A poem by Ibrahim Elsayed

by qisasukhra

A translation of an unpublished poem by Ibrahim Elsayed.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.

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Childhood, a graveyard for teeth

g

g

After the crime the next shift,

the one you know is coming:

Life lived in constant wakefulness, waiting for it.

g

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

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Fear, which doesn’t kill the deed,

the constant threat of exposure.

              Chemical                               Mineral

between the two          a tree

g

The city’s impure pleasures are medals on the walls of your life.

g

Any change there meaning of necessity some change here. And endless shapes:

House of Horror mirrors housed in Eighties funfairs.

Eighties Horror

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

g

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

mechanised slaughterhouse.

g

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,

g

the city’s impure pleasures.

                         Chemical                               Mineral

between the two             a tree of crimes

g

Instant of making the wrong decision

followed by a regret

never done

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