Inside out: three poems on Gaza by Zeina Hashem Beck

The Tuffah neighborhood of Gaza City on 18 September.

Anne Paq ActiveStills


For Gaza, July 2014

people inside out
on the streets in their loved ones’
arms people screaming
in football stadiums
my friend’s mom in Gaza is cheering
for Brazil and Holland
all that orange
burning almost
a sunrise all that
there’s an old woman
who dies holding
her spoon waiting
for iftar
which comes but so do
the rockets
and the news
Brazil loses to Germany 7-1
ABC News confuses Israel and Palestine
the whole dichotomy
occupier inside
Holland loses
a girl not yet
wrapped in a flag
flags wrapped
around cars necks shoulders heads
in Gaza God
is the eyes
of a little doll kicked
among the rubble
eyes follow a ball
kicked in mid-air
a roof collapses
houses inside out
one bride postpones
her wedding
the game goes into
extra time
shelters there are no shelters
shield yourself with
your hands your voice
i haven’t slept since
writes Anas go ahead
and bombard
july 13th
he dies the next day
a player kisses a trophy
his wife his son
a mother
kisses a dead child
grief inside out
is resistance
the crowds wave
at the victorious team
a whole family stands
on the roof waving
at the enemy’s planes


Gaza mothers soothe their kids

Found poem for Gaza, based on an article in Baraka Bits


by telling them fireworks        are beautiful

be brave and laugh        it’s the TV I am going to turn it off

when there is bombing  I hug them and cry

in one room without windows    playing cooking watching

cartoon movies on TV  if there is electricity

my oldest Ahmed he’s old enough       to understand

not fireworks or the neighbors         cleaning the rug



Ten-year-old Maysam from Gaza speaks
in English on YouTube, says, I’m still
alive and I’m not
She smiles,
recites her lines in a sing-song manner
as if rehearsing for a school play
with the word kill in it,
shakes her head on the word not,
waves on hello! and bye!
as if waving to her mother
who is watching in the audience,
as if she could persuade 
young Israeli women who tweet
stinking Arabs may you
die amen.

Zeina Hashem Beck is a Lebanese poet whose poetry collection, titled To Live in Autumn (Backwaters Press, 2014), won the 2013 Backwaters Prize. Follow her on Twitter: @zeinabeck or on Facebook.