Monday, March 16, 2009

she sings for the whole powerless world

One of my favorite poets, Suheir Hammad, has a new poem. Hammad's latest book of poetry, published Dec. 2008 by Cypher Books, is called Breaking Poems. I found the poem "jabaliya" online, on the back cover of al-Majdal, Issue No. 39/40 (Autumn 2008-Winter 2009), Palestine's Ongoing Nakba. Al-Majdal is published by Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights:


by Suheir Hammad

a woman wears a bell carries a light calls searches
through madness of deir yessin calls for rafah for bread
orange peel under nails blue glass under feet gathers
children in zeitoun sitting with dead mothers she unearths
tunnels and buries sun onto trauma a score and a day rings
a bell she is dizzy more than yesterday less than
tomorrow a zig zag back dawaiyma back humming suba

back shatilla back ramleh back jenin back il khalil back il quds
all of it all underground in ancestral chests she rings
a bell promising something she can’t see faith is that
faith is this all over the land under the belly
of wind she perfumed the love of a burning sea

concentrating refugee camp
crescent targeted red

a girl’s charred cold face dog eaten body
angels rounded into lock down shelled injured shock

weapons for advancing armies clearing forests sprayed onto a city
o sage tree human skin contact explosion these are our children

she chimes through nablus back yaffa backs shot under
spotlight phosphorous murdered libeled public relations



a bell fired in jericho rings through blasted windows a woman
carries bones in bags under eyes disbelieving becoming
numb dumbed by numbers front and back gaza onto gaza
for gaza am sorry gaza am sorry she sings for the whole
powerless world her notes pitch perfect the bell a death toll

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