At the Catholic university, a speaker clicks through slide after slide of barbed wire, cattle-chute checkpoints, and walls. His mantra is occupation. What threatens the Christians, he concludes, is what threatens Palestinians. A woman stands up. I wanted to let everyone know, she says, that this talk was FULL of SPIN. (I can’t see her, she’s behind me, I’m afraid to look back.) The truth is the OPPOSITE. (My heart goes out to her, standing in the heart of another country.) The reason for the wall was that people were being ATTACKED, she says. BY TERRORISTS. After all, the Arabs sold the land, it was too much trouble. (I shrink back in my seat, shake my head.) And at a Catholic school, you should KNOW what the Church has done, especially during World War II! Then a man gets up (I can’t see him, he’s behind me, I’m afraid to look back). The Jews bought a tiny bit of land, but the rest, the rest was STOLEN! (My heart goes out to him, standing in the heart of another country.) BUT! he says. THEY did not buy everything, even if they buy Congress! (I shrink again.) She says, YOU have FOURTEEN ARAB countries! Can’t we have just ONE? THEY should take you in. He says, but this is OUR land! Why should we have to leave? Because EUROPE took it from us? That is why we fight! (What about peace? someone mumbles.) He says, how can you negotiate over a pizza when one side continues to EAT! She says, how can you negotiate over a pizza when one side is trying to STAB you with knives! It goes on like this for a long time. Years, decades, generations. I sit like a child at the table, watch parents grip their utensils, spit words like shrapnel. I hate
how I love them.
Ashamed, I look down, unable
to bury the hot metal.
Aaron (After the Bombing)
My flesh has swallowed an entire dream of heaven:
I’ve got a dozen screws floating around my spine,
casings & shells, mortar & construction nails
holding nothing forever. For legs I wheel
this chair. My body’s locked in the pitying gaze
of strangers, family, in the moment he froze
our fates together. I recall trying to rise,
slipping as if on ice, unseeing my eyes,
my father’s voice screaming something—what was my name—
but I could see only his mouth moving, the pain
in his eyes. I could not feel a thing. Every day
I try to stand again. Sometimes I’m filled with joy,
sometimes I want to die. Myself I devour.
For his wish to be remembered, I’m raked with fire.
Philip Metres has written ten books, including Shrapnel Maps (Copper Canyon 2020), Sand Opera (Alice James 2015), and The Sound of Listening: Poetry as Refuge and Resistance (2018), among others. Awarded the Lannan Fellowship, three Arab American Book Awards, two NEAs, and the Adrienne Rich Award, he is professor of English and director of the Peace, Justice, and Human Rights program at John Carroll University.
In an open letter, European institutional leaders defend Manuel Borja-Villel, who has faced right-wing attacks for his progressive programming.
A new study posits that rising smog levels in 19th-century London and Paris likely played a role in blurring the lines of realism.
In Seongmin Ahn’s paintings, it is not our past we are looking at but our possible future.
Born in Shiraz, Sokhanvari fled Iran as a child a year before the Revolution and has devoted her artistic practice to the country she left behind.
Join the New-York Historical Society on February 10 for a virtual conversation about our changing relationship to the natural world with Julie Decker, John Grade, and LaMont Hamilton.
Stephen L. Starkman’s moving book about his encounter with mortality leaves a place for perseverance and hope.
“We clearly f-ed this one up,” said a Metropolitan Transit Authority rep, adding that the error in the artist’s last name is being fixed.
At least we won’t have to look at it on Earth.
From residencies, fellowships, and workshops to grants, open calls, and commissions, our monthly list of opportunities for artists, writers, and art workers.
Presented by Northwestern’s Block Museum and McCormick School of Engineering, this new exhibition seeks empathy at the boundaries of life. On view in Evanston, Illinois.
The statue could be a likeness of Trajan Decius, emperor of the Roman Empire from 249 to 251 CE.
The action could disrupt public access to the museum as workers campaign for higher wages and better labor conditions.