July 29, 2014

Gaza Lament. {Poem}


Hamas rockets quelled
neighborhoods relieved

shopping malls secure
pizza parlors unmolested

uneventful school days
beach raves—business as usual

synagogues fervently tranquil
prayer undistracted

children play with zealous abandon
lovers writhe & cling & gasp

they take their time / enjoy each other

idyllic resorts attract the right clientele
the Mossad takes up finger painting to pass the time

olive trees flourish / fish in the sea rejoice

lemon blossom
flagrantly fragrant

no stench of bodies
or terrified sweat

silent sirens & ordinary streets
markets resound day-to-day chatter

illegal settlements emerge as new suburbs
(no fear of mass suicide shockwave)

no one left to cause concern:


20,000 Hamas gunmen liquidated

all the secret smuggling tunnels collapsed

hidden armories obliterated
by bunker buster righteous fire

all the young men who throw stones
at armored personnel carriers pacified with rubber bullets

or disappear traceless
to unknown cells

& who will weep
for the poor deathtrap checkpoints
covered in blood

& for narratives of struggle
spray painted on the security wall:

will the dead honor the murals of the living?

will they be silent witnesses to:

white phosphorus burns
& 105mm artillery shells

hurled with precision
at Mosques & U.N schools

even the U.N headquarters:

a black plume bellows
burns thousands of pounds of food

families that flee
white flags raised / a bullet in the brain

500 civilians here
a U.N. relief convoy driver there

(in one ear / out the other)

but if it were my
four year old daughter
broken in my arms—

& I saw the wounded spilling
out of the hospital onto the street—

the doctor’s eyes full of death
among all the filth & scarcity & terror

such a groan would
issue from my chest

I would bite off my own hand
to hush its expression

among the cries of all the
mothers & fathers of Gaza

& to spot a plane streak overhead—

& see 100,000 leaflets flutter as they fall
paper angels glint-smacked in the sun

a delicate crumple
in the soft breeze

& to grab one myself
& read:

“People of Gaza, our war is with Hamas
& not with civilians—if you have any information
to assist our operation please call this number—
confidentiality is assured & for yr safety please
follow all directives of the Israeli Defense Force”

Would my brain not explode within my skull?
Could I comprehend Qassam rockets & frightened children in Sderot—

or the decimated families
in Tel Aviv on eve of Purim?

or the burnt corpses
on public buses
among broken glass

& emergency lights
in the lifeless husk of a nightclub

in the panic of Jerusalem market
bathed in the sun—

What is a Martyr
but a blast radius—

a cluster of sharp edged anything
nails & screws
marbles & plastique
(an accelerant or two)
a simple circuit
completed with a prayer—

a defiant annihilating wave
holy death-lust solipsism

a burial curse between action & symbol
echoes of pain through boundless synapses

how similar to our own weaponry:

landmines & cluster bombs
white phosphorus & aerial death drones
used in accordance with International Law—

& who will speak the Truth?

public relations officers
military spokespersons
middle east expert joe-the-plumber
a grainy image of green & white Hamas banner?

what is the heart
to do with so much truth?

either way
amputees suffer
clean water is

old grandfathers with diabetes
& no insulin shake in the dark

old grandmothers with high blood pressure
& no medicine huddle and pray in the dark

where can the innocent
find refuge in a city besieged

can we track them with our satellites?

do the innocent appear as
blotches of blue & green
on a CIA analyst’s
flat panel display
somewhere underground
in a climate controlled environment
with ample parking—hot coffee around the clock
vending machines filled with
‘smart choice’ snacks?

what sane person still believes
the almighty is in their corner
shouting words of encouragement through blood & spittle?


Love elephant and want to go steady?

Sign up for our (curated) daily and weekly newsletters!



Editor: Travis May

Photo: Wiki Commons

Read 5 Comments and Reply

Read 5 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Jonathan Witherspoon Huey