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Tuesday, May 08, 2018


by Dennis DuBois

A demonstrator uses a racket to return tear gas canisters fired by Israeli troops during a protest where Palestinians demand the right to return to their homeland, at the Israel-Gaza border in the southern Gaza Strip, May 4, 2018. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

Not to worry, my friend, nothing
will be asked of you,
but for a moment with your ears open,
to read between the lines.
it is only an intellectual exercise, something
one does to feel good
about oneself, and if you can have it
without risking the moral station
you occupy or an iota
of your accumulated wealth,
all the better. Rest easy
and breathe. Listen:
acre by acre they steal our homeland,
parsed into Bantustans, residence by residence,
they evict or bulldoze our homes.
They destroy our infrastructure, our mosques,
our schools, sanitation facilities.
Denied medical care, we die at the turnstiles,
Our organs transplanted into their people.
The men hide as they are marked.
The women march, children throw stones.
Snipers react with bullets. Tear gas canisters
aimed and fired intentionally
mangle protestors’ faces, eyes go black.
State of the art weapons and bombs
are dropped on us. The air reeks
of what has been lost, of unrecovered bodies,
buried in bombed out buildings.
Our celebrated youth disallowed
travel to collect awards.
Fisherman are attacked
to cut off food supplies.
They reroute and confiscate
aide-bearing ships.
Near and far they track and assassinate
our leaders.They denigrate us,
call us rats, and kill us with impunity
They pull up the roots, set alight
three hundred year old olive trees.
They arrest, jail, and torture our children.
They poison our drinking water, bomb our hospitals.
They remind us of the German pogroms
Even as they do the same to us—
They want it all, all of it,
and they don’t care where we go, but not here,
not in our historical homeland.
What have I to lose? Have I not
already lost everything?
If your heart breaks, or if a feeling of helplessness
overtakes you, it is a start,
a place to cleave toward one another.
The world sometimes offers a lukewarm shoulder,
but solidarity without shared pain,
an intellectual exercise.

Dennis Dubois holds a Master’s Degree in social work and has worked to help others for decades, while writing poems along the way. He has published poems in Bee Museum, Curved House, The Projectionist’s Playground, Runcible Spoon, and MessageinaBottle. He is preparing a collection of poems and a first work of fiction. He is an American expatriate living in Copenhagen.