1. I have nothing new to say about violence.
It feels sad and electric to see,
By evening, satisfied
some of the policemen
2. Speaking of sad:
the nine year olds wearing Kahana Was Right stickers
otherwise readable as
I Hate Arabs
If only it was just one of them
or just ten of them.
(Let’s don’t spend so much time about how “they”
teach their children hate until “we’ve”
fixed up what’s going down at “home,”
3. Speaking of home:
the man leaning in the stairwell of his house
in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City.
A flood of boys and men with a sprinkling
sweeps past in an unending river of blue surf and white foam
chanting “God, We Love You!”
chanting “The Nation of Israel Lives!”
and sometimes, making explicit the [sort of] implicit
chanting “May Palestine’s Name Be Wiped Out!”
He leans, unmoving, smoking a cigarette
Maybe I’ve watched too many Phillip Morris-
bankrolled Hollywood Flicks
but goddam he looked
4. Speaking of wiped out:
My dear friend tells me
he was once on a Navajo Reservation
On the Fourth of July
Did they protest? I ask
Not that I saw, he says.
They shot fireworks
But this isn’t that.
Metaphors are scrawny animals.
Here isn’t there.
Here they protest
right? Although maybe there
they protested and mourned as well.
By the time the parade arrive
It was as if no one had been there
to protest or mourn.
Just a scattered fistful of witnesses
Among the ocean of smiles.
5. I am sorry for this
I didn’t do it but I also didn’t do enough to make it not be done
So I am sorry
Please accept these words as a burnt offering.
I don’t feel forgiven or cleared.
At best, I feel like a plate rinsed off with cold water
but the oil still sticks.
Metaphors are such scrawny animals.
Recommended additional reading and pictures from this year’s Jerusalem Day, and more:
*A. Daniel Roth’s Nationalism in Jerusalem on his excellent blog, All These Days.
*Gila Hashkes’ status on Facebook about her experience being pushed and kicked by the police at the Damascus Gate.
*Leanne Gale’s piece in the Forward, ‘Go to Hell, Leftist’ and Other Jerusalem Day Slogans.
*Videos by Guy Butavia:
[These firsthand reflections come from Israeli or North American Jews as a direct function of the fact that Palestinians were barred from the scene].
*Ongoing coverage of the happenings on the ground in Jerusalem by the Wadi Hilweh Information Center.
*Ir Amim’s informational resources about Jerusalem Day and Jerusalem in general.