"Variations on Sleep" by Nour Annan
It is 4 p.m. in Tunis and all you want is sleep.
The hotel is called Africa.
The nondescript room, the unexplored city outside.
Never mind. Sleep.
You have come so far, for so long.
Never mind the beckoning. Sleep.
Earlier, you had photographed the first glimpse of sky
over a new continent - a shade of Mediterranean that startles.
Your youth had falsely taught you of the possible blues.
You praise the airplane for landing over seas that don't honor
the sinking of bodies, orange pockets full of lead, as light as hope.
Earlier, you had embraced the languid poses of spirits
there to greet you,
"Within/Without" by Nour Annan
Dear Most Beautiful Berliner of All,
You were one of my first encounters in Berlin.
I departed Beirut in late summer of 2020 in the midst of utter destruction and loss, and arrived in this haunted city.
I bought a yearly pass to the national museums as soon as I arrived. Maybe, without even realizing it, I was searching for you.
With the museum pass, I received a catalogue enumerating the sights included in my subscription with descriptions of the most significant object in each museum. You were displayed in the main fold of the catalogue as the anointed "face" of
The S.W.A.N.A. region has been through seismic shifts in the last ten years: infectious uprisings, dictators toppling in domino effect, borders fading in and out, countries turning to rubble and others burning, chaos and militarism, mass persecutions, massive refugee crises, forced evictions, forced migrations, and finally, finally, bats and corona. These are the headlines. The rest of it is experiential, personal, and plays out in private. In other words, it's the fine print. It is all the other internal forms of exile, belonging and disorientation, those tucked away in the in-between spaces, in memories that haunt us, in lonely