I was born today
That’s not to say that it’s my birthday on the 15th of May
But figuratively speaking, or rather, speaking figuratively
Since when do Palestinians speak literally?
It’s not a matter of speaking in metaphors and similes
To them, we’re silent. We aren’t speaking. Literally.
Today, my friend asked me to speak, to narrate
So I narrated, but I did not speak
Many a pretentious scholar hath written of apparition
And never one to vindicate verbose Frenchmen
But when I narrate memories I do not own, is the speaker not an apparition?
What condition is to be diagnosed when my mind plays host
To the tongue of a ghost?
Man created man, so can a state not create a state?
But I ask myself, was it the state of a ghostly people that created this state
Or was it the state built on the bodies of ghosts that created my state?
My state of silence, of narrating
Without speaking a word
Who am I to speak when I host the ghosts of Deir Yassin?
I have not seen the scenes that they’ve seen
But they’ve seen their scenes in the scenes that I have seen
Lost among the words? That could be where I’ve been
I dare not speak, literally, for I do know which words speak, literally
Does not having a home make me a refugee?
Or does it simply render me an EDP?
Never subject to a state
In years past I’ve related
To anger, happiness, sorrow, and hate
But I’ve never really related to a state
And perhaps that is why I do not speak literally
I prefer to narrate
Once upon a time, my grandfather spoke
He spoke of spooks that attempted to speak to a speck of land
He spoke of spooks that spoke in tongues that were buried in sand
He spoke, literally, of that which he lost despite it being right in his hand
He had no romantic narration of a lost key or deed
He spoke literally of heinous deeds that lost his literal key
The deeds committed by those that wanted the key, literally
And as my grandfather spoke literally, I could see!
I could see the scenes that he’s seen in Yaffa, Al Quds, and even Hittin
And I remembered: That’s where I’ve been!
I was not simply born today
Nor did I die today
Nor is my birthday the 15th of May
But today, my existence began to state worlds
But not worlds within any imaginary state
Nor states based on simply spoken words
Nakba, refugee, catastrophe, literally
I need not speak to create honest imagery
All I need to do is narrate on behalf of those that spoke before
Why speak when I don’t need permission to narrate anymore?