rafat? Your Refugee Concentration Camp lie empty?
al-Jafaari, 19, commemorate him forever in the making, breaking, sharing of
Another Cana Revisited
I know nothing about the wedding in
Al-Araqa village over in Western Jenin.
I presume Muhammad Murad Yahiya danced his share
A wedding, Palestinian, much like any other anywhere:
Teenagers ramping it up to music, the good will of relations,
Racket, –can’t hear your ears, –pouring across the generations,
Feasting, dancing, beat the duff, dance the mad dabka to applause.
Lots of mansuf, sweets, drinks, when the dancers take a welcome pause.
Muhammad with his mates steps out to clear his teenage head,
Walk awhile in the family lands. Within minutes, he is a dead
Teen falling. Soldiers from the Wall are in need of a live target.
And, then, that’s not ghastly enough. The fiends descend, tie his feet
As he lies dying, bleeding from his stomach onto the ground:
Ghouls watching over their prey. His unstaunched wound.
Gaza Ground Zero 2015
Spring 2015, and the Gaza craters of last year are endless.
Across them the waves of mustard seed seem endless,
A mocking back-answer to the death-the-levellers in their high noon, –
These fields of neo-gold resurrect forever with their own mute neon.
A father with his daughter wanders in them in their live Elysium.
Black mustard, brassica negra, that annual like rape the bees at home hum in.
Look at them long, these curtal blooms, that are not lilies of the Gazean fields,
For there are few fields left here unscathed, only what the bombed flesh yields:
And the smallest of seeds, with birds yet in its branches, in the world’s forgotten estimation
Indestructible. Palestine lives. In all its dereliction, still one proud nation.
Landscape of Mustard Flowers
Caption: An Eternity of Flowers
Photo credit: Mohammed Abed
Date taken: March 20, 2015
Location: Gaza Strip, Palestine
A Palestinian father and daughter welcome the beginning of spring by picking wild mustard flowers in an untilled field in the Gaza Strip.