Manal Alharsha, Betunia, Chicago

When I return to Palestine, I will find a place where I won’t be alone
I’ll have a place to call my home
A little land, family owned
When I return to Palestine, I will start preparation
A long awaited celebration
Beyond realization
Leaving behind segregation
When I return to Palestine, I will remember all the sounds
Of a place buried under ground
The words that killed a people, pound by pound
No love lost
Much love Found

Tasnim Jaber, Al-Quds, Bridgeview

When I return to Palestine, I will smell that air that was filled with gas from the Israelis,

Eat the fresh, tasty, amazing fruits that made me smile during the day,

Make the children of Palestine feel the freedom,

Return to my home that I was born in and had taken away from me,

Hear the amazing, lovable sound of the athan in sunrise,

Laugh to Arabic movies which made my day,

Go to the beach and think about God’s creation,

Buy beautiful jewelry from the outside mall,

Visit my cousins that I have not seen in years,

Eat the fresh falafel sold in the streets,

Look at the beautiful nature that has its own taste of color,

Sing the songs that make the birds chirp,

Pray in the dome of the rock,

Visit the poor and needy that some didn’t even see their mom or dad and comfort
them with love,

This place is my destiny; it waits in the heart, and I will never leave it apart!

Sami Sabaana, J-Z, Switzerland

شهادة طفل

يمه لو شفتي خيّ وبيّ
يحفروا لي قبري
ويبكوا عليّ
يمه لو شفتيني وأنا
لابس مريول المدرسة
وشنطة الكتب على كتفي
يمه لو شفتي دمي معبي
كل ملابسي.. كل جسمي
كل أقلامي وحتى الكتب
وريحة دمي… ريحته معطّر
يمه صح بيّ وخيّ وأصحابي
غطوا جسدي بالدموع
بس بتعرفي يمه أنه ..
روحي صعدت للسما.. عند ربنا
بتعرفي يمه .. ربنا كرمني وكافئني
وعلق روحي بطير من الجنة
لونه أخضر..
يمه شو بدي أحكليلك
عن جنة الأطفال
وأنا فيها بتمختر ..
هناك يمه مافي قتل أطفال ونسوان
أو قلع أشجار..
أو هدم مساجد أو كنائس ..
أو سرقة أوطان..
يمه الله هداك لا تزعلي..
لا تزعلي على موتي ..
على أستشهادي المنتصر
يمه الرصاص ما موتني
الرصاص مات على صدري
أنكسر … أنكسر .. وأندثر
وصدري على الرصاص
أنتصر … أنتصر
يمه أنتي أحملتي فينا
وولدتينا وعلمتينا وربيتنا
وقلت ..
أنو الليل ..ألو انهار
وبعد الغسق..بيجي الفجر
علمتينا أنو نطالب بحقوقنا
ونتعلم ونكبر….
علمتينا نطالب بوجودنا
بأرضنا … بهويتنا … بفلسطيتنا
ومصيرنا لازم يتقرر
وطنا حتما ..
رح يرجع ويتحرر
والفجر قادم … قادم..قادم
وعلى رأسه تاج النصر

كلمات:  سامي سباعنة

Fidaa E., Beir el Saba’, Cedar Hill

When I return to Palestine, I will no longer be a refugee
maybe that day, I’ll know what it is to be “free”

That day, I will taste the water
I should have always drank

That day, I will inhale the crisp air
that was always mine

That day, I will smell the fragrance
of the trees that shaded my forefathers

That day, I will till the land
where my grandparents should have been buried

That day, I will touch the soil
that never should have left the shadows of my nails

That day, I will eat the fruits that were sweetened
by the rays of the sun they couldn’t stop from reaching us

That day, I will wade in the sea
where my dreams should have sailed and thoughts wandered

That day, I will look at a horizon
not disturbed by gray buildings and tin roofs

That day, I will climb dunes upon dunes of sand
that once imprisoned my uncle

That day, the desert of my ancestors who bore me
will have a deeper spiritual meaning

That day, I will sleep with the comfort of silence
and only bright stars hovering above

That day, I will stare up at my shining moon
and see it through eyes that know no sorrow

One day, I will return and it will be the happiest of days
because on that day, I will finally be whole.

Dina Omar, A Poem for Jenine

when i return to Palestine i will:

i wish i could hold your hand
across the threshold of a place we only hear in song,
smell in cloths and coffee,
and touch of each others skin

but instead i carry a backpack full of books

bag lady you gon’ hurt your back
carrying all them bags like that

Marx – is the bowl of change on my desk for the next meal
Benjamin – from afar that image is a starburst a beautiful ellipse and when we take steps
closer the lines are made up of a two solders hauling a man faced-down by the legs
Altusser – hey you! keep right or else my face will be the one dragged across the
Said – topos, reality does not matter to the powerful so we must take back what has
been taken for truths sake
Arendt – there is nothing sacred in the abstract nothingness of being just human…
Massad – i will not be your native informant, instead, i will be a pain in your ass
Foucult & Gramsci
June & Darwish
on my shoulders compressing my spine
my body a vessel to transport the bound pages upon pages

and i wish during the long car ride through the mountain
and across the bridge i could hold your hand
advise you how to pack 63 years of heart ache into one duffel bag

pack light, take your body with you – your jiddo’s lungs, your mothers hair
have never been home so take them with you

in the upper west side i dream of lost
lexicons to express some of what i want to say
your presence – black market sugar cane
when the world is bitter

i have done all my homework
roamed across countries and carried books across miles and valleys and rivers
all to go back to the place where all aching starts

when i return to Palestine

i will throw away all my paints
wear dishdasha everyday
never wear jeans again

i will plant my feet
let them grow into the earth

i will have a family
with the man who kindly
paints uprisings with his fingertips
i will make lebannah sandwiches
for all my loved ones

i will hold on for dear life

Fatima Victoria Mansour, Qula, Chicago

When I return to Palestine,
I will meet myself on the road that connects Ramleh to Al-Lyd.
Qula, I will say, and it will call me back, back, back to fold.
I will drink from the stone well my Siddo built–
The water will sustain us, as if we never left.
I will feed my children from the orange groves, the peaches will drip with joy at my return.
My Hope will dance in lush circles, my boy will create the songs of return.
I will unearth the Crusader Fortress, and forget that it is buried under lies.
The upturned soil will enfold those lies and make them a foggy memory.
The solid sun will nurture them into trees of great height and grandeur.
I will touch the soil that flows through my blood, and know the meaning of my name.
The victorious one, the one who wins and knows, the one who can know.
I will sit in the tiny school house my father should have attended.
Siddo–we did learn despite it all.
I will release the smothering anger that comes from the rape of my home, the massacre of blind women.
The anger chokes us into silence;
Muted no longer, I will sing a song of praise and jubilation.
You will be greeted with songs of faith and devotion, of salutation and supplication,
and you will know and be loved.
I will extend my hand in peace to my neighbors, Salam to Muslim, Christian and Jew.
They will swim in the azure river of forgiveness, and know the depth of my trust.
We can live in the peace and love of God, drink from the sustaining water of the world, and know the meaning of life.