How many words to cover
the heartless distance between us?
And when you’ll take in your hands
this antiquated letter,
I will know that your palms will be sealing
my faint fingerprints.
I don't want them to be obvious,
to offer my surrender so easily.
I will then peel myself the few pretexts.
Will I scare you?
Son cerveau plein à ras-bord de matières scolaires
en lieu et place de l'éthique,
Ema a fermé les yeux
dans mes bras rassurants pour encore une nuit.
Toi aussi, cher Aïlan, tu les a fermés,
mais toi c'est pour l'éternité, dans le giron d'eau froide.
Tout seul tu t'es endormi pour toujours sur les plages de la Mer Égée,
là où se baignent chaque année trop de touristes européens, qui en rentrant chez eux
ferment leurs portes à double tour devant
I am Ali from Iraq, I fled to Germany in 2016. A classic refugee journey: by foot, boat, foot, then train, foot, a taxi that robbed me, foot, then a van which took the last of my money, foot, swimming, foot, etc. until I reached Potsdam, without a penny, and my head bandaged because of a beating from two Syrians in a camp at the Austrian border. They thought we were taking their place in Europe and they would be sent back towards Syria,
Je porte ma plume comme une croix sur mon dos, et j’avance. Voici Sisyphe roulant sa pierre à ma droite. La terre gronde sous ses pieds, il avance incessamment vers un but inconnu. Le mystère de sa torture se reflète dans mon âme, comme dans un miroir ténébreux. Je plonge au fond de la transparence de la glace en quête d’un Narcisse souffrant. Ses larmes sont les miens.
I am a rational man – I have never believed in what one can’t touch. I respectfully listen to stories about souls, connected by karma, and so on and so forth, but my attitude to the matter is over with this. At the end of the day, everyone has the right to believe in whatever makes them happy. Things are very simple to me – we came from earth and will become earth. But this is not the point now. The point is: I have faced a paradox for the first time in my life.
I write as I think, as I live. I think my novels are all completely different, but you can find me in each of them. My first novel, published about 13 years ago, is the story of a football player who is murdered at his home, but at the same time it could be perceived as a sharp critique of the Iranian educational system, Lacanian - Freudian psychoanalysis, and fundamentalism.
It’s Sunday where I am not -
where roasted chestnuts are sold on the street,
trams are orange and old,
and someone else is learning to play the piano.
The light solemnly says goodbye.
Afternoons like this make me want to write poems about the smell of chimney smoke,
about the unread books at home
and about first loves.
Of course, on such afternoons
I don't carry a notebook with me.
Some writers have influenced my worldview and approach to life, such as the classics – Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Kazantzakis, Zola, Radichkov. From others I have learnt the craft – Gogol, Vazov with his “Uncles”. Lately, I am more and more admiring Dumas, the father, who is an unbeatable master of plot. We know him best for “The Three Musketeers” and “The Count of Monte Cristo”, while he has written a series
I have a friend who is a communist
and a friend who defines himself as one
my neighbour is a fascist
and what a fascist!
it's impossible to find a radish
the salad is here
the onion is here
but no radish!
I was a nazi
later on a socialist
now I'm a Human
i know they’ve all
expected a downfall
but instead they’ve found success
and although they didn’t know what to do with it
i didn’t help them
when you exceed all their expectations
you end up all alone
don’t accuse me i don’t love you
every morning i wake up
with a feverish desire
to bite your toenails
when i wait for you i turn on a blinding light
and then you arrive
and turn it off
(so that i can see you)
She has conspired with a woman
dressed in green, who was missing a leg.
She has resisted gridlines.
She has stolen time from the bellies of spinsters.
She has slept sitting,
set tails on fire;
with mountain folk
she has eaten dark food.
She has opened the shutters at night,
taken out a ladder,
switched on the lights,
and washed the windows wearing only a bra.
Ghareeb Iskander’s English Poetry and Modern Arabic Verse unravels the workings of the creative translational projects of early Arab modernist poet-translators, which revolutionised the Arab literary scene in the mid-twentieth century onwards—a fundamental contribution to Arabic literary and translation studies that is valuable for students and academics alike.
and then you knock down the straw hut, alone / alone / alone in a hostile (in a sickly) universe, blinded by the Flash and the Bang, and then the iron hand will rise and it will try to crush you -- yes -- like a gnat -- (like a tiny gnat) -- yes -- corrupting your (very) / (mystical) essence, like a bombed-out sea of emotions...
one day I will climb to the top of the hill
one day I will find the bridge of moondust
one day I will climb to the top of the hill
sails like a boat
on my dark blue
Just a few centimeters away
from the edge of the world.
We are not angels;
it was known...
Our wings won’t grow
-was there any other suspicion?
Have we lately become
so superstitious as
with the Demon?
Since fall is flying,
the change of times
to clear our vision.
I often confess to the district tax collector
to the court representatives
who look in vain for my name in their lists
To the gilded vestments of the bishops I confess
To the open windows recently barred
To the neighborhood butcher
To the policeman patrolling alone at nights
To the bailiff with scores of summonses
that he releases to the wind like kites
To the court martial I confess and their harsh punishment
Tôt ou tard s'en aller
Plus rien à trimballer
Partir après demain
Prendre un des deux chemins
Lumineux ou obscur
Retenir les piqûres
S'adresser au soleil
Celui-là qui s'éveille
Ah, toi qui es si froid
J'accuse ton cœur droit
De m'avoir laissée seule
Pour me casser la gueule.
