Saturday, March 19, 2011

Itamar: a Poem by Matt White

Matt White, a student in Tikvah; The Zionist Voice at UC Berkeley wrote this poem . It debuted March16 at a candlelight vigil in memory of murdered Fogel family of Itamar, Israel. We are honored and humbled to re-print it here.


thank you to Suheir Hammad for your words to inspire me
Sweet and acidic like a perfect grapefruit
a blood orange

Gentlemen, let us bless
“May it be your will, Hashem, our G-d,
that there be no distress, grief,
or lament
on this day
of our contentment”

Red rooftop white wall blind sunlight bright
soft skies in haze on Shomron
hilltops and pine groves dot this
village cautious advanced upon by shrubs and bushes
fennel, sage, thistle, za’atar
shimmy in a circle around Itamar
cactus soldiers in a wild common battalion
fragrant handful clutch soil realization belonging
Homeland herbs

Desert wind you carry the spices of Solomon
Desert sand you twirl and strangle
Desert veil you shroud a beloved
Desert eyes made now of glass

Shabbat queen
Shabbat mother Shabbat bride
Her garments torn on jujube thorn
Her gullet roars no sound to mourn
Dare break the silence day seven shorn

Children are dead no hero was born
Massacre you shalom ’aleikhem
Butcher you yedid nefesh
Shabbat woman
Cannot wail cannot tear her hair
Her sleep was robbed her bed invaded her joy drained of fluid her

Prayers jewels treasures nightmares
Sleep is robbed of Shabbat woman she cannot
Sleep again cannot give herself in
To rest cannot
Sleep no more
Crystal shrapnel on challah cover

How can she seek to give comfort
because Jew father
in bed with Zionist entity baby girl
Her purple tiny custom-made hoodie embraces his
blue jacket with white striped sleeves
trying to sleep
Because in her three months she
could but cry out that she
demanded to grow
can never say a first word because
slashed throats don’t speak
they only bleed
only bleed

Shabbat woman how can she seek to give comfort
mother is cut open on the bathroom floor
because she hid her hair in her tikhel for the world to not see
her grace
just as in Ramallah
a doppelganger hides her hair in her
hijab for the world to not see
her beauty

because sour iron ruby pool surrounds and soaks this crumpled kippah
because preteen boy child is slapped down on his back
with holes in his flesh
a criminal for being indigenous
did you know that a heart can boil

did you know that doves have dirty infected wings
that three year old has a knife enter his heart twice to stop it
that three year old neck must be racist
because it was designed white
that three year old neck was hacked apart
vocal cords already
know how to dare speak
"am yisrael khai”

because it ain’t no disgusting accident
ain’t no human shield
ain’t no clear and present danger
ain’t no violent threat
ain’t no combatant in a war which has sides
ain’t no terrorist with bombs as a breastplate

Shabbat woman what power have you
against Gush Katif evacuation catastrophe
against orange groves being chopped down and used as space for
Hamas rocket launchers
against a retreat with hands held steady above our heads
that translated into metal rain for a decade in the life of southern Israel
that introduced civilians to the words Katyusha, Kassam, Grad
what power have you to weep
when refugees from ethnic cleansing
find themselves converted to corpses in the wilderness of Itamar

Shabbat woman please try to caress the face of
the survivor Yishai
because he’s two years old
and he has blood caked and spattered on his legs
and he screams for his parents to wake up
because he screams and cannot be quieted
try to caress his face
because his mother will never again be able to do just that

tell Tamar and Roi that there is no justification for terrorism
that their lives are a miracle
that were they found they would have been murdered too

a family of Jews

Dalaal al-Mughrabi
hijacks a bus in the second week of March 1978 Israel
murders thirty seven
murders from them thirteen children
murders credibility to the Palestinian cause

and in the second week of March 2011 Israel
while Itamar weeps until salt claws at its eyelids
al-Bireh devotes
its largest town square
to Dalaal al-Mughrabi
to her name
to her memory
to her hate
and the children of the family Fogel
are stabbed in the heart again and again

