Photo credit: Cherry Laithang
By Robby Berry
Fetal rays of a dawning day
kick against the horizon.
Birth sets existence
I meet it with a cigarette,
an inventory of my name.
New day, illegitimate day,
you come despite
and I must learn to father
Photo credit: Hakim El Haj
Broken Ghazal: Displaced
By Ehrlich Ross
He heard it when the doctor said it’s a bad fracture; it needs surgery – the tibia
comminuted and fibula displaced.
With broken bones and broken English, he tried to ask “what communutted?! not good?!
In the hospital bed, his foot hangs limply from a swollen leg. Pedal pulse is palpable- so is
He tilted his body to the side and felt bones rubbing. Knowing how it feels makes it easier
to understand the meaning – displaced.
Two months and alone in a foreign country. He drives around town delivering food to
mouths with tongues pronouncing unfamiliar words.
Then the headlights, the hot concrete, and the heavy bike on his leg.
Every night he empties his pockets filled with dreams and tucks it under his pillow.
Maybe in sleep life is easier and dreams are lived and not something placed in pockets to
help get through the day.
Maybe in a dream, he did get an accident and got away with only a bruise. Maybe
in a dream, he is not worried if he can still be able to walk and won’t be displaced
from his job. Maybe in his dream, he is not afraid to be sent home. That home is not a
graveyard. Walls not pockmarked by bullets and there were no people displaced
by war. Start to question. What is a broken leg when there are children with cracked
Why complain when there are people with dreams robbed and displaced
homes? If a home does exist where could it be? Some say here. Some say wherever
not chased by bullets. Some say where my language is not displaced
by another language. Where airplane doesn’t mean- go hide somewhere. And running
doesn’t mean – you are about to die. I wonder what will Elias think if I say – you’ll be
discharged home in five days.
What is home for him? If it were a refuge, will it be his bed? If it were a place with love,
Where is his family? If it were a place, could it be somewhere not distant and displaced?
Maybe home is in the operating room where someone puts him to sleep
but wants him alive, where someone cuts him open just to save his life.
Where pain means he needs a dose of analgesia and doesn’t mean another family member
died. Where nails and metal plates are not used for shrapnels but used to join bones
Accidents leave people with broken bones, but war leaves people with broken souls,
dreams, and home. How to chase it with a broken leg? Dreams and home. How to chase it
with a broken soul? When dreams and home are displaced.
Photo credit: Janko Ferlic
When Love Speaks
You tell me all about Love
with expectant eyes brimming with hope
but I have seen it before
once and a few more
In a dark hallway, I saw shards of broken light
untamed almost cosmic
it was Love reaching out to me
A busy street and a quiet parking lot
a gas chamber and a pathway lit with fire
it was Love, pleading to pick one
A broken radio phone next to the sea
trying to tune in, but the last thing I heard was
Love saying, ‘I’m going to be okay’.
A run over cat on the city streets
nobody to take it away, blood and guts on display
it was Love, in its truest form, revealing itself to me.
I found myself walking on cobbled streets
of an old town
coffee in the afternoons
margaritas at night
walking, dancing, chasing.
it was Love saying goodbye to me.
Photo credit: Hakim El Haj
Orange was my sister’s wedding saree
the lollipop I shared with my 3rd grade schoolmate
those painted horns of cows during the harvest festival
orange knocks its brightness into my eyelids.
White takes me to the first snow I tasted
the foam on top of warmed milk my mother serves me
the artificial teeth-set my grandpa kept in his steel box
I feel a hug in anything white.
Red – everything is first when it comes to red
first blush after hearing his compliments
the first realizations of womanhood
that first spray of vermillion on the new morning sky
red halts me wherever I am.
Black dares me, looks up from any crowd proudly
my dad’s moustache gleaming after a bath
the smudged kajal at the end of the day at the end of my eyes
the pitch black nights with mosquitoes during monsoons
black dips me into the inner folds of my mind.
Blue kisses me tingling fresh of life
the soap powder, that cozy blanket with blue flowers
the plastic sheet which covered the television box
my bicycle which served me loyally
blue breathes innocence into me.
Yellow laughs at me, laughs with me.
her chiffon scarf gurgling after a silly joke
aroma of turmeric powder on roasted potatoes
the scary school progress report cards
that colour of the street lamp when it rained
yellow tickles me fresh and funny.
Green is my song of summer
the frog I had to dissect in my biology lab
the raw mango juice with floating ice-cubes
huge banana leaves in the marriage halls
my school uniform and ribbons
green as the time stuck on No.31, 47th street home.
Photo credit: Craig Whitehead
You aren’t the girl
who’s going to stun
by a twirl of pleated skirt
hazel braids crowned
with daisies and jasmines.
You aren’t the woman
who’s going to standout
by cooking everything to perfection
ironing the collar of shirts like swords
shining mirrors and tiles.
You aren’t the lady
who’s going to astonish
by the books you author
the stars you locate
the patriarchs you topple.
You aren’t the person
who looks to stun anyone
just like a blade of waterfall
hitting the ground or like
cherry blossom spouts.
