I wake to the taste
of summer 6 months from now,
on the other side of the world.
Or is it, 6 months before
as I lay in the arms of another man
reading you like poetry,
metaphors overlapping on lusted limbs,
and I, getting the meaning all wrong.
O marvel! A garden among the flames… My heart has become capable of all forms. It is a meadow for gazelles and a monastery for Christian monks, a temple for idols and the pilgrim’s Ka’aba, the Tables of the Law and the book of the Koran. I profess the religion of Love, and whatever direction its steed may take, Love is my religion and my faith. ~ Ibn al-Arabi
A Poem by Iman Mersal
One day I will pass in front of the house
that was mine for years
and try not to measure how far it is from my friends’ homes.
The plump widow whose cries for love woke me
is no longer my neighbor.
I will invent things so not to get confused.
Count my steps,
or bite my lower lip delighting in the slight pain,
or keep my fingers busy with tearing a whole packet
of paper tissues.
I will not try short cuts
to avoid the pain.
I will not stop myself from loitering
as I train my teeth to chew on hate
that leaps from within.
And to forgive
the cold hands that pushed me toward it,
I will remember
that I did not smudge the bathroom’s whiteness
with my own darkness.
No doubt, things elude me.
The wall itself did not enter my dreams.
I did not imagine a color of paint
to match the scene’s tragic lighting.
This house was my home for years.
It wasn’t a student hostel
where I would leave an evening gown
on a nail behind the door
or paste old pictures with temporary glue.
The romantic sentences
I extracted from Love in the Time of Cholera
must be jumbled up now
making an altogether comic text.
Translated by: Khaled Mattawa
All the answers to happiness
Are a lie!
A single kiss
Dying as if it were said.
Bluish stone loneliness
Reviews us with
Windchime chanting promises
Philosophy that puts us to sleep
Lullabies submitting us to slumber
And other things will die – the heart.
In a field overgrown
Colours bleed artistically
The trees growth
Is a prayer
Paper lonely poems drawing God’s
In damp breath’s
And I, watch the tree’s prayers
Survival dawning autumn hues
Bleeding jazz notes
That I tilt my mouth towards.
This is how I caress the earths survival
Remembering the memento
Cupping the hiatus in my hands
And carrying the remains
To the pilgrim heart.
How easy we are made homeless.
All the ways to death
Carefully pillaged truths!
My naked mouth whispers
An inaccessible tangle
Of forgotten God’s
As our bodies curve
In places where quiet flowers grow.
I will not watch anymore,
I know the way your husband eyes
Follow me back to the earth.
I watch my contentment, painted on the cheek of sunset
Contemplating the last of his shadow imprint as it
Chases bird choruses westward, asking for wind
That only briefly touches his sonorous embrace.
I love the silence flung from his city shoulders
Crowning the space where tepid conversations
Traced the patterns of my mouth,
Mouth stained with the hum of red
And ardently falling on the applause of his eye.
Life is like poetry; loving isn’t about capturing the muse.
Some words, are so unnecessary.