The Creator of Soap Bubbles and other poems
Translated into English by Ali Salim
The Creator of Soap Bubbles
Today I lost my phone.
With my pockets full of rotten cheeses
I came out of metro tunnels
looking for you under the grey clouds.
The city rats are following me.
My limbs were ringing,
some silently vibrating to meet you
and my head receiving all your messages.
This is how I found you in the carnivals of desire
watching a fire-eating tightrope-walker,
near him a gypsy woman blazing with a flame between her legs,
the hissing of its rising tongues extending to even between the lips.
I left my limbs to do what they want,
separating from me,
leaving me one by one,
crawling towards the flame to warm up.
I was happy to see them off.
Under the grey clouds
I wave a stick soaked with the foam of my desires,
I blow into its ring
seeing happy rats jumping to catch my soap bubbles
and people around me exploding in lust for a false paradise.
Nothing’s left for me but this head that’s full of virgins
which I keep as a memory album.
Paradise is here in my head.
Who wishes to pluck it to get what it has?
This is how I lost you in the crowdedness of the carnival, like my phone.
And this is how my relationship with things around me has transformed:
The soapy foam drying on the washbasin wound
strains my memory’s relationship with the pillow’s softness,
memory and blood
reproducing in our mothers’ wombs
and coincidentally one like me or you is born:
a Creator of soap bubbles.
The face that I’ve no longer seen in the mirror since decades
reminds me of a decrepit homeland,
and the other face engraved with a nail on the soap
reminds me of nothing,
but it’s good for masturbation.
The overturned slipper on the floor (size 43)
shows me God’s puzzled face.
His features that resemble the unseen face on the mirror
do not remind me of a face I miss.
The cigarette stump
carefully put on the edge of the bathtub
resembles a time afflicted by a place.
The disorders of this world
remind me of the young white donkey
of the black fig farm keeper
and how it lost its mind
when I inserted into its anus a half of a red fresh finger pepper
and how it made me fly in the sky of the first nest,
as I blew into its perky ears with the hose stolen from Nanna Fahima’s garden.
The scream of sperms shrouded with the draft of this poem
I planted in a forest I called: “the forest of the sperm cemetery”
will definitely produce a child laughingly resistant to axes,
and undoubtedly to religions.
His mother is a rootless tree,
he is my child
and I will follow him.
Happy rats are following me
and the carnival oracle is following me, repeating:
“At the end we lose everything”.
with a wind playing with my bubbles and my head wandering among them,
happy despite my losing
and some beautiful women.
My freckled neighbor and her period
the freckled American,
is raising a nuclear bomb in her garden,
fondling it, feeding it with menstruation,
wiping its anus after each excrement
with Walt Whitman’s sterile leaves.
I asked her a question that seemed metaphysical in tone
about the nature of angst, about a night shrouding itself with smuggled dreams
after being threatened with insomnia.
About the meaning of love
when we use for a pillow a nuclear bomb
on a land cracking open whenever we are surprised by yawning
and raining a burning dust whenever we have to sneeze.
I asked her
why my father wears a chimney for a hat
whenever he sees a train passing
on the railway between his eyebrows
without blinking his eyes
or the eyes of the corpses:
the smiling, the sad, the distracted, the surprised, the angry, the dreamy and the astonished corpses along the pavement?
The sirens are answering me, mixed with the ecstasy of neighborhood women screaming
and she hastens to convince me
to fondle the pointy red cockscomb
of her domesticated game.
She was meowing, turning around herself,
a swarm of her baby freckles falling onto the grass.
her answers were a metaphysical maneuver, like my questions,
and we ended up
despite her period
on top of a cloud of freckles I will always remember
whenever I miss peace
beside her nuclear bomb.
I got stained with war!
I, who am bedewed with freckles
and my innocent penis.
The poem doesn’t end in Brussels
on her tour on the Mont des Arts
I'll invite her to land next to me on this bench
near the Royal Library
to pick chocolate crumbs together,
and the crushed biscuits in my pocket.
For a moment, we will exchange timidity.
I might open the novel on the selected page
and read to her the dialogue I spent days
"Are you sure, sir, it’s Kumala?"
"I am sure."
"Why does it look so bleak?"
"It’s the time, sir." *
Then I add something of my own, feeling a bit proud:
"And are there still mouths allied to the dark tales of light and fire?"
"There are, sir."
And when our glances stop escaping,
she will tell me what sort of dead person she is.
I will in turn tell her about my non-being,
but she will discover my folded wings
under my coat
and with a childish desire she’ll reveal to me her wings
and as we are in Brussels,
we will fly together.
escaping with its depression
revealing to us its folded wings under the depression of time
the sky of that remote country.
she didn’t come.
