they are so close they
are a body and its ghost
blossom and its branch
her own arcing over his
prone her owning
him nothing and every
she holds him in the hot
grip of legs he gives
into sweet imperial
riding she widening
curtains of his shirt to
nest in a theater of fur
around them the voices
buried in wires listen
though elsewhere people
tweeze bullet shells
and gloves finger the ash
of neighbors after still
another massacre and though
reporters note the absence
of outrage of Afghanis
to the latest outrage
and the war’s locked in
so many closets and bodies
AND NOTHING BUT
tangle the tango
lying to rise as dark
falls and cherry blooms
text their wireless perfume
to the account of
Baltimore was developed chiefly with Masrah Ensemble in Beirut, Lebanon, and Page 73 in New Haven, Connecticut, in 2014. Fadi Tofeili translated a version of the play into Arabic. Fragments have been performed at Little Theater, Hearth Gods, Alwan for the Arts, and a living room in New York. Clare Barron, Daniel Balabane, Emily Hoffman, and Eyad Houssami have been essential collaborators at various stages.
Masrah Ensemble (مسرح انسمبل) is a nonprofit theatre company and organization that makes, develops, and fosters research and criticism of theatre with a focus on the Arab stage. Based in Beirut, Lebanon, the Ensemble aims to
My head is below my arms, and my face is drooped low into the toilet bowl. My hands, which were once gripping tightly onto the sides of the toilet bowl, are now placed gently on the rims. Sometimes it’s different; sometimes I am hunched over the sink with my toothbrush in my hand. If I don’t want the hardness of it, I use my middle finger instead, pressed tightly against my index finger. Right before I do anything, I look at myself in the mirror and convince myself one last time why I need to do this, and that it’s more than a need: it’s a cure that will jump-start my day,
The cars were aligned haphazardly along the sides of the usually-serene street. The sun’s amber rays hugged the street’s sidewalks, permeating the air with benevolence. Cats waltzed on the sidewalks as pedestrians skedaddled around; Matne Street was unusually crowded and buzzing with life. The street deliberately bear-hugged a rather squalid area on the outskirts of Mar Elias, and I always thought my street suffered greatly from being a bold lifeline between a popular shopping street and a filth-strewn wormhole. At two p.m., grocers barked orders to Syrian kids, and the infamous plumbers – who had long conquered the sidewalk – still
Marilyn Hacker and Lina Mounzer in Conversation
When considering who to interview for a discussion on translation, two people came to mind. It seemed a better idea not to choose between them, but instead have them be in conversation with one another. Marilyn Hacker, who lives in France, and Lina Mounzer, who lives in Beirut, are both writers who recently started translating from the Arabic. How could their disparate backgrounds and experiences come together to illuminate the backstage workings of translation from different cultural and geographic perspectives? In the absence of a face-to-face meeting, Marilyn and Lina met through an e-mail
“When I was a girl, my life was music that was always getting louder.
Everything moved me. A dog following a stranger. That made me feel so much. A calendar that showed the wrong month. I could have cried over it. I did. Where the smoke from a chimney ended. How an overturned bottle rested at the edge of a table. I spent my life learning to feel less. Every day I felt less. Is that growing old? Or is it something worse?”
– Everything is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer
The saddest day of my life was when my father travelled to
Photo by Nour Annan
In the absence of state-monitored public transportation, van #4 operates as a privately-owned informal “public transit” in Beirut. The van’s route begins all the way from the Lebanese University’s campus in Hadath to Hamra, carrying over 50,000 passengers a day.
I am picked up in Chiyah, next to the wall with bullet ears. This route has it all: burnt tires, an abandoned building calling out the names of dead dogs, wildflowers caught in gust. We are an unlicensed and unregistered van carrying one city. The door won’t slide and hajji has her toes stretched into air. It’s
"التشخيص: بنيان بسيكولوجي ديبريسيف، مع ميول للهستيريا". قالت آنّا لينداو في الجلسة الأخيرة.
يومها جلبت معي الكتاب الذي أعارتني اياه قبل أسابيع، وشالاً بلون الفستق الحلبي اشتريته لها كهديّة من جارتي السلوفاكية الصامتة التي تمضي أمسياتها في نسج الشالات والجوارب بقطب دقيقة ومعقّدة.
كنت أنوي أن أعيد إليها الكتاب وأهديها الشال. كانا في الكيس إلى جانبي. لكنّني، بدل ذلك، اعتذرت منها وقلت بأنّي نسيت إحضار الكتاب معي، ولم آت على ذكر الشال.
آنّا لينداو تضع دائماً شالاً لونه فاتح على كتفها الأيسر، في أكثر الأحيان. أما ثيابها فهي في غالباً ما تكون إما بنيّة، أو رمادية، أو سوداء.
قالت لي، عقب زيارتي الثانية لها،
by Chaza Charafeddine, translated from the arabic by Lina Mounzer
“Diagnosis: a depressive psychological structure with hysterical tendencies,” said Anna Lindau during our last session.
That day, I’d brought with me the book she’d lent me weeks before, as well as a pistachio-colored shawl I’d bought as a gift for her from my silent Slovakian neighbor, who spent her evenings weaving shawls and socks with small, complicated stiches.
I’d planned to return the book and give her the shawl as a gift. They were both in the bag next to me. Instead, I apologized and told her I’d forgotten to bring the book,