In Spirit

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Posted by Esperanza from ( on Friday, February 28, 2003 at 11:56PM :

In Spirit

This is not a struggle between the US and Iraq.

This is a struggle of the powerful whites

Against the voiceless browns.

This is a struggle of the overweight and well-fed

Against the chronically malnourished and starving.

This is a struggle of the rich and famous

Against the outcast and dispossessed.

This is a struggle in the spirit of Christopher Columbus,

Who killed, enslaved and colonized natives

For the Spanish empire,

only this time, George Bush is sailing an Israeli ship

towards well-chartered territory.

This is a struggle for civil rights

In the spirit of our enslaved brothers and sisters

Under a white supremacist yoke.

This is not a struggle between East and West,

Islam and Christianity, or civilizations.

This is a struggle of corporate life

For the air and earth of another people.

It has everything to do with the IMF and World Bank

Tightening their white, well-dressed hands around the necks

Of more and more colored peoples ancestral lands;

Take off the suit and the skin is clear: Economic slavery,

In the spirit of our grandfather’s beating their “property” on the cotton plantations.

This is not about oil or votes or simple anecdotes

But of white supreme-ism, western colonizing, IMF enslavement,

Rich fuckers killing the poor by dysentery, water-born diseases, and starvation.

Think about that next time you order your Big Mac.

The struggle doesn’t end there.

The US soldiers in Iraq: What language will they be speaking

to the people they are killing, rebuilding, monopolizing?

While the ears they are yappin’ at won’t understand a thing.

You see, it’s a lingual thing as well.

English is the tongue everybody has to know

Or they're left out on the street, far away from all the show.

English: The language of domination, spoken by the latest colonizers

Trotting all the world around.

But I don’t want to get on board

‘Cuz your train will soon be swept up

By the pages of the hist’ry books

And those on board will be lookin’

As the naked, timid, hungry ones they are.

They will soon have to see that they are not so far


From those their killing.

Link the issues or you will fade away.

Fade away and you become accomplices.

February 20, 2003

Brian Wood


A Moment of Silence for 9/11

By Emmanuel Ortiz, 9/11/02

Before I start this poem, I'd like to ask you to
join me in a moment of silence in honor of those who
died in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon last
September 11th.

I would also like to ask you to offer up a moment of
silence for all of those who have been harassed,
imprisoned, disappeared, tortured, raped, or killed in
retaliation for those strikes, for the victims in both
Afghanistan and the U.S.

And if I could just add one more thing...

A full day of silence for the tens of thousands of
Palestinians who have died at the hands of
U.S.-backed Israeli forces over decades of occupation.

Six months of silence for the million-and-a-half Iraqi
people, mostly
children, who have died of malnourishment or
starvation as a result of
an 11-year U.S. embargo against the country.

Before I begin this poem, two months of silence
for the Blacks under Apartheid in South Africa,
where homeland security made them aliens in their own

Nine months of silence for the dead in Hiroshima and
Nagasaki, where death rained down and peeled back
every layer of concrete, steel, earth, and skin and
the survivors went on as if alive.

A year of silence for the millions of dead in Viet Nam
- a people, not a war - for those who know a thing or
two about the scent of burning fuel, their relatives'
bones buried in it, their babies born of it.

A year of silence for the dead in Cambodia and Laos,
victims of a secret war ... ssssshhhhh ... Say nothing
... we don't want them to learn that they are dead.

Two months of silence for the decades of dead in
Colombia, whose names, like the corpses they once
represented, have piled up and slipped off our

Before I begin this poem, an hour of silence for El
Salvador ...
An afternoon of silence for Nicaragua ...
Two days of silence for the Guetmaltecos ... None of
whom ever knew a moment of peace in their living

45 seconds of silence for the 45 dead at Acteal,

25 years of silence for the hundred million Africans
who found their graves far deeper in the ocean than
any building could poke into the sky.
There will be no DNA testing or dental records to
identify their remains.

