Sunday, April 29, 2007

I've kinda been going for gore in my poetry lately

*trigger warning for blood*

Welcome to Ramat Aviv
April 27th, 2007

Twelve stories below my new apartment
Jet lag blurring and smothering my eyelids
A woman with her head covered
Is bent in front of the grocery store.
Her head turned away from the unintelligible script.
She is a piece of difference
A curiosity for eight year old eyes
Out of place in this
Suburban confusion.
I avert my gaze
Ashamed to be staring
And find my eyes locked
On a cat, its guts spilled
Across the driveway.
I wonder if I have moved to
A land of secrets,
Hidden stares,
And spilled but unnoticed blood.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Masada Complex

And now, laaaadeeeeeeze and gentlemen...something completely different.

This one's a tad more academic. I've been studying for my exams and this is somewhat inspired by my anger over a reasonably famous book which I think is seriously wrong in a serious number of ways.


Thomas Friendman argues in his book, The World is Flat, that the world has been “flattened” – that is, placed on a level playing field – by various “flatteners” that are arguably causes and effects of the progressing “phenomenon” of globalization.
But in what way is this world flat? The playing field isn’t level; instead, I would liken it to Masada, an archaeological formation in Israel that was a fortress for Israelis who were pursued by the Romans thousands of years ago. As the Romans attempted to climb Masada by building a dirt ramp to scale its heights, the Jews decided that death would be preferable to rapture by the Romans, and committed suicide.

The world’s elite and privileged – predominantly educated citizens, mostly white and English-speaking from developed former colonial powers, or rapidly industrializing countries that are molding their economies to fit a neoliberal standard – are now on top of a hypothetical Masada. They claim that the playing field is level because they have little view of the reality below.

The Jews’ fears of Roman capture may have been unwarranted, and their mass suicide certainly was premature. Upon modern examination, it is clear that, at the time of the mass suicide, the feared Roman victory over Masada was years away. The modern privileged forces who drive and benefit from globalization are in a state of self deception, similar to that of the Jews on Masada. They fear the ascent of individuals in the developing world, feeling that those who are currently disadvantaged will rise economically and rob the elite of their privilege. The loss of jobs in manufacturing, most prominently in the auto manufacturing sector, has made workers’ unions a major source of criticism of globalization from the Global North.

Like the Jews, the privileged of the Global North are hardly threatened by the ascent of others onto their “Masada.” They have already prevented the Global South from infringing on their standard of living through colonial rule that robbed the Global South of indigenous knowledges and the means to survive independently. Unlike the Jews, however, the response of the privileged to the invasion of the less privileged onto “Masada” is not self destruction, but instead destruction of the Other. Rather than committing mass suicide, the privileged are condemning and disenfranchising the perceived threat through the use of neoliberal, neocolonial economic policies that essentially remove the dirt from the ramp that those in developing countries are using in their hard work to reach Masada, and place this direct on top of Masada to make the plateau higher.

The real Masada is now no more than a tourist attraction that is at risk of collapsing due to erosion, but the neoliberal Masada of economic globalization in a neocolonial world is getting taller each day through the use of structural adjustment programs, flawed and fraudulent aid programs, and the global rule of corporations that decrease living and working conditions in the south in exchange for profits for the north, control the pharmaceutical industry and undermine efforts that support global health, and degrade the environment at the expense of those who are already marginalized.

Will the global Masada become merely a piece of historic memory, and an example of mounting inequality in the 21st century? Maybe someday. Perhaps it will eventually crumble altogether, and exist only as a myth of the past, a story of a time in which humanity existed in a hierarchy with some lives more valued than others. Whatever happens, until that hierarchy is erased and our Masada is razed, the world will never be flat.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sometimes the World Ends

I've had this blog for four years now. Which means four years since, well, other things.

But that's not important today, because there are more awful things happening today that invaded my head and ricocheted off the insides of my skull and swirled into a poem of sorts.

Sometimes the World Ends
April 16th, 2007

Sometimes the world ends.
Twenty-one, now twenty-two died today
Pain building up with each number they say
Young names we’ll read at next year’s Kol Nidre.
Yes, sometimes the world ends.

Sometimes the world ends.
A fleet of sirens rush by on TV
Too late to save thirty-two, thirty-three,
Nameless numbers who cry inside me.
Yes, sometimes the world ends.

Sometimes the world ends.
Pierced bodies bleeding beyond our control
Amputated souls in the toilet bowl
Builds into pain from a sharp bullet hole.
Yes, sometimes the world ends.

Sometimes the world ends.
Everyone watches as fear sharp as knives
Rips out the shadow behind anger’s eyes
Sirens go silent, too late to save lives.
Voices are chanting, yes, still I rise
But sometimes the world ends.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Shouldn't have happened...

I’m not against rape because it happened to me. That’s not my point. I’m against rape because it happens, and it’s wrong. I don’t think I’m radical. I think I have the right to be safe and want this right to extend to all women. I shouldn’t matter whether she was already drunk, already naked, already dating him, even already fucking him.
It shouldn’t matter if she reports it; I have a right to safety, even if I’m far from brave enough to regurgitate traumatic details of my life to a uniformed stranger and submit to a medical exam to let them extract evidence from my already violated body. It shouldn’t matter if the evidence has been washed away, or if I am in too much pain to talk or let them see my body. I still have the right to safety.
It shouldn’t matter if I flirted, tried to become friends, pretended to be straight. It shouldn’t matter that I used crutches – that makes me no stronger or weaker than any other woman. It shouldn’t matter that the age of consent is fourteen – and I was fifteen. I didn’t consent, but was too hurt to show the bruises that would prove it, still hurting inside from the stitches they used to put me back together.
It shouldn’t hurt anymore; I shouldn’t remember it, be plagued with flashbacks four years later. I shouldn’t be afraid of whipped cream, change rooms, gym benches and tensor bandages. I shouldn’t have a deformed hymen, asymmetry and scarring that I was afraid my girlfriend would see. I shouldn’t be afraid of sex; shouldn’t be afraid of letting someone see my body’s differences where it has been ripped with pain or be afraid of touch which might accidentally sting of a buried memory.

I shouldn’t be afraid or hurt, violated and emptied. Who I am, what I did, and what he did shouldn’t matter.

These shouldn’ts are because it shouldn’t have happened.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007


Easter is in the air
I breathe in the musty smell of spring
And as a Jew
I don’t think of Jesus.

Easter is in the supermarkets
I survey the boxes of Easter eggs
Strangely placed in the Kosher food aisle
And puzzle at the depiction
Of rabbits who lay eggs.

Easter is in my body
A sinking feeling as it approaches
Teasing memories out of my mind.

Easter is in my footsteps
As I scurry from the bus stop
Head cocked over my shoulder
Waiting and afraid.

Easter is within me
Grabbing from behind
Forcing, thrusting, penetrating
Refusing to let go.