This work was featured in Issue 17:4, Fall 2016 — Slam Issue

Amin Dallal

Two Poems

Volume 17:4, Fall 2016
Slam Issue

Amin

My name is Amin
everyone calls me Drew
Amin means honest
nobody calls me Amin

In 2008, I went to visit my father’s family in Jordan.
I saw some of them for the first time. They were
interested in this new moniker of Drew I was going by
One morning I took a trip to the grocery store with
my Grandfather. A proud man who shares my first name.
Wears his like the Kuwaiti war medals he keeps in a
drawer with his Quran. Before we entered the store he slipped
a Palestinian flag into my back pocket. As we picked over
figs in the produce section, a man saw the Palestinian flag
in my pocket.
He asked me if I was Palestinian.
La la, uh Amirki, shway Arabia

When we arrived home. My grandfather pulled me to the side.
Looked at me in a way only military men can.
You
Amin
are the son of my son
the bearer of my name
you are Palestinian
You are from where the light at the end of the tunnel is a
check point. Where there are no statues of great men.
Where we write poems because they can’t tear them down
where some men would rather avenge their fathers
than raise their sons.
They may tell you they have stolen this holy land
But God is inside all of us and we walk with our souls
so all the ground we touch is holy.

 

Hot Supper, Cold Gaze

The chair back draped tuxedo long. I
was underdressed for him, the food too
well seasoned for a policemen’s palette.
Big Carolina man never looked

his beloved in the face. I perched up like a
Mississippi kite, windless, voiced nothing
to avenge the tragic death eating it.
I knew he’d seen a Memphis backroom

hazel visor cap slick cigar drag man
Your step daughter has an eye for my
wink but sweet, or color, it’s about you
and your desire for a boy with a

collar you can tie to a wood post
has God’s shame and red, white despair
bland as that eagle on your heart

 

Amin "Drew Law" Dallal is a nationally touring performance poet and writing facilitator who looks to connect his Palestinian roots and American upbringing through art. He is a three-time member of the DC Beltway Poetry Slam team, a member of DC's 2013 winning team at the Southern Fried Poetry Slam, and DC's 2015 grand slam poetry champion. He was featured on TV One's Verses and Flow, has read and paneled at AWP, and spoken at the University of Maryland's TEDx conference on fearless ideas. Dallal has performed in over 50 cities and 5 countries and shared stages with artists such as Method Man, Redman, Pitbull, Biz Markie, Slick Rick, Sunni Patterson, Blaq Ice and Andrea Gibson. Dallal is one of the few spoken word poets chosen to be a RAW artist, a highly selective international community of all genres of art. He is a co-founder of the Poetry for Gaza annual event benefiting Palestine, as well as an avid Palestinian liberation activist and youth advocate.