I like to think of Israel as a promised land
a refuge, a holy place where everyone in
my extended family belongs.
But how many Midianites did we have
to kill before we got there? Every time I
see the word conquer in our
Holy Text, and it’s us who’s doing the
conquering, I get the discomfort of
a boy whose first entire decade
was the seventies, on the back of the
generation of peace and love, so fresh,
flowers weren’t even retro yet.
To say it was a different time doesn’t
quite cover it. Back in the millennia where
two camels were the family sedan
you couldn’t simply trot up your herd
to a new neighborhood and ask the
residents if they minded if you
set up your tents over there.
The answer might come in blood
yours or theirs, and in the end
you or them were no longer.
What is it with a promised land that
leads to the death of so many?
I’d like to say it’s all fiction but
it seems we’re still conquering
the same neighborhoods.
We’re still having conversations
about who gets what piece of land
without much consideration of
who’s occupying that space now.
Tell me God, Tell me Moses, in your
conversations about who gets to go where
is this what you had in mind?
I dream of a future where the only
lines people have to consider are
the ones on pieces of paper where
they write their poetry. I was born in
the age of free love and I never
quite got over it. This is my promised land.
This is the land that will make us strong. This
is the land that will make us strengthened.