Erasing all wisdom/

This is my fire/
There is no sign left-- my blood is the sign/

This is my beginning /

I entered your pool/
an earth circling round me your limbs a flowing Nile/we floated, we sank/you intersected in my blood/my waves cut your breasts you were squeezed / Let us begin: love has forgotten the blade of night/ do I scream that the flood is coming?/ Let us begin: a cry limps across the city and people are walking mirrors/ when the salt has gone over we meet are you?/

My love is a wound.
My body a rose on the wound,
which ca not be gathered except as death.
My blood a branch which has surrendered its leaves
and reposed."
Is the rock an answer? Does your death the master the sleeping tempt?
For your breasts I have auras of fondness, for your child face a face that resembles it...You? I have not found you.
And here is my flame erasing

I entered your pool I have a city beneath my sorrows I have what renders the green branch a snake and the sun a black lover, I have.../

Come forward poor of the Earth cover this age with rags and tears cover it with the body which seeks its warmth...the city is arches of madness/ the revolution should give birth to its own children I held . I buried millions of songs and came (are you in my grave?) Give me your hands to feel follow me . My time has not come yet and the cemetery of the world has come / For all the sultans I have ashes/ Give me your hands follow me...


(A placard)

The footsteps of life halted at the door of a book that I had erased with my questions: what do I see? I see leaves in which, it is said, civilizations have rested (do you know a weeping fire?) I see the hundred as two hundreds the mosque and the church as two executioners and the Earth as a rose/

An eagle flew in my face / I sanctified the scent of chaos / may the time of sorrow come / may the people of flame and rejection rise / my desert is growing / I loved a baffled willow a swaggering tower an ageing minaret I loved a street on which the Lebanon arranged its bowels in rows of drawings and mirrors and charms /

I said now I surrender to the abyss of sex and hand to fire the prelude of the world I said settle down O, Nero, like a spear in the forehead of creation every home is Rome the imaginary and the real are Rome and Rome is the city of God and History I said settle like a spear, O. Nero... /

I ate nothing but sand at eve, my hunger revolves like the Earth stones palaces temples I spell like bread / in my third blood I saw the eyes of a wanderer who mixed people
with the waves of his eternal dream
bearing the flame of the distances
in the brain of a prophet and the blood of a savage/

......And they dumped 'Ali down a pit covered him with straw as the sun was carrying its victims and departing / does the light know its way in
the land of 'Ali? Will it meet us? We heard the blood, we saw the moaning /

We shall tell the truth: This is a country
which hoisted its thighs
as banners.
We shall tell the truth: This is no country.
It's our lunar stable,
the crutch of Sultans
and the carpet of the prophet.

We shall tell simplicity itself: In the universe
there is something called presence
and something called absence.
We tell the truth:
We are the absence.
No sky has begotten us, no Earth.
We are froth evaporating
out of the river of words.
We're rust in the sky and its orbits,
and rust in life!
(A clandestine manifesto)


And may my face be shade!
An age of enamoured stone rambles around me, I, the first lover of fire. The fire gets pregnant my days are a female fire under her breasts are blood and clashing the armpits are wells of tears a desultory river the sun sticks to it like a dress sliding / a wound which it split and caused to sparkle with lust and spices (is this your foetus?) My sorrows are roses

I entered the school of grass my forehead cleft and my blood dethroning its reign of power: I wondered what to do? Do I wrap the city with bread? I splintered in a corridor of fire / we partook of the blood of kings
and we went hungry

We carry the times,
mixing pebbles with stars
and driving the clouds
like a herd of horses.



The nation has reposed
in the honey of the pulpit and the rebec.
The creator has fortified it like a moat
and sealed it.
Nobody knows where the door is.
Nobody asks where the door is.
(A clandestine manifesto)

.....And they dumped 'Ali down a pit embers were his garment we blazed we clung to his dismembered body I blazed good evening, O, Rose of Ashes / 'Ali is a homeland whose name is known to no language he bleeds negation affirms the grass and water 'Ali is an immigrant /

Where does the lord of sorrow sleep how does he carry his eyes? My sky is throttled my shoulder wilts and the Earth is a helmet filled with sand and straw I ran in panic a swallow covered me I rose up its breasts were flames I rose up opening a window: green fields I the other conqueror and the Earth is a game a horse entering the clouds /

Enamored trees emerge a bough shakes me water bursts out and the ancient Time of people is over I commenced my face is orbits and in the light a revolution lurks a village woke me up in its gusts / the silence broke embrace me, O, creator of tiredness grant me your swings test me
I am the rock I am the quest and the question neither a festival nor a hearth I am the ghost lurking in the crater of the city while people slumber / I entered the snare of light pure as violence light and shining like the wilderness of loss my limbs are lightning my limbs are sculpted winds / my bone is not the taste of thrones or silver I'm not a kingdom my blood is the migration of the sky and my eyes are birds / it's said your skin is thorns may you die and may my sky be yellowed by your skin it is said your skin is an age reposing in the stillness of the dream /

And may the lances of eternal conflict be born.
Between us stretches a gorge of crumbling,
my voice is the hallucination of an invader
breaking the crutch of songs and uprooting the alphabet /

..... And the women repose in a chamber,
seeking refuge in the inspired Books,
turning the sky
into a guillotine or a toy.
And 'Ali opens his sorrows
to the fools of destitution,
to those who aspired to become eagles
and were broken...