And for those who were strung and swung from the
heights of sycamore trees in the south, the north, the
east, the west ... 100 years of silence ...

For the hundreds of millions of indigenous peoples
from this half of right here,whose land and lives were
stolen, in postcard-perfect plots like Pine Ridge,
Wounded Knee, Sand Creek, Fallen Timbers, or the Trail

of Tears.

Names now reduced to innocuous magnetic poetry on the
refrigerator of our unconsciousness ...
So you want a moment of silence?

And we are all left speechless
Our tongues snatched from our mouths
Our eyes stapled shut
A moment of silence

And the poets have all been laid to rest
The drums disintegrating into dust

Before I begin this poem,
You want a moment of silence
You mourn now as if the world will never be the same
And the rest of us hope to hell it won't be.

Not like it always has been.

Because this is not a 9/11 poem
This is a 9/10 poem,
It is a 99 poem,
A 9/8 poem,
A 9/7 poem
This is a 1492 poem.

This is a poem about what causes poems like this to be
And if this is a 9/11 poem,
Then this is a September 11th poem for Chile, 1971
This is a September 12th poem for Steven Biko in South
Africa, 1977
This is a September 13th poem for the brothers at
Attica Prison, New
York, 1971.
This is a September 14th poem for Somalia, 1992.

This is a poem for every date
that falls to the ground in ashes.

This is a poem for every date
that falls to the ground in ashes.

This is a poem for the 110 stories
that were never told.
The 110 stories that history
chose not to write in textbooks.
The 110 stories that
CNN, BBC, The New York Times, and Newsweek ignored.

This is a poem for interrupting this program.
And still you want a moment of silence for your dead?
We could give you lifetimes of empty:
The unmarked graves
The lost languages
The uprooted trees and histories
The dead stares on the faces of nameless children.
Before I start this poem
we could be silent forever
Or just long enough to hunger,
For the dust to bury us.
And you would still ask us
For more of our silence.

If you want a moment of silence
Then stop the oil pumps
Turn off the engines and the televisions
Sink the cruise ships
Crash the stock markets
Unplug the marquee lights,
Delete the instant messages,
Derail the trains, the light rail transit.
If you want a moment of silence,
Put a brick through the window of Taco Bell,
And pay the workers for wages lost.
Tear down the liquor stores,
The townhouses, the White Houses, the jailhouses,
The Penthouses, and the Playboys.
If you want a moment of silence,
Then take it on Super Bowl Sunday,
The Fourth of July
During Dayton's 13 hour sale

Or the next time your white guilt fills the room
where MY beautiful people have gathered.
You want a moment of silence
Then take it now,
Before this poem begins.

Here, in the echo of my voice,
In the pause between goosesteps of the second hand,
In the space between bodies in embrace,
Here is your silence
Take it.

But take it all.
Don't cut in line.
Let your silence begin at the beginning of crime.
But we, Tonight
We will keep right on singing
For our dead.

by Emmanuel Ortiz 9.11.02
"Where There'z Fear, Freedom Diez.
Where There'z Peace, Freedom Flyz."


self evident
by ani di franco

us people are just poems
we're 90% metaphor
with a leanness of meaning
approaching hyper-distillation
and once upon a time
we were moonshine
rushing down the throat of a giraffe
yes, rushing down the long hallway
despite what the p.a. announcement says>
yes, rushing down the long stairs
with the whiskey of eternity
fermented and distilled
to eighteen minutes
burning down our throats
down the hall
down the stairs
in a building so tall
that it will always be there
yes, it's part of a pair
there on the bow of noah's ark
the most prestigious couple
just kickin back parked
against a perfectly blue sky
on a morning beatific
in its indian summer breeze
on the day that america
fell to its knees
after strutting around for a century
without saying thank you
or please

and the shock was subsonic
and the smoke was deafening
between the setup and the punch line
cuz we were all on time for work that day
we all boarded that plane for to fly
and then while the fires were raging
we all climbed up on the windowsill
and then we all held hands
and jumped into the sky

