Boston & Bethlehem

I have friends in Boston

and when I’m on the phone with them

I get all the latest gossip

I find out who got married

and who had a kid

who bought a new house

and who got a new job

and he is a lawyer now

and she is a doctor now

and so and so got Red Sox season tickets

and so and so went to Italy

for their honeymoon

and so and so bought a beach house

on the Cape

and so and so’s neighborhood

is being gentrified

and so and so is banging dope

and so and so just got out of rehab

and so and so just got a DUI

and so and so just got arrested

for a drunken bar fight

and so and so just got pulled over again

for driving while black

and so and so just got laid off

and so and so didn’t get a promotion

and so and so got a divorce

and so and so is going through a rough patch

and so and so is back at the shelter

at Government Center

and so and so is back in the psych ward

at the Brockton VA

and so and so quit their job

to live out of a backpack for a while

they’re trying to find themselves

and you can follow their blog

if you’d like

they’re in Vietnam at the moment.

I have friends in Bethlehem

and when I’m on the phone with them

I get all the latest gossip

I find out who got married

and who had a kid

and so and so lost an eye to rubber bullet

and so and so got a traumatic brain injury

from a teargas canister shot at close range

and so and so was shot in the stomach

and so and so was shot in the back of the head

I find out who is alive

and who is dead

and who lost all their olive trees

when settlers burned them to the ground

and so and so was lucky enough

to get a work permit

to temporarily pass through apartheid

to scrub shit stains from toilet bowls

on what seems like the other side of the world

but in reality

is just on the other side

of a 9 meter tall concrete wall

nearly the size of the Green Monster

at the Fenway Park in Boston

and I find out who got arrested

trying to sneak past that wall

to the other side

to scrub shit stains from toilet bowls

without a work permit

and I find out who got arrested

for swearing at a soldier at a checkpoint

after the soldier wouldn’t let them through

to visit their dying father in the hospital

in Ramallah

and she is in prison now

and he just got out

and I find out why it is

that my friend hasn’t been able to answer

or call.

It’s always interesting

these phone calls with friends

in such different places

I love them and miss them

and can still see their faces

and can still see the faces

of the other friends they talk about

and in Boston

my friends think everything is so important

and life is so stressful

and when I lived in Boston

I thought everything was so important

and life was so stressful

but in Bethlehem

what’s important is the present

and how can you be stressed

when you’re drinking delicious tea

in the dining room with family

even though there aren’t enough photographs

to cover all the bullet holes in the walls

and even though there aren’t enough children left

to fill all the chairs at the table

and even though the children that are left

are far too young for their 1,000 yard stare

and, when I was there

I learned from that beautiful family

to enjoy the moment at hand

and enjoy every sip of tea

because, that’s what their other children

the political prisoners

and the dead

would want to see

along with, of course

a world that is free

from checkpoints,

from soldiers

and from 30 foot walls

and I always feel so free

every time my friend from Bethlehem calls

and I remember

what it was like

living in the shadows

of the wall

on what seems like

the other side of the world

but I am not free

and I will never be

until that oppressive wall crumbles to the ground

and until all walls crumble to the ground

until systems of oppression

all fall down

from apartheid in Palestine

to economic apartheid in Boston

until then

I will remain with my friends

in the shadows,

though I will enjoy every sip of tea.

I have friends in Boston

and in Bethlehem

and they all have their problems

but their problems are different.

There are walls in Boston

and some of them are economic

and some of them are racial

and one is at a baseball park.

There are walls in Bethlehem

literally walls, 30 feet tall.

With the exception of the wall at Fenway Park

all walls from Boston to Bethlehem

all walls from the US to Palestine

need to come down

both the literal

and figurative ones

and it’s beyond absurd

that we even consider

building new ones.

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. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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