Khaled Juma

Khaled Juma Poems

'Await not that I play for you…'
Says the flute maker to the strange moon,
'I am but a flute maker'

My face is the forests' unease. I occupy a chapter in the tale. I sleep with one eye open, puzzling the night, star by star. Solitary, I arrange seasons, and trees. Solitary, I make imaginings from fear. I induct the words of a scared rabbit to make my fable. I am the wolf, unsurpassed. Only I know the roads that curve and turn in the mountain's slope. Only I hide the distress in a rock on which a shepherd sits with his flute, dripping sadness, not knowing that I am right behind him, memorizing the melody to repeat as howls on assumptions of hills.

My claw is the tale's pen, lightening my way whenever the smell of homes reaches my tame forest. Homes are the death of the wildness in us. When we befriended their owners, we became dogs, guarding goats from the assaults of our brothers. We sit planted like gratis soldiers at masters' doors. We glorify the moment they release our necks from collars of imprisonment, having entirely forgotten how we were the freedom of land, time and magic spells. We have totally forgotten our children, who we left in battles with nights and wails. We forgot and we attacked them as if we never knew them. They killed us. We killed them, and did not notice that the circles in the lake's water were the place's cries for what we have become. We did not notice, not for a moment that our names have also changed.

To the boy abandoned at the edge of a homeland abandoned at the edge of a boy

What would I tell you if I were there?
You scream with two legs folded underneath you, blood streaming from a place in your body I do not know, I feel horror sneaking into your tender soul, as they are about to attack you, not only with words, but with a Talmudic history mobilized like a war machine aged a million years. In every one of their pockets is a Torah, in every one of their eyes is a gun and in every one of their hands is a heart, afraid of a twelve-year-old boy, abandoned on the roadside. Were you an easy hunt? Even in jungles, predators sometimes hesitate to hunt a little one when they're hungry, they smell the milk off the newborn's lip and turn back, perhaps, they transcend from preying on a little defenseless child who cannot even escape. However, they all were there, and the others wished to be there, so they sent their thoughts instead.

Nobody raised me to love you. My mother did not plant virtues of death in her tales. My father did not tell me that men had to die in order to be Men. He said, take the city's distress off her eyes, and she shall love you forever; and at that moment of my death, and in the long time between my stand and my fall, I saw her, with my heart, I saw her, crying and smiling, while calls for prayer arose like a premade ritual.


Tomorrow, I shall die
Like everyone alive, I shall die
Death will not warn me
Will not give me a chance to say, any last words

Beware of the spear. Master of death is behind the mountain, detaining two lovers whom he gave hearts of steel. He sat smacking his lips on the rock at the gateway of Poets and Gods. No one knows where the knights have gone. As if it is another era, unmeant for anyone to grasp. About her eyes, the sculpture at the entrance of the cave speaks of battles fought by the Gods for her morning flower.
In the legend of slaughter, it was said that the Little God had a charm that enticed all women's hearts, but an oracle told him, while he was out hunting hearts off the top of the Mountain of Gods, that a day will come when eyes of a woman would turn him into a horrid human loathed by all women of earth. He would set his divine trap aiming it at the eyes of any woman before she even looked. He was happy with that. And on what seemed like a beautiful Sunday, he was bathing in the sun while his body crawled in the lake's sands. He could not break the prophecy when two eyes passed in front of him. He looked at his reflection in the clear lake water. The prophecy came entirely true. He took shelter in a little cave. He cried and wrote poems to the eyes that turned him into this aberration. Seven days later, he died. Yet, what he wrote remained until a traveler passed there ten thousand centuries later. The ink was still fresh, as if it was the continuation of tears on the cave's walls. The traveler testified all that he saw, and then, he and the cave both vanished.
The Entry
When I was born, clairvoyants chirruped in my father's ear: this God shall spawn humans. My father did not comprehend the prophecy. Clairvoyants did not either. But I, was given the power of magic. Women were my preys, and my brainchildren.

To The Sky
To the first rain I embraced, not inferring my yearning to cry. To my burning before the great witness on the dawn. To a disappointment, hung by friends on their trees. To a chest broken open, flooding with emotion like an elongated season. I apologize for my visible being unified in the faraway color.
Dear Lord: Enlighten your sky so my apology could enter before creatures awake.

