Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Remembering Naji Al-Ali

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the assassination of Naji al-Ali in 1987. In the early 1980's I had the good fortune to meet this talented Palestinian artist and journalist at a showing of his work at USC.

At the beginning of the first Intifada, I wrote this poem in his memory:

Remembering Naji Al-Ali

The return address on the envelope says "Handhalah..."
The envelope is empty.
I wait.
The voice on the answering machine whispers "Handhalah..."
But there is no number to call.
I wait.
The lettering on the back of the T-shirt
Of the boy running past reads "Handhalah..."
I walk faster.
And in my dream Handhalah approaches.
For the first time I can see his face,
He is smiling.
I awake and sit at my desk in the night,
And write a check.
At the bottom where is says "for:"
I write "Stones."