المصور أحمد عودة
داخل جسد أثيري
بقلم ياسين قادش
من وراء العتمات أسأل عن نفسي
عن موسيقى الكون في همسي
عن حروب راقدات بخيام الأمس
تتلاقى في سحاب أسود، بركام رمسي
ترصد الأجساد ظلا بين قوانين البأس
أصرخ صرخات لإنبعات أفكار
وفي الموات أرى خطواتي
وأجساد عاريات تشخص، لا شخوص
ربما أحلم روحا لاهثا لشهواتي
.. ومن وراء الفعل، عدم سكون
لا يسأل من أنا
من في الأرض، من زرع
السنابل بلا فأس
Photo credit: Joshua Fuller
The Default State of a Writer
The default state of a writer
isn’t a cigarette-smoking,
character. It isn’t sitting by the window,
admiring the flowers in fall,
overlooking the blues and greens
while waiting for a ray
of inspiration to descend. It isn’t
an inexorable flow of the pen.
It isn’t picturing Bukowski
and his cats, Murakami and
his jazz, or the films that put
the writer in a rose-tinted light.
It isn’t sitting in libraries or cafés
looking pensive and poised
with words jumping at you
as you write, write, write.
A writer is neither ridiculously
knowledgeable nor wise.
The default state of a writer,
to be honest, is a mess.
Not one-size-fits-all. Clueless at best.
With a burning desire to discover
the self, and the constellation of cells
that connects. It is laborious.
Languorous. It is 5am routines.
Discipline. It is language
edited. Backspace. Embellish.
Write. Erase. Write.
What am I doing with my life?
Save as draft. Enter. Delete.
It is tears on paper; of disappointment,
of laughter. The writer as a light bearer
is a romantic conceit.
21st century ones are the strangest.
In between meetings and
an avalanche of work,
watching films, after arguments
dripping in disdain, through eavesdropped
conversations in the train.
It is furiously typing on iPhone Notes.
It is scribbling on folded receipts.
It is unmonetizable. It is foolish.
with hope in hand. So here is where
the writer sits. Or stands. Dreams
and does. With nothing
but a pen, spilling all the voices
that won’t sit still. Tending
the mind garden, no matter
how long and excruciating, patient
in curating haphazard thoughts
and sentiments and lessons
Photo credit: Rebeca G. Sendroiu
My grandmother washed the potatoes in a bucket outside the back-kitchen door
Using the handle of the sweeping brush she swirled them around in the grey water until it turned a rusty
The misshapen potatoes recently plucked from the ground, let go of their cloaks of clay
Revealing a pinkish hue like a newborn’s skin on a fine September day
My grandmother lifted the zinc bucket
a weight in an eighty-year old’s hands
and discarded the water
black and used, down the outside drain
My grandmother tall and thin with hair silver and long
Took her baptized fare inside before the Angelus rang
المصور جوشوا ك جاكسن
بقلم علاء سمير غنّام
أبحر فوق یدیكِ
لیزهر الغصن المورقُ
فیغدو شعري حدائقٌ
اذ لاقى الشعر عینیكِ
و أصیر أنا شاعرٌ
كلامه من محیاكِ یسرقُ
من فوضى الوجوه خذیني
إلى وجهك حیث أنتمي
إلى وجهٍ من الیاسمینِ
خذیني إني ممتلئٌ بالألمِ
فأنا مرهقٌ من تكرار سنیني
هل لي بحضنكِ أرتمي!؟
Photo credit: Aimee Vogelsang
Once upon a time
there was a little girl
with a name as soft as her playful twirl
to waltz around
in little circles like merry-go-round
This was never to last.
Little Iris haunted by demons from the past.
One was a witch.
Her name was Sorrow.
Decided Iris’ freewill was hers to borrow.
Iris when fast asleep
and weaved her into a web of crimson deep.
From that day
Iris’ days became small,
punished with dreams and flashes of nightfall.
She looked up
for help from her kind friend Mr. Blue,
hopeful his skies would dissolve her crimson glue.
Young master Sun drew in
determined to play his part,
his bare hands burning the crimson strands apart.
her pristine white chambers started to flood
with drops of water turning murkier with blood.
She slammed hard
those shutters to force the last drop out
which saved and squished her in equal bout.
[This poem imagines that the thin, circular structure in our eyes is a little girl named Iris, and the blood vessels that become more visible as we age represent a crimson web woven by a witch named Sorrow to trap Iris into this white chamber that we call our eyes, which blink and punish Iris with flashes of darkness and dreams. The act of staring to the sky and sun fills the eyes with tears, effectively flooding Iris’ chambers, and the only way she can survive is when the eyes blink – protecting and trapping her in the same act.]
Photo credit: Bruno Kelzer
Every time I’d think of you
I’d send a memory to the sea
Riding on a paper boat
To somehow bring you back to me
Time and time again
I’d send dozens and dozens more
Till one day I found all my paper boats
Washed up on the shore
While I was sending you paper boats
A storm had settled in
Brewing and stirring the ocean depths
Taking my boats I sent within
My paper boats never reached you
My paper boats came back to me
My memories are now upon the shore
Haunting me endlessly.
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