Poem: November

Written on the passage of proposition 187 and on the anniversary of Kristalnacht

(On November 8, 1994 voters in California voted to prohibit undocumented immigrants from using public services, schools and health care.  In 938, Herschel Grynszpan killed a German diplomat in reaction to a decision to deport all Polish Jews.  Kristalnacht, (November 9 1938), the night of broken glass, resulted in the death of 99 Jews, the destruction of Jewish property and close to 300 synagogs, and the deportation of as many as 30000 Jews to concentration camps.)

The fog horns went off, sending warning signals through her head.

Genocide alert!

Genocide alert! 

You must now register yourself down at city hall or you do not exist

You must now register yourself down at  city hall

we will decide if you exist


The fog horns went off

The fog horns went off

sending shivers through her skin

down her spine

through her belly


The sirens went off

The sirens went off blasting their warning,

sounding their call

You do not belong here

You are blocking our destiny

You must go back to your bush

your cave

your rock


The fog horns went off

The fog horns went off

As if to purify the night air

As if to settle the dust

that draped itself over the cities

Glass shattered

crashing, as if splattered on the pavement

it could put food in their bellies

hope in their hearts

Heads crack like crystal

Hopes line the pavement


The sirens went off, the search lights sputtered

In search of them

In search of them

They  are relegating you

They are relegating you

The buses are over here

The trains are over here

We give you your one way ticket

We give you your one way ticket

Your new destinations.

You are blocking our destiny

-Single file

-Your own good

-A gentle transition

We are relocating you

We have relocated you

Genocide alert! genocide alert!


About emmarosenthal

Emma Rosenthal is an artist, writer, educator, reiki practitioner, farmer and human rights activist, living in Southern California, whose work combines art, activism, education and grassroots mobilization. As a person with a disability she is confined, not by her disability but by the narrow and marginalizing attitudes and structures of the society at large. She is the founder and co-director of The WE Empowerment Center and Café Intifada, and she lives and works at Dragonflyhill Urban Farm. As an educator her emphasis has been in the areas of bilingual and multicultural education. Her experience as a grassroots organizer, political essayist and speaker has been life long and has included many progressive causes. Her work seeks to combine art, activism, education and grassroots mobilization. Her poetry and prose is impassioned, sensual, political, life affirming and powerful. In her writing she explores the use of art and literary expression to elicit an ethos more compelling than dogma and ideological discourse, providing new paradigms for community, communion, connection and human transformation. She has been a featured poet and speaker throughout Southern California at a variety of venues and programs including; The Arab-American Festival, Highways Performance Space, The Autry Museum, Barnes and Nobel, Poetic License, Borders/Pasadena, Beyond Baroque, Freedom Fries Follies (a fundraiser for The Center for the Study of Political Graphics), KPFK, Arts in Action, Chafey College, UC Irvine and Hyperpoets. Her work has appeared in several publications including Lilith Magazine, The Pasadena Star News, The San Gabriel Tribune, The San Gabriel Valley Quarterly, LoudMouth Magazine (CSLA), Coloring Book; An Eclectic Anthology of Multicultural Writers (Rattlecat Press 2003), Muse Apprentice Guild and the Anthology, Shifting Sands, Jewish-American Women Speak Out Against the Occupation, Spring 2010. Her work has shown in several galleries in the Southern California area, including the Galleries at Whittier College, and Pasadena City College, as well as Beans and Leaves Coffeehouse in Covina, CA.

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