Skip to content

Keywords

Articles tagged "Arabic"

Anatomy of the Rose

When the rose perceived the distance between itself and the earth, it brought forth its thorns. When the rose realized that a single leg couldn’t take it anywhere, that it was voiceless and mostly had no echo, it thought of fragrance. The blooming petals: a navel. The stem: a rope that binds it to the earth’s deep womb. That rose will be born someday in a lover’s hand or between the shores of a book. © Soukaina Habiballah. By arrangement with the...

The Red Triangle Café

How I adore the café  door             there’s a newspaper             and a seat and, you know, I mean, that means I know             all the latest news. In and out flapping about             Waiter! one Lipton tea and my number . . . I dialed it on my...

Delusion

He left the house cursing everything at the top of his voice—from the two elderly people who had brought him into this rotten world in the first place to his sister who had married a French man, gone off with him to his country, and hadn’t kept her promise. He remembered what she’d said in the airport: “I only married this Christian for your sakes. One month, and you’ll have all the papers you need to all catch me up over there. Don’t worry!” He...

The Queue

Document No. 3 Examinations Conducted, Visible Symptoms, and Preliminary Diagnosis The patient is conscious, alert, and aware of his surroundings; blood pressure and pulse are normal; visible symptoms include: signs of choking and irritation to the nerves, blood surrounding entry and exit wounds caused by a [word crossed out], sign of recent abrasions and bruising on the back, pelvis, and forearm regions, [word crossed out; “injury” written above it] penetrating the pelvic...

I Will Leave, without Lying Down on the Dewy Grass Even Once

“So does this mean I’ll leave this world without lying down on the dewy grass even once?” “There are more important things than that to think about, actually, but if that’s what’s on your mind, you could still do it. You’ve got at least three weeks left.” “But there’d be no point now. I’m not going to.” I didn’t let him say anything else, and I left before he could start with the trite words of consolation. In...

Awaiting a Poem

They await you: The new poem They await your downpour through my soul My hands shaping your features I stand with my heart agape To observe this desolate world As it falls into ruin Blood covers everything Prayers no longer know Where to go I await you I listen for your cautious footfall Yes The world has become a graveyard But the sun rises The breeze caresses a girl’s cheek The sea does not forsake its blue The swallows tell me of my childhood Hidden beneath their wings And...

Life in Mount Carmel

Though I’m right beside it, I can’t call out to the sea: neighbor, come join me for coffee. Instead, my other neighbor Carmel visits me through the window without my permission and never even once  tries to enter through the door (anyway, it owns the place). Sometimes church bells reach me from the depths of Wadi Nisnas, other times the morning call to prayer comes quietly from the Istiqlal Mosque (that the old breeze carries from Wadi Salib), the Baha’is keep...

Nom de Guerre: Butterfly

That evening, I was sitting on my bed. Tala was jumping up and down on her bed next to mine, making it squeak annoyingly. She was jabbering away but I wasn’t following what she was saying because I was busy building my own world inside my head. Tala kept running in and out of the room. I didn’t notice how long she was gone. I just sat there, lost in thought. That is, until the time the sound of Salim sobbing came into the room before Tala did. As soon as I saw him, I hurried...

A Bedtime Story for Eid

Translator’s note: Zaher Omareen’s tale takes us on a journey back to 1980s Hama, zooming in on some of the individual victims of the massacres and disappearances committed by the regime there, as told by a mother to her son. Between 10,000 and 40,000 people perished at the hands of Hafez al-Assad’s forces in a 27-day massacre in 1982: such was the climate of fear that it has only ever been referred to—if at all—as The Events. As this story is told in the...

Falling Down Politely, or How to Use Up All Six Bullets Instead of Playing Russian Roulette

But where’s the skill in loading a gun with just one round of ammunition and pointing it at your head, trying your luck at deliverance? The ingenious thing would be to fill all six chambers and let every bullet kill you, one after the other. Bullet 1 Even though the voice ringing out from the stereo in your bedroom belongs to a singer who didn’t die at twenty-seven like those other musical geniuses—Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, that bunch—you still listen to him every...

The Poet Cannot Stand Aside: Arabic Literature and Exile

Fourteen hundred years ago and more, the poet-prince Imru’ al-Qais was banished by his father. The king exiled his son, or so the legend goes, in part because of the prince’s poetry. Thus it was that, when the king was killed by a group of his subjects, al-Qais was traveling with friends. Al-Qais returned to avenge his father’s death, but afterward spent the rest of his life in exile, fleeing from place to place, writing poetry and seeking support to regain his...

War

Men plan wars And women survive in the rubble One day there will be no men And a woman will pursue another In search of the scent of the last man Who touched his lips to her neck. © Manal Al-Sheikh. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2014 by Angham A. Abdullah. All rights reserved. 

My Body

A body that is the one I borrowed the first night with you . . .  I watch it every night running toward a waveless sea where the sand of age rests in its veins . . . The wearied ships land in its eyes and summon it to sleep . . . © Manal Al-Sheikh. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2014 by Angham A. Abdullah. All rights reserved.

