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Living Room In Palestine

July 22, 2014

I speak with Palestine on Skype
from a dining table in East London
an Arab friend in Israel
translates a tourism brochure while I type
in Arabic so slow my fingers creak
her living room is brightly lit
a three-month old baby squeals
in another room while we discuss the right word
for pergolas and romantic
the agaves that Lorca called petrified octopi
and lanterns in Granada’s Moroccan quarter

Our sadness flits behind outbursts
of geraniums on balconies
hides in vaults of the Alhambra and hammams
flavours olives, avocados and almond cakes
things brought to Spain by Muslims
who were then crammed into a province
as populous as the rest of Spain put together
and finally exiled, massacred or muted

Now an airplane flies over her village
a fragment of Palestine in the middle of Israel
my heart stops for a second that lasts years
but she goes on looking up words
the dictionary pages lisp
and the adhan goes for ‘isha
loudspeaker overpowering our work
for a minute that I wish
would last an eon

We return to Sacromonte and prickly pears
armoured sweetness loaded with seed shrapnel
Palestine as far away as news reports
and distant as home

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. Deeqa permalink
    July 22, 2014 5:35 pm

    Salaam Medina

    It’s always beautiful to come in here and read your beautiful poems and everything that you share on your blog mashallah. Very inspiring <3

    Love and dua

    • July 31, 2014 8:38 pm

      Deeqa it’s always a pleasure to have you appear on my visitors maps – I’m pretty sure you are the Sweden reference! Lots of love and Eid mubarak xxx

  2. July 24, 2014 4:04 am

    So grounding. Thank you.

    • July 31, 2014 8:39 pm

      Thankyou for reading and taking the time to comment Shannon. You are a rare newcomer, so welcome!

  3. July 31, 2014 8:02 pm

    Qué bonito, Medina.
    Un beso desde el Albaicín

    • July 31, 2014 8:41 pm

      Joaquín, la verdad es que ese trabajo me conectó con Palestina de una manera inédita, y me gustaba mucho trabajar contigo aunque sea por el mismo modo distante. Un beso desde Londres!

      • July 31, 2014 9:45 pm

        A mi también me gusta trabajar contigo. ¡Espero que se repita!

  4. September 29, 2014 2:18 pm

    Very visual. Beautiful poetry, I loved it!

    • September 29, 2014 5:05 pm

      Ahsante sana dada. Upo Kenya? Mimi niliishi huko Kenya na Tanzania mwaka mmoja, miaka mingi iliopita. Napenda sana shairi zako pia! Kila la heri =D

      • September 29, 2014 6:52 pm

        Nime furahi sana ku kutana na wewe. Karibu tena kwa Kenya. Ahsante :-)

        Wow what a pleasant surprise. I bet you learnt most of that in Tanzania rather than Kenya lol.

      • September 29, 2014 7:32 pm

        It all started in Mombasa…but I did spend more time in TZ especially Zanzibar…I did my degree in African Studies with Swahili, with a year abroad in Z’bar and DSM! Sasa imeshapita miaka kumi sijaenda huko…my heart is sore, I love it there! Nahurahi sana kukutana, natumai kurecover Kiswahili changu kidogo!!

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