I wanted to knock on your door
To drop a casual greeting, and leave
I would have, perhaps, talked to you a little

Dear Lord,
Please, forgive their visions, and let them hear the vulture's apology to its prey, lest they think you made some, killers, and some, killed. Lay in their hearts a blue morning star, to show them the course of laughs in the wind of sea, adorn their dreams with the meaning of life, so they know that you are the creator of beauty, too. Sprinkle their roads with diamonds of your words, so they break the walls in their souls and fly to you washed like air in the rain.
Dear Lord,
At the beat of sins, in a valley only eminent from rapture by an illusion, I stand, naked of all hate, flooding with love. The honey of your grace drips over my body, and creatures smile. Like your power taught me, I forgive sinners in routs of ignorance and roads of knowledge. I look under my feet lest I block the way of ants. I look up at your sky to thank you for a star that embraced my heart with illumination, I kneel before you, for you taught me how to fill the chalice of love, and pour it in the grieving river, turning its stream into a rhythm, and its water, into a mother's touch on the head of a lonely orphan.

At the gate of eternity, a friend carved a heart for his friend, as if he knew him.
He said: You did not need yourself to exit, and gift it to a girl aimed like an unseen shooting star.
He said: I withhold all my ships from all my seas to die, holding the language of two eyes stowing sadness like wine.
He said: As if she's a woman with a loom of terror for threads of wind, coiffing the unknown to sow it out of season.

A hand of seas and incense leans its elbows on my horizon, while
I carry two ravens like an unassailable and tyrannical history, I refuse my eyes
the sight of the fire filling the expanse flowing away over
the distant hills, distant as the idea of eternity, I form an acid

Eyes of almonds left to the seasons, your eyes, they have the freedom of morning's birds filled with love and song, as for the hiding place of the wound, lips are demanding cities of their creators and fire lusts after a djinn inside you who is never still.

Rings of silver enclose the distant sight of the sea, while your feet write the way on modest sand yielding to femininity wherever the wind direction relents, a pair of swallows vie on a wave that washed the scent of the distance from your hair that ever faces difficult choices in its struggle with the breeze.


The dense crowds made it seem like the Apocalypse had arrived; one coach, and people still flowed into it like a river without obstruction. Suitcases filled half the coach, and what was left had to be room enough for a hundred bodies. If not… we'd be spending the night here.

The space filled up with office workers dragging their exhausted bodies, yet the soldiers on the other side insisted we keep the first row empty, four whole seats… and you can say whatever you want… but… there's no sitting in the front seats behind the driver… it's military orders.

The options on the street are exhausted* The boy is no longer Jesus* Over the scene's progression he moves towards final distraction * He listens to what he is not used to in daily life* The flute is irritating as it wounds the fear in the scene from the audience*And perhaps even ten extra bullets have become meaningless* Army, why so serious with your jokes? * The soldier laughed: Your speech for any color but white*
My son: You have to determine the color of the army in order to converse with a tunnel that leads to meaningfulness* Meaning has recently become devoid of its skill* The writer of the article is only interested in the font size of the newspaper* And the army is concerned with a lot more than the font size and the manner in which the demonstrators collapse* The scene quickly changes from a father whose daughter side tracked and got mixed up with tainted boys, despite their combat, to a daughter searching for a father whose features have fallen for no reason upon the asphalt* The satellite T.V. announces an ad for a new air conditioner* The boy leaves to go purchase it* He worries about his mother's fever* But he has fallen over on his way to the air conditioner* Luckily he has not died completely*
The burden was at odds with the boy who is able to play with his soul that has the capacity to detach from him and return as a kitten* He did not use high philosophy to clarify his situation like the radio station does* The newscaster answered* The boy did what he could and so did the commentator*
The boy forgets his garden as soon as he falls asleep from the flow of medicinal liquid running through veins not designed for this* The nurses guard his sleep from their memory of passersby* Never have they encountered someone with such beauty when asleep* They sing and leave at the end of their shift* And they don't recall him until their next shift* In his sleep a long and narrow desert* And a bird for the worry that is clueless about who squeezed both of these into sleep woven with such incredible accuracy* The desert becomes a map* The teacher points to the only color and wags his moustache and stick* There is emptiness between one desert and another* The teacher weaves his sentence out of an ancient language* This is the Nile that blushes each time it passes its own funeral* And the Nile as you know is the longest of rivers* If we exclude the rivers of heaven in their long passing under the genius of God's genius* But the desert snores in her sleep* And her sleep is the river if you didn't know* The boy is on a paper that's on a line that twirls* There is emptiness in the map* There is a celebration that falls upon this emptiness and the tree is not aware of what's under her* The pole at the end of the map is a white forest*As if the pole is making love to the desert! ! *

- For Gaza Wherever She Is
Khaled Juma

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

He knew not that for a century past he has been walking in a wrong direction, lest for the star that fell before him, carrying the south in her light, and hooks of sadness in its gradual perishing. He knew not that he was the one to dictate the trees their spells, and the little girls their ability to fool lovers with kohl and gallant timidity.

