Farrah Sarafa


Palestine Fig

Inner worlds lined brown like the earth,
tinted gold like divine mirth,
the occupied race of people plead
for an outside light to dissolve their worry
into the dead sea.

Dense bubbles, sugar grains condense
like caramel apple heating
under my hot tongue. I imagine
soldiers’ threats induce a similar
effect on their poor children who have long been
constrained to sacrifice

their fame, knowledge and skill. Sweet fig flesh
that grips wrinkled outer skin
like old native man’s hands made hallow
from fear, disdain, longing to cry peace by tears
formed from the pain of clouds

waiting to be tasted and felt.
Pains produced from sweet-thirsty twigs,
resting on the earth, come together,
tighten, roll, and shrink into small balls called seeds-
reproduce from the hungers, contempt and needs
of Palestinian

souls. They swim in the memories
of their buried ancestors,
whose lives, disintegrated, nourish
fig tree soils, coalesce to become seeds
that constitute fig fruit.

Hearts gold- earth speckled, firm flavor,
a seeded promise that you
will savor the Arabian air
that you will inhale when you eat a fig
from my ancestors.


A Palestinian-American

Holding his tears back selfishly so he can
taste the sweat of Palestinians sufferings,
his selfishness shows
his need to retain
I d e n t i t y flows
as blood through his veins.

Rivers of memory, lost hopes
endless pains
of the silenced, forgotten
child refugees
of which he day dreams
attempting to suture
blood- transferring gleams
     of truth, love and future.

Source: Mediterranean.nu: http://www.mediterranean.nu/?p=1221


Father Iraq, Mother Palestine

"Father Iraq, Mother Palestine" express her worry about grandparents and great grandparents. How can she be free when every cell of her being shares their inheritance:

Mortar attacks a bus in Baghdad, 15 die
Civil war strife mirrors the war
America has waged on Iraqi life
More than two years ago.

How can this happen
How can this be
That I will never see
The land of my great grandfather?

I strive, I feel too much zeal
to help heal the schisms

splitting this poor country
and that of Palestine.
Hamas' request that they vacate the west
and return East Jerusalem
on which they settled, built checkpoint and a wall
In 1949

How can this happen
How can this be
That I will never see
The Land of my dear grandmother?

I cry, I whine, abstaining
From bodily pleasures
emptying myself
of the life deprived Iraq.


Your father,
his inheritance shed of him
like the skin of a snake.
only he cried afterward.

Walking through barren olive fields
he envisions their roots active with sprout,
alive, as they once were, with the fruit of his ancestors.

The bitter black taste of Palestinian soil
accompanied by the toasted pita-bread and melted white cheese,

he dreams
of children's olive-like eyeballs
their sparkling gaze

like onyx,
but the dream is shot with the poke of an empty hand
a branch, fringed-ash and embroidered by greed

whose jugglers and smugglers in moan
have thrown staunch families into pleas
                             they sneeze
to rid of the fumes clenching their inner lung
constricted black and frightened tongue,
ambitions sullied, by ancestor's songs unsung

life squeezed out of my grandfather's love
he blows the ash from a branch
wind carrying it from his eyes
open eyes, lashes curled toward the heavens
he inhales their deeply embedded fragrance
buried beneath layers of activity and reactivity

            from which this culture will continue to flourish.



Blood splats on his car front window,
Mother screams
An American spits onto a bud of flame
that burst from the ground.

Soil dehydrated by flame
          (not by the desert)
Iraqi ground bears the shame
    of Saddam Hussein.

1500 aircrafts and 50 troops American deployed
into a swarm of queen bees
whose honey-coated hives
have been suffocated by Bush's demonically dry
    breath, liquid sweetness dried
into crusted fermentation in the mouth of a Conservative
          I cry to help to re-moisten the soil,
                                  to nourish the boils
   one man's angers transmits as fear and martyrdom
                  to a population of the desperate.

Source: warpoetry.co.uk: http://www.warpoetry.co.uk/poemsJLY_06.htm


In "Aesthetic, Ascetic, or Anorexic?" she questions the deception and death she sees in our shared world and clearly states her preferences. She'd rather suffer horribly, personally, than be a helpless onlooker:

I'd rather be hammered down by metal
      on the top of my head down
      and compacted square
      by the factory;
      I'd rather give my hand over
      to the spider-claw of the upper left pain
      and shrink to it -- into it, like dough --
      like a grape in the sun's reign.
      In pride
      I'd rather forbear the stain
      of self-starvation.

The final verse of "Blood, Sand, and Tears of a Young Boy" expresses clearly the poet's conflicted life. She loves American freedoms but grieves for those less fortunate:

      Desert souls, their tears are made of blood mixed with sand
      while I, American, laugh in pain
      at Charlie Chaplin going insane on the television screen.
      CNN bulletin interrupts my bliss with news of terrors
      about red and flaming wearers
      of suicide and contempt.
      My laughs push into cries
      and form a current for the Arabian Sea
      whose crystal salts perspire and become of me.
      Her waves undulate like snake-thin layers of blood thickened
      with sand and stone
      like a serpent's plea to be set free
      and to roam
      the Garden of Eden.

All poems: © Farrah Sarafa