"All humans are members of the same body Created from one essence"

"Human beings are members of a whole in creation of one essence and soul. If one member is afflicted with pain, other members uneasy will remain."

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Suhair Hammad: "I was born a Black woman"

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

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