TO ALL THE TETAH’S #poetry by jay

Two poems today about my Tetah in honor of all Palestinian Tetah’s/grandmother’s – Keep the humanity alive. Never lose the ability to see the people in the face of the atrocities.

Tetah and Cede circa. 1937

A Tetah is the pinnacle that reaches to the outskirts of the universe. An apex of love that is the highest order of being. When I see you in my dreams/ reaching toward me with open arms/ comforting me like the skin of my soft puppy playing against my heartbeat. This is chivalry/ this is King/ this is Queen of destiny. The beauty/ the  colors/ a kaleidoscope/ a spectrum of lights fill the sky with spirit/ full-force and bright. I hold treasures in my heart/ my chest beats upon sheer memory.

Warm fragile light recedes into the dark night/  palatable/ my tongue dancing with the delight in reaching toward the taste of this love. Your life—shadow/ distant yet burning. I struggle to materialize your spirit/ return it to me now!

Angel eyes upon the ground/ your garden of loofah/ koosa/ eggplant/ hung heavy on vines like black-purple-gem-hearts/ full round and pressed to earth. Clinging from tree’s— the fig/ the peach and the herbs of life—your life/ entangled in my veins like weeds overgrown this is you.

I recall vast lifetimes/ tracing a labyrinth to all the Tetah’s that have nurtured/ fed their grandchildren lovingly. A silent steady stream. A monumental mountain/ heavy on the landscape. This I see in a glimpse/ a sudden weighted gravity/ that pierces my heart/ as I sit in quiet memory of you my Tateh.

Huge you were to my child eyes/ little you became as I grew with the grapevines. Small in frame/ yet huge in spirit/ you grew with each passing moment. Now—you are a giant in the Universe. I see the magnitude of you in the bright stars/ you in the heavens/ you loom large as the ink-black night and burn forever long as the day's light!

All of this in a glimpse of you.



here i stand on torrid land

my spirit wandering the dusty sand

of fig trees, khubz and floured hands

i stand just

foot driven deep

in earth’s crust

sure-footed grip of rocks and mortar

my soul ripped in two

by grief’s torture

small hands grasped lightly

by the remembrance of her

soft dough-baked grip of salt, of land

ancient yet present her cherub eyes danced

table-side love, she spoon-fed her clan

with grape leaves and olives

and not so dainty meat pastries

prepared from the vines, toiled by cede’s hand

his backyard bounty, his dreams -- their dreams

of their homeland and my dreams of

hot cement days and barefooted children

pretending the dawali are stacks of cigars

stuffed and rolled, stacked high on big plates

the dawali grew higher

creating bigger heaps

of make-believe

fun time with cousins

longing for the smells of dusty left behind relics

that bespeak of them, their belongings

the hookah, the 8 track tapes, belting out loud arabic music

the robe and keffiyeh my grandfather wore not so long ago

in ramallah, the curious one that later became a halloween costume

worn by my childhood friend

and that old oriental rug beaten by history

splayed across the living-room floor, adding an air of the exotic

to their mundane colonial suburban sofa

the lamb and garlic stained air, smelt early at daybreak

always there, lingering about

oiled-hot-pots full, brimming with tomato broth baths

and grown ups lamenting the evening news, the war, the fight

for the return of their land, usurped by foreign man

those that had suffered atrocities of their own

have turned ugly, heaping nails, spitting bulldozers

claiming god has promised this to them

easily they slipped between tongues

english and arabic at once

they were here/there simultaneously

they had created a new language, one easily understood by us

and me, absorbing all this with my round brown eyes

unaware of my future task

silently inhaling the smoke of my

family’s lingering rage, the kind of rage

that clings to the walls, to the curtains, to the furniture, to me

to my stuffed pink panther

the one i loved so much for its unique shape and color

the color of bubble gum and pink lemonade -- but the rage!  

the rage had to be scrubbed off the walls, scrubbed off the furniture

scrubbed off my clothes, scrubbed, scrubbed, scrubbed!

 and i

inherited this task unknowingly.

©Jay Mora-Shihadeh

Free Palestine!


(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today)