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Poems by Suheir Hammad

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What I will

I will not
dance to your war
drum. I will
not lend my soul nor
my bones to your war
drum. I will
not dance to your
beating. I know that beat.
It is lifeless. I know
intimately that skin
you are hitting. It
was alive once
hunted stolen
stretched. I will
not dance to your drummed
up war. I will not pop
spin beak for you. I
will not hate for you or
even hate you. I will
not kill for you. Especially
I will not die
for you. I will not mourn
the dead with murder nor
suicide. I will not side
with you nor dance to bombs
because everyone else is
dancing. Everyone can be
wrong. Life is a right not
collateral or casual. I
will not forget where
I come from. I
will craft my own drum. Gather my beloved
near and our chanting
will be dancing. Our
humming will be drumming. I
will not be played. I
will not lend my name
nor my rhythm to your
beat. I will dance
and resist and dance and
persist and dance. This heartbeat is louder than
death. Your war drum ain't
louder than this breath.

jerusalem sunday
three muezzins call idan
where one's allah begins another's
akbar ends inviting the last
to witness mohammad's prophecies
church bells ring the sky
an ocean shade of blue above
christ's tomb and the stones
of this city witness man's weakness
boys run by the torah
strapped to their third eye
ready to rock their prayers
the roofs of this city busy as the streets
the gods of this city crowded and proud
two blind and graying
arab men lead each other through
the old city surer of step than sight
tourists pick olives from the cracks
in the faces of young and graying
women selling mint onions and this
year's oil slicking the ground
this city is wind
breathe it
this history is blood
swallow it
this sunday is holy
be it


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