Arabic Poem by: Hammoodi Al-Kinani*
Translated From Arabic
By: Inaam Al-Hashimi (Gold_n_silk)
Closed, so said the first door
Dead End, so said the second door
Sayeth all the doors!
Destitution! Destitution! Destitution!
So shouts the beggar in my face.
Drought! Drought! Drought!
So speaks the river to me.
I am still dancing in ecstasy,
Searching for leftover from a loaf
My mother baked in the first year of the last century;
I carry my portfolio of official documents
A fake birth certificate,
Certificate of citizenship bearing odd digits,
Green housing card
Disclosing that I am still a Bedouin
Searching for a lost camel!
Our ration card
Does not contain, yet,
It bears my name, my third, grandfather's name,
And the doubtful surname;
What else is there in my papers portfolio?
My permanent address
And house number
One, slash, One
District Number One
Not inhabited with people like me
Street, haunted by mud
And side-walks walking barefoot
Over pedestrians walkways.
Still wearing my father's shabby cloths,
I touched my belly to learn
How to broil hunger patties on it;
A policeman saw me,
He waved his whip to my face,
"Exposing your private parts and defects is prohibited!
Your belly is a defect,
Your unusual appearance is
All these papers in your portfolio are defects;
We are charged with watching
Those who expose their defects in public."
Standing in line to receive
Laundry detergent is a defect,
Even scratching one's back
Falls within the Forbidden section;
When I felt frightened,
I went to visit my father's grave;
My mother was lying in his flank.
I prayed for my mother
And asked God his forgiveness
For my father
For repeatedly rubbing his belly
Because of bug bites.
Translated by; EM. prof. inaam Al-Hasjimi
September 23, 2009
* Hammoodi Al-Kinani is an Iraqi writer