And 'Ali is a magic flame
burning in every water,
sweeping - he left no earth, no books
he swept history, covered daylight with his wings,
delighted to see daylight go mad /

This is the time of death,
but every death in it is an Arab death.
Days drop in its courtyards
like the trunk of an ageing cedar.
It is the last song of a bird
singing in a blazing forest /

My homeland chases me like a river of blood / the forehead of civilization is a mouldy pit / I collected a throne was reincarnated as a lantern/ Damascus became infatuated Baghdad grew tender / the sword of history is broken in the face of my homeland / who is the fire who is the flood? /

You were a desert when I arrested the snow in you I split like you into sand and fog I cried you are a god in order to see his face to erase
what links me to him I said I fused my body with your body you are the trough filled with my waves I am the night barefoot when I inserted you into my navel you procreated as a path in my steps you entered my infant water/ Seek the light be rooted in my wilderness and wandering

A fruit-bearing numbness creeps round the head a dream under the pillow my days are a hole in my pocket the world has decayed / Eve is pregnant in my trousers /
I walk on the ice of my pleasures /
walk between the baffling and the inimitable walk in a rose /
the flowers of despair wither and sadness rusts / an army of crushed faces crosses history an army like a thread an army that has succumbed and surrendered, an army like a shadow / I run in the voices of victims alone over the lip of death like a grave walking in a ball of light

We fused
the blood of the beloved ones protects like eyelashes I heard your pulse in my skin (are you a forest?) The barrier has collapsed (were you a barrier?) The sea gull asked a thread in the sea which a captain was spinning the snow of a traveller sang a sun it couldn't see (are you my sun?) My sun is a feather which drinks the space / the lost one heard a voice (are you my voice?) / My voice is my time your voluptuous pulse and your breasts are my blackness and every night my whiteness
A cloud crept, so I surrendered my face to the flood
and wandered aimlessly in my ruins.../

Thus, I loved a tent
and made the sand in its eyelashes
raining trees, and made the desert
a cloud. I said: This broken pitcher
is a shattered nation, this space
a sore on the eye, these eyes
are holes. I said: madness
is a planet hiding in a tree.

I'll see the face of the crow
in my country's countenance,
and name this book
a shroud, and name
this city carrion
and name the trees of Sham* sorrowful birds,
(perhaps after the naming a flower or a song will be born),
and name the desert a palm tree,
(perhaps the Earth will wake
and return as a child or the dream of a child).

Nothing chants my songs anymore:
"The knights of rejection will come
and the light will come at its appointed time..."


Does my history have a child in your night
O, ashes of the hearth?
The wrath of revolution is infatuated embers
and a woman's chant:

Does my history have a child in your night? /

The dust of tradition lodges in the bone / should I seek refuge? Does dust grant a refuge?
No place and death is in vain... this is dizziness.
He who sees the corpse of the centuries upon his face
and stumbles listless,
feels old age
a nipple for childhood.



Return to your cave histories are swarms of locusts, here is history living on the lap of a whore ruminating heaving inside the belly of a she-ass desiring the rottenness of the Earth and walking in a maggot return to your cave and cast down your eyes /

I glimpse a word /
around which we are all mirage and mud.
'Umru' al-Qays couldn't shake it and al -Ma'arri is its child,
under it al-Junayd caved in as did al-Hallaj and al-Niffari /
Al - Mutanabbi related that it was
the voice and the echo / you are the slave
it is the master /
It is also the angel / the nation is implanted
in it like a seed /
Return to your cave/

What? Have they exiled him or murdered him?/
They have murdered him... no, I'll not recount the death of my friend:
A countryside of yellow flowers rises around me / but I'll write of the last branch in the cedar tree of the house of a flock of wild doves
dragging the carpet of the night of the dream as high as towers / they've murdered him... no, I'll not utter the names of witnesses or murderers nor will I weep / I'll weep over a nation born dumb over the swan embracing the blueness of the shores weeping why weep over a child over a poet?/ I'll write of the last shade of the cedar tree of the house of a flock of wild doves dragging the carpet of the night of the dream as high as mountains /

The Caliph, our lord, decreed a law of water his people are mud and gravy and melted swords the master wore a crown inlaid with people's eyes / Is this city a sign are women's garments fashioned out of the pages of the Qur'an ?/
I inserted the socket of my eye in a gorge dug up by the hours I asked are my people a river without an estuary?

I sing

the language of blades I scream Time is punctured its walls have crumbled between my entrails I vomited I no longer have a history or a present / I am the solar insomnia and the spout the sin and the action wait for me, O, rider of clouds / my things are seductive and the sun bludgeons my limbs I am the inhabitant of expanses and psalms I am the bough seeking refuge: Listen do you hear the wailing in the heart of the world?/ I listen to death between my wrinkles / we hallucinated / I hallucinated in order to die well / I culled the breasts among my conventions / is your skin the fall are your thighs a wound that I filled / the world has healed / are you the quarry of night in my skin? My ax is sharpened I have become another stream my bank flows your arms are scooping an arch I carried you my face is bedlam a bird divided by the voice ask me I reply .../

A book of divination spoke to me its horses casting a spell on me the whispering has died down (do I, do you, now have anything to whisper?) / A bridled fire stranded ships a tamed sea / the sea gull has opened its eyes you close it has forgotten the opening in its ruffled feathers are water and sparks / had it been had it known thunder had thunder been in my hands /

Quiet, quiet this is a dome and my dwelling is in the vent of a breast / I go on digging had I changed had dust changed its virgins had fire been a hamza.*... /
You have dissolved in my being my being has no limits no sword vanish erase I have vanished one face we are my shirt is not an apple nor are you paradise we are a field and a harvest and the sun stands guard I have ripened you come from that green end this is our crop our bodies are a farmer and a harvester / O, most precious of my limbs come from that end / I've called up my death / and cascade me we have owned the ember of Time and longing we have owned the opulence of the universe donning people as its quilt we have found the path.../

I read in yellow leaves that I'd die in exile I quest for the shimmering light of the deserts my people stray .../ Damascus enters my garments in fear in love it mingles with my entrails drivelling... /

You have shed your skin leave your lips dissolve them in my teeth I am night and day I am Time we have dissolved be rooted in my wanderings and loss... /

Thus I loved a tent,
and made the sand in its eyelashes
raining trees,
and made the desert a cloud.
I saw God as a beggar in the land of 'Ali,
and baked the minaret,
and saw the sea arrive in the fog of the chimney
excited, whispering:
" He who formulated us
laid a foundation that was no more than a garret,
when the tempest struck, it crumbled
becoming wood to be burned in the mansion of a Caliph.
Rarely does the sea speak,
but the sea has now spoken:
' We have withered,
history has withered
because of its repetition in windmills,
the creator has fallen into its coffin...
the created has fallen into its coffin..."

