Edition XIX

July 2017

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The Swallow's Song - by Chloe ElliottPhoto credit: Hakim El Haj

The Swallow’s Song

By Chloe Elliott

surely but slowly maybe I too will come to heal
            and the bees will swim in a brook of light floating swarm        like spawn over my body
daffodils in the gutter.
The run of yellow breadcrumbs and yourself facedown in a patch of earth
the hungry neck suckles the words like warm honey spoon-fed from mouth to           mouth
rude and shapeless the sunset will not wait for you, neither will flesh neither will planes.
            grief dries like an impasto sunscreen and does the ache exist in the words or the silence inbetween?

Coney Island - by Yosr El Sherbiny (photo by Tarek Roumie)Photo credit: Tarek Roumie

Coney Island

By Yosr El Sherbiny (Founder of Wrichitects)

Everyone knows Coney Island.

But do you really know Coney Island?

The distracting,
neon multicolored lights.

The endless lines for everything
starting with that damn corn dog queue
ending with the toilet and everything in between –

The repetitive tingling polytonal sounds
forced onto you from each ride
blending in the air like pollution
plaguing your ears;

Toxic and confusing.

You’re scared.
You’re terrified of people.
You’re petrified of loud. 

Everything about carnivals
makes you want to run and hide under your bed.
Your friends tease you every single time
but you can’t tell them the truth.

The truth is, you’re scared of rides.

Art Arises from Sadness - by Kristina Kiseleva (photo by Kristina Kiseleva)Photo credit: Kristina Kiseleva

Art Arises from Sadness

By Kristina Kiseleva

When I leave,
I will bestow my hopes upon you.
The kind of hope saddened musicians sing about,
the kind of hope that leave poets awake every night,
the kind of hope that art students try to pour into any form of medium
in order to create something beautiful-
but destroy the feeling deep inside.

City of Lights - by Dessi Zaneva-Kassab (photo by Hakim El Haj)Photo credit: Hakim El Haj

مدينة الأضواء

الشاعرة ديسي زانيفا-قصّاب
ترجمة محمد هاني قصّاب

مدينة الأضواء
واحة في الصحراء
كلها معجزات وعجائب
فقط من خلال جيلين
من حضارة البدو
إلى الحضارة العالمية
إنها دبي تراها في كل مكان
في كل ساعة استقبال في أفخم فنادق العالم
تنافس المدن العالميه كلندن ونيويورك
تتجول في هذه المدينة
و تنبهر من الوجوه المختلفة
السوق القديمة الشرقية التي تذكرك بروايات علاء الدين
مع جميلته ياسمين
و يكورات الأرابيسك الجميل
و على بعد خطوات ترى الحداثة في مراكز التسوق
و أكبر بيوتات الأزياء في آخر صيحات الموضة
تحس نبضات الحداثة
و لعشاق المطاعم فأحسن مطاعم الدنيا من الأطباق الشرقية الاصيله الى الأطباق والأسماء العالميه المعروفة
أناس من كل أصقاع المعموره
ثقافات مختلفه ومشارب للحضارات المتنوعة
و عندما تتجول بين هذه الحضاره والروائع
فأجمل إحساس هو الإحساس بالأمن
تتجول و تمشي فلا أحد يزعجك و لا أحد يسألك الى أين تذهب و من أين تأتي إن كنت و حيداً أو ضمن مجموعة أصدقائك
أماكن جميلة الزيارة أو السكن
إنها دبي لؤلؤة و أيقونة الصحراء

Nirvana - by Hiba Memon (photo by Sacha Mourad)Photo credit: Sacha Mourad


By Hiba Memon

I have not known bliss,
That flutters in clutches of the rich and famous.
I have not known comfort,
That which silken robes and eiderdown can provide.
I have not felt love,
That which burns with passion and withers away as quick.
I have not known despair,
That which chases me into oblivion and splits my soul into two. 

But I have known solace,
The kind that rages in the dark of the night,
Yet slithers slowly into the embers of my burning heart.
That which fills my melancholy with melody,
The sun,
The moon,
The stars,
This land,
That which I lay my head upon in the odd hours.

King of the Gemstones - by Dania Al Husseini

King of the Gemstones

By Dania Al Husseini

Free me of this bedrock, unearth me,
Break away the waste
Ancient shoulders shape my age,
Weather-beaten face etched of thin silk
I’m no artificial beauty

Pigeon-blood surges
Crimson cranberry force
Scarlet rose rushes through fiery soul.
You think I’m so fragile
In rarest pure form,
Corundum won’t crumble
Test the strength that I am.

