Edition XXXIX

June 2019

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Self Love - by Sarah Shihabi (Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy).jpgPhoto credit: Alexander Krivitskiy

Self-Love: An Interpretation by a Masochist

By Sarah Shihabi

Reach deep into the soil of your insecurities

Fertilize it with doubt

Plant the seeds of love

Hide them away from the world

or don’t

Water them with tears

Beam rays of hope in the absence of sunlight

Your thoughts are children

Tuck them in tightly every night

Please, Make sure they remain warm

Jump into the abyss of an open wound

Kiss it shut

Climb back up

Grab ahold of your body

Hug it tight

Squeeze it hard

Be the love you never had

Let your hands run across the valleys of this body

Skim through its alleyways

Fall into its cracks and find your way out

Nestle your soul in the space between your rib cage and your heart

Fill it with gasoline

Be the match to light it up on fire

Let the smoke guide what remains of your breath

Sleep in the bed of your ashes

Walk out of these flames just in time

To listen to the strings of your heart whisper a melody

You’re a lonely song

Dance to your own rhythm

A lonely song is still a song

This one’s black and red

Let your mind sing along

You’re allowed to claw your heart out

Tear it apart at the seams

stitch it back together

Wear its strings like a noose and pull

Rip your poems off the pages

Shred them

And swallow the pieces

Carry them with you wherever you go

What’s a poet without their poetry anyway?

Allow yourself to start over years later

Darling, you can

Let this be proof

Feed on self-destruction

Then learn to rebuild

Go to war

Be the ally and the enemy

Your sanity’s fighting off an earthquake

Your mind will warn you

This is a foreign battleground

Don’t be cautious

Launch yourself straight into the rupture

Shoot yourself in the leg

Let it bite you

Take an adrenaline shot

Take two

Do it for fun

Look in the mirror

Speak to your body

And say

You’re broken

But I’ll love you anyway

pH - by Farah Chamma (Photo by Hakim El Haj).jpgPhoto credit: Hakim El Haj


By Farah Chamma


moments of sheer bitterness

come back to me

like an acid reflux.

I find it all so difficult to digest.

One memory clings to my chest,

another lingers and floats in different

places: my gut, my throat, my back—

I have urges to cry, and so

begin to distract myself with more alkaline thoughts, such as my mother listening to Abdel Wahab, humming along as she puts on her mascara. Or, your neroli scent filling a corridor. I worry that these too, become acidic,

that this heartburn becomes a habit, another void-filler, here to teach me how to live with my ability to remember;

here to remind me that not everything I swallow is good for me.

And it always kills me to think that I am suffering from indigestion.

Waltz of the Winter - by Laith Bilal (Photo by Nick Scheerbart).jpgPhoto credit: Nick Scheerbart

Waltz of the Winter

By Laith Bilal

Dying orchids spring

at the feet of blooming darlings

on a shivering sidewalk;

They embrace divine disaster,

their inevitable noble end

with a timeless chassé,

a swirl of joy

leading to a jolly death.

And as the lovers hold one another

in warm stillness


Il virtuoso,

Waltz on.

On Days that Repeat Themselves - by Fatima Elreda (Photo by Hakim El Haj).jpgPhoto credit: Hakim El Haj

On Days that Repeat Themselves

By Fatima Elreda

Geometric days
repeat themselves
knitting mornings into nights,

silence weaved into the heavy air
thickened with sunlight.

The pattern does not break
and this nothingness becomes a habit–
involuntary like the throbbing of a slit vein
leaking all over the floor.

Geometric days
measure their own passing
as rhythmically as water drops
fall into abysmal sinks.

Their Poetry - by Razan El Zubair (Photo by Andreia Ioana Cismasiu).jpgPhoto credit: Andreia Ioana Cismasiu

Their Poetry

By Razan El Zubair

I look for other people’s words

to tell you what I cannot comprehend.

as I read their words aloud

memories of you echo in response.

and between their verses

I hide my longing.

between their verses

I pretend my love for you

is their love for another.

so, in the nooks and crannies of their poetry

there I find a love letter in your name.

signed with anguish

from all the poets who fell in love with you. 

The Storm at Sea - by Safa Mahmood (Photo by Joel Bengs).jpgPhoto credit: Joel Bengs

The Storm at Sea

By Safa Mahmood

It went adrift, adrift, adrift
unbridled and faithful to God
against our single wish

It went up and under
unafraid against the current
bold beneath the thunder

It went sloshing and splashing
along with zephyr whistles
and chaos came crashing

It went to a world unknown
four hearts wishing for the shore
as our bodies far away from home

Happiness, What Do You Taste Like? - by Sabila Siddiqui (Photo by Dylan Luder).jpgPhoto credit: Dylan Luder

Happiness, What Do You Taste Like?

By Sabila Siddiqui

Happiness, what do you taste like?
Are you the sweet taste of cloudy cotton candy on my tongue
or the warm coffee I drink in the morning?

Happiness, what color are you?
Are you the yellow color of sunshine beaming in the morning
or the calming ocean blue?

Happiness, what do you sound like?
Are you the soothing voice that says I love you
or the laughter that vibrates my ear drum?

Happiness, what do you feel like?
Are you embracement in her hug
or the feel of the way that this pen feels as I let it craft and stroke my emotions into lines?

Happiness, are you the vibrant energy of her presence?

Because my senses are numb to you
and all I sense is the abyss
while warm tears trail down my cheeks
and I feel nothing.

Check out our previous edition from 2019:

Edition XXXVII