And the women repose in a chamber,
rescuing the night out of its wells,
sewing up the sky,
and singing: ' 'Ali is a magic flame
burning in every water,'
and asking the heavens:
' A star or a mommy, what is this Earth?
Tearing up the heavens,
and patching up the heavens.'

" The impostor has buried a nation in his eyes.
The impostor has dug a nation out of his eyes,
and we heard him praying over it
and saw him salute it kneeling down,
and we saw
how the nation turned in his palms
into water,
and we saw
how the water became
a windmill ' /

Islands of flames in which Asia ascends ascends the future /
a sun went out we dreamt of things other than what the night conjured / my daylight is measurable by flames / I cried for help the voice of peoples is conquering the universe full of seduction /


My bed is farther and more salacious/ cages deserted roads
the horse of the past is ashes and the pigment of God
is a different colour /


'Ali is the eternity of fire and childhood / do you hear the lightning
of the centuries hear the heaving of their footsteps? Is the road a book or a hand? / The finger of dust is like a dervish singing the dominion of myths / O, give us a homeland bring near the cities shake the trees of dreams change the trees of slumber the speech of the heavens to the Earth /
A child wanders aimlessly baffled
under the navel of a black woman searching
a child grows up.
And the Earth has a blind god dying.../


to faces ambling in the loneliness of the desert,
to the East draped in grass and fire peace to the Earth
washed by the sea peace to its passion...

Your thunderbolt of nakedness grants me its rains thunder grips me in my breast Time has fermented O, advance this is my blood the glow of the East scoop me and vanish lose me the thunderclap is for your legs the lightning scoop me take my body as lining for your body / my fire is the orientation and the planet my wound is guidance I spell.../

I spell a star which I paint,
running away from my homeland in my homeland.
I spell a star which he paints
in the footsteps of his vanquished days.
O, ashes of the Word.
Does my history have a child in your night?


I glimpse it now on the windows of the house,
sleepless amongst the sleepless stones,
like a child taught by a witch
that in the sea there is a woman
carrying his history in a ring,
and that she will appear
when the flames in the fireplace subside ... /

...And I saw history in a black banner
marching like a forest /
I wrote no chronicles /

I live in the longing the fire the revolution,
in the magic of their creative poison.
My homeland is nothing but this spark,
this lightning in the darkness of everlasting Time...





Where does the distance end? Where does fear cease to reign?
I summon the void. I empty the full. Even flint is soft, even sand originates in water.
Why the roads, why the arrival?
Astray, astray, and I'll not return. Falling is my state and condition; paradise is my contrary.
A wedding I am; and I announce the attractiveness of death. I am the clouds, and know no dryness; I am aridity and have no clouds.
I hide behind the riddle, hide under the gowns of the seasons
and peep through their holes. I grant my steps their form
and say unto the sea: Follow me.
Trees are leaves in my notebooks; stones are verses like me. I'll abrade the skin of the horizon, make it bleed and flow. I'll fly between the wound and the wound.
We divide space between us: Death and I.
We raise the banner of famine: Bread and I.
And tomorrow I'll get entangled in the garments of the legend and climb the wall of shadows. Then, a procession of psalms of stone will cling to me.
O, Madness, my master, my Christ.

I search for a sun that dwells in the eyes, for eyes which behold the light - all of the light.
I seek a tree trunk which turns into a body. I seek what gives the word a sex organ and pierces the sky.
I seek what gives to stone the lips of children, to history a rainbow and to the songs the larynxes of trees.
I seek what extends the rippling frontiers, the frontiers invisible between the sea and the rocks, the clouds and the sands, daylight and night.
I seek what unifies our accents: God and I, Satan and I, the world and I; and what sows between us the seeds of conflict.

O, Spirit of quest, O, my vessel.


I have not said, O, brother, You are dead.
I have said: You will go, and you know what is coming.
Your steps have halted, but your shadow
still extends with a child's hands.
I wonder:
Are you still alive?
Are my eyes your eyes?
Is death mirrors between us?
I see what you have seen,
translate myself to myself.
Are we, I wonder, a single body
sharing the bread of tragedy,
the bread of love and life?
Two strangers, two gaunt, down-trodden figures.?
I cry: I am the Karbula'* of yearning.
And you shout: O, my master, al-Husain.


Leave him to his secrets.
He seats the sea at times on his lap,
and at times below his window.
Leave him to his secrets.
He masquerades with grass,
or wears the face of stone.
Leave him to his secrets.
He is a field of love
which changes with every season,
turning over the trees in his palms.


All these languages, these fragments,
are leaven
for the cities to come.
Change the structure of the noun, the verb, the letter;
No veils remain between us,
no dams.
And delight your hearts with the fatihas*
of the Suras* of desire
and the ecstasies of their sealed heavens.


For angels forged of silver and lead,
for sands trailing their golden cloaks,
collapsing and sobbing in the cage of the alphabet,

his land is the lung bleeding,
as a river loses its course,
and lightning its flashing flame;

and I see it slumbering.

Yet, I confront these deserts,
as though I were the dawn of speech.
I say without surprise:
A time of desire and widows of metal
and the place is splitting apart.
-This place has always been splitting apart;
has been maps of mustiness and dust.
Always has this place been
splintering in two fists
of siege and devouring.

