Four Poems from Mosab Abu Toha

14 July, 2021
Bombing of Gaza, May 2021 (photos courtesy Mosab Abu Toha).

Bombing of Gaza, May 2021 (photos courtesy Mosab Abu Toha).

Mosab Abu Toha

  

Memories Are Flowers
 

Memories are Flowers—
We water them,
narrate them,
turn them into poems
into plays,
into stories.

We decorate them with
light bulbs,
with metaphors
of different hues,
in variant clubs. 

Some memories are nasty.
They have rank smells,
and coarse, prickly skin.

No matter how deeply
inhumed the bones,
the worm of sweet memories
shall find their way. 

  

 

bombing of gaza may 2021 - 2 - photo mosab abu toha.jpg

Untitled

A father wakes up at night, sees
the random colors on the walls
drawn by his four year old son.
But he’s dead after an airstrike.

The colors are about 4 feet high.
Next year, they would be 5 or 6.
But the painter is dead and the
museum has no new
paintings to show.

 

A Rose Shoulders Up
 

Don’t ever be surprised
to see a rose shoulder up
among the ruins of the house:
This is how we survived.

 

Memorize Your Dream

Close your eyes
and
walk on the ocean.

Dabble your hands
in the water
and
catch your poem’s words. 

Write the words up on
the clouds.
Don’t worry, they will find
their land. 

Open your eyes.
In the night,
the sea is no longer blue. 

Look around and from
the descending
raindrops
pick your punctuation marks. 

Put on your swimsuit,
dive deep down
and look for a title
for your epic. 

Embark on your
moving homeland—
your boat. 

Go to your bed
and, in your sleep,
begin to memorize
your dream.

 

Mosab Abu Toha is a Palestinian poet, fiction writer, and essayist from Gaza. He is the founder of the Edward Said Public Library, and in 2019-2020 was a visiting poet and scholar at Harvard University. He has given talks and poetry readings at the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, the University of Arizona (w/ Noam Chomsky), and the 2020 American Library Association conference. His work has appeared in Poetry, The Nation, Solstice, Arrowsmith, Progressive Librarian Guild, among others. Mosab is the author of Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear: Poems from Gaza, forthcoming from City Lights Books in April 2022.

Bombing of GazaIsrael/PalestinePalestinian poetry

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