Conversation Continued: Homeland

By Jehan Bseiso

Cemeteries in Palestinian Camps Short on Space

The cemeteries are full –
In Lebanon, Jordan, Syria
We will soon bury Palestinians above ground.
Nowhere to live and now,
No quiet place to die, with dignity.
Raise high the beams – carpenters, death architects.
Soon, your walls will reach the sky.

Gaza 2009

For Abu Ali Mahdi, who
After 20 years in Israeli prisons
Died of heartbreak in his own bed,
In Beirut.
For Du’aa, and Ala’a and Mohammed,
Who spoke to the Al Jazeera reporters about
Mama dead and baba dead and no home
And no bread. Nobody to break the bread with.
And nights so long you forget there ever was light
Or day.
For all of you, who make me proud to be from
this land, and to have these words,
In this language,
Lodged in my throat like bricks.
For everyone who has ever said enough.


15th May 2008

What were you doing on the sixtieth anniversary of the Nakba?-smoking a cigarette, counting dust, watching family guy, painting my toes hot pink and for lunch turkey and cheese, and for dinner soup and for breakfast nobreakfast- wearing this scarlet letter on my chest forever.

On the phone to an ex-boyfriend, carrying the legacy of exodus inside this Chanel bag, waiting for this day to pass this moment to pass, shouldn’t be this hard to remember if you can’t forget.
What were you doing on the sixtieth anniversary of the Nakba? I was counting your toes under the sheets, 10 toes, 60 years ago it was a Friday morning when it all went to hell, on a day as beautiful as this.
– Jehan Bseiso contributed this poem to Contact her at:

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