The Old Place

 

 

Ordinarily, the sun swerves the time across,

Slowly. A change of light may move the shadows.

Here, shadows turned the light:

 

The living room – in her absence, a strange epithet –

In which we filled in silent conversations

Like crossword blanks,

 

Where once she sat, she drew with a cigarette

The grey area: that my strength always lied

On the further side of frailness.

 

And from her, I only inherited cheekbones,

An empty decanter, and a tremendous

Love of weakness.

 

 

 

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“When a Palestinian child draws a sky nowadays, he will not draw it without a helicopter.”

 

 

 

A single blob of sun, round as a thumbprint,

Yellow like headache against the blue.

Maybe a tree, a cloud of green, caught

By a thick brown arm, held like a fruit.

Overhead, a bird, perhaps, drones by

As innocent and commonplace as death.

 

And that thumb of sun, that yellow disc:

Its rays are propellers.

 

 

 

The title is a quote from Avi Dichter, former Israeli Minister of Internal Security. It is perhaps the most unsettling sentence I have read during my Masters degree in Security and Justice, thus far. 

 

 

 

Syrian Jewels

 

 

We thought that we’d found diamonds, in the sand:

Fragments without colour in the hand.

 

Only to discover, in the hard

White face of it, the daggers of a shard,

 

The blasted sand turned glass, its broken sift;

The firestorm leaving fractals of a gift.

 

The crater scorched the desert into mirror,

Death’s diamonds, mere reflections of their terror.

 

 

Shame in the Blood

 

Shame: shame in the blood.

The ghost in my veins of

The man before you, and

The man before him, and

The death in between.

Ghosts: shame in the blood.

 

Rich with impurity,

Lead in the pipes that

Drove an empire mad.

Madness: shame in the blood.

 

Rot in the thick, ripe

Root, is the coppery

Taste as I say it.

Rot: shame in the blood.

 

By a curse afflicted,

By the itch that hands can

No longer scratch:

Itch: shame in the blood.

 

Leper without bells. Pariah

Without town walls. Dark red

Mark in the veins, of the

Man before you, and the

Man before him: the death in between.

Shame: shame, in the blood.