Inshallah

It was easy to forget,

too easy, in fact

though I remembered from time to time,

I still forgot

and I promised I would never forget,

promised I would be back before long,

Inshallah,

but I forgot

and this summer will be four years,

and I’ve yet to return

but I want to

and have wanted to

and I feel so damn helpless

and it hurts to think about

and it’s not fair,

they’re good people

I know that life’s not fair,

but still…

they deserve justice

and I know

there are countless other places to go,

people to meet,

there are countless other people suffering

but they’re family now

they took me in

from chain-smoking on the sidewalk

and offered me coffee,

dinner,

and family

and the days

and the weeks flew by too fast

and goodbye was hell

and I promised I would be back

and Nasim said, “everyone says they’ll be back”

and that hurt

because right then

I wasn’t sure if I believed my own words

and I know he wanted to…

and things weren’t great that summer

but they’ve gotten worse

and worse

by the year

and lately by the day

and since that summer

I haven’t been back

and Nasim got out last summer

just as shit was hitting the fan,

living in poverty now in Eastern Europe

trying to help his family

himself

and his people

and he was alone and forsaken

when we last spoke,

with an expired visa

and expiring hope for a better life

for more than a refugee camp

and broken dreams,

and now his family is broken

and he needs help

and money is a shitty substitute for action

perhaps better only than prayers

in that it actually got him the insurance card and visa

and food in his belly,

but I had forgotten…

life got in the way

and I’ve yet to return

and I still intend to…

to break bread with this beautiful family again,

in this beautiful

but sad and desolate place

this prison with all but bars and shackles,

but time keeps moving,

more land keeps vanishing

more babies keep growing up

into yet another generation with no reason to hope,

more elders keep dying with broken hearts and dreams

erasing history,

erasing memories of beautiful homesteads

and olive farms,

leaving only symbolic keys

hanging by thinner and thinner thread

to a place long ago destroyed.

If I could trade places with him I would,

If I could self-immolate on the white house lawn

to end their collective suffering

I would do it right now

but I can’t

and Western-Unioning money

to a forgotten brother

in a far off land

who is homesick for a sick home

only makes me more ashamed to be human

to live in a world where Isaac slowly suffocates Ishmael

while the rest of the family eats settlement hummus

and stolen olives

and pretends that some lives matter less

or not at all,

pretends that history doesn’t rhyme…

and I lay awake now thinking back

to black coffee

and two packs

of cheap Palestinian cigarettes a day

and my soul dying from bearing witness to this madness

but my heart growing from seeing the love

this beautiful family has for each other

and the love they showed me

as I stood there chain smoking

on the sidewalk

in their refugee camp

and Nasim knew I was lost,

and when I was hungry they gave me to eat

and I can’t look at a Christmas tree

or Christmas lights

without thinking of that modern day manger,

surrounded by walls of cascading concrete

surrounded by hate

trying their best to hold on to love

and I will be back…

and I will never forget…

Inshallah.

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About soitgoes1984

I was born and raised on land stolen from the Pocumtuc. I now live on a small island in the middle of the Pacific ocean, on land that was stolen more recently, from the Hawaiians. I am addict, struggling to kick the habit of fossil fuel.
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