Age of Jahiliyah

A blog of wide and varied interest, including Islam, Muslims, Poetry, Art and much more.

What I Will by Suheir Hammad

I will not
dance to your war
drum. I will
not lend my soul nor
my bones to your war
drum. I will
not dance to your
beating. I know that beat.
It is lifeless. I know
intimately that skin
you are hitting. It
was alive once
hunted stolen
stretched. I will
not dance to your drummed
up war. I will not pop
spin beak for you. I
will not hate for you or
even hate you. I will
not kill for you. Especially
I will not die
for you. I will not mourn
the dead with murder nor
suicide. I will not side
with you nor dance to bombs
because everyone else is
dancing. Everyone can be
wrong. Life is a right not
collateral or casual. I
will not forget where
I come from. I
will craft my own drum. Gather my beloved
near and our chanting
will be dancing. Our
humming will be drumming. I
will not be played. I
will not lend my name
nor my rhythm to your
beat. I will dance
and resist and dance and
persist and dance. This heartbeat is louder than
death. Your war drum ain’t
louder than this breath.

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6 thoughts on “What I Will by Suheir Hammad

  1. opensoc on said:


    : A Poem by Matt White
    Matt White, a student in Tikvah; The Zionist Voice at UC Berkeley wrote this poem . It debuted March 16 at a candlelight vigil at the University of California at Berkeley, in memory of the murdered Fogel family of Itamar.


    thank you to Suheir Hammad for your words to inspire me
    Sweet and acidic like a perfect grapefruit
    a blood orange

    Gentlemen, let us bless
    “May it be your will, Hashem, our G-d,
    that there be no distress, grief,
    or lament
    on this day
    of our contentment”

    Red rooftop white wall blind sunlight bright
    soft skies in haze on Shomron
    hilltops and pine groves dot this
    village cautious advanced upon by shrubs and bushes
    fennel, sage, thistle, za’atar
    shimmy in a circle around Itamar
    cactus soldiers in a wild common battalion
    fragrant handful clutch soil realization belonging
    Homeland herbs

    Desert wind you carry the spices of Solomon
    Desert sand you twirl and strangle
    Desert veil you shroud a beloved
    Desert eyes made now of glass

    Shabbat queen
    Shabbat mother Shabbat bride
    Her garments torn on jujube thorn
    Her gullet roars no sound to mourn
    Dare break the silence day seven shorn

    Children are dead no hero was born
    Massacre you shalom ’aleikhem
    Butcher you yedid nefesh
    Shabbat woman
    Cannot wail cannot tear her hair
    Her sleep was robbed her bed invaded her joy drained of fluid her

    Prayers jewels treasures nightmares
    Sleep is robbed of Shabbat woman she cannot
    Sleep again cannot give herself in
    To rest cannot
    Sleep no more
    Crystal shrapnel on challah cover

    How can she seek to give comfort
    because Jew father
    in bed with Zionist entity baby girl
    Her purple tiny custom-made hoodie embraces his
    blue jacket with white striped sleeves
    trying to sleep
    Because in her three months she
    could but cry out that she
    demanded to grow
    can never say a first word because
    slashed throats don’t speak
    they only bleed
    only bleed

    Shabbat woman how can she seek to give comfort
    mother is cut open on the bathroom floor
    because she hid her hair in her tikhel for the world to not see
    her grace
    just as in Ramallah
    a doppelganger hides her hair in her
    hijab for the world to not see
    her beauty

    because sour iron ruby pool surrounds and soaks this crumpled kippah
    because preteen boy child is slapped down on his back
    with holes in his flesh
    a criminal for being indigenous
    did you know that a heart can boil

    did you know that doves have dirty infected wings
    that three year old has a knife enter his heart twice to stop it
    that three year old neck must be racist
    because it was designed white
    that three year old neck was hacked apart
    vocal cords already
    know how to dare speak
    “am yisrael khai”

    because it ain’t no disgusting accident
    ain’t no human shield
    ain’t no clear and present danger
    ain’t no violent threat
    ain’t no combatant in a war which has sides
    ain’t no terrorist with bombs as a breastplate

    Shabbat woman what power have you
    against Gush Katif evacuation catastrophe
    against orange groves being chopped down and used as space for
    Hamas rocket launchers
    against a retreat with hands held steady above our heads
    that translated into metal rain for a decade in the life of southern Israel
    that introduced civilians to the words Katyusha, Kassam, Grad
    what power have you to weep
    when refugees from ethnic cleansing
    find themselves converted to corpses in the wilderness of Itamar

    Shabbat woman please try to caress the face of
    the survivor Yishai
    because he’s two years old
    and he has blood caked and spattered on his legs
    and he screams for his parents to wake up
    because he screams and cannot be quieted
    try to caress his face
    because his mother will never again be able to do just that

    tell Tamar and Roi that there is no justification for terrorism
    that their lives are a miracle
    that were they found they would have been murdered too

    a family of Jews

    Dalaal al-Mughrabi
    hijacks a bus in the second week of March 1978 Israel
    murders thirty seven
    murders from them thirteen children
    murders credibility to the Palestinian cause

    and in the second week of March 2011 Israel
    while Itamar weeps until salt claws at its eyelids
    al-Bireh devotes
    its largest town square
    to Dalaal al-Mughrabi
    to her name
    to her memory
    to her hate
    and the children of the family Fogel
    are stabbed in the heart again and again

