Edition VII

July 2016

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 Jaw Breaker - by Maryam F. Al Serkal (photo by Oscar Keyes)Photo credit: Oscar Keys

Jaw Breaker

By Maryam Al Serkal

Am I too much to handle?
Am I too much to contain?
Did you bite off more than you can chew
and break your jaw in strain?

I’d rather be too much
than easy to manipulate.

I’d rather be larger than life
and too hard for you to articulate.

I’d rather be larger than life 
and never be too small.

I’d rather be a stronger wife
than be pitied each time I fall.

I’m stronger than you think I am
and that my friend is true.
I broke your jaw when you tried to chew me.
So what you gonna do?

Cairo - by Trayle Kulshan (photo by Ahmad Minawi)Graphic by: Ahmad Minawi


By Trayle Kulshan

One street over, three men smooth mortar over new apartments
from top to bottom. Today, their rusty pulley stopped reeling in
flimsy iron baskets leaking sand.
Their un-plumb walls and crooked lintels rest exposed.
Their generator silenced, bird chatter bursts from dusty trees.

Eight stories down, a dead kitten shifts upon the street, blown or
kicked or pushed. It was dry and flat, near neatly piled bricks. It
was trash without blood, bloating, or being.
It was a silhouette outline in black and white, turning gray.
It is gone, buried by kids waving flags.

Six miles south, white smoke rises and falls from the lips of
Egyptians. The cupboard was bare. The boy was beaten and his
father’s hands were scarred. The pharaoh was corrupt, his
hennaed beard shaved, and now he is forced to pause.

I am No Palestinian - by Farah Chamma

I Am No Palestinian

By Farah Chamma

I am no Palestinian

I am no courageous, fearless, valorous, gallant,
proud, adventurous, selfless patriot.

I am a soul in exile
expressing my thoughts
in all languages but mine;

“Hi, I am Palestinian”
“Salut, je suis Palestinien”
“Oi, eu sou Palestina”

I cut my mother tongue in half
نصبت المبتدء و لعنت أبو الخبر
كسرتُ الضمّة الّتي ضمّة ما بيننا

Palestinian poet Rafeef Ziadeh was right when she said:
“Allow me to speak my Arab tongue before they occupy my language as well”


to that I must add;
allow me to be the “Arab” that I am
allow me my right to learn, to travel, to pray
allow me to walk through any foreign street without having to feel this shame
without having to think twice about my clothes, my face, my name, or the visa.

The god damn visa
I had to work day and night for to claim,
because at the end of the day
I am not the one to blame.
I am not the one to blame for “Bin Laden” or “9/11”
or all your other schemes and games.

I am just a soul in exile
I am in no hall of fame
I have to ought to be someone I am not
just to fit in your frame.

Despite the agony I went through
despite the struggles I overcame
despite the diplomas, the degrees, the awards I acclaim
I am still no Palestinian.

I am still no Palestinian,
no matter how many “I love Palestine” stickers I stick on my car
no matter how many times I cry over Gaza
and argue over the Israeli settlements
no matter how many times I curse the Zionists, blame the media and swear at all the Arab leaders
I am no Palestinian.

Even if I memorize the names of all the Palestinian cities
even if I recite Mahmoud Darwish’s poetry
and draw Handala on my walls
and even as I stand here today
in front of you all
I am no Palestinian

أنا مش فلسطينية

and I might never ever be
and that is exactly what makes the Palestinian in me.

(Click here to watch Farah’s amazing performance of this poem – Video by Ihab Mokayed)

Boxes into Circles - by Niku Sharei

Boxes into Circles

By Niku Sharei

Boxes are for assorted chocolates and unassembled IKEA pieces
Boxes are not the resting place for young mothers

Boxes are for shoes and for vote collections
Boxes are not a place for teachers to teach addition and subtraction

Boxes are for colored pencils and for cigarettes to lie in 
Boxes are not for 4-year-old boys to play ball at the beach

Boxes are for black and white photos and new computers
Boxes are not for clarifying and categorizing identity

Boxes are for keeping things clean and in order
People are not things to be cleaned or put in order

People make circles 
Young mothers make circles as they dance around their children
Teachers make circles to show that we each get a piece when we take from pi, it’s small, it counts and it’s endless
4-year-old boys make circles so they grow into team players
People make circles around dishes to fill up with a world of taste beyond Big Mac

People are lost without circles
They lose their grip on their wheel
And start drowning in a pool of what they think and how they feel
Caught in their own whirlwind
People make circles, tiny and out of steel
Without aim but on target ready to ‘win’
Are put
Where they don’t belong
Boxes are made of lines 
People are made of circles 
People don’t get out of line
People fall out of circles

(Click here to listen to an audio reading of this poem by Niku Sharei)

في الخلفية - by Moemen Helmy

في الخلفية

الشاعر مؤمن حلمي

.أفتح عينيَّ، أُدير بصري فيما حولي وكلّي أمل في يوم جديد
أقضي يومي في الخلفية
خلفية صورة بين عاشقيْن
خلفية حوار بين صديقيْن
خلفية حياة لم أعشها ولن أعشها
خلفية جنة تراودني عن نفسي وجهنم تتوعدني ببئس المنتهى
خلفية من يدعوني لأتقبل خلفيتي القردية العارية
ومن يدعوني لأسمو معه فوق كل الخلفيات
أتقرّب منهم جميعا علّني أجد ضالتي
علّني أخرج من الخلفية
أدّعي العقل وكل ما حولي جُبِل على الجنون
.أفتح عينيَّ، ثم أغلقهما

Dead Cannon - by Verda Khan

Dead Cannon

By Verda Khan

Every thought of you
was ecstasy of oneness,

as my mind holds you
in the world 
those assimilating ripples of
you and me
with every beat we lived.

