I wrote the first draft of this poem during the Black Lives Matter protests that came together across the world following the murder of George Floyd. This injustice, along with what happened to Breonna Taylor and many others, felt overwhelming and still does. As a Palestinian, seeing that there are people who will fight against such oppression reminds me of what’s happening to my own country. It reminded me that there is hope. Because as long as there is discrimination, racism, oppression and inequity in Palestine, America or anywhere in this world, there will be strong, justice-loving people rising up in protest and resistance.
I wish I’d never known
the red, white and blue could sink this low,
shunning me for the colors I show.
You were given the upper hand–
your skin complexion is your platform stand–
a blemished humanity is your brand.
Your promises are hollow and fake—
a banner of heroic lies you display—
and your might blinds you in every way.
A leader of people you were to be,
but you stretched out a false hand of peace.
You talk of greatness nowhere seen.
Well, I still have my wings.
I can fly.
I did it once, twice,
a million times to set it right.
How does it feel
to know that I still stand so tall?
Your words don’t make me fear at all.
I stand back up each time you force my fall.
What will you do,
now that you know I am unshakeable,
and my strength will forever grow?
Although you like to step on my skin,
and throughout history you’ve berated my kin,
we stay proud; it’s our only “sin.”
I walk down unknown streets,
feeling the rage inside of me,
but also the hope that will set me free.
You put up a mountain, I climbed it all.
You built a wall, I made it fall.
You filled up an ocean;
I crossed it like a fireball.
Don’t you see what’s going on?
The righteous winds are just too strong
for you to calm them; they’ll right the wrongs.
Sense the rage in the air:
feel free to stop and stare.
Hear the voices for justice,
beautiful beyond compare.
There’s nothing you can throw at me
that’ll make me sway.
I have steady feet
and my heart will show exactly what I mean:
Put up a mountain, I’ll climb it all.
Build a wall, I’ll make it fall.
Fill up an ocean,
I’ll cross it like a fireball.