Photo credit: Aziz Acharki
She is the Sunshine She is the Moonlight
By Susan George
She had a smile that instantly
lit up the room;
She lurked among shadows and could be
the moonlight as well.
If you look closely,
you see the dark circles;
all those sleepless nights
thinking about herself
with a heart that cared about others too.
When she slept, she dreamt of
touching millions of lives.
She seldom weeps, thinking about the world and laughs thinking about
the same world.
She is a million worlds
It would take you an eternity
to discover her.
But when you do,
you would think about her when you close your eyes;
because she was both sunshine and moonlight.
Photo credit: Odette Scapin
By Biji Dominic
Like a sunflower romance blossom
like a passion fruit,
romance bears fruit
under a willow tree
Loved ones exchange hearts,
loved ones enjoy a splash in the
During romantic mood nothing is forbidden
Music envelops a romantic mood
Romance is a feeling from the heart
Strength of romance is tested at the
altar of pain
Colour of romance vary
Fragrance of romance is jasmine scent
Romance is a feeling which no one
can wink at.
Photo credit: Craig Whitehead
I Urge You
To meet me on the edge of the World…
There, where horologes grow their wings,
there, where distances ache our shoulders no more,
where the metronome dissipates our breaths no more,
and unbroken smiles do not grow…
The place… where… you cease to chase
the shadows of Worthlessness!
To meet me where Eternity has lost its clock!
Where dreams live, unmutilated by tears,
so we can find each other
beyond banal bleached days
of senseless seasons,
where I may still taste the aroma of your morning eyes,
a Time and Place where I may cease to remember
how my roots were stolen from me,
and I may strive no more within the molasses
of mundane monotonous equations,
and require no more Mathematical solutions
of… this LOVE!
I urge you to meet me
at the place where answers lose their questions,
with no maps or recipes to touch the Heart,
where words cannot shatter my hearing
and Time is not crammed inside a dusty lost note.
Meet me where the verb “to cry” is non-existent,
no walks on nameless maze of streets –
Instead, arched inside a hypnotic butterfly’s leap.
I drew my Eternity under your eyelids,
words lost their senses,
past the borders between our thoughts,
just an additional pulsation for you….
to love me, insanely, without restraint.
No more random rusty routines,
only… the Mirage of our cosmic Co-Existence!
Photo credit: Hakim El Haj
By Laith Bilal
Every timeless time,
an everlasting and charming forever.
A pianist’s fingertips,
each touch of yours: a souvenir to treasure.
Vocals of an angel,
each word you cast is a heartfelt love letter.
Every wondrous moment with you dear
leaves me nostalgic for the other.
Maybe if my eyes were shut tighter,
maybe if I held onto you better,
my troubled heart would feel put,
thus never compelled to question whether
it was true love I felt for your drenching rain
or merely the fear to wither.
Photo credit: Nathaniel Tetteh
By Ini Samuel
We once lived in unity
peace, love and tranquility.
Clothed with integrity,
wisdom and culture filled with serenity
Our landscapes were covered with green
surrounded with oceans, rivers and streams…
We laughed and played like kids in paradise
the sun rising and setting before our eyes
The flowers blossomed, radiating in beauty
the wind sang and the trees were busy
the leaves clapped and the birds flapped
our destinies were wore on our heads like caps
Each day was rhythmic
singing and rejoicing
to the sound of nature’s music
so sweet was the melody
like an orchestra playing a symphony
But suddenly… silence filled the air
and peace was exchanged for fear.
Darkness covered the light
in terror we took flight
Pandemonium was the order of the day
the land was left in complete disarray.
Chaos swept our land
bitterness and sorrow took the upper-hand
Now we toss and turn
our people gone, never to return.
Our lands once inhabited by faith
is left bare, sour and desolate
Help! Where is our hope?
Help! We need the pope!
Help! Where is our tomorrow?
Help! Our dreams are dying!
Help! Our youths are crying!
Help! We need salvation!
Help! For our people and the nation!
Help! There is aggression!
Help! We suffer depression!
Help! There is no sound of laughter!
Help! … This is a cry for Africa.
Photo credit: Pablo Heimplatz
A moment you want to
Freeze in time
Hold me here
Till the stars fade
I want to feel your heartbeat
In my veins
Play it like a song
And here we stand
Photo credit: Christian Langballe
An Aging Wonder Woman
By Sanjna Iyer
I remember how she looked at me,
awe and wonder in her eyes
as she conveyed her love so clearly
through muffled broken cries.
She thought of me as a hero
with a wand and a cape,
someone who could move mountains
yet found delight in watching her crawl.
Slowly as she spoke her first words
I found meaning to my life.
Nothing gave me better strength
than being a mother.
As she grew, I started to age,
with my magic potion going dry
I shed my cape and wand for her
as I saw her begin to fly.
A fierce young superpower like her
doesn’t see me with pride and shine,
as lessons from an aging wonder woman
now sound more like a nagging whine.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Enjoy more of our earlier editions of 2017: