So Brazenly Selfish … a poem by m. dennis paul

So Brazenly Selfish a poem by m. dennis paul

So Brazenly Selfish
Facing mortality is something one rejects in youth
questions as time passes and those around us fade away
then embraces as years show their harsh rewards

It seems this should thus be

Knowing there is an expectation of fewer days in my calendar
fewer than I would like
I sometimes worry there may be too few
within which to accomplish a singular dream

Should existence thus be so?

My mind wanders to tiny once beaming faces of children
in Iraq
in Syria
in Palestine
in Yemen
in Mali
and far too many other places on this fading old planet
far too many existences whose moments of time
were too few
calendars too brief
within which to mark their nights and days
of dreams

Still I question
is it not so brazenly selfish
to wish
to pray
…just one more year
for me

—m. dennis paul


World War Three (a poem) by M. Dennis Paul

World War Three (a poem)

by M. Dennis Paul

For the past several weeks, I have been forced

to confront a seemingly ceaseless melancholy

of unknown origin.

Each day, I ask the same question of

the universe..

What is so strong a force that this cloud cannot be rested

from my weary place of existence?

Each day, I see images in my heart that bring tears

for humanity

and this is the only response I receive.

I have dealt with bouts of sadness throughout my life

as, no doubt, have many, many others.

The key, here, is that I have dealt with them.

Solved the puzzling and dispatched the blues post haste.

It is different now.

Dark clouds growing ever darker

and the heaviest of rains

falling upon my hard lifted head.

Looking deeper, as I must, I realize the images

are of a madness so profound that no remedy seems willing.

The eyes of world leaders,

so many I know to be sociopathic

( being polite as possible),

have, of late, become unavoidably recognized

as having become undeniably sinister.

Speeches undeniably concocted in the Ministry of DoubleSpeak and

filled with irrational rationales for death and destruction

on a global scale.

Endless droning of unmanned weapons of murder,

the modern birds of prey,

circle above starving masses and,

tired of the death watch,

extract what little life is left in the betrayed

with poisonous droppings launched

with applauded inaccuracy.

Leaders spitting venom at each other

through angered messengers.

Nations being destroyed and looted with the only reason being

because we can and

the blood of our kills keeps us young and vital.

Families dying of thirst and hunger

as food fills dumpster after land fill.

Families freezing to death, dying of exposure from heat,

from depleted uranium,

from man made gasses

and pools of vile chemical extirpators.

Cops becoming military troops against all sense

and killing with impunity the long minimized

young and tinted.

Hands up-don’t shoot making clearer targets

as opposed to changed thinking and logic.

My heart has been lifted, at times, by the cry of youth

and its return in some surviving elders as they point at the inanity

and inequality

and lack of quality

but soon it is overtaken by

the chemically manipulated,

media lobotomized

mass of fearful and dreadfully ignorant souls

who propagate the planet with inconsolable hunger

for new toys, status or invisibility.

Too many have come to mirror

the thousand mile stares of the insane

or the eyes and minds of the twisted double speakers.

Too many cheering the murders of innocents and innocence.

Too many voting for what they have been trained

to believe

is in their interest.

Too many swallowing ladles of detritus

and grinning in pride.

Happy they got to the trough before others.

Once, many years ago, an elder

veteran of a foreign war

told me he knew the war was coming

not just because of the language leaders were using

or that filtered through media

but because he felt this overwhelming melancholy,

seemingly ceaseless

with reason unknown.

And, he said,

the world as we knew it went to war

and nobody but the makers with their sinister eyes

knew why.



By Nahida

O my O my !

Didn’t I bomb your village to smithereens?

Didn’t I crush your bones last July ?

Didn’t I blow your head up to pieces?

Didn’t I shoot you in the eye?

What are you doing here?

Why are you still alive?

Just tell me why?

* * *

Yes, indeed

You did kill us all


We… forgot… to… die



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Amal, 11 years old.



River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

GROWING small (Originally for Samer and now also for Shireen Issawi)

GROWING small (Originally for Samer and now also for Shireen Issawi)

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This body represents the earth, the sky and water

You cannot exile all these no matter how you try

These hands will not sign papers to appease misguided reason

for your attempt to imprison this body

The only crime is your attempt

Watch me as I grow small

This body does not bend to your injustice

beat it as you will or kill it as my brothers’ before me

You flail and scream at the earth, laugh in the face of the sky

and cast stale bread upon the water

The only crime is your contempt

Watch me as I grow small

To my people you bring suffering through taking

taking what you believe to be your earth, your sky and your water

Stealing whatever they might possess for the short time their hearts beat in this world

except their dignity. their hopes and their dreams

The only crime is your greed

Watch me as I grow small

From my family you took their shelters and trees and fruits of all their labors

you came like a thief in the night to shatter sleep

Tormenting them in ways your phosphorous, and bombs and missles never could

Yet they are earth and wind and water too and you cannot possess them

The only crime is your avarice

Look at me as I grow small

So foolish you are thinking you have walled us in and that we all are prisoners

whether here in your jails or there in our villages

Thinking that only you deserve the earth, the sky and water

Chosen, you think, so all is yours and all others be damned

The only crime is your arrogance

See me as I grow small

Now you look at me and before you is a man half once his size

Your prison jumper hangs from my limbs

cheeks shallow as my eyes

But I am twice the man you will ever be, Netanyahu

and twice that of these guards and all your soldiers

and all the earth and all the sky and all the water will be free

watch me as I grow smaller and slip through

you cannot stop me

…..M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D.

Samih al-Qasim, Palestine’s Lorca

Late Palestinian poet Samih al-Qasim (Photo: Al-Akhar)
Published Thursday, August 21, 2014

The third pillar of Palestinian “resistance poetry” has fallen. 

The first, Tawfiq Ziad, died prematurely in 1994. 
Then Mahmoud Darwish followed, more than a decade later. 
Now, Samih al-Qasim (1939-2014) has closed the curtain on this chapter of Palestinian poetry.
Damascus – The trio were the most prominent of the Poets of the Occupied Territories – as the title of one Nizar Qabbani poem called them. We learned the anthems of Palestine from them, with attention, enthusiasm, and ecstasy, and thanks to them, we were able to form a detailed portrait of Palestine, and her orange, olive, and plum groves. Even their sweet aroma slipped through the borders and the fences of the occupied land along with each poem of his that crossed them.

We learned the anthems of Palestine from them, with attention, enthusiasm, and ecstasy, and thanks to them, we were able to form a detailed portrait of Palestine, and her orange, olive, and plum groves.

Tawfiq Ziad departed our world. Mahmoud Darwish had left his homeland. But Samih al-Qasim remained in Palestine, “Like a Solitary Sword” – to paraphrase from a poem by Amr ibn Ma’adi Yakrib – and retained a sharp tone that accepted no compromise.
Qasim infused a Canaanite spirit into his anthems in a poetical construction that mobilized and incited action. He invoked the eloquence of our ancestors in shoring up his tone of defiance, and his poems often were tributes to Palestine’s geography, which always was the bearing he followed toward freedom.
Samih al-Qasim started out as a communist but he ultimately became a solid Arab nationalist at a time of national weakness and degeneration, and a time where many of his compatriots went on to befriend the enemy. He trimmed his texts from “internationalist illusions,” and “Standing Tall” – as the title of one of his poems declares – and returned to his origins among the country’s bloodied fields.
The poems he produced were not fleeting, but had deep roots that dug into the soil, and left an ineffaceable mark. Their underlying melody was like a marriage of violins and flutes, with an air of good tidings, as though all the defeats, setbacks, and instances of despair were not strong enough to muffle Qasim’s fiery, reverberating voice that forever entrenched the anthems of Palestinian resistance.
With Qasim, there was no distance to speak of between poem and song, and in 1958, he chose the name Aghani al-Durub, or Songs of the Alleys, as the title of his first diwan, or collection of poems. The charge of anger would only increase in the tone of his subsequent and defiant poems, including in “I Carried My Blood on My Palm, I Need No Permission,” and throughout 60 more titles.
His words covered many themes with immense creativity in what is a huge opus of hope in a reborn land, untarnished by the boots of the enemy, and a regenerated, deeply rooted identity, untainted by the mournful sentiments of nostalgia in exile.
Defending his overtly direct style, Qasim once wrote, “It is a bad sonata, but a strong a [musical] march.” Later on, Qasim wrote good sonatas as well. To be sure, not everything Qasim wrote falls under the “resistance poetry” genre, or the praise poetry genre, for which some criticized him. Yet the bloody history of his country was the overarching motif throughout his attempt to archive the collective pain of the Palestinians and his personal anguish, and above that, to tend to his open wound with the balsam of words.
His vast poetic output is often marked by distinct novelty, which goes side by side with his Homeric soul as it wanders between the Sea of Acre and the Negev Desert. Consider for instance how his collection of poems Diwan al-Hamasa [Anthology of Fervor] coexists with unorthodox titles like Ard Murawigha. Harir Kassed. La Baas. [Evasive Land. Sluggish silk. But It’s okay], or Collage.
The book Al-Rasa’il [The Letters] sheds light on other parts of his life. The book contains letters exchanged with his soul-mate Mahmoud Darwish, which capture an astounding dialogue between the homeland under occupation and exile; between hardness and nostalgia; between conscience and injury; and between the themes of captivity and the themes of migration.
Mahmoud Darwish wrote in one letter:
“Never in the history of human robbery, my dear, has anything like this ever happened, with the expulsion from one’s homeland being coupled with the attempted expulsion from one’s self-awareness and identity. It is as though we cannot say what is already said by reality at large, in a way that does not upset the balance of the planet itself. When the occupation becomes the occupier’s ‘sole homeland,’ it becomes required of us to apologize for what should be common sense, and to highlight the elegance of our murder in a way that is sensitive to the reputation of the dagger planted in our flesh.”
In another letter, Samih al-Qasim wrote:
“We are not a branch cut off from our nation’s tree. We are the guardians of its dreams and the bearers of its pure torch.” Later on, Mahmoud Darwish asked him in a tone of despair, “Where is my grave, brother? Where is my grave?” to which Samih replied, “Do not ask me where your grave lies. As long as this cradle remains an unresolved cause, then the grave, too, shall remain an embarrassing question with no answers.”