He left not a direction where he did not pass, thus all directions were lost, and the years imbalanced in his journey. The dessert filled with thick grass when he left it behind, and rivers dried like an old unremembered tale, even the sun he placed with his hand, there, outside the window, wilted like skin in the salt of sea. He waited to salvage his dead lovers from claws of sand, and times became a market open to cities, cities became vacancies and obsession in a poem, yet, he knew not…

Khaled Juma Biography

Khaled Juma Poet, Author, and Children’s Books Author Born in Rafah, on October 25,1965, Khaled Juma was raised in Al-Shaboura Refugee Camp, in the Gaza Strip. He is currently Head of the Cultural Department in Palestine News and Information Agency (WAFA) , and was previously Editor-in-Chief of Roya Magazine for seven years. He has a vast portfolio of over 28 publications in a variety of genres; poetry, short stories, children’s stories, TV sketches plays and over 100 songs. So far, Khaled Juma has published nine poetry collections; Nothing Walks in this Dream,2015, So the Gypsie Wouldn’t Love You,2012, As Horses Alter,2011, Such Is the Habit of Cities,2009, You Still Resemble Yourself,2004, Therefore,2000, Irrelevant Texts,1999, Thus, The Khalife Begins,1996, Rafah; Alphabet, Distance and Memory, a joint production with Othman Hussein,1992. Khaled Juma’s children’s books have a distinguished content, that is both inspiring and constructive, put in a fun engaging narration that both adults and children enjoy. Numerous examples can be cited here such as The Rabbit Who Did Not Like His Name treating the issue of self acceptance despite others’ judgement, Sheep Do Not Eat Cats tackling the issue of bias, Diaries of a Germ promoting cleanliness and hygiene and Black Ear, Blonde Ear promoting tolerance and accepting others. Khaled Juma has written and adapted a number of theatrical plays, like Play Away and Shaifinkous directed by Ibrahim Muzayyan, Out of the Picture Directed by Philippe Dumola, Gaza, Your Sea, a dance musical which was the opening for The First Sea Festival, and a musical based off Kalila Wa Dimna’s The Pigeon, The Fox and The Heron, composed by Moneim Adwan and performed in Aix en Provence Festival, France. He has also written over 100 songs in both classic Arabic and Palestinian dialect, composed by important palesinian musicians such as Said Murad, Moneim Adwan, Odeh Turjman and his lifetime friend Mahmoud Al-Abbadi, and were performed by several palestinian singers, such as Reem Talhami, Moneim Adwan, Mohammad Assaf and Mahmoud Al-Abbadi. Khaled Juma does not stop at authoring different genres of literature. He has founded a folklore dance group in Gaza, he documents signifact parts of Palestinian life and history and has pertinent and concept changing works on the lives of people during the war, in addition to conducting creative writing workshops for children and adults. He has published a number of researches on Palestinian history, and has written a large number of articles covering the latest war against Gaza. Some of his works were translated and published in several languages including English, French, Spanish, Bulgarian and Portuguese. Khaled Juma is currently living in Ramallah.)

The Best Poem Of Khaled Juma

A Strange Moon Above The Flute Maker

'Await not that I play for you…'
Says the flute maker to the strange moon,
'I am but a flute maker'
In coffins
No tears are there
Tears stop right before caskets
If I were a disaster, I'd dwell in a book not a land.
If I were a country, I'd delay my dwellers forever.
If I were a woman, I'd clear the place of its cruelty.
If I were a gun, I'd retire, empty, to a museum.
If I were a guitar, the world would never know silence.
If I were colors, not one person would remain blind.
If I were a planet, I'd be filled with air and rivers, and I'd make a stairway for dreamers.
But I am none of these…
I sit in solitude, writing such a hallucination.
If were another…
I would not be alone.
Someday, when I turn into silver
I mean, after naught takes back its debt
And prayers take their own
Do leave me, there, between rock cracks
Do not make a necklace or a ring out of me
The demon that dwells in me
Shall bite you
And you shall never know why.

Translated from Arabic by Nida Awine

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