From Every Land, the People Stand With Gaza

[In cities and towns worldwide, protests have been raised in solidarity with the people of Gaza.  Many such protests have faced police attacks with clubs and gas, and media condemnation and slanders that standing with Palestinians is somehow anti-Semitic or terrorist.  Yet, still we march in anger at Israel’s precision targeted killing of hundreds of civilians, hundreds of children, who are trapped in the world’s largest open air prison with nowhere to escape the Israeli bombs.  And the solidarity takes many forms as the false legitimacy of the settler-colonial regime shreds, hour after hour.  In  California, poets established a Facebook group, Artists Against Attacks on Gaza, asking poets to write to and for the names of the dead in Gaza (see http://972mag.com/nobody-should-be-a-number-names-of-those-killed-in-gaza/93274/).  devorah major, the 3rd San Francisco Poet Laureate (in 2003), wrote the following, which, she says, is a poem without end.  — Frontlines ed.]

———————————————-

calling the dead

start to read the names and ages

Abed whose name means worship

was a  year  younger than my son

and the forgiving Samih

perhaps his one year old child

the baby of  seven of the Jarad  family

who died together on a Friday

day of prayer as a tank

bombarded their home

Amjad most glorious one

was as old as my grandson

did he too have a smile

that lit the musty  crevices

of a jaded cynic’s heart

he died on a day of play

with his teen aged brothers

probably holding him close

telling him not to fear

as they stifled their own trembling

and death screeched through their home

the names are like bird songs

as i read them out loud

Salam of peace

Zeinab the fragrant plant

Alaa exalted and full of faith

Ranim at eighteen months

her name is itself

a musical tone

maybe found in the lullaby her

father sang as he rocked her in his arms

that night when they died together

my tears flow salt full and bitter

but i know  there is no

purpose in my distant despair

these names tell a story

the story of  my family

i go up and down the list

trying to find some solace

some small victory

In all the mayhem

but all i can find is tears

and howls and fury

i try to piece together the families

is she a sister or wife

is he uncle or father

is she grandmother or aunt

they had certainly prayed that last day

but was there too a moment of laughter

in the face of  the wrenching barbarism

did they proudly raise their voices

in song tell each other stories

of  glory and victory

did they find courage

nobility

quiet

in the rubble made

of their homes their schools

their temples

their hospitals

their corner of a country

their rich full  lives

does it even matter

that a half a world away

is a woman who loved them

and voices their names

as she honors their

struggle and cries for their loss

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