and every borough looked up when it heard the first blast
and then every dumb action movie was summarily surpassed
and the exodus uptown by foot and motorcar
looked more like war than anything i've seen so far
so far
so far
so fierce and ingenious
a poetic specter so far gone
that every jackass newscaster was struck dumb and stumbling
over 'oh my god' and 'this is unbelievable' and on and on
and i'll tell you what, while we're at it
you can keep the pentagon
keep the propaganda
keep each and every tv
that's been trying to convince me
to participate
in some prep school punk's plan to perpetuate retribution
perpetuate retribution
even as the blue toxic smoke of our lesson in retribution
is still hanging in the air
and there's ash on our shoes
and there's ash in our hair
and there's a fine silt on every mantle
from hell's kitchen to brooklyn
and the streets are full of stories
sudden twists and near misses
and soon every open bar is crammed to the rafters
with tales of narrowly averted disasters
and the whiskey is flowin
like never before
as all over the country
folks just shake their heads
and pour

so here's a toast to all the folks who live in palestine

el salvador

here's a toast to the folks living on the pine ridge reservation
under the stone cold gaze of mt. rushmore

here's a toast to all those nurses and doctors
who daily provide women with a choice
who stand down a threat the size of oklahoma city
just to listen to a young woman's voice

here's a toast to all the folks on death row right now
awaiting the executioner's guillotine
who are shackled there with dread and can only escape into their heads

to find peace in the form of a dream

cuz take away our playstations
and we are a third world nation
under the thumb of some blue blood royal son
who stole the oval office and that phony election
i mean
it don't take a weatherman
to look around and see the weather
jeb said he'd deliver florida, folks
and boy did he ever

and we hold these truths to be self evident:
#1 george w. bush is not president
#2 america is not a true democracy
#3 the media is not fooling me
cuz i am a poem heeding hyper-distillation
i've got no room for a lie so verbose
i'm looking out over my whole human family
and i'm raising my glass in a toast

here's to our last drink of fossil fuels
let us vow to get off of this sauce
shoo away the swarms of commuter planes
and find that train ticket we lost
cuz once upon a time the line followed the river
and peeked into all the backyards
and the laundry was waving
the graffiti was teasing us
from brick walls and bridges
we were rolling over ridges
through valleys
under stars
i dream of touring like duke ellington
in my own railroad car
i dream of waiting on the tall blonde wooden benches
in a grand station aglow with grace
and then standing out on the platform
and feeling the air on my face

give back the night its distant whistle
give the darkness back its soul
give the big oil companies the finger finally
and relearn how to rock-n-roll
yes, the lessons are all around us and a change is waiting there
so it's time to pick through the rubble, clean the streets
and clear the air
get our government to pull its big dick out of the sand
of someone else's desert
put it back in its pants
and quit the hypocritical chants of
freedom forever

cuz when one lone phone rang
in two thousand and one
at ten after nine
on nine one one
which is the number we all called
when that lone phone rang right off the wall
right off our desk and down the long hall
down the long stairs
in a building so tall
that the whole world turned
just to watch it fall

and while we're at it
remember the first time around?
the bomb?
the ryder truck?
the parking garage?
the princess that didn't even feel the pea?
remember joking around in our apartment on avenue D?

can you imagine how many paper coffee cups would have to change their
following a fantastical reversal of the new york skyline?!

it was a joke, of course
it was a joke
at the time
and that was just a few years ago
so let the record show

that the FBI was all over that case
that the plot was obvious and in everybody's face
and scoping that scene
the CIA
or is it KGB?
committing countless crimes against humanity
with this kind of eventuality
as its excuse
for abuse after expensive abuse
and it didn't have a clue
look, another window to see through
way up here
on the 104th floor
another key
another door
10% literal
90% metaphor
3000 some poems disguised as people
on an almost too perfect day
should be more than pawns
in some asshole's passion play
so now it's your job
and it's my job
to make it that way
to make sure they didn't die in vain
baby listen
hear the train?


