my dancing leg – poem by Ahmed Maswadeh

How do you know if a #poem is “good”? the most important element of any poem is whether it succeeded in moving me as a reader and evoking an emotional response in me. The following is a poem written by my dearest friend, Ahmed Maswadeh. I don’t usually share the work of others here, but this time I am going out of my way, as this poem and Ahmed’s voice need to be heard. The scenes and emotions the text evokes are powerful. I could feel at once the universal and the local, the political and the personal in it. As I read it, I felt drawn into the scene – I was right there with him, feeling and taking in the scene with every word. It also opens up to multiple meanings, and that is the power and beauty of poetry.

I was in a scene.
Where I was gazing at the color green emanating from a minaret.
I was walking…
Men, with long white Abayas were walking.
We were dressed differently.
I was wearing shorts and the color of my T-shirt was black.
Our destinations were different.
I was not going to the mosque.
Who is right?
Who is wrong?
What is right?
What is wrong?
Keep on.

Go to the other side of Al-Quds.
A place where you are still different.
Different not to be cool.
Different not to fit in.
Different because you are.
Different in a sense that you don’t fit in, even when you try.
But still, who is wrong?
You are doing good.
So why wrong?

Seeing someone lying in a bed.
Not asking for “Sins.”
And it doesn’t matter what this someone is asking for.
“Sins” are not sins anymore.
It doesn’t matter what color.
You choose to devour.
Devour life.
Even the annoying passing car lights at the darkest nights excite you.
Walking back to your neighborhood that has no street lights on.
The car lights start to feel like spot lights on you at a stage.
The difference is that you are allowed to dance only when the lights fade away.

When you are left alone again in the darkness.
You step on things that you don’t see.
Your dancing leg will hurt.
And again.
You are gazing at the green.
You are back.
Not that well but not broken.
And you keep on.
(c) Ahmed Maswadeh, 18 August 2017

#poetry #politicalpoetry #art #politicalart #resistancepoetry


The photo was taken on the 23rd of May, 2017. One day before Jerusalem day in a real-life performance event called “Wandering around the house “that took place on the rooftop where the four quarters meet in the old city, which was a part of 80 events to create a different day in Jerusalem. A day of tolerance and acceptance rather than violence, hatred and ignorance.

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  1. MariHoward says:

    Just must be so hard living where you do – so many questions … lovely poem, that is, very pertinent, very thoughtful. Thank you for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish to read more of the writing about the experience of a Palestinian in Al-Quds and other cities. As a Jewish person who has had a wide variety of encounters in Jerusalem, the Palestinian voice and story is valuable to me.

    Liked by 1 person

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