Gaza, 90291

We are all Palestinians, and we are all Venetians. What if the two were one and the same?

By Jim Smith

The Gaza strip
extends from
Santa Monica
south along the coast

Many thousands of us are packed tight
and cannot leave what is called
the world’s largest prison

We have been driven west
until we can go no further.
Here, under the Pagodas
we line up for UN food distributions

Walking down the Boardwalk
I see the wounded,
and the ghosts of many friends

A new explosion billows
black smoke across the sand
sending us into chocking fits.

A women on her knees is crying
“They took our land and homes,
what more do they want.”

A man walks by.
He was a vendor not long ago
Now he is a fighter, “They want us gone.
They want us dead,” he shouts.

Ali walks up and whispers in my ear,
“They are targeting The Waldorf and
5 Rose today. Stay away,” he urges.

But where can I go? On the sand
I feel naked and exposed.
Should I swim out into the ocean?
And how could I run away
when our people are dying?

Once long ago, our tormentors
were the tormented.
They were horribly incinerated
on another continent.
They came here to find peace,
and found…us.

Today, another hideous crime is underway.
Four hundred children dead already.
Genocide is such a big word to
describe a little guy being blown apart.

Boom! A missile has exploded
an apartment building a block ahead
Many of us are running to help the wounded.
Bodies are strewn across Ocean Front Walk
The living are screaming and crying.

Should we fight back?
They call us terrorists when we do.
And with what shall we fight?
Do we throw sand in their faces?
Is it sacrilege to hurl devotional candles at them
from Sponto’s memorial.

The tanks are rolling down Pacific Avenue now.
Someone has found gasoline for a
Molotov cocktail. He hurls it at the tank,
but it burst against the steel without effect.

The tank turns and fires down Paloma.
The roof of a house flies off, a fire erupts.
Was a child inside doing her homework?
or just playing a video game?

Is there no justice in the world?
Why do people see our destruction
and turn away?
Are we not people? Do we not suffer?

In my reverie, I’ve wandered close to 5 Rose.
Soundlessly I see white bricks flying toward me.
They push me back into the parking lot.

I cannot stand the pain, then it ceases.
Now I am riding the bricks into the sky
I look down and see Gaza one last time.

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