No to War Rap

Who can deny
The violence of the policies we decry
Inflicted against innocents who defy
The deep lies of our time?

Who can deny the crimes
Committed for line after line of nickel and dime
To the rhythm and rhyme of bullets and mines
Broken by women's' cries?

Bombs explode the ground so the sound
Of the soul that implodes is heard, learned, and told
For before the cannons reload we must break a new mold
And capture in rapture the conscience of the cold--

Bullets dart while bombs dubbed smart rub against
Toddlers in tubs-now tombs
Depleted Uranium looms, the daisy-cutter cracks
Babies' craniums en masse as another mother stutters, taken aback
She wails and-boom
Injustice sets sail and over our voices prevails
Until we make decisions un-reversed by revisions in detail
To derail the hail of hellish weapons dropped on flailing brethren

Dropped over Baghdad, ironclad:
Explosives corrosive to our morality
Conducive to brutality of-who?
The ruling-class crew that
Wipe's Bush's ass squeaky clean like glass while
Callous and crass towards humanity:
American, Iraqi, our universality

Let's grab back from the backstab of humanity's scabs and enemies
Our own dreams and destinies
Against reams of lies
Against screams of 'fire!'
Against hate designed
Against fate maligned

And make good of the common brotherhood that is ours
Before it's devoured by cowards creeping in corners and crevices
Of power
Whose graceless faces grate and turn sour when
We roar:
No to war!

M. Junaid Alam is a student at Northeastern University and a member of the NU Students Against War and Racism Coalition. He can be reached at:


The Children Of Iraq Have Names


November 2, 2002

The children of Iraq have names.
They are not the nameless ones.

The children of Iraq have faces.
They are not the faceless ones.

The children of Iraq do not wear Saddam's face.
They each have their own face.

The children of Iraq have names.
They are not all called Saddam Hussein.

The children of Iraq have hearts.
They are not the heartless ones.

The children of Iraq have dreams.
They are not the dreamless ones.

The children of Iraq have hearts that pound.
They are not meant to be statistics of war.

The children of Iraq have smiles.
They are not the sullen ones.

The children of Iraq have twinkling eyes.
They are quick and lively with their laughter.

The children of Iraq have hopes.
They are not the hopeless ones.

The children of Iraq have fears.
They are not the fearless ones.

The children of Iraq have names.
Their names are not collateral damage.

What do you call the children of Iraq?
Call them Omar, Mohamed, Fahad.

Call them Marwa and Tiba.
Call them by their names.

But never call them statistics of war.
Never call them collateral damage.

David Krieger is president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. His latest book is Choose Hope, Your Role in Waging Peace in the Nuclear Age. He can be contacted at