I wasn’t waiting at the Mont des Arts.
The words weren’t there, in my pocket,
feeding alone on crushed biscuits,
and the chocolate crumbs didn’t melt.
By effect of time
the dialogue was deleted from both the novel and the garden.
and I wasn’t listening to the blackbird
that was trying to show me with its orange beak
a fragment with these words:
* From the novel "Pedro Paramo" by Juan Rolfo.
He had just left the Smiling Academy.
She saw him through her glasses
looking for a safe homeland near her.
She didn’t understand there could be someone
looking for a thing like that
at this day and age!
She put her handbag on the empty chair
and showed her foolishness by continuing to read.
He kept getting away in front of her glasses.
His entity was getting smaller as he went away,
until he became a fly
and landed on the nearest carrion.
Following from there:
the beauty of the city
and the chair that was empty in the past
as his homeland
to which he would never return.
Nor would he return to the reader of La vie devant soi,*
as she wiped her glasses with the handkerchief.
Every now and then
he pulls out a smile from his pocket,
checks it, cleans its wrinkles with the sleeve of his shirt,
and cautiously glues it onto his face.
Once it falls down he spits on it,
picks it up stealthily and returns it to his pocket,
what reckless bastard created this curse?
*"The life before us" is a novel by Romain Gary.
Brussels carnival fly gnawer
Nothing’s there but a bat recovering after a long siege and longer wars, deciding to save the world with snoring.
I will be happy upside down, like elated bats
playing with the upside down past
In this darkness
I suck the milk of everything I touch.
I don’t masturbate nor bathe,
until the world has cleansed off its shame.
In the morning,
with a glass of milk from the last Sumerian suns,
mixed with the last chuckling of the dead,
I happily return to life, like my ancestors,
to live the last remaining part of it
for a beautiful explosion
to put my head between two corpses
on the remaining thigh of my fading darling.
In the evening I keep warm
on the corpses, and on the breath of the starry carnivals,
sending inaudible snoring in their direction,
each fly that’s blocking my snoring
will be devoured.
I am a bat,
gnawer of bearded flies,
at the Brussels carnival.
A moon in a graveyard
To her, when we count our each other’s hearts with scorched fingers of regret
A moon fell on the graveyard.
I was busy reviving who was killed by my rhythm,
trying to make peace with life through a truce,
– even if it was futile –
when a full moon fell down
and rolled onto my astonishment in the middle of the graveyard.
A resurrection was revived in me,
along with it rose a voice that resembled me
and commandingly advised me:
let your lips sweep her body,
pile up the dust of the past into her belly button that is encircled with
“The head is a stray bird”,*
beware of looking up to the sky
as dispersion at this hour is unforgivable
and keeping a stray head is better than not
beside a moon in a graveyard.
Be triangulated, elongated,
quadrated in front of her with your tambourine, like a dervish.
Be a dotted circular melody, without a circumference
and your melodies are dust.
Let her taste the blood of moon on your fingertip.
Name a morning after her and tumble down in it
and stain all horizons with her voice.
When her voice is seeing you,
you won’t be able to turn around.
Moisten your breath with her crossed questions
until the moon has fallen down.
And once the moon has fallen down,
close your eyes.
Find a space beside her
This desire, as this life,
does not bear all this clarity.
She, with her octopod vagina,
swallowed swarms of my day
to teach me
how life could be my concern,
like poetry and extinction.
I have lived dead beside a living body,
whose womanhood enjoys my silence
and have sung in a night of a lunar desire.
I am listening dead, looking
and waiting to return to her with another truce
that could be failing.
Waking is none of my concern.
Nor is sleeping.
* From ‘A body fertilized with anticipation of Larrisa and the egg of Gilgamesh’ by Adnan Adil.
The stiff man in the café
The stiff man in the café
is stuffing his ribs
with tobacco leaves and colorful bags.
Around his surreal head hover,
plastic forests and fake fruits,
and sleepiness into the night’s pants creeps.
The stiff man in the café,
as ancient as boredom,
gliding into the desert of certainty,
drowning his body in kissing places,
blown away by images.
His time is without hands or sand,
his limbs as well as his eyes are rejoicing at the bottom of the moment.
His sneaky death attracts
all the flies of the neighborhood.
The stiff man in the café,
loves scaring dead birds,
entertaining fake people.
With idle butterflies and naive tourists
seducing a quarrelsome spring.
his joyful shadows crawling on the wall.
On the sphere of his loneliness
a lamp is rotating.
He is the only one who knows
the history of this burning wick
and the agony of isolation of his extinguished soul.