A Poem on the Middle East
Etheridge Knight ~1972
Israel à la Begin, begins, “We
/ love /peace-and-uh
That’s why we / drove /
the Palestinians off / their / land—
With the help of america and england’s evil hand.
In the Gaza strip an Arab boy sleeps,
his knees / are / drawn / up to his chest.
His hands cup his crotch. He dreams of grenades,
And machine guns and prayers to Allah.
An Israeli boy sleeps in Tel Aviv. He dreams
Of the tales told to him by his / grand / father:
Nazi boots goosestepping on cobblestone, of lampshades
Made / from Jewish skin, of Jewish women—and men—
Naked and torn. He dreams too of blooming gardens
In the “promised land” and of killing Arabs
At his rabbi’s command.
And the “Peacemakers?” Ah, the peacemakers
Give guns to / one
And bombs to the / other
All contrary to the / cries / of the Mother.