Philip Metres

Passages Marked

Two holes ghost the top of the page, as if it punched for a legal file.
                    Someone pounded out the agreement on a manual. Evidence:

Stiff keys. Every letter partially inked. Evidence:
                    Someone’s hands opened, fingers tapping

Any person as Amy person.
                                                            Back then we lived in the land of the Bible as though it happened yesterday
                                                                                          Simon the Tanner’s shop a short walk from our house

The page creased into three, each crease wide
                                                                   because of the stench, tanning was considered unclean, but Peter stayed

“…who wishes to return to Jaffa may apply…”

                    as if opened and read and showed to others
                                                                                               not afraid of taking a meal from one considered an outcast

“…after their bonda fides have been proved…”

                    certain passages marked with pink pen
                                                  and later, visiting a Roman centurion, the Spirit of the Lord would come to Peter

“…must be kept safely, and in good condition…”

                    and folded again, many times, carried carefully across borders
                                                                           that no one could stand in the way of anyone baptized with water

                    and opened again



Ode to the Oranges of Jaffa

For you’re oval & thick-peeled, easy
to remove. For you’re seedless & tough

skinned & suitable for export.
For your juice starts sweet, then runs

bitter. For naranj comes from Sanskrit,
meaning “fruit like elephants.” Memory

the earth you come from, & perfume
the whole city, when wind pages through

your leaves. For by 1845, thirty-eight million
shipped to farther shores. Then symbol

of Arab-Jewish cooperation, before the war,
then orange engine of the new Israel.

For the last Jew to grow them now says, to cut
the orchard down would be to cut out my heart.



A Tour of Deir Yassin as Broken Ghazal

          Activists carried the names of 100                                                  in Deir Yassin.

                    Prior to the massacre, we were on good terms with the Jews in Givat Shaul. We shared food,
                    celebrated together, paid condolences to one another, babysat for each other in Deir Yassin.

          The majority of the                              women, children or elderly despite                                        time
                              were                                                            in Deir Yassin

                    My grandmother’s cousin, Naziha Radwan, was six                                                  . She survived by
                              covering in her grandmother’s blood, hiding beneath stiffened                    and pretending to

                              the remnants of     cemetery,                    bulldozed in the          0s.
          Two days before                                                  “Death to Arabs” painted on
                                                                                                                                            in Deir Yassin

                    Tell the soldiers: you have made history in Israel with your attack and your conquest….
                                                                                                                                            As in Deir Yassin,

                    so everywhere, we will attack and smite the enemy. God, Thou has chosen us for conquest.
          An elderly man joined the tour and described                                                             Yair Zaban had been
                                                                      in Deir Yassin

          the day after, removing Palestinian                         ,
                    the most difficult thing I had done in my life. Deir Yassin

                    is now
                              shopping centers, bus depots, religious Jewish schools, a psychiatric hospital
                                                                                of Givat Shaul Bet and