They say your best friend is Diamond,
And I’m just second best;
I say I’m your King for always
Your Ruby,
Your finest gemstone.

Nocturnal Visitors - by Wanisha Rizwana (Photo by Ajmal Cholakkal)Photo credit: Ajmal Cholakkal

Nocturnal Visitors

By Wanisha Rizwana

Ever had those nights,
those nights of a tired soul? 
Your eyes begging you to close
to shut yourself for a few hours 
to rejuvenate, to transform to a better self tomorrow

But there are those visitors
they visit you day and night
and when you turn them down
they riddle your mind for the rest of the night

And when your eyes begin to close,
these visitors never leave you alone.
They punch you right in your gut,
they slap you hard 
till your cheeks turn red and your eyes swollen big.
These visitors, they never leave you alone.

The next day you see the person who was the cause,
the reason you were to meet those visitors at your previous dawn.
No regrets on his face, shining with a smile as bright as the sun;
a façade over the devious self
you didn’t imagine to exist behind.

Fast-forwarding the smile, the laughter, the genuine ones;
onto those targets,
there will be arrows tearing through their Ikhawu,
there will be visitors visiting them just like mine.
But closed ears 
bewildered by those honey smoldered words,
the trap is set 
like a moth towards the fire
like glass fallen on the floor
they shatter
into tiny shards 
just like you did.

Oh these visitors
they will leave you.
Yes, most definitely leave you
when you’re a mess.
Usually superglue fixes all broken things
but, now no superglue

in the name of love or whatsoever can fix what these visitors did to you. 
And you’ll wonder, what is left for you to live.

Writer's Block - by Sanjna Iyer (photo by Ahmad Minawi)Photo credit: Ahmad Minawi

Writer’s Block

By Sanjna Iyer

An un-inspired mind
Makes me want to shout
Like a window with blinds
Like an ocean in drought

The hand itches to write
But the mind will rebel
Nothing inspiring my soul
No Love tales to tell

The page stays blank
As I try to defend
Empty words in my mind
For hours on end

The coffee gets cold
The sun about to set
Nothing achieved as yet
Except growing regret

The lid back on the pen
And pages tucked away
Leaving the battlefield
Achieving nothing today

Episiotomy - by Ehrlich Ross (photo by Hakim El Haj)Photo credit: Hakim El Haj

“When you were born, your mother had no anesthesia”

By Ehrlich Ross

Extreme pain    screeching through my spine       as I push                ankles
Hoisted up by the cold metal stirrup     I lay supine and exposed    I play
Russian roulette with death                                       while my insides churning
Linear streaks                                            lines my over stretched belly
I shout                     as I feel            the sharp blade                            of the scissor
Cutting the skin       of a supposed house of pleasure            but is now
Housing agony                                               what did I do to deserve this pain

Exiting         here comes a head            a shoulder        a pair of arms     a body and
Soul I kept                          and cradled                                                inside me
To feel you   warm                        in my arms              as your cry
Echoes in this bleach smelling room with white tiles       that for most
People  is  a place of beginnings                                             or an end of life
Heaven                     must be missing an angel now  for here         it comes
Arrived                                and here                              nourished from my bosom
None of the pain matters anymore                 the blood                the cut         the
Incision                   the severed placenta                   my now
Empty womb         an atrium for your genesis
oh how wonderful my body is

Enveloped by a woolen blanket                       my baby sleeps and coos       as I sit
Remembering my plight during labour         I am now afloat in mid-air    dreaming    
I am once again      a girl     running on fields      of coconut trees
Catching dragonflies       crossing rivers barefoot    collecting rocks    & seeking
Hidden treasures              your grandmother forbid me                from doing
Such silly things                she calls my name from afar                 I ran towards her
Oblivious of how much trouble I will get for these dirty clothes                      but
Nothing really matters                                                   I am with overflowing joy

and    that’s             exactly                      what I feel              right                         now

Meta - by Anca Mihaela Bruma (photo by Samuel Zeller)Photo credit: Samuel Zeller


By Anca Mihaela Bruma

Your words fly like liquid butterflies
crashing into new Life stanzas,
flirting with my untamed sentences,
coding the haiku and couplets of my Heart!…

Within these swirling meta-messages
ritualic cyphers play your daily hyphenations,
language symbols get reinvented
by this matrix of symphonic letters,
where today’s perception leaves yesterday’s carcass…

Life!…. it is really a prolonged romanticized chronicle
with contradictory paradoxes and poetic epiphanies…

But… I found you at the end of my Heart’s avenue
where I left my address written on an autumn’s leaf
and ambrosia welcomes you with the promise
of a new realm and immortality offerings
which you can find only inside my majestic verses…

Inside this vertigo written by a windy dream
ART paints its Life through US!…

This is what makes Love being LOVE!
And you being YOU!… Inside ME!…

Empty Eyes - by Ann Lorraine Lames (photo by Pujohn Das)Photo credit: Pujohn Das

Empty Eyes

By Ann Lorraine Lames

I see hundreds of empty eyes,
staring blankly in space.

