Body 8: Disembodied PoeticsAbdulrahman Almajedi
We are honored to bring you an issue dedicated to a small selection of noteworthy poets — including the beautiful and evocative poems by the Iraqi poet Abdulrahman Almajedi — as well as the visual poems of Courtney Marie. The issue is rounded out by a poem by John Grey.
Translated by Dikra Rida
How do I describe the scene in language?
Do I say: the soldier’s corpse ran
a few steps after shrapnel
severed his head?
Or do I say: the soldier’s head rolled away
while the corpse ran for a few steps?
Or do I say: the head was lost, but the corpse escaped?
Where did the the soldier wake/ rest/ sleep/ end up?
With the head or with the corpse?
Our foolishness reminds him of his youth,
so he cries,
then claims they are droplets of rain.
Guardian of the guards,
its buttons are the gates of the city,
its delicate routes lead
the blindmen’s hands to their homes.
Its colours are lover’s traps,
a friend of summer,
a fighter in his presence,
the one who hides, in cowardice,
from the relentless winter.
Carting the body wherever it wishes.
Contented in their fate, they obey the master,
and the dirt of the road.
In their somber stance,
yet they’re unlike their cousins coming
from the land of jeans.
Hear its gentle calling,
the beginning of rain.
Loved when filled.
Degraded after the journey.
Two unknown soldiers.
Keeper of secrets in stone.
The last witness.
On the roof of our house in Baghdad, we found
They donated their places to us
My father nurtures his errors with a walking stick.
My mother laments her dead sons.
My sisters check their femininity every morning.
My brothers are duplicate sons.
And I am idiocy with a walking stick.
Tears over the dead,
grounded in solitude,
and a futile prophecy,
MOST PEOPLE ARE IDLE POETS
The man said:
for the love of God, you players,
have mercy on the ball,
listen to it moan,
from your kicking.
The woman said:
our neighbour’s speech
stumbles with truth.
The boy said:
when birds die
angels bury them in the sky.
The mother said:
there is a hole in my heart
that will only heal
when I hug my missing son.
The photographer said:
inside my black box
I store the earth
and those upon it.
A straight line kicks me down the stairs.
A parabola keeps you guessing.
Bitter, there’s nothing like a good shove
but what if the ends curve round,
and the push rebounds on you?
Remember, the worst of a man is a kind of love.
His good moments have their treachery.
I can hear you up there in the bedroom,
muttering to yourself.
Come to me.
The round trip will be worth it.
The ends are the same.
And the same is that nothing ends.
Besides, a hug is a worthy curve.
Remember, situations describe a parabola.