POETRY

Writing with my heart and soul​

Grafted in memories of by-gone times

of Libyan Jewish communities

life brought to a sudden extinction in 1967

Personal writing from my heart and soul
Life coasting ups and down its history, geography, food customs and music to preserve the future generations, in peace.

Always keeping alive the treasures of her tribe and spirit of her people by sharing their teachings and traditions with my family and the world communities.

Penina Meghnagi Solomon

Where is my Home ?

I am white,

but my soul is black… 

in respect to Amerika 

I am Arab for you 

actually, I am a Jew 

I really…belong in Afrika 

To tell the truth, I am not alone 

They took my land  

and stole my home 

and even razed the cemeteries 

The pain is great each season  

when I think of where my dad was buried 

NO RETRIBUTION 

I JUST WANT RESTITUTION !!

 

February 15,1988

*****

SLAUGHTER

Today  

Yesterday 

In History 

all the same, acts of never changing hate 

thirst for blood pouring of their veins 

a knife, scimitar a machete 

all one 

HATE

Hate for Jews 

Hate from the cowards 

Hate in masks today 

Hate in your face then 

I did not know him, Gabriel my uncle 

My father’s brother

G-iora’s her son 

to whom you  

gave his fatal fate by your blade 

For no reason 

between the fifth and the sixth 

 of 1945 then 

November unrest from 

the fourth to the eight   

Along with other 132  in time  

Their bloodshed  

away from home 

In dark alleys 

In front of the home 

In front of loved ones 

In front of the world 

Hate was & is accepted 

All the same today,  yesterday 

EDBAH … (slaughter) 

is the Arab/Islam word 

common word toward not animals 

but humans 

The hated cousins' human Infidels 

The common gesture  

a descriptive slice to the neck  

the index finger running over the throat 

Slow as a knife on hand 

What I remember of bygone  

time in my past 

As we looked for an escape 

on the building rooftop as a young girl 

That morning of 1967

May 24, 2004

****

 

Tra la Persiana

e il Portone

(Between the Shutters & the Front Door)

  1967 It was! because of the WAR

          the shutters were closed  

          That June summer morning 

           In another country. 

Fear was the reason, 

Outside a jeep drove 

We peered through the fissures 

Tilted to keep the sun out, 

             Uniformed men, descended like Gestapo 

             Still fresh in remembrance,  

             with the news was, they said 

             We Jews had a choice: 

A camp was for our protection set       

without convincing promised,  

risk all by staying at home, 

leave the country that was best of all. 

             We were Jews 

             that was our transgression

              we had to go without possessions. 

              ***Wide open, long before my birth

The open window

 let the sun in my house,                      

belonging then to

 my great grandparents 

 Up that window 

we climbed on, we perched, 

hoping neighbor would 

come outside to play

In the street

Some other times signs

silent language just talk

   When school was out

I was out of the tall solid wood 

front door secured by solid long 

Bolted to the walls 

We were the kids 

that little is known of:            

  Jews, Italian, Maltese, Muslim 

American and English 

we all played friendly games, 

 Jump rope, hides and go seek, 

Hop-scotch, Four corners, hula-hoops

Jumping-jack, pogo sticks 

         a great vogue then 

                 We were an intertwined clan of Tripoli 

Where people lived in believed harmony

Nov. 18, 1987

*****

 

Sciara El  Farasdaq

From that window my mother

She looked at us and chatted with

Set Fatmah the Egyptian lady

Her children Samir, Samira, 

Soher, Sohera

Across, the balcony upstairs

 

Downstairs the Maltese

Angelina and her grandmother

The Italian lady Lina

The seamstress in front

Ines Pippo, Silvio

Poor Bacucco their dad

Was always ridiculed

The Americans are gone

On the right The balcony

 of the Fargion upstairs

The Gasparetto windows below

above us the Guetta's

Aunt Mantina Naim

my adoptive grandmother

the southeast corner

On the 3rd floor

There, is where we hid

 

When the crowd came

As they brandished

 knives and machetes

with demanding cries

"Wuein L'Yahud" (Where are the Jews)

 Edbah L'Yahud (Slaughter of the Jews)

While you bring knives and more

tools for destruction

 

Alive we are because

Sheikh Ha Schiara diverted 

the mass saying:

"Mafish Yahud, Amshi Emshi min Hon"

and the crowd dispersed

Slat Dar El Malty

the synagogue at the South West

 corner

where papa worshiped daily

Shabat & Holidays

he loved to welcomed guests

to our home

 

I loved that narrow and short 

street

Schiara Al Farazdaq

our lovely street

The shutters would be closed

To keep the GHIBLI out

That desert hot wind,

 blinding clouds of sand

dust, so strong to blind

Bales of debris rolling in the 

streets

On a hot afternoon when all rested

Waiting for the evening's best

when all Young and old 

 merged without distinction

of language or race

would come out

Sitting on chairs,

by their front doors 

perched by a window

talking about everything

Weather, food, family, fashion

Others would patiently

waited for darkness

So they would go to sleep

Close the shutters 

Wait for the morning

Mom decided to leave for safety

They will come for us

A plane will leave at dawn

my ancestry land

Close the house door

the double solid wood

the street door

bolted to the wall

to secure in emergency cases

We each have a suitcase and £ 20

Will we come back again?

It was my request

Mamma didn't answer

The one with the watery eyes

Trust and dignity said

“We have a future ahead

uncertain with LIBERTY

Nov. 18, 1987

*****

 

                              November 8, 2021

Here I Am

Here I AM, (adopting) in a foreign lands

rather than in the Homeland

more recently, the Libyan Insurrection

of 500 or 54 years ago

my ancestries and

the other one is me

May. 18, 1994

*****

Bread & Sauce

 

It is not for the poor or rich

is for Delicious

 it is for a saucy scale 

of upper and lower

food was good

I mean really good

Taste and don’t  waste

T-Becha bel Cammun

Selkq,, Lubia  or Tmatem

all winners

As the Italians do the spaghetti,

the remaining sauce stuck to the plate

Nothing better than

A piece of bread or maybe two

To wipe 

I say actually clean

The plate

Not for hunger, but mostly for pleasure

To some cultures a testament to  the 

Great meal

Some might burp and get a smile

My home and my friends 

Taught  us,  you eat all 

Because food is to thank G-d 

your mother, wife, grandma

If you have.

from the pot

put on your plate 

what you need

and Waste not

For there is people who 

might not have or have not

so Respect others

and earth for what it gives us

 

TBecha is  STEW  same base different flavors

SelQk   Spinach/Swiss Chard

Lubia Beans

Cammun  Cumin

Tmatem Tomato

Bamya   Okra

Mlokhya  Jute leaves

Betenjal Eggplant

Hams  Garbanzo

Bizilli  Sweet Peas (fresh or Dry)

the chicken was tasty,

and the sauce left  in the pot 

had to be wiped clean with bread

Dec. 27, 2006  

*****

Garlic is Sanity

Garlic./Aglio     

In water, the garlic was soaked

to soften and later peeled

smashed/crushed/peeled

a jar of it for that matter

lots of garlic at any time

to make an Italian dish

or a local Sephardic 

Libyan Berber all one 

thin line, an invisible boundary

transverse the myriads of so

many cultures of past and present

Romans, Berbers, Spanish

Turks, Italians, and Arabs 

We lived through

In the same place

 O yes garlic, that dainty bulb

my mother kept it in long braided bunches

seasonally bought, hung in the kitchen

for yearly usage

lots of it for that matter

When adding paste from tomatoes

a pinch of salt, cumin, and cayenne 

Over the fish, and a lemon squirt

“CHRAIMI” we call it, that saucy dish

Hot or cold for Friday night

It was a red sight

At celebrations like Bar Mitzvah  Brit Milah

Savory dish, always to add delight.

Pasta al Forno or Pizza was our food

for lunch or dinner, it matters not

But don’t assume, that now I am here

And things have changed, because

My migratory habits I take with me

My home cooking is a delicacy

Please come to taste &  do evoke with me

My nostalgia

Because garlic 

is sanity

 May 9, 1998

*****

 

 Jasmine 

Jasmine scent emanating 

an evening, family outing

late May early June

My Africa, my Libya

Fragments of the life I had

In Tripoli of no more

Images in the essence

so powerful forward

even a glimpse could bring 

a dreamy smile today

that is what counts

so we can recount

a story  

lasting for eternity.

from spice a plant

Growing blooming

Even elsewhere

January 2, 2201