Drink Delirium

There will be anger
Followed by the deluge.
We know we will be among the drowned.
But we will take the devil with us down
To the deepest of deeps:
Our end will be his...
But slowly... What will be said
Of us when they look back on it all?
What will be said
Of us after the deluge,
After the coming drowning, after the coming anger,
What will be said of us poets and writers?
Were we men in truth,
Or mere shadows?
Fear of the sword,
Made of us something unspeakable --
Except in the vulgar tongue.
What will be said?
Will it be said we chose silence
For fear of death?
The letter has an edge like a sword,
Can turn against its speaker.
What will be said?
Will it be said that we chose to speak in symbols,
Whispers, silent gestures,
In all the arts of coded speech?
We said it all -- in vino veritas,
But people
Had other concerns:
Their daily bread,
A kilo of meat.
You who always come after the deluge:
A plague is a plague --
It always comes on the tail of a famine.
It snatched your daughter, and many other daughters
As the wolf was standing guard.
I hereby solemnly swear, Maqrizi,
Not to leave this world
Without scandal.
I ask no one for justice:
True justice is not to be begged.
Our judges are high priests,
Our high priests are distant
And all are traitors.
Let someone else write poetry,
I am writing the Chronicles of Maqrizi.
I drink, day
And night I drink.
Sinking... I sink into my depths.
There I see him,
In my heart a holy pearl,
Even if a giant mountain falls upon it.
When I sober up, I float to the surface, lose my pearl.
Was it lost? No. It was me who was lost--
When I sobered up I floated to the surface.
For sure the pearl is down there in the depths...
It is between two thighs, trampled under feet
Shod in military or civilian boots,
Under the wheels of petro-dollar cars.
Usually I drink from two glasses...
My comrade in the madhouse died.
He used to share my drink
And share my grief.
We had no time for joy:
He used to share my past anger,
And present anger -- and that to come.
Usually I drink from two glasses,
The second to toast him.
But tonight I drink from one glass:
It seems my friend, upon his death,
Had given up drinking;
Or maybe it was me who gave up.
Then let me drink to giving up drinking
Until the last of all the Noahs' arks has left
With all those who will be saved from the coming deluge.
I sink and sink
And see in my glass
Monkey fornicating with rat
Or rat fornicating with wolf
Or wolf with owl.
Maqrizi's daughter is lost
In the plague
And the plague always comes on the tail of a famine,
When prices are measured against a kilo of meat,
Even the price of writers, novelists, poets,
Artists and scientists,
When the stuff of the dreams of the poor is meat;
And fuul beans,
Fruit for the masters.
I recall a poet's saying:
I shall sleep not to see
My country being bought and sold.
Then drink from two glasses,
Or, if you wish, drink from one.
If my death cannot be driven away,
Then let me engage with it
With what I have at hand.

- Naguib Surur

Translated by Mona Anis and Nur Elmessiri
Extracted from the Faris Akhir Zaman (Knight of Our Time) collection of poetry; published in Naguib Surur's Complete Works, vol. 4, General Egyptian Book Organization: Cairo, 1997

* Naguib Surur's son, Shohdy Naguib (Al-Ahram Weekly's webmaster), was arrested in the early hours of Thursday November 22 from his home in Sayeda Zeinab, Egypt.. Security forces raided his house at dawn, confiscated his computer and took him to Al-Sayeda Zeinab police station. According to Naguib, he's accused of posting the above poem, online, by his late father Naguib Surur, the renowned poet, playwright, actor and controversial figure. More on this story here.



gather around

you love seekers

it is time to set the fire in your breast

the thieves of

your souls and saffron

have rampaged your towns

for eight hundred years

stealing from you

days and celestial nights

taken the earth

and the ancient roots

to be sold

at the marketplace

of degradation and shame

you have inhaled

their breath of darkness

your heart is poisoned

your eyes can't

travel beyond your toes

your hands are empty

and your feet have no direction

gather around

you love seekers

it is time to set the fire in your breast

bring your caged heart

your tarnished soul

and cleanse them with

the fire of love

take your borrwed rational

your iron intellect

to the dream killers

and stamp them


let all established paradigms die

in the flame of love

and come back to me

with sun in your eyes

mountains in your spines


i will help you

to cross the river

to where

all shades of colors

are in harmony

and as brilliant as


- Abbas Khajeaian


I'll Never Return

I'm the woman who has awoken

I've arisen and become a tempest through the ashes of my burnt children

I've arisen from the rivulets of my brother's blood

My nation's wrath has empowered me

My ruined and burnt villages fill me with hatred against the enemy,

I'm the woman who has awoken,

I've found my path and will never return.

I've opened closed doors of ignorance

I've said farewell to all golden bracelets

Oh compatriot, I'm not what I was

I'm the woman who has awoken

I've found my path and will never return.

