2 (+ Interview with Poet Hermes)




Small Green Dragon Small Desires (Ibrahim El-Sayed)

On our way to the movie theatre we learned that life often happens without a soundtrack

so we decided to become professional chess players and failed.

We needed a few weeks afterwards to regroup. I didn’t have a specific role other than

providing innovative ideas to secure our collective outing every Saturday.

We left in the middle of a movie whose title I don’t remember and decided to make a

stamp that looks like a small green dragon.

A few weeks later

We dispersed

Each in his way

Like defeated soldiers.

Sitting at the bar wasn’t enough to know the sea

Light cigarettes came without enough nicotine to kick away our colorful illusions

We wrote a one-act play about sailors stranded on an island, and we immediately

disagreed on how to distribute the treasure, while our 1979 Peugeot-504 rocked on the

road like an old fishing boat.

After eight years I was getting approval from the Pensions Board.

The clerk shook his head and imprinted the paper.

The stamp was

Small and green

In the shape of a dragon.


A porn movie that doesn’t arouse anyone (Malaka Badr)

The earthly creature

Laden with sins

And desire

Watches from the door gap

He smiles

His eyes shimmer . . .

I moan audibly

And finish what I started

By myself

The scenes that instigate love

Are very scary

Like sharks

And pathetic

As if the shark

Is toothless

The available love-making is:

The bosom of an armless man

And the ecstasy of a woman

Who lost her legs in a boredom-accident

Like salt . . .

The kiss of those returning from death

Such that the lips crack

Just from looking


When Clothes Go About Their Daily Life (Tamer Fathi)


As such

Clothes get used to the spinning of the washer,

The foam of detergent,

And the bleaching materials.


They are left in water

To soak.

The water gets colored with their sorrows;

Their thoughts seep out in the form of white bubbly foam;

They surrender to the detergent that is working hard

At removing their dreams

So they look white

And bright.


They surrender to wringing

And hang obediently from the clothesline

To receive the air

The sun

And dust.


They are thrown with the dirty clothes,

Get used to stains

And the sting of the hot iron.


They look at new clothes in store windows.

They smile

And leave.


Undergarments choose—often—

To be white

Their alternate lifestyle/their simple holes,

Their ability to disguise

And to slowly die

As they suck the blood

From the pimples on people’s backs.


It may have been a nail or something else

Which left this rip bleeding some threads

And made the clothes lie down again before the good-natured tailor.

The needles resume their work

Weaving the threads inside the fabric

And rushing under it,

Dragging its limbs and its memories,

Yet while so engrossed

Leave out some of its details

And daily rituals.




The trouser that was running in the middle of hide and seek

Realizes that it has gotten old.


The Marching Step (Hermes)

The poem arrived but not the cigarettes, so I went out for the cigarettes. In the army. How empty life is in the army. My worries are like sand, hot and fine. My head is a cloud from June’s sky. Mermaid and empty, such is life. The cigarettes arrived and the poem left light and empty like the break hour. My companions are singing. We are completely naked as fighters; all that remains for us is singing. In my only moment by myself, I loosen the company off my spirit a little so it gets lost. When I sit with my face while shaving. Our eyes don’t meet. Then. Where did I lose my soul to walk the marching step light like a feather. Like a blonde shell the wave tossed in the hand of a reddish boy with light freckles on his cheeks.


In Front of the Atlantic Ocean (Ahmed Nada)

In a previous life I was a Bedouin

But I made a mistake in the installation of my body

Some air entered between the shoulder and arm

I became occupied with politics

And counted the corpses without real desire for empathy

My previous life was more beautiful

There was too much sand to be counted or wiped

Goat skins constituted my friends

Kind and murderers

Who stole my hand now, a rift in the shoulder is enough

Politics suffices and the five daily prayers

Who dares look at me and not laugh

I was my blood and I became red spots

Occupied by poor cheeks

—I swear, very poor and can’t bear a thing—

I was my blood, even if night arrived like a rotten fruit

I became fuzz on flayed skin

In my next life I will become an old chair

In front of the Atlantic Ocean


Accordion (Aya Nabih)

Why don’t I become

—On my day off, at least—

An accordion,

To be pressed on by the hands of a player.

—It is okay even that he is a beginner—

His hands will stretch me

In a flow

That renders my movement a necessity

To keep the rhythm.

Thus my day will start with rehearsal’s beginning

And end with concert’s end,

When one end of the accordion meets the other

In synchronized steps

To settle finally

In a corner of the musical instruments room

Full of melody

And completely healed.