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Jehan Bseiso



After Aleppo


To the families and lovers at the bottom of the sea,

fleeing the Syrian war trying to reach Europe.


I learned to read early.
But the truth is, sometimes I wish the letters remained funny drawings for longer,

before the uninvited tyranny of words, and
before other tongues found home in my big mouth.


I don’t mean it literally.


One day, we will go back to Aleppo you said.


You don’t mean it literally.

Habeebi four years ago we shouted for change,

and now we are citizens of border towns.
We go from Turkey, to Lebanon, to Egypt, but we don’t find Aleppo.
We have food vouchers, and, assistance criteria, and, intermittent empathy.

I don’t write any more poetry.


The boat is sinking,
but I don’t want to leave this room.

It smells like jasmine

and you taste like freedom.






Even from space Gaza is on fire, is

Children, sheltering in UNRWA schools (hit), is,

Entire families huddled in hospitals (hit), is

You sitting perfectly still in the dark, hoping this one,

Will miss you.



From Amman, from Beirut, in Chicago.

We, online, yes.

But no 146 characters this.

1000 killed, 4000 injured, thousands displaced no place.



Twitter feeds and facebook timelines and

10 reasons why you should boycott Israel Now, and

5 Ways Children Die in Gaza today or

How to Lose 18 members of Your Family in One Minute.

(@Bibi54 stop saying the rockets are in the damn hospitals,

in the school rooms, under the beds of four year olds.)

Maybe it helps that 8 Celebrities Expressed Their Outrage.

tweeted and deleted.

(@CNN@Foxnews Bas rewriting history, Bas lies on tv)

@Jon Stewart, thank you for educating the silent majority with satire.


Day 17: What happened? what is still happening?

In Jabaliya, the dead console the dying ;

Anisa, with one child in her arms, and another in her belly (dead).


In the hospital, they put the pregnant women alone,

because they’re carrying hope, because they don’t want them to see

what can happen to children.


Oh white phosphorous

(and unconfirmed reports of illegal dense inert metal explosives).


I can confirm this:

International law, is clearly for internationals only.

By now, a 7 year old in Gaza has survived 3 wars already,

and you’re still talking about talks, and sending John Kerry to the Middle East,

and thanking Egypt for facilitating


There’s more blood than water today in Gaza.





Today in Jabaliya, Khan Younis, in Rafah and Shujaiya,
We are still burying the dead we find, but the living ask:
Wayn Nrouh?
(where to now)
Shu Nsawyi?
(what to do now)
Samidoun; means we last.


Habeebi, today you reminded me we under the same sky.
But Nowhere refuge. Only refugees.
Skip breakfast with militias in Benghazi, have lunch in Homs under the rubble.
Leave your house in Mosul.
Leave your house in Mosul.
Leave your house in Mosul.
Three times in one week.


Take your body to Beirut, your heart still beating in Aleppo.
Take your body to Amman, your heart still beating in Gaza.
Take the death boats from Egypt and Libya to Italy,

leave your children on the shore.


Arab Offspring forecast is cloudy;
with prospects of unseasonal paradigm shift.
I don’t know politiks, but something about this brand of terror tastes like Burger King.
Take back your Jihadis for hire.
Take back your F16s, your drones, your bombs from the sky in Iraq, in Libya, in Yemen.


Dear Diaspora,
Maybe you have a good job.
You’re happy.
You work with Pepsi.
You work at Memac and Ogilvy.
You don’t know if they will close the Novartis head office in Beirut tomorrow because
another bomb went off.
You don’t take cabs in Cairo anyway.
You don’t want to move to Dubai like everybody.


Dear Diaspora,
Don’t sponsor occupation with your

Jordanian Dinars, Dirhams, Dollars and Pound Sterling.


Habeebi, I thought you lost my number, turns out you lost your legs,
On the way to the hospital from Khan Younis to Jabaliya to Rafah.
The border is closed, but my heart tunnel.

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