Two Poems on the Middle East | Bruce Black

Smoke rises

Smoke rises on both sides
of the border.

Plumes of smoke unfurl
into a blue sky over Gaza.

Ribbons of smoke curl upward
over Tel Aviv.

The sound of sirens blare, 
hearts pounding seek safety
before the next bomb falls.

Where did peace go?
Wasn’t it here a moment ago?

Moses Intervening in a Beating
Karen Ester Aida ©2022

Brothers at War

My Israeli brother, 		
why can’t you			
see me?			

After the smoke clears	
and the bombs stop		
falling, I will still		
be your brother,		
my hatred of you		
for not seeing me		
only deepening.		

You are still			
stealing my			
bowl of			
God won’t			
see your			

Have you 			
the word			
for peace—			

Why do I feel			
like I’m talking		
to the wind,			
that no one 			
is listening,			
that you			
cannot hear			
my words			
than I can 			
hear yours			
over the sound			
of bombs			
that you don’t			
you are killing			
your own brother?		

How do you spell		
love, brother? Can		
you tell me? Or		
doesn’t the word		
exist in your			
My Palestinian brother,
why can’t you
see me?

After the sirens
fall silent and
your rockets stop
hitting our homes,
I will still be
your brother,
wishing you
had never
been born.

You are
still murdering
my brother,
no one will
see, not
even God.

Have you
the word
for peace—

Why can’t you hear
what I’m saying?
Is it too much
to ask for you
to open your
ears and hear
my words, my
wish that one
day we might
talk to each
other like a
normal family,
like normal
brothers, if there is
such a thing.
That one day
we might stop
trying to kill each
other and listen
to what each of us
has to say?

How do you spell
trust, brother?
Can you tell me?
Will we ever learn
to trust each other
long enough to see
the love in each
other’s heart?

Poems ©2022 Bruce Black
All rights reserved

Bruce Black…

is the author of Writing Yoga (Rodmell Press/Shambhala) and editorial director of The Jewish Writing Project. He received his BA from Columbia University and his MFA from Vermont College. His poems and personal narratives have appeared in Soul-Lit, Poetry Super Highway, Atherton Review, Elephant Journal, Blue Lyra Review, Tiferet Journal, Hevria, Poetica, Jewthink, The Jewish Literary Journal, Mindbodygreen, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and elsewhere. He lives in Sarasota, FL.


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