Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday Poetry: Khalil Nieves


my heart,
today reminds me of the first day of our honeymoon.
the olive flowers are blossoming.
rain falls lightly.

you asked to marry
when the blossoms came.
in the hills above our village.
rain fell lightly that night.

in different times,
we would go
once again
to the hills.
for our twenty-fifth anniversary.

only because of you,
i asked for permission from my keepers,
for a day,
or an afternoon.
just an hour.

but my captor’s laughter
was drowned out by the
screaming as the f-16 fighters
bombed gaza-
for the seventh straight day.

it is summer.
because of the heat
i daydream of
a cup of cold water
from the well for our olive trees,
and think of fahim pruning the olive trees in my absence,
as a lonely dove settles on the razorwire
that encircles muhammad, ali myself
and all of palestine.

muhammad had a picture of our flag
when the soldiers found it
they asked
where is this place?
then they began furiously beating him.

my heart,
surely it is time
ihklas is old enough to marry
and to go to the training camps.
today, muhammad received a letter
an israeli guard refused to let his wife pass
and she gave birth at the checkpoint.
the baby died.

it is fall.
ghazi, our imam
led us in prayers during our 11th ramadan here.
his daughter was not allowed to go for heart surgery.

it is winter.
i break the ice on our water jugs.
across the valley
the apartheid wall lengthens its shadow.

in the evening,
the soldiers cut down the olive trees

to warm themselves.


have already won
in this life
and the next.
have you not heard,
the meek shall inherit the earth.

you have trained torturers to break bone
have cast us into dark dank prisons
stolen the flower of our youth
broken our arms, legs, but never our hearts.
gathered armies to destroy our villages, towns, cities, and countries
but never our will.

from far distances you hurl artillery shells,
from the unseen drop burning bright steel cylinders,
yet, still we rise.

“do not say of those who are martyred that they are dead,
nay, they live.”

still we rise.
our children will take our places.
our grandchildren will read the history of these Dark Ages,
remember us in their prayers,
and our numbers will grow.

we have already won.

--khalil nieves

(Found at Poets Against the War.)


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