Salam Fayyad
Mahmoud Abbas
you whisper in my ear that you want peace
you tell me on your government-controlled TV idiot box bullshit that you want peace
My peace has no knives
My peace has no shrouding of the map of Israel
My peace has no networks broadcasting glorifying a previous batch of Itamar murderers
My peace has no political party of my own design claiming responsibility for murder
My peace has no Fatah lies
My peace gauges no party as moderate just because the alternative is worse
My peace has no incitement to murder
My peace has no terrorists

To the people the world has sent into damnation such to be “settlers”
who CNN and Al-Jazeera would rather call “settlers” than human beings
who Western media can’t see as innocent victims in their homeland but rather the fact that they had it coming to them
that this was an “alleged” terror attack

People who stand in defiance to a world that no longer cares about slaughtered Jews

I dare you to live

And I shriek out to the lone few of you who
pour tar and kerosene and feces on peace negotiations
and you’re craven enough to do it
in the name of Judaism and Israel and Zionism

I shriek out to you
My Judaism has no reprisal attacks
My Israel has no threatening the lives of innocent Palestinian townsfolk
My Zionism has no smashing car windshields
No invasion of property to throw stones in a third racist intifada
No demonstrations with signs saying “death to Arabs”
My Zionism burns with pride and kisses the cheek of the
Civilian in the neighboring town of Awarta
who speaks in Arabic
and declares the injustice of killing babies

Give me your hand as I look into your eyes I don’t care what color they are because to me they are beautiful they are gorgeous because they and I thirst to be loved my Muslim Christian agnostic atheist Arab raceless brothers and sisters

Palestinian people I want to dance to the beat of your darbuka
I beg you to listen when I say
My peace has no pastries and candy passed out on the streets of Rafah
To celebrate an infant having the breath sliced out of her

Hamas of Gaza your candy tastes like Iranian warheads
Your candy tastes like shells and mortars
Your candy tastes like a crown of thorns
Your candy tastes like charred bones and howling blood
Your candy tastes like the murder of my people
And your residents tell me joy is a “natural response” to the murder of Israelis

I’m sick I’m so sick I want to vomit I surf on waves of nausea I
spill my words like Tishbi wine into internationally deaf ears I
can’t process my thoughts when the United Nations is controlled by maniacs I
feel so abandoned when evil tyranny anti-Semitism can thrive

I light my candle for Rabbi Udi
for Ruti
because they now have no tikhel no blue jacket with white striped sleeves
because they now are clothed in black and white tallitot

I light my candle for Yoav
for Elad
for baby Hadas
because there are three tiny coffins in Givat Shaul
that the world doesn’t give a fuck to see

I light my candle because nobody is going to do it for me

I don’t want no houses built in their honor

I don’t want martyrdom to be answered with human growth I don’t want martyrdom to be used for political purposes even if it makes us seem weak maybe we don’t always have to have muscles maybe the desiccated byproduct of a jihadist genocidal mentality can’t be in dialogue with concrete maybe I want their souls done tangible justice I’ve given up on humans for the time being I want to see olive trees and rotem flower bloom in their name I want to see pomegranates fresh fragrant in their memory I want to see lemon blossoms sticky with nectar in their love I want to see the children in Nablus and Jenin given books explaining with truth how we’re cousins in genes and phantasms all of us and how resplendent this friendship alone on our ship our ship bamidbar in the wilderness of our land isolated vessel how children have futures in medicine art healing for all the times they were told to strap magazines pregnant with bullets across their small frail chests and denied life to others and in so doing were abused denied dreams themselves because knife tangible knife silver blade cutting throats equals knife invisible indoctrination hungry devouring brains intellect hope future washed away in milk in chalk in plasma screen violets scream in suicide

I hold gingerly between fingers limp a natural growth
With a drop of blood
A white cyclamen
With a drop of blood
I’m scrubbing I’m scrubbing oh G-d they’re trying to make out of me
Lady Macbeth
I scrub and scrub until my hands fall off and I go insane

The dolls children left on the floor and did not tidy up
Are frozen with their beatific smiles
They cannot play without a partner

Shabbat queen
Shabbat mother Shabbat bride
Shabbat woman
your eyes
because next Shabbat
I want peace