Preoccupied in Palestine – Poems

An old Palestinian woman and a Nakba survivor sitting in front of her humble dwelling in the Shati Refugee Camp in the besieged Gaza Strip. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Dennis J. Bernstein

Silent Watch

Speech is out of the question.

she can tell you everything

she needs to with her eyes—

At noon, they are pointing

out a sniper—and his shadow—

watching us eat lunch

through a telescopic lens.


The Brains of Resistance

(The Battle of Jenin: West Bank, April 2002.)

The soldier’s bullet

blew the boy’s brain

clean from his skull.

The medic scooped it up

and placed it on the stretcher

next to the boy’s still-warm corpse.

It seemed to the medic

that the boy’s brain

was still firing off orders,

still gathering up stones—

hurling his hardened poems

at the tanks of occupation.


A Locksmith Lament

(Bethlehem, May 2002)

Not much business

for a locksmith in Al Bawadi.

No one loses their keys anymore—

It’s their houses and orchids

of ancient Olive Trees–

and their children–

that keep disappearing.


Mistaken Identities

They blew up an elephant

on the outskirts of Gaza.

They mistook its trunk

for a Hamas Militant,


a grenade launcher.

– Dennis J. Bernstein is an award-winning investigative reporter and the host and executive producer of Flashpoints. He contributed these poems to The Palestine Chronicle.

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
Our Vision For Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders & Intellectuals Speak Out