Poems for Gaza.  Over and over again.


As long as my lips still touch you

there is warmth between us

and you are still here.  You are still here.

Let time stop now while you are still here.

Please time stop now, time stop, not

go backwards, that is too much too ask,

but not one moment more from now,

I beg, with all I am and I have

I beg, not one more instant from now,

I am too small for this, I am not strong enough,

I tried to stand up just now but I

could not, I could not, I have no body,

I am nothing but what of my body is still

touching you, my lips on you,

my hands on your body that lifted you

and held you in the world, in the world forever,

for all of time in the world but now

for never, for never again but not yet,

not just yet, I’m still here,

I will not give you up, let time be crushed

and die, let the world be crushed and die,

let this be death, let this be death

and where you are going be life,

my heart is such a tiny thing

but I will drown in it, let sunlight and moonlight

drown in my heart, all I asked

of the world was to keep my promises to you,

to keep my promises to you,

to keep my promises to you,

let the world be broken for breaking that,

let the world stop and not go on

while you are still here and still have warmth

with me, from me, with me, from me,

you were not brought by some angel,

you were brought into being by my heart and my flesh,

I searched long and hard to find you

and you built my heart in return,

you carried my heart, you kept me alive

in this world, you kept me in this world,

you still do, I'm still here,

you still do, you’re still here,

you were not struck down by an accident,

you were not struck away by an earthquake

or sightless microbes, you were struck down

by creatures who could have chosen not to,

let this come to them, and more,

let them come to what they have earned

but I will forgo what they deserve,

let them live and die in peace

if in return, for one small moment,

for one more smallest of instants you

will stay, not go, not go, please,

this is not supposed to happen, this is not

what’s meant, you are meant to outlive me,

you are meant to outlive us, not go like this,

please, I know you can’t choose, but please,

don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t,

I don’t know if holding you keeps you here

but I know when I stop you will go and be gone,

when I stop you will go and this is that instant,

this now this now is when you are gone,

let this not be, let the universe end

before the moment after this now

when someone lets go.  And stands.  And somehow

steps away.  Or is pulled away.  To stand

with so many others standing for their own

struck down in the street or in their homes

or playing in the sand.  Stand

in the hospital room with lights flickering

because the generator is running out

and doctors and nurses work without sleep

and without the medicines that aren’t allowed in.

I don’t know who that person is

who will stand up any moment now

and step away and keep on living

when you are not living in the world any more.

That person will not be me.

I wish that person well.

I wish that person love

and loving care of everyone still

alive in the world.

That person will have to be stronger than me.

I am not able to do any other

than stay in this one true place.  With you.

For all time and not time with you.

The world truly the heart of the world

has come to an end

and you have outlived me after all.

                                                                    July 2014

GAZA       2009

The sand is frozen.

Each particle fixed in place.

Salt sparkles on solid waves

that lift and crest unmoving and do not

reach the frozen shoreline.

Inland broken weeds stand bent,   

unfalling undying leaning on air.

Jagged stones hang unsupported

from broken walls,

gravity helpless.

Ragged puddles of red are mirrors

or ponds that do not soak or dry up.

A bearded man has dropped his cane

which hovers suspended in mid fall  

while he stares bewildered at a puncture in his side.

A mother’s crooked hand clutches

at part of her child.

Faces stare without seeing

at billowing pillars of smoke captured

mid dance, black haze in solid space.

In all directions flashes of light

bloom white like baubles of ice

that melt and shatter flesh and metal

in plumes surrounding their still white burning

burning that never stops burning

never not ever burning forever

stronger than time, future and past

nothing but clustered rubble now,

parts slashed off from hearts in pain

forever, nothing in time but this,

no decade or epoch can stop this white fire,

this frozen moment will never disappear,

only we disappear and even then

we leave it behind intact.

From far away in black space

above the frozen blue of the sky

this frozen contortion of torture looks

like nothing.  The masses of land look calm.

From farther away even the land

is too small to see.  Smaller still

the weeds and puddles and grains of sand

that nothing in time can change.

January 2009


all the animals in the Gaza City Zoo

a large number of orange trees and other plants

an as yet uncounted number of children women and men

a never to be counted number of insects and reptiles

parts of many bodies

love in many hearts

resistance, or so some hoped

the moral authority of the invaders


belief in a future

the ability to rebuild

the willingness to live with invaders

the chance for a tranquil contented life

the chance for a life without upheaval

more children women and men

the chance for us to have stopped it

January 2009


Like napalm, it burns away falsehood.

The skin of the victim peels off to reveal

the heart and imagination of

the attacker, the perpetrator, the invader.

The hot white smoke which falls toward the ground

with its garlic smell does not obscure

the eye-piercing white of the truth.

The drowning of living organs in pain,

the scream-stretched throats and blackened eyes,

the crushed homes, the incinerated children

all were alive in the hearts of the attackers

before they were brought to being on earth.

The goal of the invaders’ hearts was to crush

the hearts of the people invaded, and their bodies

if they didn’t submit.  The burning of bodies

was imagined, was planned, was calculated.

The invaders danced and sang when their plan

manifested itself on flesh.

The searing and penetrating of flesh

was no regret, no accident,

but a lure, a wish, a state of mind,

an imagination of power, a conviction,

a justification of itself, a need

which ignites when exposed to the air we breathe

and burns without stopping till the oxygen stops

or it burns itself away to nothing.

It burns beyond the victim to expose

the root and bone of the ones who use it

and shows the thoughts you thought were secret

and leaves your heart naked at last

so all can see what has always lived there

waiting to burn and be burned and burn

until all the truths of your heart come to be

and you alone of all the world

are safe, are safe, are safe,

surrounded by flame.

January 2009


The war continues silent while we sleep.

It is called occupation, and is no news.

While we dream of floating and corridors

our automatic weapons are aimed at children

who if they grow up will grow up learning

obedience means surrender.

While we breathe the deep soft breath of sleep,

our soldiers prod the intimate places

of those we defeat each day, each day.

While our genitals moisten and thicken

at regular intervals though the night,

our victory hovers with whirling blades

and marching feet to press its barriers

inward until the defeated have

no victory left, no triumph, no private

place that does not acknowledge

our ownership over their freedom.

With occupation, we win in our sleep.

In our sleep the checkpoints make them wait

            and by their waiting we win.

In our sleep the curfew makes them huddle

            and by their huddle we win.

In our sleep the fathers are beaten and cowed

            and by their beating we win.

We sleep, we win, they lose, they lose,

the weapons and tools we loose in our sleep

will grind them down, will grind them down,

they break, they kneel, but still our tools

will rasp and file and grate and scrape

until they are faceless, until they are blades.

And when their edges are sharp enough

they will turn on us; and finally then,

too late, we may wake.