Yet, I confront this labyrinth,
as though I were the dawn of speech.
And I say without surprise:
A star appeared and was devoured by ants,
and I repeat that smoke
is the nuptial of the winds.
O, winds,
accept what remains of my body :
two roses, my anxiety and my yearning,
weave out of them your invisible shawls,
and let them be our greeting
to wandering and its Arabian ruins.

And I say without surprise:
This homeland is no more than a conjecture,
and it is now....
- Don't utter a word.
Have you gone mad, or have the visions led you astray?
And it is now a cemetery: a metallic policeman, burial of the living,
and where are you from?

Had you crossed the borders here and there,
and seen the ones who yearn for light
folded as clothing
and dumped into bottomless pits of darkness,
you would have wished that all speech became
destruction and raging fires,
would have torn these maps, these banners,
and would have, like me, blasphemed.
This homeland is no more than a bit of a conjecture.

And I say without surprise:
The millions are green ; from them arise the voice and the echo,
and I am the wolf of this space,
the only one who suffers the agonies of death,
and stumbles astray,
no star, no guidance,
lost between one field and another,
groping for the veins of grass,
and asking each flower
about its sister.

And I say without surprise:
Console me, O, time of weariness.
I have come to like crouching by the rock of the impossible,
like a child who loves travelling
in space,
mounting the back of a reed.

- Do not say: Despair and escapism.
The wind escapes in order to embrace the Earth,
and despair opens its regal doors
to the explosions of the orbits.
Say: A bearer of ill tidings.
And listen to the witness hiding
behind the trunks of palm trees,
and read the witness inscribed with dates and ginger
in leaves of silk...
And I say without surprise to the dew:
Have you seen the place, experienced the fields?
Are those covering them people or plants?
Thus I dare to adore the dew
and sing for it,
flowing as though early dawn were its banks,
opening its bags like letters between the branches of trees.
What do your hands carry?
For whom does the horizon write its secrets?
Is the road stretching along your banks another blood,
an adventurous gleam,
or a gasping poet?

And I say without surprise:
My amazement is that I have not yet aged,
that this wreckage
has only bestowed greater splendour
upon me.
- Here is a rose lusting
to be a woman in his arms.
- Here are his extinguished fires
beginning to glow.

And now I am a child,
as though the moon were bells
in my footsteps .
I say without surprise:
I have my passion,
my everlasting intoxication .
The letters are women who whisper to me whatever they desire,
and to them I grant my unbounded flights.
And, free of all illusions, I declare:
This is my life-
Sparks and horses of light,
bolting out of the chariots of images.


They girdle him with their eyelashes
and cast their shade over his body.
Amongst them, he is like a soul
love is a throne,
and the sun in his hands
is an incense burner.
And around him,
their myths grow taller.
How, when and whence do I enter into this throng ?
And I am only the story - teller, only the narrator.
I am nothing but the echo
watchful at his prophetic door-
the echo,
and the throes of death of words.


Don't say:" You have gone mad."
My madness is your dreams/ we've come
and painted the fields
a body in bloom.
We used to say:
"If only we would come and rape the universe."
And we have come.

He who sees you sees me- I, the primordial rose.
In the ashes of evening I broke,
with dawn I perfumed my roots- my downy leaves
gathered as a ladder /
Is that the voice of someone approaching?
Or footsteps fading away?

He who sees you sees me- I, who reveals
the secret thoughts
and offers himself to thunder:
this is a shaft of light.
Change the image of nature,
mix rock with wings, ecstasy with tragedy.
Everything on Earth is new /
My face an open space,
and the distance the beginning of eyes.

He who sees you sees me /
We screamed:
"There is no path but the path of fire." We 've come.
No coming unless it strikes as lightning;
and we've come.
Prisons are still growing ;
exiles flutter with eyelashes;
fear is raging, and those possessed by fear
are leaves.
Prisons are growing /
And they fall upon poetry in cloaks, in corners,
invoking their canonical rules,
and walking in a space of beads.

And I am the one who shatters all rules,
I, the primordial womb.

And they say: "This is obscurity."
And they say: "This is a world of absence."

O, regal lust,
take my words into your world of absence.
Take my steps into your world of absence.
And bolt and take me,
O, regal lust.

If you see at the university gate
a star, take her by the hand.
If you see at the university gate
a planet, embrace him...
We wrote on the university gate:
Histories are crumbling.
The fires are ravaging .
Our steps
are flames penetrating the corpse of the Earth.
We uproot the family
to establish friendship/ Sing.
Sing for the fractures which cover this time with wounds,
for this is the time of crumbling /

Sing for the devouring tragedy.
Make room for the chained body
to give a feast for nature,
make room for its songs.

Sauntering you have come, submerged
in the ocean of Arab blood.
More luscious you have come
than a thunderbolt.

Don't say:" You've gone mad."
My madness is your dreams/ we've come,
descended into the darkness, broken its lanterns, and come
like a land yearning for rain/ we've come
like thunder draped in clouds/ A promise:
You will be dawn,
and Time will be balconies for our dreams...

Everything is new on Earth; the alphabet is flames,
and madness a voyage between it and me,
a horizon
spelling the invisible frontiers.
And our name is one-

I ' ve rooted myself in trees that never die.
I ' ve seen the steps, and seen the houses
crumbling, crumbling /
These are my sparks.

The distance is pregnant.
Our name is one- and we are sweeping.
This is our space:

to shatter the orbits, to be nothing
but this madness


That child I had been
came once to me
a strange face.

He said nothing . We walked,
each glancing at the other in silence; our steps
a river flowing estranged.

In the name of the leaves strewn in the wind,
the origins brought us together.
Then we departed,
a forest inscribed by the Earth,
and narrated by the seasons.

O, child that I once was, come near.
What is there now to draw us together?
And what is there to say?


(Faces and masks. A hall with many entrances of a bygone style).

- I -

I hear that people are angry,
that in their hearts
prayer entwines with fire...

They'll soon be calm and contented.
The sword and gold
will extinguish their fire...

