For Refaat Alareer

Caitlin Johnstone
3 min readDec 8, 2023

Listen to a reading by Caitlin Johnstone:

They killed a poet in Gaza on Wednesday.

Well, as much as you can kill a poet, anyway.
Kill a poet and his poems fight on.
That poet is still throwing his marker at the bastards.

A poet may have hands like velveteen mittens,
but he can fight on even if he has no hands at all.

A poet may have a home made of zip-ties and tarps,
but he can fight on even if he sleeps on rubble.

A poet can fight on even if he’s got no legs.
A poet can fight on even if he’s got no arms.
A poet can fight on even if he’s got no teeth.
A poet can fight on even if he’s got no eyes.
A poet can fight on even if he’s got no hope.
A poet can fight on even if he’s got no life.
A poet can fight on even after he has drawn his last breath,
even after they’ve returned him to earth’s womb,
even after his possessions have been divided among his loved ones,
even after the flesh has gone from his bones,
even after there’s no memory of him besides the poems he left behind.

Poets can midwife a new world into being.
Poets can give people a vision to fight for.
Poets can change reality.
Poets are powerful.
That’s why people kill them.

I saw a video of two young boys strolling through Gaza
nursing some tea in a paper cup,
gossiping like the two old men
they might never get to be.

And there’s a bee burrowing a hole in my door
and a siren going off in my head,
because the drones never stop in Gaza,
and because there are bodies popped open by girders,
buried under ruins rained down on by hellfire,
near where mothers lie awake weighing
whether it would be better to live without her children
or for her kids to live without her,
and we know this alarm won’t stop
until the explosions stop,
until the screams stop,
until the bleeding stops,
until healing begins,
until justice is served,
until the bastards are beaten,
until a healthy world has been born.

Refaat, until there is justice,
I will throw my marker at them too.

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Featured image via Adobe Stock.

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