Brooklynite Hammad may be the first Palestinian-American to make it big in the spoken-word or performance poetry scene!
She writes, Home is within me. I carry everyone and everything I am with me wherever I go. Use my history as the road in front of me, the land beneath me. Paths are many, but essence is one and eternal.
But what does Suheir Hammad mean when she says she is "born Black?" According to Kazim Ali, Black, in her case, not being mere ethnic marker but a political position in relation to a dominant power structure.
As Hammad herself explains in her book, the word has numerous historical and political meanings that she embraces.
In "Jabaliya" Suheir Hammad writes,
a woman wears a bell carries a light calls searches
through madness of deir yessin calls for afah for bread
orange peel under nails blue glass under feet gathers
children in zeitoun sitting ith dead mothers she unearths
tunnels and buries sun onto trauma a score and a day rings
a bell she is dizzy more than yesterday less than
tomorrow a zig zag back dawaiyma back humming suba
back shatilla back ramleh back jenin back il khalil back il quds
all of it all underground in ancestral chests she rings
a bell promising something she can’t see faith is that
faith is this all over the land under the belly
of wind she perfumed the love of a burning sea
concentrating refugee camp
crescent targeted red
a girl’s charred cold face dog eaten body
angels rounded into lock down shelled injured shock
weapons for advancing armie is clearing forests sprayed onto a city
o sage tree human skin contact explosion these are our children
she chimes through nablus back yaffa backs shot under
spotlight phosphorous murdered libeled public relations
a bell fired in jericho rings through blasted windows a woman
carries bones in bags under eyes disbelieving becoming
numb dumbed by numbers front and back gaza onto gaza
for gaza am sorry gaza am sorry she sings for the whole
powerless world her notes pitch perfect the bell a death toll