It will blaze again.

MASK 2 (fervently):
So will blaze again,
tying them up like a bundle of reeds,
the sword and gold
and the flames of murder.
(He falls silent; then, as if dreaming)

Then the hearts will falter
and the knees will totter,
and the rebels will be cooked
like chicken for a feast...

(He laughs)

You scorn people, lock them up like cattle
waiting for slaughter;
you devour them...
MASK 2 (astonished):
A new larynx
sharpened on the blade of the rebels?

(in a tone of advice)

Leave the people alone, my friend.
They are, as I have discovered, a monster
always hungry
unless you feed it to the sword,
or stuff its mouth with gold.


(Masks bowing down to the ground; in one corner a woman, erect like a statue, embracing a skull).

MASK 1 ( resembling a barrel; headless, addressing FACE 1, and gesturing towards the bowing masks):

The people, your eternal amulet.
You see?
(Pointing scornfully to the bowing masks).

No. It's your tyrannical image
that you have displayed.
The people are neither straws
for you to break, nor a mask...
MASK 1 (furiously):

Take him;
make his head a gift,
a human goblet of bones .

(Exit some masks, dragging FACE 1; other masks enter).

- II -

MASK 2 (addressing MASK 1, while presenting him with a goblet - shaped skull):
The first of my gifts to my lord
as people witness .
(pointing to the masks)
Tell him; come forth...

MASK 3 (taking a skull, goes forward; stands in military fashion in front of MASK 1):

Their voices stretch under our steps
like a staircase.
(steps aside)

MASK 4 (carrying an arm, moves forward in military fashion stopping parallel to MASK 3):

Their shoulders are lean
and carmine-like pillows.

MASK 5 (carrying a leg and an arm; same movements):

Their bodies are blown like the corpse of the desert,
and the desert is like a table laid for a feast.

MASK 1 (in a husky, crazed voice ):

The spear. Here...
in the heart and consciousness,
in the navel of the pregnant woman,
in the eye of the child,
in the inhaling and exhaling,
in the nearby trees and the distant stars.
Murder, here... My only seeds.
Here, here....
My only land.

(Everybody bursts into crazy laughter)


1- The Hungry Man
(A Dream )

Hunger paints on his notebook
stars or roads,
and covers the leaves
with veils of dreams.
We glimpsed
a sun of love fluttering its eyelashes,
and glimpsed
a rising dawn.

2 - Sleep and Rising from Sleep

In his sleep, he fashions a model
for a rampant revolution
which embraces the rising future.

Then he awakens;
his days become
a parrot
lamenting the passing night
and his vanished dreams.

3- The People
(A Dream)

The trees gathered
laden, like fruits, with screams and yearning,
and marched
along the riverbanks.
Thunder rattled them
as though it were sparks.

The trees were struck dumbfounded
in sorrow over their captive birds
on the other side of the river's flank.

4- Wrath
( A Dream )

The Euphrates is enraged.
Its banks are filled with larynxes,
towers of shocks and thunder;
and the waves are horses.

I saw dawn with its tresses cut,
I saw the water, its roaring sharpened,
flowing, embracing its spears.

The Euphrates is enraged.
Neither the fire, nor the prayers
will extinguish that wounded wrath.


1 - The Body of A Pebble

That which I have called the history and the beginning
is smooth, closed, and lifeless
like the body of a pebble.
That which grants us its providence
is a spider's bed.
The waters in the Orantes and Euphrates
are ink.
The desert of footsteps is words
or papers, no difference.
And the citadels, bundled up, are running .
A bare night. No dreams, no rays.

No ; you are not a water lily,
nor a bunch of the roses of brotherhood.
Neither inspiration nor prophecy,
nor a wakeful star by the bridge
reading the waters of the river.

No body in you reads,
no body asks questions .
You are a tyrant
who bakes bread
out of the victims' bodies.
Nor are you
the breasts of a virgin
in a festival for love.

....A skin you are;
no more than a goat's skin,
even if you procreate, hire a husband
and come to people in a silken dress
and with a human countenance.

And I am Fate, I am the way.
I shake the sea.
My death is a ship,
and my remains
an alphabet
or an imminent explosion.

2 - Had You Dwelled

Had you dwelled, as I said, in my voice,
you would have found the right path
and its orbit of ascendance ;
you would have draped yourself
in the garments of the travellers,
who drink the suns and their dimensions
in their enthralling trance.

And would have quenched your thirst.

Had you dwelled, as I said, in my voice,
you would have become the word of divination
and its rainbow-like lighthouses
between our paper-like days
and the snows of the distance.

And would have found the right path.

3 - The Foundation

- In order for it to stand erect,
in order for it to be,
grip its hand this way
and hold its face.
Invent a spark;
devour its belt and motionless shoulder,
and pull to the left
its stubborn axis;
and move the crouching corner.

alter the base and stones
and change the foundation...






Hugging the ear of corn
of Time,
my head a tower of fire:
What blood is this that flows across the sand,
what eclipse is this?
Tell us, O, flame of the present,
what shall we say?

The tatters of history fill my larynx
and on my countenance the signs
of the victim.
How bitter language has now become,
and how narrow the door of the alphabet.

Hugging the ear of corn
of Time,
my head a tower of fire:
..../ A friend turned executioner? A neighbour said:
How slow is Hulago? Who is knocking ?
A ransom collector?
Give him the dues..
Shapes of women and men...walking images/
We gestured
and exchanged whispers,
our footsteps a string of murder/
Does your murder beget your God
or your God beget your murder?
- The riddle has confused him,
so he bent,
an arch of terror over his drooping days.

- I have lost a brother, my father has gone insane,
and my children have died.
Whose help do I invoke? Do I hug the door?
Complain to a carpet?
- He is dazed ; bring the urn and grant him recovery
with the snuff of the Ayatullahs.

