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I Can Not Write

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I can not write because somewhere in the Israeli Colony

of Palestine they are building roads

for Israelis only

and fences twenty feet high

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and I believe in Israel 

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I can not write because somewhere in the American Colony

of Iraq they are building bridgesof hate

and opportunities for oil companies

with a private army

and I believe in America 

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I can not write because somewhere in Israel

Christians are made to wait like cattle in a feed lot

to return to their own homes

and I believe in Israel 

I can not write because somewhere in America

nameless souls are held without habeas corpus

and tortured in the name of peace

and I believe in America

 I can not write because I remember the White Papers

and the Declaration of Independence

as the seeds of freedom 

I can not write because I remember the history of hate

and see it blooming again

a noxious weed in a field of poppies 

 When will the signs go up on the water fountains

if there is to be water in Palestine

and I believed in Israel

When will the curfew come to my neighbourhood

or the secret police

and I believed in America  

When will the religious right change its name to Al Qaeda

so we will recognize them for what they truly are

and I believed in America

When will Zealots demand not settlements

but death for non-settlers

so we can call them as they have called their persecutors

and I believed in Israel  

I can not write because I grieve

I mourn the world they leave us

my tears a lake of frozen hope  


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Jeff McCallum, a cancer survivor who writes for caregivers and patients, is the author of the poetry collection, "Somebody’s Bright Balloon" (iUniverse, 2006).  He speaks at fundraising events for the American Cancer Society's Hope Lodges, and he has served as a board member for Minneapolis's Mixed Blood Theatre, dedicated to keeping Dr.King's dream alive, for a decade.  A frequent contributor to the Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, Jeff's work has appeared in journals such as Margie and Poetic Medicine: A Journal of Healing,and can also be found on his web site www.jeffmccallum.squarespace.com He is grateful to his friend and partner Kathlyn Stone for her love and support. 

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I Can Not Write