Tag Archives: poetry

Poems for Palestine

Decolonize Palestine: End the Violence, End the War, End the Occupation. Solidarity from Turtle Island. #GazaUnderAttack

Decolonize Palestine: End the Violence, End the War, End the Occupation.

By Anne Champion

The Tent of Nations is an educational and ecological farm run by Christian Palestinian brothers in the mountains of Palestine.  They run a peace project that invites people from around the world to interact.  Despite the land being awarded to the family by the Supreme Court, they are not allowed to build and must live in caves.  The caves are painted in bright colors by Palestinian children who paint over their own shadows. Their guest tents have demolition orders on them, as they are considered a form of building, and their trees are routinely destroyed by the Israeli Defense Forces. 10,000 trees were destroyed and buried a few days before I arrived.


If they won’t let us build,
we’ll live in caves
and if our children are merely
shadows, our children
will paint over their shadows
in vibrant primary colors
on the stoic rocks underground.
If our children die, they’ll frolic
on these rocks, embossed
on the earth, bound only to freedom.
If they say the land isn’t ours,
we’ll keep going to court.  If they cut
down 10,000 olive trees in a day
and bury them in a mass grave
like bodies, then we’ll mourn
like bodies. If trees take patience
and nurture, then peace takes
patience and nurture, and if we keep
holding out our hands?
If you block the road to us
with your tanks, the internationals
will climb the mountain to plant
and break bread, to trace
the children’s silhouettes, to gaze
over all of Palestine, to remember.


Military raids happen approximately once a week in Bi’lin.  This village has been targeted because its use of creative, nonviolent resistance has endured and captured the attention of people from all over the world.  American presidents, celebrities, and other world leaders have visited, and a documentary about the village, *Five Broken Cameras, *garnered critical acclaim and an Oscar nomination.  Raids are a common tactic of occupation, as it produces anxiety and inhibits sleep, thus giving Palestinians difficulty in everything from routine chores and schoolwork to demonstration planning and participation.

Bil’in, West Bank

Once a week, the soldiers rouse us,
alarm clock of rifle butts on midnight doors.
We pull the children from their beds.
They point their guns at our heads,
but there’s nothing like the bullet
of panic as they aim
at the children’s hearts.
Iyad’s daughter’s first raid
was at one week old. Now she’s six
and she’s learned to raise her arms,
half dreaming still, marching
like an automaton towards the moon.
She always looks at the sky,
never meets a soldier in the eye
as they tear apart her room,
her beads scattering on the floor
like the bullets shot into the night
air.  Someone falls down, someone’s
been hit.  A rubber bullet lodged in a throat
on the side of the road. I watch
the smoke hover above his head
before he slumps over; in seconds,
his neck blooms and pushes aside his face.
The men prop him up, the women call
to the soldiers for an ambulance.
The teenage soldiers high five each other
before calling for help.  And then
the tear gas canisters hiss
and the air strangles with its serpent snare.
Someone wraps a keffiyah
over my face and pulls me inside,
and I can’t see a thing. Even when my vision
returns, I can’t see anything anymore.

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Josiah’s Song

By T.Mayheart Dardar

In honor of Hillis Harjo (Josiah Francis), Red Stick Creek 
prophet and patriot who gave his life this month in 1818 in 
the cause of his peoples freedom.

Josiah’s Song

Rolling across the hills
Thru forest and swamp
Faint as a whisper carried on the wind
A voice from the earth
A message forged in conflict
Blood still crying of the empire’s sin

Commerce and capital
Slaves and land
Sacrifices to the god of greed and gain
Freedom and justice the legacy
Or so says the rhetoric accompanied by Sousa
Forgotten by all the First People and their pain

The message came south with a man
The light that streaked through the sky
Calling the people to unite
Those who turned rejected his plea
Seeking a place with the Watauga
But Crazy Medicine would lead the fight

Long Knife would come to devour
Those on high would stand
The Red Eagle would take to the sky
Josiah would bring the Creator’s words
Standing as warrior and priest
America would hear the Creek war cry

The battle was joined
The cause was just
But it was not difficult to see the end
The empire was expanding
The People stood in the way
The climax arrived at Horseshoe Bend

Josiah would carry on
Hillis Harjo would still bring fear
Inspiring the fighters to carry on
Treachery and the rope would be his end
But the battle for justice must continue
Till the last Red Stick is gone

T. Mayheart Dardar was born in the Houma Indian settlement below Golden Meadow, Louisiana. He served for sixteen years on the United Houma Nation Tribal Council (retired in Oct. 2009). Currently he works with Bayou Healers, a community based group advocating for the needs of coastal Indigenous communities in south Louisiana


your occupation is nothing new,

you’ve been occupying since 1492.

so now that you’ve found something to occupy you
answer this, zhaaganaasheg*, who’s occupying who?

native roots of resistance are deeper than the streets,
and aren’t fed by the marginal soil these movements give us,
what keeps us comes from within, direct line to the deep heart
of us, power comes from the land, not these castles of sand.

if we expected the white middle class to struggle on our behalf,
and turn their organizational ship 180 degrees toward decolonization,
we might as well just ask them to turn that ship
right back to europe but hey, at this point,

that’s like asking someone who shit all over your livingroom
to just leave, instead of telling them to clean up the mess that’s left.
and down on wall street, bay street, main street we the 99%
saw the 1% step on this turtle’s back and call their own what can’t be owned,
and it’s at that point the games began.

not when they started foreclosing your homes cos believe me,
they already foreclosed ours and that’s exactly what keeps making it possible
for them to pull the same moves, what they did to us, they’re doing to you.

you say you want a revolution…

but the game won’t end if the rules stay the same, and the number one rule is
“ssssshhhh…don’t talk about revolution too loud..the Indians will hear you..”
because we have thoughts of revolution too, and they don’t involve any further occupations,

cos we have dreams beyond colonization. but you don’t want to hear about that.
so this is not our movement, and the roots of biskaabiiyang* go miles further down
than today’s pounding of feet on pavements, whose streets, our streets, the words
jarred my nish ears and jammed my nish heart, whose streets indeed.

so stay out in the streets, fight the power and keep it real
this ain’t a call to pull back or a bid for inclusion
but a revolution turning a blind eye to genocide is a revolutionary illusion
so fuck white power on wall street, and the border pigs too
cos the earth and her movements are gonna get you.

your occupation is nothing new,
you’ve been occupying since 1492.
so now that you’ve found something to occupy you
answer this, zhaaganaasheg*, who’s occupying who?

By Jen Emm, from POOR Magazine/Prensa POBRE. To contact Jen Emm email her at indigenouscollective@gmail.com. Artwork by Erin Marie Konsmo of Toronto, Canada.