Corpses which the murderer reads as anecdotes,
heaps of bones.
Is this mass a child's head, or a piece of charcoal?
Is what I see a body or a skeleton of clay?
I bow down, patch up two eyes, and stitch up a flank.
Guessing may assist me
and the light of memory may guide me.
But in vain I read the tenuous thread,
in vain I assemble a head, two legs, two arms,
to discover the identity of the victim.

-To whom does the ant offer its lesson?
and why the amazement?
is the fusion of this tragic spark with the eye;
and a trance it is
to see your house raised to God in fragments.
The owl of a clairvoyant shrieks on top of a minaret,
weaving its voice as a rainbow,
and crying, throttled, to the point of joy.

Hugging the ear of corn
of Time,
my head a tower of fire.
..../ The fool reveals his secrets:
This rebellious time is a jeweller's shop,
and a mire of prophets.

The fool reveals his secrets:
The truth will be death;
death the bread of poets
and that which is called, or has become, the homeland
is nothing but a time floating on the surface of Time.

The fool reveals his secrets:
Where is your key, O, splendour of the flood?
Please submerge me,
and take the last of my shores, take me.
I'm enthralled by fathomless seas ablaze,
enthralled by a burning straw,
by roads which startle all roads.

Hugging the ear of corn
of Time,
my head a tower of fire.
My soul has forgotten the things of its passion,
forgotten its legacy, preserved in the house of images.
It no longer remembers what the rain pronounces,
what the ink of trees inscribes;
no longer paints anything
but a sea gull flung by the waves onto the ropes of a ship;
it no longer hears anything
but iron screaming: Here is the city's breast,
a moon is ruptured, tied to the umbilical cord
of a ghoul of sparks;
it no longer knows that God and the poet
are two children
slumbering on the cheek of a stone.
My soul has forgotten the things of its passion.
Therefore, the shadow -the looming tomorrow- terrorizes me;
therefore doubts encompass me,
and the dream resists me.
Chained, I run from one fire to another.
I have plunged under the sweat flowing out of my body,
shared with the walls
the night insomnia/(the steps of night are beasts...)
And many a time I have said to poetry,
lying heavy at the bottom of my memory:
What is the saw that presses on my neck,
dictating the Verse of silence ?
To whom do I narrate my ashes
when I don't know how to tear the pulse and flick it over a table,
when I refuse to make my sorrow a drum for the sky.
Then, let me confess:
My life has been no more
than a mill of the wind and a house of phantoms.

Hugging the ear of corn
of Time,
my head a tower of flames:
The trees of love in Qassabin have brothered
the trees of death in Beirut.
And here is the forest of basil consoling
the forest of exile .
As Qassabin enters the map of grass,
and distils the entrails of the plains,
Beirut enters the map of death/
graves like orchards - the dismembered limbs
are fields.
What is it that spills Qassabin in Saida or in Sur,
when it is Beirut that is spilling?
What is it that in its distance draws so close?
What is it that mixes in my map
all these bloods?

....Summer has withered; autumn has not arrived;
spring is blackened in the memory of the earth/
winter is as death paints it: bleeding or in the throes of death .
A time emerges out of the flask of predestination
and the palm of fate;
a time of wandering which improvises Time
and ruminates the air.
How, and from where do you hope to know
this faceless murderer /who wears all faces...

Hugging the ear of corn
of Time,
my head a tower of fire:
Exhausted, I turn now and gaze into the distance-
What are these rags?
Histories? Countries? Banners on the cliff of dusk?

Here, in the instant I read whole generations,
and in the corpse I read a thousand corpses.
Here, the fathomless waves of absurdity submerge me,
my body breaks loose out of my control,
my face is no longer in its mirrors
and my blood shies away from its arteries...
Is it because I don't see the light which transports my dreams to it?
Is it because I am a distant extreme
of the universe
which all others bless while against it I blaspheme ?
What is it that uproots my depths and proceeds
through jungles of desire, countries- oceans of tears
and dynasties of symbols,
through races and nations- centuries and peoples?
What is it that separates my self from my self?
What is it that destroys me, negates me?
Am I a crossroad?
Is my path no longer my path
at the moment of revelation?
Am I more than one person, my history my cliff of falling,
and my rendezvous my fire?
What is it that rises in the cackle
rising out of my suffocating limbs?
Am I more than one person, each asking the other:
Who are you? And from where ?
Are my limbs jungles of conflicts a blood which is a wind and a body which is a leaf?

Is it madness? Who am I in this darkness?
Teach me and guide me, O, madness.
Who am I, my friends, the clairvoyant and oppressed?
I wish I could break out of my skin.
not knowing who I was or who I will be.
I am searching for a name and something to name,
while nothing can be named.
A blind time, and a blinded history.
A time of mud, and a history of wreckage.
And the one who owns is owned /
So, bless you, bless you,
O, darkness.

Hugging the ear of corn
of Time,
my head a tower of fire:
My Semitic grandfather is gripped by what blind fate begets.
A parrot, or a prophet poured into a mummy?
O, grandfather, whose path I now desert,
alright; you are the one who dwells in the water germ
and the folds of the heavens;
and it is wise of you to walk, as you do, proudly backwards;
you are the secret and the kingdom stuffed
with prophecies-
and I am the one incapable of comprehending you.
I am the one who strayed, and you are the miracle.
O, grandfather, whom I now reject,
and in whose creative name I had loved Creation,
as of now, you will not recognize me;
nothing will relate me to you
except those ruins sedimenting in the depth of my soul
lamenting me, and making me lament you.

