There Is Nothing Poetic Here | Grace Crummett

Photo for There is Nothing Poetic Here (1)

July 24, 2010

Behind the concrete and barbed wire
tucked away from the rest of the world
is Palestine
hot and dusty,
covered in blood and paint in layers as years,
where women in veils stand passively.
Water tanks splotch the landscape black
trash litters the ground in primary and neon colors
Palestine’s best known flower.
There is nothing poetic here

An order for a home
another home
to be knocked down like a domino again.

Children throw rocks off of roofs, smoke cigarettes
take their toy giraffes, toy elephants and
create toy guns
destruction all the same

From the hating, the hurting
a torn flag lies on the ground
green
red
white
black
there is nothing poetic here

Ancestors press their stories
of Heil Hitler
death march
soup and bread
padlock and chain
imprinting on the minds
of tired soldiers clad in green.

Here you clutch your gun
barrel to the ground
as if the asphalt streets are the ones to blame
as if the dirt had enlisted you by law
as if the pebbles and rocks had been the hands that
built the wall, the security wall, the dreaded wall
Hear
me
out
you want to scream
there is nothing poetic here

Find a Palestinian man,
ask him his name,
what he thinks of Israelis
Never met one, don’t want to, I hate them
Find an Israeli man,
ask him his name,
what he thinks of Palestinians
never met one, don’t want to, I hate them.

Pray every day they leave
pray for respect, for humanity
pray for hope, for help.

An old American man with long white hair
sits outside an ice cream shop
calls himself a liberal
as in liberty, as in freedom.
Speaks loudly to a young woman
“What we went through in nine eleven
is what Israel goes through
every
single
day.”

Little does he know
his rage, his belief
is twisted,

His taxes pay for the Israeli soldiers
who took an innocent man in the middle of the night
stuck him in a cell shorter than the length of his body
for six months.
there is nothing poetic here.

Yet still, he’s joyful
as if it’s just another story
his story displays the hope.
And even a fourteen year old girl living in Palestine,
who hasn’t been to Jerusalem since she was ten,
can laugh with silly Americans
who just got back from the Old City yesterday.

There is nothing poetic here.
Nothing
but then you see the children learn to jump rope,
throw a frisbee
or follow you around calling out
“Hello!
How are you?
What is your name?”

Or watch young men in a line
arms linked, dancing
And not until you see the father and his toddler son
holding hands
“My habibi” he says to the boy
walking down the path, leading the way

That is when you experience the poetry
hidden behind the walls.

After she graduated from the Odyssey School in Denver, thirteen-year old Grace Crummett had the opportunity to travel to the Middle East with a group of teachers and students before starting high school.  The travelers walked on the Abraham Path, met other young teenagers like themselves and embarked on a cultural journey to share their views and hopes about life and the world.  “There is Nothing Poetic Here” reflects some of the myriad scenes that etched deeply during that journey, and the title conveys ironically a clear beauty of spirit and kinship of hope for an impoverished material world.

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