Saturday, December 12, 2009

Beirut Journal Day #34: To Be in Beirut


Last night my Arabic teacher enlightened, and delighted me.

"There's no 'to be' verb in Arabic," she explained. No wonder June Jordan loved Arab poetry so much! An illustration:

I am not
I write
I am not
I fight
I am not loving
I love

Action becomes
the state of Be-ing
perpetual action
the one who

it is not raining:
the sky
"Language carries the conscience of a People," June taught us. This statement created the foundation for us in Poetry for the People. We always sought to expand the possibilities of our own language, often by studying the poetry from numerous "others."

We also abolished "to be" verbs, in order to write with the urgency of insurrection. With the urgency of forbidden lovers. This new immediacy, for so many of us in P4P launched us into direct actions to realize the promise(s) of our shared nation. Direct actions to bring to fruition the constitutional declaration that power lies in Our hands. The hands of the People.

Indeed, this immediacy of language and action drove me to Palestine in 2001-2002. And reeled me back to these lands presently.


1 comment:

reynaldopunzalanjr said...

Hey Trevor! Sounds like you're having an adventure there.

It's funny that there's no "to be" verb in Arabic. But in Spanish, there are two "to be" verbs. Ser and Estar!