A poem by Ahmed Nada

by qisasukhra

One more unpublished poem by Ahmed Nada, whose details (such as they are) are in this earlier post. If you are interested in reading more of Ahmed’s poetry in Arabic, he publishes much of it on his Facebook page, which is here.

All one, whether I set my foot on the ground or fling it up, I told myself

I saw Mayakovsky carrying his head, full of flies and slogans

I saw my grandfather reciting the Verse of Repentance, intent on the bismillah

I saw my sweetheart and was silent

As she watched the ballerinas intently rend the tendons in their knees

I slip my soul out of red tape and cough suppressants

And I cough and am in transports

My eyes claim their due of light, I wear glasses to help me rub along in company

I wear glasses to seem older

I speak to the chair on which I sit and its oldest leg falls away

It shouts, If you had Jesus’ intuition you’d have spread your weight evenly and not fallen

I fell full length on my right side

Facing the qibla, puked up all the love I possess

Heavy with wise words and blame and news reports

Heavy even with myself

All one, whether I pen my own plays or plagiarise, I told myself

Ah my heavy skin, white unlike the family

My dark uncle scans the genome printout

Whispers to the village that something’s gone awry in the divine plan

The village wise men knock him back, eyes on the Prophet’s line

Knowing truth is just a tilt at a calmer death

Shaving their skulls for feast days and tragedies

Depositing a hunk of human flesh in the pavilions of the sun

—the sun’s not so familiar with my skin, delighting in the games of childhood chromosomes—

I greeted the shoreline with swelling thyroid

No iodine almost

No cliches about the sea

The water boils when the sun blues

And draws a hand’s breadth nearer

I would befriend strangers because they didn’t care

Didn’t ask if I was in earnest or just killing time

—Time’s corpse is snug in my pocket and drips out details no one heeds—

I carry night from its midpoint

Cram it into grievance

Then bury it in soil that brings forth fortune-tellers

I wait for one bright colored

Not to foretell the future but to fix it to my fancy

Usurping happy endings


Too late for me to choose

What might keep me glad

And so my rancour will devour me

Though I possess the delusion entire: I take myth over quantifiable phenomena

Exploiting the fact that I reside in nothingness

All one, whether they—these normals—kill me

Or drag me by the hair and plunge my head into the toilet bowl

I shall laugh until my lungs fill with water

I shall laugh, assuredly naked,

Naked whatever the case

And leave all the houses

Picking up another thread of my life

That I till now don’t know

But will, assuredly.