Some eyes that seem to want 
to utter a few lines;
some eyes that dare not 
speak a word.

And then there are those eyes
that seem to reveal,
unspoken sadness and grief;

and somewhere along the way, 
eyes filled with anger or remorse,
things I really couldn’t tell.  

In transit, I come to ask,
what my eyes 
could have been meaning to say?

For as eyes are the windows to the soul,
can it perfectly reflect what’s in your heart?
more so, does it really want to reveal to others
everything they needed to know?

these eyes of mine that can see right through you,
these eyes of mine that wonders what is it that perturbs you
are the same eyes that have seen through…

loved ones’ share of joys and pains
successes and failures,
happiness and heartaches

and sometimes wishes it can do something 
for those empty eyes of yours too.

Parallel Lines - by Biji Dominic (Photo by Bence Boros)Photo credit: Bence Boros

Parallel Lines

By Biji Dominic

Parallel lines never meet 
Life can never be like parallel lines 
Divided distance between lines 
by love 
Life is a bliss when loved ones walk and think alike
For some it is well done, but life may be so complex, 
Multitude of reasons to fight each other, 
Loved ones reach a conclusion of 
Like parallel lines, they decide to live 
For the opulent, divorce is a fashion 
Some folks, may not understand the meaning 
of life
Let the rich learn to listen to the inner voice
Life is not a bed of roses
Life can be made sublime by lover’s fervent 
Loved one’s lives should not be like parallel 

Prayers - by Susan George (Photo by Ben White)Photo credit: Ben White


By Susan George

A ray of hope for the unsettled heart;
The confusion, despair, and disappointment that certainly prevails;
A feeling of impediment dawns upon us during painful times;
Who do we turn to? Where do we find solace?
A flurry of thoughts run by us, even in moments of silence;
Because prayers are an art in itself;
An art not to be perfected, but to be a constant;
It shows the depths of faith in your heart;
It is the relief we always wanted to experience;
The calm;
And then it is a metamorphosis of emotions;
You finally see what you are capable of doing;
All the things you could never imagine otherwise;
You had to just sit, pray and ask to shine light on your path;
The tears of joy are not tears, it’s your soul crying out of happiness;
For above all challenges and limitations; you finally saw what you had to see;
The higher purpose you were meant to fulfill;
All problems in life seem very subliminal.
You became a happy butterfly with so much to see and feel,
New people to meet
New places to go
New depths of prayer life to intercede for
I hope with all my heart that I will be always graced with your presence.
I pray for good health and happiness for everyone around me
For that is what I pray for
And that is what I dearly hope for
For hope and faith is what I have until the end.

Tick Tock - by Jean Teodoro (photo by Tristan Colangelo)Photo credit: Tristan Colangelo

Tick Tock

By Jean Teodoro

The clock ticks,
Letting things pass
Without sense of remorse
Sounds of rushing,
On the path we are moving
Hearts beat to the rhythm they sing
Things so swiftly,
They will come,
And they will go
Leaving the present,
As tomorrow’s past
So live our lives,
To the fullest that it takes
Memories to create,
Not regrets, nor pain
Smile and let it go
Stand up and move on,
Because time would never stop,
Even if you wish to turn it back.

Lampshades - by Sabeeha Khan (photo by Ryan Holloway)Photo credit: Ryan Holloway


By Sabeeha Khan

they ask me how I knew it was true love

when I never touched you like a lover does 

when my smile never touched you like rays of the sun 

after the clouds shift on a cold winter day

why I was so content to let the threads 

stringing us together stretch and wane

when I knew you’d be straying further than any ball of yarn ever could

when it ends in tragedy, but that comes later
unrequited, but that comes later. 

