A poem by Ibrahim Elsayed
A translation of an unpublished poem by Ibrahim Elsayed. Translations of some poems from his previous collection أحد عشر كلبا (Merit, 2014) [Eleven Dogs] can be found here.
Childhood, a graveyard for teeth
After the crime the next shift,
the one you know is coming:
Life lived in constant wakefulness, waiting for it.
Once (at least) your senses doze you notice afterwards something has changed.
Blame your senses and train them again. Again,
sharpen your senses with chemicals, a blue dose
but every time fail to recall
the secret word you called in sleep
to save you from fear
Fear, which doesn’t kill the deed,
the constant threat of exposure.
between the two a tree
The city’s impure pleasures are medals on the walls of your life.
Any change there meaning of necessity some change here. And endless shapes:
House of Horror mirrors housed in Eighties funfairs.
Black Holes Star Wars
where childhood’s a graveyard for teeth.
The confusion of waking:
sounds you don’t hear in dream
slowly manifesting and I still
can’t hear them clearly
Sunlight reflects on salt shards
the cattle train switches tracks and clears
the way before us
I am in a train
a line of cows beside me
yawning their way to the new
Thus I pictured God: a massive ear hooked to millions of nuclear reactors running 24-hrs a day each one
the size of a sun.
Aged six, from reading a simplified science book and watching VHS tapes on satellites
I knew how data and sound got about,
about signals and receiving them.
I lost my faith: a side effect
of cycling through plastic and paper,
the city’s impure pleasures.
between the two a tree of crimes
Instant of making the wrong decision
followed by a regret