Two poems by Ahmed Shafie
Two poems by Ahmed Shafie, the first unpublished, the second from his collection وقصائد أخرى (Dar Al Nahda, 2012) [And Other Poems], other poems from which can be found here.
Every poem I read
looted from the world.
Every poem I wrote
I suggested to Mohammed Abdel Nabi that he make his protagonist forget something invaluable on the train and then the next morning he finds it where he left it and suddenly it strikes him that the people all about him might not be real, that they are closer to being virtual reality, and in the mind of the reader this is retroactively applied to the characters encountered over the course of the story: the young woman the protagonist only ever sees reflected in the windowpane, the preacher who dresses like Charlie Chaplin, the office worker whose transparent belly contains copies of himself in the roles he dreams of playing (the senior office worker, the very senior office worker, the ideal office worker, the rebellious office worker, the unmarried office worker…), the princess sitting on a vegetable crate outside the door, the actor disguised in order to trail his characters up close and
Mohammed didn’t seem convinced, but even so I continued to ponder what could this invaluable thing be that one might forget on a train, his glasses perhaps, which he’d never removed in his life, or the bag that contains all his memories, even those that he’d forgotten, and have I, for instance, forgotten anything more valuable than a newspaper on a train, I don’t think so, except I once forgot to get off, which is to say that, one way or another, I forgot myself, I forgot my body, I forgot the bag that contains my memories, all of them, even those I have forgotten.