I tell them when I can, each time a bit more 
how sitting next to you was like a breath of fresh air

how my dying mind at fourteen felt revived 
like a parasite 

all because of the energy you used to emanate 

how falling in love wasn’t falling at all
but more like a sunset

one minute not, the next a burst of colors
and then gone; the sun has set. my love has settled 

and the burst of colors has a steady, soft glow

burns quietly like a lamp in the middle of the night 
and I sit in the lampshade, quietly contemplating 

I tell them how every smile you gave me was like a sip of water to someone dying of thirst

ice slowly melting into water 

tepid after basking in the sunlight

and a slow realization the way summer softly settles into skin 

that I could live with you forever and somehow be happy 

forsaking religion, foregoing reality 

abandoning my conscience, all other love secondary

the way winter quietly seeps into bone

that I could give my life away for others but I could live for you

my mind giving me relief from the shadows 

the heavy clouds seemed to throw over me 
the courage to have a personality

to love with my whole heart, (just not when it comes to you, but that comes later)

I ask them what is love, if it is not the 

abnormal thudding of my heart and the
foolishness of my mind if I give greater 
meaning to simple things that friends do

like how a hug becomes arms winding 
around necks and waists, heads resting at clavicles and shoulders 

and a jostle from a long slumber
every limb and organ awake 

sunlight filtering in through drapes, sunlight filtering through the crinkles of your eyes and the gaps in your full toothed grin 

how I wrote poetry about the way your hands held mine, with purpose, with a firmness that said to me I  love you, I will never leave your side, I will lead you and we will find better things together 

how a kiss on the cheek becomes soft lips brushing marred, undeserving skin, and how the realization of “I  cannot imagine a life without you” burns and spreads through my veins

at fourteen I knew that the way my eyes met yours across a crowded room was only something that lovers do 

or a hopeless girl in love would 
and this went beyond the way love was shown in a blur of arms legs and everything in between

I knew that this was a love so true 

at fourteen I thought that friends did not hold each other like you held me, did not kiss temples and cheeks and eyelids like your lips brushed mine, did not see through the walls I put up in less favorable company like you tried to

I was only a child and so were you 
but just because my love was innocent doesn’t mean it wasn’t true 

sometimes children know better 
they shake their head because what kind of redemption does a tragic love get 

where is the silver lining? where is the optimist’s obtuse take on misery? there is none 
and heart break invades every cell of my body the way night creeps-in after sunset 
the night is now. the stars are out 

a shift in the cosmos, a rearranged universe 
a faultline in the canvas of my insignificant life triggered by monumental moments like 
the brush of a hand, the laughter I made happen that sounded like bells (even though a little snorty) 

and burnt caramel hair falling like a curtain but never quite hiding your face 
even if it did I could never forget it 
the way purple looks on your skin is prettier than the purples of the sun when it leaves me behind 

you are not the one who is unkind, I tell them when they grow bitter at a love that did not end well

a cataclysmic build up of secretive smiles and adolescent confusion 
ending up in nothing – anticlimactic 
disappointing, no frenzied kissing
no lover’s embrace

no picturesque end screen credits with the uplifting piano ballad, romantic instrumental break

I tell them I am not bitter
how could I be when I realized who I am because of you

what a tragedy that would have been otherwise; I don’t know the earth and the shift in tides and whether there is a force watching over me doing nothing

I don’t know much but I know myself
and I know love 

life will come later
I am who I am because of you
life can come later 

because I’ve already known what it is like to play with sleep softened fingertips in a too loud, too bright classroom

surrounded by eyes and confused stares that work hard to not trespass boundaries 
and ignore what is in plain sight

I know what it feels like to whisper in hushed tones and giggle childishly 

I’ve felt longing and the gratification that proceeds it 

when I ran to see you even after just barely an hour of separation 

surrounded by your friends, shrouded and still there was a small comfort

surrounded by my friends and you made me the sun

the awkwardness I dealt with is part of my being now 

but we spent too much time together so maybe it was always you

Brontë was onto something, so were the philosophers 

maybe my atoms were closer to yours when the universe was created 

maybe our souls are made out of the same soft fabric, well-worn and patchy with time 
hanging by a thread that runs through every single fracture in the tapestry of stars you created when you burst into my life like a supernova 

how can I be bitter now that I know what love, longing and endearment is? 

my hugs last longer now. I smile a bit brighter, I forgot to when you left but you would have hated that

there’s a space for you now where there used to be a chasm in my chest

my mind is still shadowed because the clouds will always follow me around
but I remember you and I were, and that makes the sun shine a little brighter

the clouds will burst, but that comes later 
for now I ‘m content with remembering you 
in almost every word you said to me 
and someday I will forget

but your smile touched me like the winter sun on a cloudless afternoon 
(let the clouds clear and feel the mountain breeze, my lovely.)

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 of 2017:

Edition XIII
Edition XIV
Edition XV
Edition XVI
Edition XVII
Edition XVIII