Seemingly helpless
in a democracy beyond repair,
on a world brewing the floods, droughts
and endless wanderings
of a vengeful planet,
I live as a godless Jew in an age
when the leaders of Judaism
spit the fires of Uzis and smart bombs
like the bowels of Ba’al
in eras past.

I, you, we anguish our selves,
turn one upon the other
in a frenzy of utter helplessness,
week after month for a decade,
lonely, beleaguered, bereft.

‘Nam begets Afghanistan,
Afghanistan begets Iraq,
Iraq begets, begets,

Emmett Till begets Medgar Evers,
Medgar Evers begets Rodney King,
Rodney King begets Amadou Diallo,
Amadou Diallo begets Troy Davis,
Troy Davis begets Trayvon Martin,
Trayvon Martin begets Michael Brown,
murdered by racist mob or racist cop or racist system,
begotten, begotten, forgotten,
in every shore, in every county,
week after month after decade,

but slowly, slowly, slowly, I, you, we
beget a
a leviathan We
that thinks, that feels, that struggles, that loves,
a We that strikes,
a We that talks,
a We that seizes,
a We that thinks,
a We that destroys,
a We that loves the They
while hating the It,
that disperses the They as They
that destroys the It,
that builds our We
to rebuild.

I, you, we, We live,
we struggle that the Earth may live,
that our We
can supplant the It,
liberate the Palestinians, liberate the Jews,
and liberate the Earth
from the It, from the They,
that the We can grow a universal Us,
that Earth and We and all
can love,
can live.

This poem is from Sam Friedman, Grief and Rage: An American Jew’s Poems on Palestine.  You can obtain a copy by e-mailing