    Salam Fayyad
    Mahmoud Abbas
    you whisper in my ear that you want peace
    you tell me on your government-controlled TV idiot box bullshit that you want peace
    My peace has no knives
    My peace has no shrouding of the map of Israel
    My peace has no networks broadcasting glorifying a previous batch of Itamar murderers
    My peace has no political party of my own design claiming responsibility for murder
    My peace has no Fatah lies
    My peace gauges no party as moderate just because the alternative is worse
    My peace has no incitement to murder
    My peace has no terrorists

    To the people the world has sent into damnation such to be “settlers”
    who CNN and Al-Jazeera would rather call “settlers” than human beings
    who Western media can’t see as innocent victims in their homeland but rather the fact that they had it coming to them
    that this was an “alleged” terror attack

    People who stand in defiance to a world that no longer cares about slaughtered Jews

    I dare you to live

    And I shriek out to the lone few of you who
    pour tar and kerosene and feces on peace negotiations
    and you’re craven enough to do it
    in the name of Judaism and Israel and Zionism

    I shriek out to you
    My Judaism has no reprisal attacks
    My Israel has no threatening the lives of innocent Palestinian townsfolk
    My Zionism has no smashing car windshields
    No invasion of property to throw stones in a third racist intifada
    No demonstrations with signs saying “death to Arabs”
    My Zionism burns with pride and kisses the cheek of the
    Civilian in the neighboring town of Awarta
    who speaks in Arabic
    and declares the injustice of killing babies

    Give me your hand as I look into your eyes I don’t care what color they are because to me they are beautiful they are gorgeous because they and I thirst to be loved my Muslim Christian agnostic atheist Arab raceless brothers and sisters

    Palestinian people I want to dance to the beat of your darbuka
    I beg you to listen when I say
    My peace has no pastries and candy passed out on the streets of Rafah
    To celebrate an infant having the breath sliced out of her

    Hamas of Gaza your candy tastes like Iranian warheads
    Your candy tastes like shells and mortars
    Your candy tastes like a crown of thorns
    Your candy tastes like charred bones and howling blood
    Your candy tastes like the murder of my people
    And your residents tell me joy is a “natural response” to the murder of Israelis

    I’m sick I’m so sick I want to vomit I surf on waves of nausea I
    spill my words like Tishbi wine into internationally deaf ears I
    can’t process my thoughts when the United Nations is controlled by maniacs I
    feel so abandoned when evil tyranny anti-Semitism can thrive

    I light my candle for Rabbi Udi
    for Ruti
    because they now have no tikhel no blue jacket with white striped sleeves
    because they now are clothed in black and white tallitot

    I light my candle for Yoav
    for Elad
    for baby Hadas
    because there are three tiny coffins in Givat Shaul
    that the world doesn’t give a fuck to see

    I light my candle because nobody is going to do it for me

    I don’t want no houses built in their honor

    I don’t want martyrdom to be answered with human growth I don’t want martyrdom to be used for political purposes even if it makes us seem weak maybe we don’t always have to have muscles maybe the desiccated byproduct of a jihadist genocidal mentality can’t be in dialogue with concrete maybe I want their souls done tangible justice I’ve given up on humans for the time being I want to see olive trees and rotem flower bloom in their name I want to see pomegranates fresh fragrant in their memory I want to see lemon blossoms sticky with nectar in their love I want to see the children in Nablus and Jenin given books explaining with truth how we’re cousins in genes and phantasms all of us and how resplendent this friendship alone on our ship our ship bamidbar in the wilderness of our land isolated vessel how children have futures in medicine art healing for all the times they were told to strap magazines pregnant with bullets across their small frail chests and denied life to others and in so doing were abused denied dreams themselves because knife tangible knife silver blade cutting throats equals knife invisible indoctrination hungry devouring brains intellect hope future washed away in milk in chalk in plasma screen violets scream in suicide

    I hold gingerly between fingers limp a natural growth
    With a drop of blood
    A white cyclamen
    With a drop of blood
    I’m scrubbing I’m scrubbing oh G-d they’re trying to make out of me
    Lady Macbeth
    I scrub and scrub until my hands fall off and I go insane

    The dolls children left on the floor and did not tidy up
    Are frozen with their beatific smiles
    They cannot play without a partner

    Shabbat queen
    Shabbat mother Shabbat bride
    Shabbat woman
    your eyes
    because next Shabbat
    I want peace

    Copyright–Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Posted at Please do link from these articles, quote from them, and forward them by e-mail to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author Distributed by ZNN.


  2. littlemissdebbie on said:

    This poem blew me away. Especially seeing Suheir Hammad performing it on Ted. I was so impressed that I added it to my blog about all the cool stuff I find online.


  3. jasmine on said:

    deep and touching poem, felt my tears go down my face


  4. Touchy and deep.


  5. Naveetha on said:

    I thought this was a beautiful poem. when i found it i couldn’t believe how much it moved me.


  6. jazakAllah.


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