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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Khaled Juma: The Violin Teacher- For Gaza Wherever She Is

Our third piece from the brilliant Khaled Juma (translated by Isis Nusair and Rewa Zeinati) -- and the final piece in our New Writing from Gaza portfolio (which can be read as a series here). It's a moving meditation on making art (and life) in the shadow of the Wall.

The Violin Teacher- For Gaza Wherever She Is
Khaled Juma

“Wherever your face may turn, everything carries the potential of exploding.” Mahmoud Darwish

The sea reveals its blueness to the city* Proud of the gentleness of the air that seeps from the scent of distant women* Presents its dawn with exposure that cannot be delayed* Little girls play at the edge of a wave that was born out of a small imbalance between water and laughter* They are as light as a brief line of poetry* As beautiful as the meaning of beauty found in a dictionary* Moving towards womanhood as a challenge to time and place* The day begins as soon as the sparrow washes, with the dew of the morning, his feathers from the light of yesterday* He watches the little girls with love and concern, both part of his nature*

The raid peels away the sparrow and the wave and the girls and the dew and the light and the day before and today* A man stumbles in the darkness to understand an episode found in an extended tale* Electricity, his wife, the flour all fail him* Just like any other cadaver, the carcass of time is left hanging on the thread of the television* Time doesn’t understand why it’s become a corpse and the man doesn’t understand time and the darkness doesn’t understand the man and the new year doesn’t understand the darkness and the aircraft don’t understand the new year*

A long wait in the syllabus of night and day* Many songs are scattered around by the radio stations* The hero cannot strip off his heroism* Pigeon lovers and a language walking proudly on the asphalt* The language is killed and dies alone and away and cold as a mammoth buried in snow made of snow*

In the scene a language that’s lost its limb* Another with a broken musical scale* And a third language whose only speaker has died* With my own eyes I saw ten terms sneak into my dictionary without my lifting a single finger to stop them* The city boasts in the festival of cities* A bride is soaked in henna shaped like ladders and gentle clouds that hide the repulsive sound of something like modern computer games found in the hand of a reckless child, who kills limitlessly, the dead disappearing immediately, so he’s not delayed from his ensuing targets* The father laughs because his child completed a part of the game without losing* The electric power goes out but the instinct of the child, and so he begins to wail*

A poet sits alone, surrounded by warm air* Across from him two oranges that signify all that remains of what seems to be civilization* Daring, he eats one, making the other one feel lonely, so she says to herself: “This murderer is merciless”*
A woman hangs her horror on the window, away from boys who claim to be shivering from cold not fear* The horror falls off the edge of the window* It shatters all over the floor of the room and its shrapnel hits everything and all time* The clock on the wall has decided to retire after feeling useless at its job* A boy utters a philosophical statement unbefitting his age* The father is shocked and wishes he could go outside to inform the neighbors of his pride* The road is blocked by heavy air* The sea is blocked by two opposing notions* The horizon is pierced like a rusty aluminum can* And the flute no longer means what it says*

The lonely violin teacher leaves behind her loneliness and her violin and closes her notes upon the fingers of her students and walks away* She throws a final look of farewell at her footsteps* She kisses the hot sand and heads off without looking back* I am protected by an idea and the idea is protected by the wall:

Oh God:
Let us know of a prophet, whatever his name may be.

Translated by Rewa Zeinati and Isis Nusair

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