Hugging the ear of corn
of Time,
my head a tower of fire:
The end of the age that rained sijjil**
now meets the beginning
of the age that rains oil.
And the god of palms grovels
at the feet of a metallic god .
And between the two gods I am
the spilt blood and retreating caravan,
groping for my dying fire
and trying to cope with my death,
which rages rampantly across its desert.
And I say:
The universe is nothing but what my dreams weave.
.../The threads dissolve,
and I see myself in the void of an abyss,
plummeting into the night of descent.
I see things as wheels of smoke
and see the world as a hunter's game:
The table has been laid, bodies are vegetables, the bowls are heads;
God sits at the table of the hunt:
a deer
which had been a baker,
a lizard
which had been a soldier/
Is it a god devouring the hunt,
or is the hunt devouring the god?

Roads that lie, shores that betray;
how can madness but strike you now?

Thus I desert the eater and the eaten
and seek repose in every space of wandering.
My consolation is that I delve deep into my dream,-
straying afar, and rippling,
singing the lust of rejection,
" The orbit of Venus is an anklet for my days,
and Capricorn a bracelet."
And I say: "Flowers in their crowns
are balconies..."
My consolation is that I rebel beyond all bounds,
and alert the verbs of rebellion.

Saddle these rampant winds.
History is slain, and slaughtering is only the prelude.
Leave the slaughterer, the slaughtering and the slaughtered
as witnesses,
and cover me with the remains of history, engrave me
as a ruin amongst the ruins.

Thus, I distil wisdom from its purest source,
shouting, welcome to my ruins, welcome to this eclipse.
Tomorrow death will extinguish me,
but extinguished I will not be.
Tomorrow I 'll exit from one light to another .
It is true that I am more frail than a thread,
but I am more sublime than a god.

Thus I begin,
hugging my land and the secrets of her passions.
Her lover is the body of the sea,
whose arms are the sun .
A body - storehouse of thunder
and anchor of tenderness.
A body - a promise, and I am the one absent in it.
I am the one rising out of this wager.
A body /
Cover the face of the lilies with the light of infatuated rain.

And let it be...
I hug the age to come and walk,
swaggering, as a ship's captain walks,
designing my homeland.
climb its highest peaks,
descend its lowest gorges,
you will find no fear or shackles.
As though the birds were boughs,
the Earth a child, myths were women.
A dream?
I grant to those who come after me
the bliss of inaugurating this space.

My skin isn't a hut of thoughts,
nor is my passion a woodcutter of memories.
My ancestry is that of rejection,
my weddings are the impregnation
between two poles.
And this age is my age:
The dead god, the blind machine.
And my age
is that I inhabit the pool of desires,
that my dismembered limbs are my flowers,
that I am
the alif of water and the ya of fire,*
and that I am
the madman of life.

Revealing to Time the secrets of his passions,
thus he confesses:
He is the one who goes astray,
he is the one who leads astray,
he is the dissenting, the outsider and the differing.

Wrapped in my blood I come,
led by raging fires, guided by ruins.
Crowds of people ripple as torrents of tongues:
Each phrase is a king, each mouth is a tribe.
....And I am the one disowned by every tribe. 1

I exited, embraced by wounds
and embracing the murdered Earth,
building my tents in my blood
and telling my name to gather my notebooks
from the house of Ishmael 2

(Ishmael floats,
a desert 3 of dying books; above him
a moon donning its sabre
and dragging along its camels...)

/...And I am the one disowned by every tribe. 4

I search for the guiding sparks / 'The Daughters of the Coffin'*
slumbering in the down of darkness / in their light
I see my face a ladybird, see my death
a bird perching on the shoulder of the dark,
and see the sand improvising speech.

On the east side of the Euphrates the storks
carry the keys of migration,
having destroyed their nests.
And on the West Side a temple rises /
two breasts swelling with chaff.

/...And I am the one disowned by every tribe.

Here I am, ravished by my own hands /
my blood at war with my blood;
a body is torn inside a body,
and love is no body; my death is no body. 5

Who are you ? 6 My wreckage yells at me
and my words are on the verge of denying me.
A fire comes to him from a land which floats
and slumbers under his pillow.

A fire comes to him from a land which floats on heads
stuffed with tongues - creatures created by a god who dictates
blood as books, affirms what he wills
for them, and abolishes what he wills .
A fire comes to him from a land which floats,
sparks come close to gripping him.
How can he exit - how can he break the siege? 7

I said farewell;
I recall a figure crouching in the house of Ishmael 8
stringing a rock to a cloud,
gashing the stars with stones,
living amongst tortoises
which drifted into dreams and went to sleep.
I said farewell/ I recall a howdah
hallucinating 9 with my lady,
and I recall a nation
hallucinating with the last remains:

A headless beast, crowning itself a god
throwing its shadow
a homeland like a jester's hat.
(Its shadow 10 is a land which spreads its fields
as beds, and is guided.....)

I said farewell.
Eclipse engraved itself upon my forehead.
I granted my accent to fragmented time
and granted its accent my certainty.

/ ......And the Earth 11 enters into metallic coughing /
streets paved with children - offerings, 12
a nation vaunting its throne of bones . 13


Go, roam around;
thoughts like rotten fishes, a city of tongues
chopped up and trampled over.
Go, roam around,
and ask the roots
how the body of the place draped itself in its beasts;
or ask the crow of the alphabet- Ishmael's body,
(Ishmael is the map of the ages).
Go, roam around/
open a head here, open a thought there.

You will see an image of your face,
You will see your garments on the body of another.
Perhaps you will get ensnared by teeth
which speak the language of angels,
or have the shape of the heavens.
Go, roam around/
You will see pigs transformed by The Book into gazelles.

...../ And we are afraid to feel the loaf.
And what to say to a murderer
who weaves
blood into pillows ? 14

Who are you, Ishmael ? 15 Your footsteps bleed
books which snake-charmers collect.

In each letter is a pit,
in each comma a mirage .
Nonsense and the divination of a fable.

You've left me no place near you,
a place where my ink can weave its garments,
that the liberating flames may brother what I feel and say/
You've split me in two,
created a schism between my blood and me -
Who are you, Ishmael?
And how do I see you the moment I don't see you ?

