Home, where are you? — Tarek Abuata, USA

Photo by Thandiwe Dale-Ferguson

When I was just a Queer Palestinian child, I didn’t know any better;
God was multicolour.
Feeling Their facets and hugging their multitudes of love,
All was just being, nothing made of.

Palestinian and Queer was a Tibetan Bowl’s ring,
That I heard sung in the womb of Rumi’s wing.
See it, right there on the rainbow above the field beyond “wrong and right doing”.
Feel it, right there in the warmness “where the two worlds touch,” nothing accruing.

To such as I did the kindom belong,
And I in love joyfully played along.
I was loved, this I knew,
No one had to tell me so.

Blossomed, envied were my petals, and beneath the foot of the pedestal they buried my heart,
See it, right there along the heap of wrongs they hid away dart after dart.
Feel it, right there in the coldness of ‘sinful’ doing.
Sitting, standing, a wingless dove I secreted all my cooing.

Innocence lost, I tossed and turned.
In glory filled pain I churned…and the years murmured:
“Oh what a hollow shell of a man have you become.
Get up and fight your great cause.
Live up to that internal might.

Courageous, I spoke, I knocked until knuckles bled, and I ‘snailed’ to be arrayed.
They clapped and blessed the displayed.
Pedestaled became my serenade,
And in it I yelled, muddled, and turned it all into a grand charade!

Twice I died to myself and went to sleep,
Not heeding the poet, I heard the shriek.
“Beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing” we were meant to bare,
But you created a “right-filled” parade.

I slept and wept until the angel helped me understand
That polarities is not where opposites band.
It’s in the umbilical that the band plays,
It’s in being that you joyfully gray.

But awakened, my eyes were too old to just see rainbows.
My heart too broken to not know polarities’ shows.

And the Potter with my broken pieces made restoration,
A Kintsugi home, multicolored brokenness, golden jointing, filled with memories’ decoration.
Its facets and multitudes of love felt me,
And my soul understood ‘to such as these’ still within, where nothing is made of.

“Home”…the little one whispered is beyond struggles and accolades, just simple and deep,
I awakened, every moment serene,
I heard Home’s humming for those 20 years,
“I am who I am, and in Me you always were”.

I smiled sadly and joyfully.

This piece has been slightly adapted for inclusive language.

From enfleshed:

‘Growing up in Palestine, Tarek’s family fled Israel’s oppression in 1989 to settle in Turtle Island. After graduating from the University of Texas Law School, Tarek started his career working in the Negotiations Support Unit in Palestine. Since, Tarek worked in Hebron for 9 years supporting grassroots resistance with the Christian Peacemaker Teams, and served as the representative of Rev. Bernard LaFayette (protégé of MLK) for 5 years training Palestinian youth in organizing and activism. Thereafter, Abuata served 5 years as the Executive Director of Friends of Sabeel North America implementing justice theology into revolutionary collective liberation action.’

Tarek writes:

‘Growing up Queer and Palestinian, I was a happy child, full of life. With negative and later positive judgments cast upon my identities, the years churned my insides into a struggle of polarities. At first, I was put down. A fighter, I confronted and pierced relentlessly. And after 15 years, they lifted me up to the pedestal. Upon the pedestal of recognition, I continued the fight, this time along many friends. But even during this fighting, I unknowingly force fed yet another polarity to my soul. At the end, all laid me bare to rediscover home.

‘My poem describes my journey from love and self-acceptance, to fighting for recognition, to malnourishing my soul on the pedestal, to eventual acceptance and self-love anew in the same home. It’s a journey to home and God rediscovered.’

Shared with permission from ‘enfleshed,’ which describes itself as follows:

‘While the world aches for transformation and healing, God is not a distant observer but an enfleshed presence at the margins, in the soil, in chaos and quiet, in pleasure and pain. The Divine is intimately entangled with all aspects of our collective life: The material. The political. The intimate. The sensual. The struggle. The places where they all meet.

‘With this assurance, enfleshed creates and facilitates spiritual resources for Christian-adjacent communities learning and unlearning dominance in belief and practice. As the Spirit, tender and fierce, calls us all to courage, enfleshed hopes to provide sources of deep spiritual nourishment for the work of collective liberation before us.’