petrol poiesis

for Ashraf Fayadh, my free-the-poet(s)!

possibly poverty’s

just a butterfly’s trace

a horse made of teeth

of banished naked mothers

petroleum-style-tongueless

as in desert-sand-mute

no petrol pump enough

to water enough flowers

for fired fire-fighters

as in poets

as in not enough tears

to say

if lashes were eyelashes

to carry morning dew

to water love

we’d put the fire out

this big big gas gas fire

that seems to have burned

the eye

and lashes alone

are not beautiful enough

as in not beautiful at all

to banish banishment

hearing a mouth

crack against a sink

still struggling to mumble

not to lose resuscitated souls

losing asylum

standing the silenced queue

possibly the end of

petrol-is-petrol-is-petrol-is-prison-

is-poem-is-poem-is-poem-is-water-style

optimism

for broken-hearted-we-the-people

post-brexit-style psychotic

who forget there’s also

broken-hearted-we-the-poets

we-the-families we-the-fighters

you-the-poet-the-fighter

you-the-artist

you-the-person

as in you are more human

than your punisher

as in if lashes were eyelashes

your eyes would be more beautiful

just starlike enough

to water enough flowers

and banish banishment

just for one child

whose silenced smile

would sing

and make the angels cry,

as in if lashes were eyelashes

your eyes would be two butterflies

poetry wouldn’t seem so out-dated

so weak and old

and useless

waiting for asylum

in the buried guts of dead-born doves

and wilted trees,

wouldn’t seem necessary enough

wouldn’t have jaw enough

wouldn’t have soul enough

as in

lashes are never Just lashes

are silence

are fear

are please-resist

and lamma sabacthani

as in eyelashes are never just lashes

that make us bleed

as in eyelashes are never just corpses

searching for meaning in guilt

as in if we bled painting

we would make murals out of suffering

or at least I hope we would, walls

the eye colour of the dead

to remind us

of all the dust in the world

and the little head

that breaks against a stove

from whose white bones

we invented prisons

floors the colour of haemorrhage

cause it seems it is the only proof

for tanks’ scopes and bayonets

and whips and guns and ammo

measuring the distance between being

person and not being human

that what we are

is never who we are

or that if we are we are not sorry

you know how they say

better to be story

than to be sorry

that if we are we are story

and present and memory

and guts and pulses

and tears and cries we

and sons and daughters

and children and orphans

and love stories we

and

and I’m sure you are too

and or I’m sure you try

and you the punishers

and you the hurters

and you the sad sad people

how can you kiss your children

good night

after your humanity’s been

oil burned

as in if lashes were eyelashes

good-nights wouldn’t hurt children that much

and lives wouldn’t be so fucked up

or maybe we’re all wrong

and you’re not alive to begin with

maybe you kill that much

with hope that corpses

will turn again into petroleum

or is it jealousy and sadness

and sadness and sadness

don’t try killing your children

to see if after rotting

they burn enough to move a plane

just don’t

instead teach them to write

and maybe one day and one night

you’ll have found

a peacefuller sense of gasoline

and sadness and sadness and sadness.


“Because of frequent aggression by the settlers and soldiers, I don’t allow my sons to take the sheep grazing any more. I don’t want to lose my boys. I’m always worried and scared. I asked them to find other work, but once you’re used to the sheep it’s hard to change. Sheep are tied in with our earliest memories. How can we even consider selling them and buying cheese and yoghurts from shops, when we used to supply them?!” Na’amat Shtiyeh, 57, from Salem. Photo shows Taher Shtiyeh’s farm, Salem Copyright: Faiz Abu Rmeleh, Activestills.org; B'Tselem

“Because of frequent aggression by the settlers and soldiers, I don’t allow my sons to take the sheep grazing any more. I don’t want to lose my boys. I’m always worried and scared. I asked them to find other work, but once you’re used to the sheep it’s hard to change. Sheep are tied in with our earliest memories. How can we even consider selling them and buying cheese and yoghurts from shops, when we used to supply them?!” Na’amat Shtiyeh, 57, from Salem. Photo shows Taher Shtiyeh’s farm, Salem

Copyright: Faiz Abu Rmeleh, Activestills.org; B'Tselem