With Qasim, there was no distance to speak of between poem and song

Yet the theme of death had slipped into Qasim’s work early on. After all, he was the one who wrote Quraan al-Mawt wal Yasmine[the Book of Death and Jasmines] (1971);Al-Mawt Al-Kabir [The Great Death] (1972);Ilahi, Ilahi, Limatha Qataltani [God, God, Why Have You Murdered Me?] (1974); andSa Akhruju Min Sourati Thata Yawm [I Will Leave My Form One Day] (2000).
It was as though this poet’s life was dedicated to calamity, from being detained by the occupation’s forces, to his house arrest, and to being ravaged by cancer that dueled with him for many long years. Palestinian writer Alaa Hlayhel asked him once in a long interview, “Did cancer not break you?” Qasim answered, “I have not been broken but something in me has definitely been bent. But my core has not broken.” With such strong will, Samih al-Qasim led his fragmented life, caught between many barriers, and his poems traversed the borders without losing any of its anger, eloquence, and rebel spirit.
We shall remember vividly that exceptional time when he visited Damascus, years ago, and went to the Yarmouk refugee camp before its recent devastation. He was carried on the shoulders through the camp for seven kilometers, as though the people of the camp wanted to repay him with a different kind of poetic gesture.
In the end, is it only a coincidence that the author of Kitab al-Quds [The Book of Jerusalem] passed away on the same day that Andalusian poet Federico Garcia Lorca had died?
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

I Cannot Shield You From All This Madness (Poem for the beautiful little ones of Palestine)

I Cannot Shield You From All This Madness (Poem for the beautiful little ones of Palestine)

تمزق قلبي، واحد بلدي قليلاً
كما أشاهد الضوء في عينيك الجميلة
الضحك في خطوط وجهك العطاء
في لحظة تغيرت إلى الخوف
الارتباك، فقدان، دموع
وأنا هنا
يتعذر على اتصال لك
لا يمكن أن تقيك من كل هذا الجنون
لا يمكن حماية نفسي من كل هذا الجنون
حتى أشاهد، دموع الحزن، دموع للإفراج عن
مشاهدة الخاص بك تعويم روح لطيف بعيداً عن بلدي تاتش
يشعر بلدي مزق القلب من خلال صدري
واحد بلدي قليلاً
بلدي واحد قليلاً الشجعان
بلدي واحد لطيف قليل

My heart is torn, my little one
as I watched the light in your beautiful eyes
the laughter in the lines of your tender face
in an instant changed to fear
confusion, loss, tears
and I am here
I cannot touch you
Cannot shield you from all this madness
Cannot shield myself from all this madness
So I watch, tears of sadness, tears of release
watch your gentle spirit float away from my touch
feel my heart rip through my chest
my little one
my brave little one
my gentle little one

….M. Dennis Paul

Cinderella Palestine

Posted on  by Nahida Exiled Palestinian

Mama, habibti mama

When you hold me in your arms

Don’t you cry

Hold your tears,  show me your smile

Where I am now, there are no bombs

No bullets shooting, no guns

No more fear and no more pain

All quiet and serene


Mama, habibti mama

When you search where my room once was

If you find my Eid dress

Never to be worn, for I am gone

Don’t be sad, for I am really fine

When you kiss my favourite pink shoes

Don’t cry, the stains on them

My shoes in heaven are rainbow and clean

I can put them on all by myself, now

Then I jump, I float and fly


Mama, habibti mama

If you find baba, when dust and smoke settles down

Tell him not to cry

Hold his hand and say: “your daughter is fine”

Her translucent wings are made of stars

Her dress has no blood stains, no more

Silk with sparkles, her favourite colours, pink, lilac and azure


Mama, habibti mama

When someone gives you my baby brother’s shoes

Don’t let your tears run down

In Heaven he runs, joyous, all smiles

No more fear and no more pain

All quiet and serene

He holds my hand as we hover around

The Thorn of the Most Loving Most Kind


River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

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