I see these

rhythmic, powerful beats
have become

Every thought of you

is a dead cannon.

Lapis Lazuli - by Donya Abdulhadi

Lapis Lazuli

By Donya Abdulhadi

My little Blue contains truth and enlightenment.
My little Blue came in like a stingy lemon drop in an unsalted meal;
a sweet new focus.
My little Blue is loved,
and sometimes neglected;
each calcite a hard lesson learned.
A masterpiece made by Him,
Golden shimmers glistening with optimism and wit, defying the calcification of each lesson learned.

My little Blue is in a vase of white and yellow flowers on a glass table in Kensington;
a beacon of change, she grows to colour the sky and the sea.
She will splash with other blues and whites and yellows and reds
to create meaning for us and replenish the world over.

أنت ... ثم أنت - by Philippe Jardak

أنت … ثم أنت

الشاعر فيليب جرداق

سألت البحر عنكِ مرّات كثيرة يا أغلى من حياتي
لكنه قال لي أنّ الجواب عندكِ
فذهبتُ لأقطف وردة عمري وأقدمها لكِ
أنتِ يا بحر العشق وحالمة قلبي
اشتقتُ إليكِ ولصوتكِ الذي لم يفارق عقلي
اشتقتُ أن أضمّكِ إلى ذراعيَّ
وأتنشق رائحة عطركِ
يا حبيبتي كم اشتقتُ إليكِ ودموعي لم تكفَّ عن الحديث عنكِ
يا أميرتي وسيدة عمري
تلك البسمة على جهكِ لا تزال تعطي
تركتُ الدنيا بمشاكلها لأكون لكِ
قلباً وجسماً وروحاً كلّه لكِ
مستعدٌّ أن أركع أمامكِ ولا أن أنظركِ
ترحلين مع الزمان الذي أعطانا فرصةً جديدة لنلتقي
أحبكِ بجنونٍ يا زهرة حياتي وعشقي أحبك
أعشقكِ كما تعشق العصافيرُ السماء
أنتِ عمري وحياتي وعشقي وروحي
كنتِ ولم تزالي أميرة قلبي ودنياي لولاكِ
.عذابٌ أبديٌّ
فقلتُ لذلك الزمان توقف لكي أرى حبيبتي بين يديَّ وأعانقها حتى لا حدود فيَّ
تذكريني بذاك الصوت، فكنتُ ولم أزل أحيا فيكِ
عاشقاً ولهاناً بقلبكِ
.أحبك يا عمري،يا حياتي، يا مهجتي أحبكِ، أحبك، أحبك

Memories in Old Hat - by Shynu Elizabeth Jacob (photo by Lionello DelPiccolo)Photo credit: Lionello DelPiccolo

Memories in Old Hat

By Shynu Elizabeth Jacob

You took me in your arm,
and mold me to a charm.

With little dreams we try to fly,
as each moment go soothing by.

Ups and downs in every plate,
tastes like how you take.

Blessed with a fruit,
adding meaning to our root.

Let’s thank every breath we bat,
with memories to cherish in our old hat.

Aristotle's Ingredients - by Jamil Adas (photo by Matt Fortune)Photo credit: Matt Fortune

Aristotle’s Ingredients

By Jamil Adas

Logos commends my rational flow of logic
when I mold sense into a box
that never surmounts to anything special,

but Pathos…

Well, Pathos could never play it cool.
Pathos boils blood when thirsty for soup.
Pathos likes to believe I have wings
and then push me off the bridge.
Pathos can find meaning when carving out initials with my blood-dripping nails.

I need to keep Pathos on a leash,
sporadically playing with my powers I can never plan ahead.
He’s a bulldog and I’m a skeleton constantly fleeing his thirsty bite.

At the end of the day, I’ve got Ethos on my side.
For whom other than I will be my body’s main guide?
I, who commands my hand to grip and it will clinch
I, who commands my tongue to roll the “R” and it will ring in your ear.

Ethos hands me the quill facing my book of destiny
giving me the choice between my brain or my heart.
But it also makes me think that I am a god.

As long as I am in a Zen state of mind
these ingredients bow to my will and thought.

Thank you to every writer for the thought infusing poems contributed and
thank you to every passerby for reading the art of our talented poets.

If you would like to have your poem or image published for the next
Dubai Poetics edition
send your poem or request to be a “visual artist” to poetry@dubaipoetics.com

Join us again in our Poetryhood!!

Enjoy more of our earlier editions through these links:

Edition I
Edition II
Edition III
Edition IV
Edition V

Edition VI