Ramallah

Sarah Maguire

Freezing out of season
    with Eid after Easter
– a provisional city
   a concatenation
of loose roundabouts
    building sites
  and razor wire –
scars of forced demolitions
   spite
    occupation and new wealth
Little Bantustan
      rimmed twice with checkpoints
claustrophobia
      of the stone’s-throw distance
disconnected phone lines
  no phone lines
    and roads
stopping short
     Hard-core and gravel
a job-lot of kerbstones
    wires spewing from snowcem
as frozen rain fumes up
     the broken street
Visibility: zilch
     Rattling windows in the teashop
jammed shut with old rags
  steamed-up with the steam
from chai bi nana
  from the honey tobacco
of ancient nargilas
   from gossip and politics and love
The dank rotting theatre
     perished through
with thirty years of enforced
   darkness
   Plush slides
off the chairs
    dust rots through the curtains
and every human breath
     exhales its weather upwards
in a cloud
   I never found the centre
      just a ring
of handsome policemen
     dressed in blue