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In Beirut, we live surrounded by dead people looking at us. Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige   In Arabic, we say hay fina, they live within us. First, there is the terrible silence, then the sacrament: a visible sign of invisible grace, St Augustine said. A way to discover the unknown when the pain is too much, when it burns the air around us. Or, there will be                                                                                

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June 2014 Athens, Georgia, USA   A suicide car bomber shook Beirut on Monday                                                                                               During the World Cup match; The explosion wounded five people gathered                                                                

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Even on the saddest nightin times of servitudethere is always someone who resiststhere is always someone who says no Manuel Alegre, 1965   With every gust of wind blowing from the Atlantic and the Tagus, I could smell grilled Bacalhau((Portuguese codfish)) and sardines as I walked around downtown. The city’s hilly, tortuous, and narrow streets put every muscle in my body on trial. I enjoyed this every day for hours, until my feet couldn’t take it anymore. Everywhere, people carefully watched as fish roasted over hot coal on the sidewalks. There were bakeries around every corner that made the air smell distinctly sweet and

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by Zakaria Tamer, translated from the arabic by Marilyn Hacker My father, my mother, and my brother wasted the whole evening talking about what profession would be best for my brother. . Papa admired lawyers and their ability to transform innocence into guilt, and guilt to innocence. Mama sang the praises of doctors and how quickly they earned vast sums of money. My brother wanted only to become an engineer. As for me, I’d like him to be a boxer, and hit the strongest men and knock them down and make them cry. But no one paid any attention to my opinion. Finally, they

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by Zakaria Tamer, translated from the arabic by Marilyn Hacker I saw an airplane in the sky. It stayed there for a few seconds, and then it disappeared. I said to my father, “One day I’ll learn how to fly an airplane!” . My father laughed, and he said, “Since you make our spirits fly every day, I wouldn’t find it strange if you could fly an airplane without lessons!”   I said to my father, “The airplane is so small. How do they make it bigger so that the pilot can go in?”   My father said, “The airplane is as big as a house, and

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I would like to be part of a life-changing moment that takes me back thirty years, when my grandfather told mother that she should leave. I would like to go back to when mother told me to stay away from three specific things: boys, tattoos, and this country. I would again like to hear my twelve-year-old self say: I love this city too much to ever leave. I want to go back to when I had no future plans to stand in between my Beirut and I. I want to go back to 3 a.m. on a school night in

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  For Connor James Nye, 3 months old   You smile at everyone. When lifted, toted, you hold onto shoulder or sleeve, gazing curiously, each room or face. Irish sheep, stuffed puppy, your daddy’s clown. Dwelling in a tender current of care, you know nothing of cruelties people do to one another. You did not see the intricate avenues of Aleppo. Tiled ceilings, arching rooms. The villages of Palestine could still be neatly terraced in your brain. When you smile, we might all be wishing each other well. When you startle at a loud sound, await the power of softness to settle

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TARTEEL((Transliteration of Arabic “ترتيل ,” a chanted hymn or ode)) TO TRANSLATOR   for Alex Foreman Remember November, when Beirut was inflames and each by each I read the namesto match the bodies stacking high there,like sticks I used to pitch wide myskin here, to feel my city’s stingcross sea-wind, rememberhow you knew sharpsticks are good for reaching? Remember then how you would not staymy reaching hands from these namesthat cracked my city like my skin,or from my love for a Beirut Ican’t stay from or stay in,as you knew to hold meback would stayno fallout? Remember how you were no new wallagainst how

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The heart of the city expensedlinen mornings considerfurther a corner is weeping for the verticallabelled unreliable pleaselove me the spread as with other meansa familiar block withina pomegranatebleeding we are not about structureangels fall intowe matter pin clamped and molten leadthe unfurling breeds consider compassioncast by the waysidemarbled threadsa die tiling note the option while church while mosquethe roof and stored gunpowderseeded light adorn yourself nobody in particular survives the heartgravity fills in the lackthe deceased wait we have been repeatedly breeding when St. John the Divine is readthe city will resumebackwards how much is too much personally?

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