art of resistance, Israel, Israeli - Palestinian conflict, Palestine

First Intifada and the verses of Suheir Hammad.

This post is a fusion of the First Intifada scanned photos (collected by Palestinian Photo Club) and the poetry of Suheir Hammad, an American poet, author and political activist. Hammad was born in AmmanJordan. Her parents were Palestinian refugees who immigrated along with their daughter to New York when she was five years old. Her heritage is an important part of her work and her poetry particularly.

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Land

his approach 
to love he said
was that of a farmer
most love like
hunters and like
hunters most kill
what they desire
he tills
soil through toes
nose in the wet
earth he waits
prays to the gods
and slowly harvests
ever thankful

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What I will

I will not
dance to your war
drum. I will
not lend my soul nor
my bones to your war
drum. I will
not dance to your
beating. I know that beat.
It is lifeless. I know
intimately that skin
you are hitting. It
was alive once
hunted stolen
stretched.

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I will
not dance to your drummed
up war. I will not pop
spin beak for you. I
will not hate for you or
even hate you. I will
not kill for you. Especially
I will not die
for you. I will not mourn
the dead with murder nor
suicide. I will not side
with you nor dance to bombs
because everyone else is
dancing. Everyone can be
wrong. Life is a right not
collateral or casual. I
will not forget where
I come from. I
will craft my own drum. Gather my beloved
near and our chanting
will be dancing. Our
humming will be drumming. I
will not be played. I
will not lend my name
nor my rhythm to your
beat.

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 I will dance
and resist and dance and
persist and dance. This heartbeat is louder than
death. Your war drum ain’t
louder than this breath.

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Daughter (excerpt)

tonight it is raining in
the tradition of my parents
wanted a daughter not a writer
happy birthday poet
who loves you baby
the way your mama did
under her breast the way your
father did under his breath
leaves and leaving have known
my name intimately
i harvest pumpkins
to offer the river eat
buttered phoenix meat
to celebrate a new year
new cipher for my belly

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i got a new name
secret nobody knows
the cold can’t call me
leaving won’t know 
where to find me 
october gonna hide me
in her harvest in
her seasons
happy birthday daughter
of the falling

All Suheir Hammad’s works (read and read!):

  • Born Palestinian, Born Black. Harlem River Press, 1996
  • Drops of This Story Harlem River Press, 1996.
  • Zaatar Diva Cypher Books, 2006
  • Breaking Poems Cypher Books, 2008
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