But Ishmael is a wound,
and I am the comrade of his suffering.
My visions nurture him tenderly,
and I am a letter written to him-
a letter from an insider - an outsider.

/.... And the Earth enters into metallic coughing/
Its prophet is Hayy ben Bayy 16 .

The nation has shrivelled and dissolved
in a stream of mud which flows and dissolves
in Hayy ben Bayy.

O, Sun, O, foot of daylight,
you have deserted your night with us,
and forgotten it...

- Who are you?
- A man from Tamim.

" And if a flea on the back of a flea
attacks Tamim,
their crowds will flee." 17

-No, I am not from Tamim.
- Who are you? A Taghlibite?
- No, I'm not a Taghlibite. 18

.../ And the Earth enters into metallic coughing/
Its prophet is Hayy ben Bayy 19 .

Who are you, Ishmael? Our stage 20 continues its show.
-" Exalting your glory on high."

The neck of the shell is a priest
who strings Time to his threads,
and tailors a pair of trousers for each moment.
-"Exalting your glory on high".

Who are you, Ishmael?
(It's said that the sun
for you is but a pitcher,
and the Earth is but a plate...)
Are you a magician's fortress,
or a ghoul's head?
-" Exalting your glory on high ". 21

The lung of the ages is ruptured
and the Earth is a weaver's rag.

Wrapped in my blood I walk,
led by raging flames, guided by wreckage.
A festival with which annihilation favours its offsprings,
a festival for Ishmael putting an end to Time.
(Would he, I wonder, inaugurate Time?)
A festival too grand for the place to accommodate .
It is said Ishmael has come, and it is said he has disappeared,
his guests have packed the place:
sects and deities which feast together, eat one another,
- and the words get jumbled.

- One crowd distributes roses,
celebrating the erection of guillotines .
-The Arab atlas is the skin of an ostrich which defeated another ostrich.
- No victor but He / The saddle of His horse is gold,
and a cloud is His forehead.

-Are you an Umayyad? 22
- No, not an Umayyad.

- Are you a Hashemite ? 23
- No, not a Hashemite.

A festival for Ishmael (Ishmael came and, it is said, he disappeared),
his guests are sects and deities which feast together
and eat one another- divinity mingles with bullets.
Is this the salvation ? 24

I call you, Ishmael; the wine of our covenant has been served
and the feast of dusk
is in all its glory -
You and I are the servers of wine, and around us
the insects of weapons besieging us
and hatching their eggs...

I call you, Ishmael; I inaugurate the end: I am not your offspring. 25

Before you, I gave my Paradise its Eve,
and before you, I beheld the face of God .

I call you, Ishmael ; I end what you began-
I give my feast in the hall of the ages.
I uproot myself from you. (The last sea gull to read the shores
is sitting by my side,
and the first sea gull to write the shores
is sitting by my side) .
I inaugurate the beginning,
creating playfulness like the face of God,
swimming in the waters of the alphabet:
in everything His secret flows;
it's not for the like of Him to be enchanted by His roots,
or to be delimited by an identity . 26

I learn the words anew, I master their secrets
and say:
My roots are play,
and the boastful swagger of ecstasy-
A revelation which inaugurates every light in fondness,
and makes the earth its bed, as does a stream . 27
And I say: My ancestry is a passion
which was enamoured with space,
and forged its sails out of the body of the air .
Dawn attires me in its bountiful joys,
and each cloud
is a homeland for my love . 28

I also say:
My love learns the words anew,
masters their magic,
and shares with noble grapes
their cunning . 29

The days of my love are trees impregnated by the seasons-
its hands are dawn -
not the dawn of Ishmael,
but this blood poured out in the cup of words;
not yesterday,
but this wreckage:
corpses, a brother and a brother,
gardens of friends and lovers ;
corpses- promises, the yearning of the absent,
the longing of those living in waiting,
and the passion of a dreamer;
corpses- feasts, their wine is the sky, their savouries are books;
corpses- impossible to tell the butchering sword,
from the butchered neck, from...
out of the vapor of their flux rise Suras* which proclaim:
Murder is the beginning ; the murderer is jumbled with his victim;
a house screams: I am a grave;
a poet yells:
My people are a space of blood;
and space confuses space.

Wrapped in my blood, he walks
led by raging fires, guided by ruins:
I walk ahead of words towards their bed
in order to see the lake of their death.

Dusk has said:
I have erected the neck of ash 30
as a bridge to every prophecy .
Dusk has said:
Barren is the body of the city;
I have impregnated it, revealed its sex
to the liberating sap.
Dusk has said:
Had I had a home, I would have invited you
and said to you: 'Here you can believe and disbelieve,
blaspheme or mock or dream.'
and would have had a wider space for your madness,
would have been the most faithful friend.
Dusk has said.

.../And I am the one disowned by every tribe . 31

That I may have the bliss of hearing the voice
whispered by the larynx of dusk,
I've granted my poppies to friendly fields,
and my inkpots to the leaves of the seasons.
I have granted my memory to each wrinkle
in that body which I have called a 'homeland',
and which lives without a homeland.

And I've worn my poetry as a shroud. 32

I've given the tiles of snow my verses
in order to grant them warmth.
I've given the sheikh of the wind a crutch
which my father inherited from his grandfather.
I've given the eyelashes of the winds my windows.
I have given every lover my passion and fire.
I have given Hagar everything a son can give.
I have given Ishmael the prettiest things my childhood knew,
that I may have the bliss of hearing the voice
which the larynx of dusk has whispered.

and Ishmael is entering dusk,
the dictation of a desert,
and your rolling head
is its rhythm. 33

Dusk, and nature rejoices in dusk.
My blood is an ode to dusk.

A willow spreads its tresses
in order to cuddle dusk.
Water deserts its course
in order to witness dusk.
In everything there is a rose leaning
tenderly on the shoulder of dusk. 34

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