Body 8: Disembodied Poetics

abdulrahman-almajedi-1Abdulrahman 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.

 

Abdulrahman Almajedi 

Translated by Dikra Rida

QUESTION

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?

Clothing

COAT

Our grandfather,

Our foolishness reminds him of his youth,

so he cries,

then claims they are droplets of rain.

JACKET

Guardian of the guards,

its buttons are the gates of the city,

its delicate routes lead

the blindmen’s hands to their homes.

SHIRT

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.

SHOES

Obedient twins,

Carting the body wherever it wishes.

Contented in their fate, they obey the master,

and the dirt of the road.

TROUSERS

In their somber stance,

long living,

yet they’re unlike their cousins coming

from the land of jeans.

DRESS

The envied.

Hear its gentle calling,

the beginning of rain.

SOCKS

Loved when filled.

Degraded after the journey.

Two unknown soldiers.

UNDERWEAR

Mute.

Keeper of secrets in stone.

The last witness.

GRAVEYARD

On the roof of our house in Baghdad, we found

a graveyard,

its inhabitants,

my father,

my mother,

my siblings,

and myself.

They donated their places to us

and left,

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,

duplicate sons

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. 

Courtney Marie

aghost

a farewell

thetrees

(thedistractedlover) (1)

John Grey

ARGUMENT PARABOLA

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.

Tongues don’t.