I've seen barefoot, wandering and homeless children

I've seen henna-handed brides with mourning clothes

I've seen giant walls of the prisons swallow freedom in their ravenous stomach

I've been reborn amidst epics of resistance and courage

I've learned the song of freedom in the last breaths, in the waves of blood and in victory

Oh compatriot, Oh brother, no longer regard me as weak and incapable

With all my strength I'm with you on the path of my land's liberation.

My voice has mingled with thousands of arisen women

My fists are clenched with the fists of thousands compatriots

Along with you I've stepped up to the path of my nation,

To break all these sufferings all these fetters of slavery,

Oh compatriot, Oh brother, I'm not what I was

I'm the woman who has awoken

I've found my path and will never return.

—Meena (1957-1987)

Meena was the founder of the Revolutionary Association of Women in Afghanistan. Her entire life was dedicated to the service of her people, and most especially her the women of her nation. Her active social work and effective advocacy against the views of the fundamentalists and the puppet regime provoked the wrath of the Russians and the fundamentalist forces alike and she was assassinated by agents of KHAD (Afghanistan branch of KGB) and their fundamentalist accomplices in Quetta, Pakistan, on February 4,1987.


Below is a piece by Palestinian-American writer Suheir Hammad, author of "Born Palestinian, Born Black." Suheir was born and raised in NYC.

1. there have been no words.

i have not written one word.

no poetry in the ashes south of canal street.

no prose in the refrigerated trucks driving debris

and dna.

not one word.

today is a week, and seven is of heavens, gods,


evident out my kitchen window is an abstract


sky where once was steel.

smoke where once was flesh.

fire in the city air and i feared for my sister's

life in a way never

before. and then, and now, i fear for the rest of


first, please god, let it be a mistake, the pilot's

heart failed, the

plane's engine died.

then please god, let it be a nightmare, wake me now.

please god, after the second plane, please, don't

let it be anyone

who looks like my brothers.

i do not know how bad a life has to break in order

to kill.

i have never been so hungry that i willed hunger

i have never been so angry as to want to control a

gun over a pen.

not really.

even as a woman, as a palestinian, as a broken human


never this broken.

more than ever, i believe there is no difference.

the most privileged nation, most americans do not

know the difference

between indians, afghanis, syrians, muslims, sikhs,


more than ever, there is no difference.

2. thank you korea for kimchi and bibim bob, and

corn tea and the

genteel smiles of the wait staff at wonjo the smiles

never revealing

the heat of the food or how tired they must be

working long midtown

shifts. thank you korea, for the belly craving that

brought me into

the city late the night before and diverted my daily

train ride into

the world trade center.

there are plenty of thank yous in ny right now.

thank you for my

lazy procrastinating late ass. thank you to the

germs that had me

call in sick. thank you, my attitude, you had me

fired the week

before. thank you for the train that never came,

the rude nyer who

stole my cab going downtown. thank you for the

sense my mama gave me

to run. thank you for my legs, my eyes, my life.

3. the dead are called lost and their families hold

up shaky

printouts in front of us through screens smoked up.

we are looking for iris, mother of three. please

call with any

information. we are searching for priti, last seen

on the 103rd

floor. she was talking to her husband on the phone

and the line

went. please help us find george, also known as

adel. his family is

waiting for him with his favorite meal. i am

looking for my son, who

was delivering coffee. i am looking for my sister

girl, she started

her job on monday.

i am looking for peace. i am looking for mercy. i

am looking for

evidence of compassion. any evidence of life. i am

looking for


4. ricardo on the radio said in his accent thick as

yuca, "i will

feel so much better when the first bombs drop over

there. and my

friends feel the same way."

on my block, a woman was crying in a car parked and

stranded in hurt.

i offered comfort, extended a hand she did not see

before she said,

"we"re gonna burn them so bad, i swear, so bad." my

hand went to my

head and my head went to the numbers within it of

the dead iraqi

children, the dead in nicaragua. the dead in rwanda

who had to vie

with fake sport wrestling for america's attention.

yet when people sent emails saying, this was bound

to happen, lets

not forget u.s. transgressions, for half a second i

felt resentful.

hold up with that, cause i live here, these are my

friends and fam,

and it could have been me in those buildings, and

we"re not bad

people, do not support america's bullying. can i

just have a half

second to feel bad?

if i can find through this exhaust people who were

left behind to

mourn and to resist mass murder, i might be alright.

thank you to the woman who saw me brinking my cool

and blinking back

tears. she opened her arms before she asked "do you

want a hug?" a

big white woman, and her embrace was the kind only

people with the

warmth of flesh can offer. i wasn't about to say no

to any comfort.