Tôt ou tard s'en aller
Plus rien à trimballer
Plus rien à endosser
Plus de cœur cabossé
Marcher le long des rails
Caresser la ferraille
Gribouiller sur les murs
There is an ideal alliance between writer and transgressor (translator?): the Works of Marquis de Sade, James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, Jean Genet, Sadegh Hedayat, and Henry Miller were (are) thus banned and censored and suppressed. Crime: they have not followed the stereotypes of language and have embarked on forbidden paths.
When we are young,
When we are girls,
We climb trees, play hide and seek,
We don’t have balls, but we have dolls
It’s not a problem if we’re girls or boys
As long as we share the toys.
When we grow up
We get the balls, lose the dolls,
Release the braids and ponytails
and wait for a suitable wind.
And then we get a bit older.
We become a mother or a woman,
or if we are lucky, both.
When we grow old,
we look more like a father.
Our breasts flatten and rest,
we get a quite, unwanted moustache,
-Au-delà du charme esthétique de ce bâtiment, sa profondeur spirituelle a un effet hypnotisant. Tu n’es qu’une touriste qui se réjouit de la beauté. Mais, si tu tentes de poser un regard plus approfondi sur chaque détail de ce temple, tu plongeras dans l’abîme du sacré qui ouvre la porte à une nouvelle possibilité de soi. Chaque bouddhiste rêve d’atteindre
On the ground floor, the Syrian woman is already cooking soup using spices from her homeland, her front door ajar. On the landing, outside, there are her children’s tricycles and second-hand toys in a cardboard-box, bearing the name of a detergent brand, evoking the whiff of baby skin and dirty nappies. She can hear the mother’s voice joining those of her children;
The elegance of stone on a rock
The liturgy of eternity.
Stone guest, not a cross, but rook.
The road was trembling, the rains washed away the ridges
As a rainbow on hands the tears was dropping.
I was living while losing faith.
The sun, a yellow spot, was floating,
Among the clouds, among the dots and the dashes of a sheet,
Apostrophes, the softness of my tongue,
Our hearts felt heavy; very heavy. No future seemed to await us. Injections had already been prepared for us and placed on a white board, in case we wanted to put ourselves down for a long eternal sleep. The door was left unsecured. A heavy triple glass door that led to the deadly engine. A tall man opened the door and went inside the hallway towards the engine room.
Justly laughs at Iraq.
Justly laughs at lads struggling with a drunken policeman:
His forged badges in his coat and his hands are fettered to a coined Dirhems of gasp and sever cold.
What shining badges on his miserable chest!
What a feathery hat; punctured while it avoids the thunderbolt with an amputated head!
What badges of bravery hanging over like the keys of a banker,
They never admitted that when they headed out to get water in the morning, her voice greeted them at least a block before they reached the springs—it weaved around the buildings, wrapped itself around the trees, permeated into their clothes, their skin, and got all the way through to their hearts, which filled with longing and could no longer fit inside their bodies.
you’re a sick hahahaah
she’s definitely sick look at her
a sick little bitch
she needs treatment
hahahaha she wants to get a spider
she sits at home thinking we’ll go away
hahahahah she’s blasting that music
hahahahaha a sick little bitch
the whole street knows she’s sick
we’ve known her since childhood she’s stupid
look the sicko is coming
look she’s coming
a couple of sun rays to what is already clear
how fares your palestine? when will it let you go?
how fares your heart amidst the strange and the alien?
i’m muddling up words. languages. in the evenings
i read that Lord’s love’s parceled out by abraham’s children
out rolls the spring on a camel laden with gifts
green turns the cover and contents of your koran –
sort of a book devised by
Là où sont engendrées les guerres, là où poussent les herbes du désespoir
Puis le ciel a déchiré ses vêtements, un à un
Ses joues griffées par les ongles de la peur.
Avant de rencontrer les foulards de tes poèmes
Déployés sur les bateaux d’Odessa et sur les navires tristes,
Je disais :
« Seuls les grands poètes écrivent de la poésie sincère »
Poems come in different kinds.
They may be tall – or not really. Women – or not really.
Poems grow too but they do not need watered, they are not trees and you are not water.
For a poem to grow he or she needs to be rocked.
You may encounter a poem missing a leg or an arm, but there’s no need to be sad – they can regrow them like lizards who lose their tails and find them again.
Paris ! La capitale de la culture: Beaubourg, le Louvre, l'Opéra, la Sorbonne (où Merab Mamardashvili lui-même a donné des conférences !), le Quartier Latin, Montmartre... Une larme chaude coule sur la joue du jeune Djigit. C'est à cette tradition que lui et son peuple appartiennent, et non à la steppe sauvage d'Asie. C'est sa patrie spirituelle ! Ensuite, s'il s'envole pour Londres, Berlin
Yet distances are bridges
that cannot separate us,
for we gathered the light
in the well of our eyes,
we visited night’s broken branches.
I want you to know
that you are never alone
and that in every empty inch
there is a crowd moving
and each smile comes
-please remember it-
from the secret fountain of goodness.
Know that we’ll have to ask