oakland, 25 october 2011

I. second person present

when you are there
nothing else
is real.

tear gas makes you calm
clear-headed
surprisingly
a warm comfortable room
is disorienting

the shaking you feel
is each cell rising up
to protest with you
each person marching
is a cell
in the blood stream
of resistance flowing
steadily

broadway
is a vein

II. first person past

today
i was wadi salib 1959
i was musrara 1971
i was palestine in oakland
like never before i was
all the places
in all the radical histories
i know and don’t know

i heard a trumpet in a marching band
play a tune i recognized
bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao
clapping hands marching feet i gave
away shirts as scarves
to shield faces

today i was a time
place comma date
that some day some one will be
when she is again marching
in the streets and
knowing history
holding it
making
it.

III. future perfect

there is a moment of realization
that a new world
is on the horizon we
work hard for her
slowly, painfully we
recognize

that there is still work
to be done tomorrow we
go home, wash
tear gas out
of our hair
clean our wounds
each other’s wounds

we remind each other:
love yourself
& build
for tomorrow.

 

***

 

oakland poem II

29 october 2011

in an ancient feeling room
now
previously
cops
acting like soldiers
acting like monsters

sound
bang!
waking up
unexpected
non
consensual
bang!

wildly scratching
frantic
at forgotten memories
wild cats scratching
on posters calling
for strike

i can hear helicopters
from here a few
blocks away waiting
war back home
today
in an order like this:
airstrike
rocket
airstrike.

loving
fragmented
love
yourself
sleep in
when you need it.

lightly wounded
news
papers say
who is not
lightly wounded
who does not
need some one
else
to get through
these times?

 

***

 

summon strike poem

2 november 2011

summon streetwise tast talking calling out claimed reclaimed frekha
summon memory bas lo martyrdom
summon ivrit 3arabizi words out of mouth waves
crashing like ocean mother ocean
port flooded with ocean coming from land
backwards like our language we ocean mother
deep ancient power

summon command of language
confidence of narrative write
anakhnu po anakhnu akhshav a-
sha3b yereed asqat a-nizaam

summon the revolution that comes
born from the space between words backwards forwards coming
rushing the ocean falls on the port
a flood a tidal wave
flood lights mishtara shining
we ocean we reflect na7nu elba7r

night sticks on legs walking in train station 19th
12th street closed due to civil unrest could not get inside
night sticks bas gam human beings
night sticks carried by human beings
summon humanity tonight
summon
humanity
tonight
rushing
language
rushing
we here

summon shvita klalit izraab 3am
we did it now
what?

know fear we know fear
summon shoshana circle hair strong voice
command of language confidence of narrative
summon love
one another
in these times we need it
summon safe
in each other
we can.

 

Editor’s note: for more work by Amirah Mizrahi, continue reading after the jump.

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