"my brother's in the navy," i said. "and we"re

arabs". "wow, you

got double trouble." word.

5. one more person ask me if i knew the hijackers.

one more motherfucker ask me what navy my brother is


one more person assume no arabs or muslims were


one more person assume they know me, or that i

represent a people.

or that a people represent an evil. or that evil is

as simple as a

flag and words on a page.

we did not vilify all white men when mcveigh bombed


america did not give out his family's addresses or

where he went to

church. or blame the bible or pat robertson.

and when the networks air footage of palestinians

dancing in the

street, there is no apology that hungry children are

bribed with

sweets that turn their teeth brown. that

correspondents edit images.

that archives are there to facilitate lazy and



and when we talk about holy books and hooded men and

death, why do we

never mention the kkk?

if there are any people on earth who understand how

new york is

feeling right now, they are in the west bank and the

gaza strip.

6. today it is ten days. last night bush waged war

on a man once

openly funded by the

cia. i do not know who is responsible. read too

many books, know

too many people to believe what i am told. i don't

give a fuck about

bin laden. his vision of the world does not include

me or those i

love. and petittions have been going around for

years trying to get

the u.s. sponsored taliban out of power. shit is

complicated, and i

don't know what to think.

but i know for sure who will pay.

in the world, it will be women, mostly colored and

poor. women will

have to bury children, and support themselves

through grief. "either

you are with us, or with the terrorists" - meaning

keep your people

under control and your resistance censored. meaning

we got the loot

and the nukes.

in america, it will be those amongst us who refuse

blanket attacks on

the shivering. those of us who work toward social

justice, in

support of civil liberties, in opposition to hateful



i have never felt less american and more new yorker,


brooklyn, than these past days. the stars and

stripes on all these

cars and apartment windows represent the dead as

citizens first, not

family members, not lovers.

i feel like my skin is real thin, and that my eyes

are only going to

get darker. the future holds little light.

my baby brother is a man now, and on alert, and

praying five times a

day that the orders he will take in a few days time

are righteous and

will not weigh his soul down from the afterlife he


both my brothers - my heart stops when i try to pray

- not a beat to

disturb my fear. one a rock god, the other a

sergeant, and both

palestinian, practicing muslim, gentle men. both

born in brooklyn

and their faces are of the archetypal arab man, all

eyelashes and

nose and beautiful color and stubborn hair.

what will their lives be like now?

over there is over here.

7. all day, across the river, the smell of burning

rubber and limbs

floats through. the sirens have stopped now. the

advertisers are

back on the air. the rescue workers are

traumatized. the skyline is

brought back to human size. no longer taunting the

gods with its


i have not cried at all while writing this. i cried

when i saw those

buildings collapse on themselves like a broken

heart. i have never

owned pain that needs to spread like that. and i

cry daily that my

brothers return to our mother safe and whole.

there is no poetry in this. there are causes and

effects. there are

symbols and ideologies. mad conspiracy here, and

information we will

never know. there is death here, and there are

promises of more.

there is life here. anyone reading this is

breathing, maybe hurting,

but breathing for sure. and if there is any light

to come, it will

shine from the eyes of those who look for peace and

justice after the

rubble and rhetoric are cleared and the phoenix has


affirm life.

affirm life.

we got to carry each other now.

you are either with life, or against it.

affirm life.

suheir hammad

-- Esperanza
-- signature .

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