blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2010  Vol. 9  No. 2
print version
translation by Bahaa-eddin M. Mazid with Patty Paine

from Less Than Ink

Ask any war
of victory
and you will be answered
with mountains of blood,
piles of corpses.

Snow is the memory
of the dead.

a precious stone
perfected by the carving
of a chisel . . .

If I were a stone,
I would ignore
the burning
of every wave that hits me.

The affliction of a wound
is not its share of pain;
it is the body uncovered,
the soul not moving
any further.

It is the string
that stirs the hand
to draw sighs
from vocal chords.
No one can see
ahead in the desert,
mirrors of mirage swindle me,
without a single miracle
beyond the cactus heat,
which like me,
can give refuge
to cries of water . . .

Give me time
to spirit away like a letter
that enjoys more freedom
than I . . .

Give me some time,
chiefs of tribes,
to cover the tent
with my body,
and crown patience
with my soul’s

Insanity is a garden
that reason
moves away from.

The night has burned
every piece of paper,
ashamed of the pencil
that’s become

I am so tired and worn.
Heal me, you,
where pebbles reach
the road that vanishes
beneath my steps;
hide me so that
I am not
a warship collapsing
under a fire of
pouring ink . . .

Writing is a tigress
passionately burning,
a gift to obey, a clever hand,
a careless arrogance
that ravishes
and sees no harm
in claws that charm . . .

It is the triumph of
a plague, a prophecy,
an outbreak,
a loser’s share.
It is the rhythm
of my name.  end

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