In my mouth another mouth
Between my teeth other teeth.
O my parents . . . my people !
You who sent me into the world like a bullet,
Hunger, as a fútus, palpitates in my guts.
I nibble my cheeks from inside.
What I write in the morning
Repulses me in the evening.
The one that I greet around nine o'clock
I want to kill at ten o'clock.
I'd like a flower as big as my face
And a wide hole between my shoulders
to let all my memories burst out like a spring.
My fingers annoy each other
And my eyebrows are two confronting foes.
I want to twist my body like a wire
In a very desolate cemetery,
And fall down a fathomless well
Full of monsters, mothers and bracelets.
I just forgot the shape of the spoon
And the taste of the salt.
I forgot the moonlight
And the smell of the children
My guts are full of cold coffee
And blind water
My throat's crammed with scraps of paper
And blocks of ice
And you, stale water,
Fresh water . . .
You don't know how much
I love you.
With stiff collars up to the chin,
And with sticky lips
And strictly buttoned wrists,
We eat standing up
We stand too long
We strike the flies
With poems and handkerchiefs
In order to see a tree or a bird passing by.
With merciless small feet we lean on the ground
And we throw the ribs of the village
From street to street.
I used to climb the spiral stairs
As clean as cotton,
Lustrous as the leaves of the myrtle.
I go up and down like a murderer's dagger
With shoes of fame and shoes of hate
Hanging my misery on the nails of the wall,
My eyes penetrating deeply
Into distant balconies
And rivers returning from captivity.
I saw them all under the yellow sky.
The rich, the pacifists,
The poor and the monstrous.
I saw millions of teeth clicking in the street,
Millions of dim faces
Lowering their eyes under the thunder.
I saw hasty burials,
And the reins of barbaric horses burning in the streets
And workers falling from top floors
Buried carefully in the sad rain,
With their tobacco, their clothes,
And their mess tins.
But nothing is moving in the desert.
The wind whistles on the blood
And small tombs fall like dew
On hats and coats.
I saw canned breeze
Flung against the rain
I drank dirty water
And licked the foam wherein was the blood of the breast.
And I have never doubted this land
Which sleeps like a child,
This hunchbacked land, mounded like a butcher.
And thousands of stars, corpses
And hammers of fire
I was looking for a mortal blow to my face
Looking for a small sea to use as shoes,
And an arrogant meal
Which I could fold under my arm like a scarf.
I got tired of the long stairs
And the rooms of victory.
I would like to roast the corn
And in the sunset eat the stone and the pebble.
I want to embrace anything distant
Whether a wild flower
Or a muddied shoe as large as an eagle.
I want to eat, to drink, to die
And to sleep at the same moment.
I am in a hurry, in a hurry
Like a mangy cloud,
Like a lonely wave chased in the sea.
Translated by Abdul Kader El Janabi