Issue 3 Poetry

Poems from Gaza


In a city marred by the flames of war,
the lights of Jabalia Camp go on
as an unexpected longing hammer the entries,
and extreme joy creeps through the windows to nestle
in the hearts of the camp’s children.

The unforeseen luminosity of the camp
may not disturb the rest of the elders
the young lovers bathing in the light-
or mothers cooking dinner under the limelight.

Those lights bring to mind
the yearning to the young manhood
and the chaos of our adulthood.

Only in the eyes of the camp’s residents
once the camp shimmers with sparkles
it becomes a city of immense joy —
Unlike any other city…
it’s always good to see lights go on
in a city that only flashes
by bombs.

I Always Speak of You to Strangers

I always spoke of you to strangers lost in abandoned train stations, old ports and stranded bridges. I know them by their complaints, their rolling eyes, their mannerisms in the morning, their motivated way of sitting in local bars full of longing and waiting — or in the cold coffee houses of the streets full of delusional organisms. I commonly sit next to them, we exchange greetings in silence, we talk about weather problems, between a silence and a two, we share a fleeting smile, they tell me about their next destinations, which I don’t know, and I tell them about you, they carry their luggage, their goals and slowly disappear one by one, while they make their way to their targets, they crowd at you
I have left myself an insatiable share of grief

I have left myself with an insatiable share of grief…

Who stole the whiff of this fresh grief from my laughing mouth.
The dusk no longer knows me, is it because I savor it every day.
As a man who was broken and torn by absence,
I have to keep reinventing myself for the pain.
The faces of those I love
fall through the window
that overlooks the remains of this ancient memory
whose inhabitants grew old.
No one will care about your maladies, not even that unconventional taxi driver who repeats
his recurring victory in his handwriting, or even the fleeting kisses in the crowd from a girl who doesn’t speak highly of her day.
Don’t let the morbidity and heavy-hearted attempts to return to your past define you, you are the son of now, roll up the strewn pieces of your heart on the sidewalk lest they will be trampled upon by strangers, give the rest of your morning to the sky, it won’t be easy anymore, you have to get back to your natural instinct, your sadness is more important to you in the morning than the lips of a strange woman who doesn’t resemble you. Leave what is left of your sorrow to the well fed aircrafts and head to your tomorrow with pleasure, perhaps your sorrow will become jealous.

Good Poem

At a fork in the road
in a teahouse
as I sit next to an old woman
reminiscing about her past death,
the plaintive waiter offers
not to accept a raw dish.
I excuse myself
and take the plate while dishing out my eyes
to the seated brown-eyed girl
in front of me, holding a baby
and asking me to write her a good poem.

Mohammed Moussa is a Palestinian poet, journalist, and podcaster. Born in Gaza, he grew up in Jabalia Camp, one of the largest refugee camps. Last year, he published his debut poetry collection, Flamingo. He is the host of Gaza Guy Podcast, and the founder of the Gaza Poets Society. See more of Moe’s work on @gaza.guy.