Sammy Bassam – “Shwarmheart” ” @WANPOETRY (SLC CYPHER 2018)

Sammy Bassam – “Shwarmheart” ” @WANPOETRY (SLC CYPHER 2018)


– To the cute Iraqi boy who
noticed my Arabic tattoo in the shawarma place, hey. (laughter in background) (mumbles) Who then turned anti-Semite
awful while I was waiting for my falafel. Our exchanged smiles soon
turned gunfire when I took a chance and told you
that I’m a Lebanese Jew. A spiritual identity
liberated from my family of pharaohs beyond the
exodus of my bloodline. But you treated my faith, you
assumed Israeli-supporting Zionist sympathizer that
built illegal outposts atop my occupied soul. You stood confused that I
felt drawn to adopt another, as if I chose what bodies
or beliefs I’m attracted to. You stood disgusted, as if
my wily crooked stereotypical Jew way stole the nation of your heart but for a moment make no mistake I’ve already long become
accustomed to racist white people calling me a terrorist and a kike. You can chop me up like Sykes-Picot British and French agreement
after the fall of the Ottomans to divide and dismember the Middle East into how we know it today. Do you wish to dismember me? To divide my limbs from my mandate like apartheid wall from territory. To humiliate and examine
my living corpse for hours while checking out my checkpoint. Do you wish me to lift
my shirt to show you the only bomb under here
is my damn fine chest? Or need I engage in Shylockian
defense of how I bleed if pricked or laugh when tickled. And when your white friends
call you an Arab of any faith or Muslim of any culture a
terrorist, close your eyes. Open your ears and listen. For their prejudice
precision drops weapons on Iraq, Gaza, Syria, Libya, and Lebanon, covers catastrophic clockwork
with napalm of your hands and exponentially expands
our diaspora like dynamite. We see them. Igniting cellophane liberation
individually packaged to collect the entire unit, we see them. Red and white stripes divide the lines of indigenous blood and colonialist might. The regal blue stars elite
watch beneath hierarch enemies, we hear them. Because they translate
our tortured tongues into torpedo teeth turning our
civilizations to ruin. Air Force is the only
language they understand. So habi habi, let me tell
you that we are the same. And as a child born of
this earth with love I wear kippah and keffiyeh,
skullcap and scarf, as proudly and fabulously as
the colors together in the laws of attraction and religion. Just different stripes
of the same rainbow flag. But with words as sharp as the knife that the shawarma shop server
uses to slice a pound of flesh from my body, one thing is for certain. After such an eviscerating
attack on my humanity, I guess there’s no need
to ask me if I’m cut. (applause and cheers)

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