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Tuesday, February 27, 2007


by Rochelle Ratner

A Lebanese musician has recorded a unique duet
with the Israeli Air Force by recording on the
balcony of his Beirut apartment during a
bombing raid. --Reuters, July 28, 2006

He’s thirty years old. He was born in Lebanon. Israel
invaded when he was three and when he was seven.
He remembers the sounds in the bomb shelters, his
head buried against his mother’s breast. He wanted
to play with a toy horn he’d been given, not with the
other boys. But they said no music, can’t you hear
the bombs? Timing them as if they were
contractions: four minutes and thirty-three seconds.
The first time he heard silence, it was music. The
trumpet he’s crafted himself looks more like a water
pipe. He stands on his balcony. He can hear the
explosions, he can almost smell the flames. He plays
with his eyes closed.

Rochelle Ratner's latest poetry books include Balancing Acts (Marsh Hawk Press, 2006), Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, 2006) and House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003). She is the author of fifteen previous poetry collections and two novels (Bobby’s Girl and The Lion’s Share) both published by Coffee House Press). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage.