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Poem: Jewish Entry into an Arabic Holy Land

Jewish Entry into an Arabic Holy Land


By Genevieve Cora Fraser

The Jewish cab driver
Was fearful that day
As we sped away
From the militarized airport
Toward East Jerusalem
Through the passes
Where the Arabs attacked
As the Zionists advanced
Proving their mettle
In battle
He bragged
In battle
Not gas chambers
They intended
To stay not go away
But build a life
Upon the death knell
Of the Palestinians
Still attacking
He conceded
Stunned when struck
Back not anticipating
Reprisals
In time we drew
Close thinking together
Of his past his father
A Czech his mother
A Turk grateful
For a homeland
Feeling locked out
And luckless
They claimed Israel
As their own
He feared
They had not done
Well but there
Was hope
Something
To be said
Having a homeland
Pale face dabbed
With iridescent
Pink around
His cheeks
He refused gum
When offered
Diabetic
Not all together
Well ill at ease
From my easy
Conversation
I suspected
Grateful
For the long
Haul into the hills
Anticipating payment
We rode as he wove
His fears and dreams
Into the truth of not
Feeling at home
Among the Arabs
Who might spring
A surprise anytime
They hate us
He said
Why I asked
Not consider
That most are gentle
Pastoral poets
Scholars at home
In the gardens
As ancient as Eden
They belong
Have been here
Thousands of years
Not that he
Didn't belong
But consider
Their rights
Their needs
There will be peace
If there is respect
We sped past
High tension
Wires delivering
Light communication
Warmth to the emerging
Settlements springing
Up sudden as the attacks
Against their encroachment
Widening the gap
Between the haves
And have nots
Tossed aside
So others can hide
In their Jewish
Ghettos separating
Them from The Others
West Jerusalem's streets
Suddenly upon us
We entered
Silently
Startled by fears
Of facing
Arab terrorists
I suspected
I laughed
Assuring him
None would
Be found
Where I was
Going he was lost
Dumbfounded
By the sudden
Walls and blockades
Down this street
And that trapped
Like rats ready
To gnaw
Our way out
I unfolded
The map
He could
Not read English
But sweated
And stopped
To enquire
In Hebrew
Mocked he felt
By those
Who believed
For the almighty
Shekel he had shackled
Himself to a terrorist
Sympathizer pro
Palestinian
Patsy conspiring
With their enemy
Seeking a way
Into the Old
City proper
A tourist
I reassured him
Afraid he might
Drop me off
In the middle
Of madness
Threatening
To overspill
Into the streets
Through fear
Of the westerner
The American huntress
Hunting
For her Arab
Cronies
Damascus Gate
Will do
I said
No I will take
You to your
Hotel you will
Be safe I will not
Drop you in a place
Where anyone could
Attack
Take advantage
Of you confused
He spun around seeking
The high road
The low pass
The right road
To the Eastern
Part of the city
Too Near Eastern
To his liking
But obliged
Muslims now
As if from Aladdin's
Magic lantern
Appeared
Dark woolen Tus cloaks
Cotton Jilbabs
Brushed along in swing step
Over cut stone sidewalks
As Jews in black
Broad hats retreated
From view
The newness of it all
The mystique
Echoing the ancient
Past brought me
Home to the Jerusalem
Hotel friendly
Arabic a café
Waited to warm
Me with tea
Nice place
He said
As I shook
His hand adding
Extra shekels
For his troubles

ENDS


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