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Remi Kanazi reads: The Bombing of a Refugee Camp ( 0) Printer friendly page Print This
By Remi Kanazi. Poetic Injustice
Poetic Injustice and Axis of Logic
Friday, Jan 7, 2011

Editor's Note: Remi Kanazi* read his A Poem for Gaza in a performance video last May in Nablus at Palfest (the Palestine Festival of Literature). The video has not yet been released in other venues but he kindly submitted his poem and his reading of it first - to Axis of Logic. We publish it now, during this second anniversary of the Israeli war on Gaza in December, 2008 and January, 2009.

- Les Blough, Editor

A Poem for Gaza

 

I never knew death

until I saw the bombing

of a refugee camp

craters

filled with
    
dismembered       legs

and splattered torsos

but no sign of a face

the only impression

a fading scream

 

I never understood pain

until a seven-year-old girl

clutched my hand

stared up at me

with soft brown eyes

waiting for answers

 

I didn’t have any

I had muted breath

and dry pens in my back pocket

that couldn’t fill pages

of understanding or resolution

 

in her other hand

she held a key

to her grandmother’s house

but I couldn’t unlock the cell

that caged her older brothers

they said:

we slingshot dreams

so the other side

will feel our father’s presence!

 

a craftsman

built homes in areas

where no one was building

 

when he fell
silence

a .50 caliber bullet
tore through his neck
shredding his vocal cords
too close to the wall
his hammer
must have been a weapon
he must have been a weapon
encroaching on settlement hills
and demographics
 
so his daughter
studies mathematics
 
seven explosions
times 
eight bodies
equals
four congressional resolutions
 
seven Apache helicopters
times
eight Palestinian villages
equals
silence and a second Nakba
 
our birthrate
minus
their birthrate
equals
one sea and 400 villages re-erected
 
one state
plus  
two peoples
…and she can’t stop crying
 
never knew revolution
or the proper equation
tears at the paper
with her fingertips
searching for answers
but only has teachers
looks up to the sky
to see Stars of David
demolishing squalor
with Hellfire missiles
she thinks back
words and memories
of his last hug
before he turned and fell
now she pumps
dirty water from wells
while settlements
divide and conquer
and her father’s killer
sits beachfront
with European vernacular
 
this is our land!, she said
she’s seven years old
this is our land! she doesn’t need history books
or a schoolroom teacher
she has these walls
this sky
her refugee camp
 
she doesn’t know the proper equation
but she sees my dry pens
no longer waiting for my answers
just holding her grandmother’s key
searching
for ink

*Remi Kanazi is a poet, writer, and the editor of Poets For Palestine. His new collection of poetry & CD Poetic Injustice: Writings on Resistance and Palestine is due out in late January. For more information, visit Poetic Injustice.

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