Sunday, July 27, 2014

Pains and Dreams.

 The world has been zoned in on the Middle East and I feel as if there is a collective heart yearning for peace during these past weeks.

I spent my Saturday night at Temple Beth El in San Mateo for a Ramadan Iftar worship service (the daily breaking of the fast during the ninth month of the Muslim lunar calendar).  I sat in this room amongst people wearing prayer shawls,collars, yamakas, taqiyahs: all of us singing Jewish hymns and soaking in the silence that hopes for peace.  My soul shook as I heard the Muslim call to prayer ring through the air.  We called for gratitude and we left empty air to hear the word of God in that space.

One of the Jewish men shared a poem written by a 13 year old girl who lives in Israel; the words that continue to ring in my ears is the demand of: "What do I want from you, God? I ask for peace, and only peace."

Thought I'd share a poem I wrote last week after ruminating over this general feeling of anxiety and pain that is echoing through the miles and miles that separate me in Berkeley from Israel, Gaza, and Syria.

The Space Between (7/20/2014)

Here we are,
You. And. Me.
In a situation that you and I must
pretend to one another is unique.
(yet it is always the same)
You and I come ready with clenched muscles,
prepared to lose all that You and I have for this.
You and I believe that we are doing justice
and holding tightly to the hands of the people we love.
It feels like I face you head on,
I swear I can feel the sting of your glare.
I drip with hatred; You ooze with rage.
(it is always the same)
I am here. You are there.
It feels like I know you with the concrete evidence
of the savageness of your people,
I have seen your type walk through my neighborhoods
and you have seen me in your hometown
Yet it's not me that you see:
You see the opaque judgements and built-up labels
of the people who shed the blood of your people.
I see that You have stepped on ground that belongs to me
and shattered the future I dream for my children.
(the dreams and pain are the same)
I see You and You see Me
but not really.
(it is always the same)
I see your eyes but I don't feel your heart,
You see my mouth but You don't hear my breath,
The space between You and I crackles with the differences;
The only thing we can agree upon is that we want to massacre
(it is always the same)
The undercurrent we miss is the furious beating of our hearts
for the familiar streets we call home together,
and the loved ones we cling to,
and the dreams we want to live in to,
(we are the same)
Here we are,
You. And. Me.
Eager for the worst pain for the other,
Hopeful for our own future,
forgetting that my pain is yours and your dream is mine.
(it is always the same).