“The Peace of Jerusalem”

Posted: 12/13/2012 in Uncategorized

This is a poem I wrote about an experience I often had while in Israel.  Whenever I traveled from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, I would have to go through a checkpoint to pass through the Israeli wall.  While crossing, I was often a witness to prejudice and violence as Palestinian civilians attempted to pass from one side to the other.  I want to make very clear that in writing this poem, I am not attempting to stand on the side of a politic.  I would not consider myself either pro-Israel or pro-Palestine, for I believe that people on all sides have been oppressed.  This is just one sample of my experiences, and please keep that in consideration.

“The Peace of Jerusalem”

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem
Six words hand painted on a rock outside an empty tomb
Six miles away, where an infant once lay by an inn without any room
I stand by a wall, 30 feet tall
And wonder what Joshua’d think of it all
Would he blast the trumpets, sound the call
And march until the checkpoints fall
Like Babylon, like Jericho
The victors reap just what they sow
The seeds of violence and hell
Harvested now by Israel?

No, not today
The judgment waits
And power stays
Along this gate

I stand in line, passport in hand
American
As if my daddy owned this land
As if my skin was greater than
As if their blood was on my hands
And so I stand

Checkpoint-ed
Anointed as witness of sin
To watch the abuse as I walk right in

Pat downs, reach arounds,
On the ground, not a sound
Fingerprints, passport
Discrimination into sport

Take off your turban
Take off your shoes
Strip down to nothing
With nothing to lose
And yet nothing’s to gain
When there’s nothing but shame
So just play by the rules
Cuz they made up the game

No, you can’t plead your case
With that look on your face
They can tell by your race
That you’re in the wrong place

Teenagers taught hatred
With the authority of guns
The birthright of all the chosen ones
But they are just sons and daughters made to
Hold a gun, hold the line at the government’s cue
Somehow I doubt that they even knew
But it’s something like fear that’ll do that to you

Well, you can plant a flag
But you can’t take control
You’re only achievement is in making a hole
That makes way for the underground
Where the silenced bring sounds
And where chains are unbound
And where lowly are crowned
And where hope it confounds

Because it doesn’t make sense
When the violence
Isn’t returned by self-defense
But by actions of beauty
To sing and to paint
Is their call of duty

Art is the gun and the pen ammunition
Graffitied resistance on concrete partitions
Even stones cry out for their own demolition
In such hostile conditions, there will come a day
When actions will rise from the words that they say
If not revolution, then time will decay
Yet, six miles away, there is hope about to bloom
Six words hand painted on a rock outside an empty tomb
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem

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