Liz’s Weekly Poetry Series: Pillars Of Cloud

by lizard

Before Pillar of Defense, the working name for this round of IDF killing was Pillar of Cloud, a phrase with deep theological resonance.

We can only guess why the name was changed.

This week, two poems. The first poem, written by Kathy Engel, comes from a collection titled Poets for Palestine, edited by Remi Kanazi. The second poem comes from me, written today, after I was given a strange line by my old iMac computer last night: rejoice the orbit voice. Enjoy!



I am the Palestinian woman,
the Israeli woman.
We are cousins.
How do I imagine—
holding history
too harsh to taste,
how do I speak my language
invent a new one
each syllable a volcano
reconfiguring the earth.
If I say what I know
will you still listen?
And can I still live in my body then?
How do I imagine
my two hearts, one belly
voice of blood—
a just geography
in this place
in this year
start here:
say words: home, olive, name
city, earth, language
coffee, wine, water
school, work, travel
no passbook id card
we can acknowledge
a moment without fear
I can’t say everything.
No woman can.
My hips carry sticks for fire
burnt villages, secrets,
shards of bulldozed homes,
and their dreams.
All things are not the same
that’s all I can say, today
in this place.
But I am here to imagine.

—Kathy Engel



rejoice the orbit voice
the robot in my heart
takes diesel from my stomach
from head-spark screams alarm
the parks will make nice graveyards
no crows will come to harm
rejoice the orbit voice
who leaves the blood behind
projecting past the atmosphere
past calendars primed with hype
O monsters of Jerusalem
the days will blast with death
rejoice the orbit voice
this earth has been condemned
leave it to the monsters
their pillars of cloud descend
shoot your soul into the stars
to seed with honest hymn
they can have their calendars
roll tanks on holy dirt
bring stars of death raining down
all life around them burns
they can change the map
suck water from the dust
and to the sky look wild eyed
black pupils fat with lust
the land looks lovely leaving
sad bodies in their mess
rejoice the orbit voice
and let this landscape rest

—William Skink

  1. Practitioners practice. War, religion, politics and all too infrequently, peace. Israel’s military is perpetually training its conscripts. Israel attacks Gaza the way Americans go to the gym to workout, in preparation for the next big marathon, or mountain bike race. These monsters are very ordinary and predictable. Is American “Exceptionalism” their ignoble aspiration? Or could it be Israel and Egypt are both expressing a natural reaction to abandonment as the U.S. “pivots.” So long, Middle East, we’re off to SE Asia to export “democracy,” invest in high-growth emerging markets, and proselytize New Testament scripture. Weapons sales needn’t suffer from Pentagon budget cuts, now should they?

  1. 1 Liz’s Weekly Poetry Series: Anticipating April | 4&20 blackbirds

    […] Pillars Of Cloud […]

  2. 2 152 Poetry Posts to Celebrate April, National Poetry Month | 4&20 blackbirds

    […] Pillars Of Cloud […]

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