Sunday, July 17, 2016

The beggars of Jerusalem

This is a city smaller than two palms stuck together
in prayer. I have seen the men clean off the dust 
on the streets more times than I was able to count 
the steps taken toward a statute, a noise, a floating illness 
that's in the air. I have lived this city without asking 
an ant's tale, without realizing that the people who have 
passed the gates are remembered for all the sins 
they have made, not for what history wrote of them 
mighty men, conquerors, hoarders of treasures 
hand-crafted scarves and maidens now seen 
dancing with slashed  silk dangling on their bellies 
once too pregnant by stories. I have seen three candles lit 
as the call of prayer rises, as if from spices piled
with efforts of manufacturing a round olive into 
a memorabilia, hold on to this city, Jerusalem 
oh, holy, never let go of the fact that it will not 
know you, will not lend itself to your kindness.
This is the difference between living and inhabiting 
grander cities, I see what you cannot feel 
it is this plain, these streets, these old tiles.
On the corner of the mosques I see him 
nestled in a bunch of rags, a beggar I know 
by the rancid taste of Da'wa, well-wish for my day
before I pass him I come to think that my city
stops my breath slowly, 

 In this city I do not 
know of my neighbor's name any more than the beggar 
on the corner knows mine when I pass by. 

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