Ars Poetica

Siding with the Israelis by Dante Micheaux

Siding with the Israelis

Because you kissed me with your eyes,
I'm willing to don the desert camouflage,
sling a rifle over my left shoulder
& aim east toward R­amallah.
Your age is my age on the draft notice.
I'll burn bushes & immigrate to the Holy Land,
desecrate it with combat boots. Give me footing
on the Dome of the Rock & I'll piss on the
pilgrims that have come to pray—
show you what a Zionist can be.
Make me a night soldier & my black-skinned
body will pass through the land of the Palestinians
like the breath of God, devour their firstborn, leave the
bloodstained lintels and posts of your people untouched.
I'll deliver all the lands for the chosen in a single night.
Oil contracts will leave a sticky residue
on the desks of cabinet members from the untied states,
while caterers at the Presidential Father & Son Picnic
serve fresh figs, imported, on the South Lawn.
The Thorn of Sharon will make me a general
& absolution from duty will come to you in the morning.
I take a country by force that was promised by faith,
naming the resistance Terrorism & my army Innocence.
I buck boys in back rooms of abomination to harvest the fruit you like.
I tell another lie about wanting to be Jewish when I was ten,
deny that I walked Muslim children to school
after my city was bombed,
warn the Somali ambassador that her son is no longer safe with me.
I will become a conqueror of refugees exiled in their own home,
an exploder of babies in bassinets,
a barbed-wire fence dissecting families,
so we can lie in the dust & watch snails race up Golgotha.

Copyright © 2010 by Dante Micheaux. Reprinted with the permission of the author. All rights reserved.

In celebration of Ars Poetica (2010), Rachel Eliza Griffiths' exhibition of photographs of Cave Canem faculty and fellows, the Poetry Society of America is presenting a selection of her portraits, each one accompanied by a poem from a Cave Canem poet she has captured on film.

As the poet Nikky Finney remarks "Because of her gifted, mindful pressing private eye on us, we discover what we could never completely see before, all around us, could never completely find before, right there in full shadow and slated sun, not even with our own two eyes: All of every bit of who we are."

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