Downtown

My share of sleep: four hours eleven minutes.
 I roll my pierced heart across the bedcover: it slams into the door, leaving
 a line of mud behind. I believe a tree
 will come one night and stop
 beside the line.
 Another tree
 will follow,
 and a third,
 a fourth, a ninth, etc.
 One night the line will grow
 and become a street. One night while I’m sleeping friends will stream out of my head
 and into the street to...

from “The Amman Bride”

We really needed to talk. This was a difficult situation that we needed to find a way out of. He absolutely refused to share me with anyone else, and he wasn't prepared to lead a life with me where he was in the shadows, constantly in second place after my family. And he certainly didn't want to be my secret lover or be complicit in deceiving someone else, an innocent person. But I do want to get married and to have a family, both of which would be impossible with him. I...

The Green Zone Rabbit

Before the egg appeared, I would read a book about law or religion every night before going to sleep. Like my rabbit, I would be most active in the hours around dawn and sunset. Salsal, on the other hand, would stay up late at night and wake up at midday. And before he even got out of bed he would open his laptop and log on to Facebook to check the latest comments on the previous night’s discussion, then eventually go and have a bath. After that he would go into the kitchen, turn on...

Salman and the Mule Suicides

My acquaintance with Salman extends back to our military service, to the winter of 1984, I think. In that year I began to serve in a series of units that fought in the mountains, cities, and canebrakes of Kurdistan. Till then, before being ordered to serve in the logistics battalion in a suburb of the city of Sulaimaniya at the Dukan Dam, to be precise, I had served in the Division of Military Veterinary Affairs under the command of the Third Army Corps in Basra. The Iran-Iraq War was...

A Portal in Space

The Friday bombardment started a little later than usual, at 8:30 a.m. The sound was loud and clear. Umm Anwar sighed, and her pain showed clearly in her expression. Furrowing her brow and ready to explode, she exclaimed to herself loud enough for the others to hear: “The downpour has begun, O Conqueror, O Provider.” Her son, Anwar, straightened up and rested his elbow on the sofa. He looked at his sister to check her reaction. Then he remarked calmly, “At the end of...

The One-Eyed TV

Just as the thirteenth year of my life started, the Iraqi-Iran war began. Before it was even a year old, my oldest brother was killed and one of my cousins was taken as a prisoner of war. That is when I began hearing my father curse “Mr. President” whenever he found himself alone with my mother in the orchard, kitchen, or bedroom, or as she milked our cows in the pen. I was irremediably confused as I sat torn between these obscene curses and those beautiful pictures and songs...

Merrymaking

He is not a tightrope walker, a snake charmer, or a tiger tamer. His hands are empty no charm or sleight to them, and he does not have any puppets, hoops, pungis, or whips—his mere body is his only apparatus for a peculiar kind of entertainment, a unique sort of adventure that no one before has witnessed or experienced. If the acrobat walks lightly on his tightrope, the charmer blows into his pungi and tilts his head with the snake, and the tamer lashes his whip in the air in a...

Music in a Baghdad Alley

No matter where you settle or wander That first melody is yours At every arrival and departure Its living face will meet you at the entrance that remains If you walk and the opposing wind is in your face and Death alone is the alternative To hear it departing between worlds, where you go and come. Did you not hear it one night As you were passing under a balcony? Your longing still anchors it in the heart of wandering A blind musician shaking it off From the nooks in his...

In Saadi Shirazi’s Garden (When He Was a Prisoner)

The river flows. Guides hide in the woods. I am a single day dragging an apocalypse of days. Wounded battalions smelling the burning air through the dried blood on the nose. Because the city of water is not far. It is there. The rose orchard is there and there is a golden cup of poison guarded by an angel’s hands. The river gestures from a distance with the shut eyes of an intoxicated concubine and so on until it reaches its end in its own dream.  But from the wall to the...

The Arab Altar

The last thing on our minds was celebrating our wedding, after we had waited so long, to the sound of air raid sirens and the reverberation of Dushka guns targeting the Iranian airplanes attacking Baghdad. Maryam had done everything she could to postpone the wedding, using arguments and excuses I found totally unconvincing. I was doing an MA in contemporary literature at the University of Baghdad. Once I was accepted there, Maryam volunteered to help me check sources and references for my...

The Mulberry Tree

My city—Mosul—was economical even in its delights. During its unhurried spring, which was fragrant with the scents of grass and wild flowers, there were only a few places for people to go on excursions. When they were unable to enjoy an outing, they would tell the following story. A young woman wished to leave her house for an outing, but her husband objected: “What can a person find outside that he doesn’t find at home?” The woman replied, “Grass....

\“Friendship is a religion\”

Tahar Ben Jelloun was born in the city of Fès in 1944. He attended an Arabic-French elementary school, studied French in Tangier until the age of eighteen, then studied philosophy and wrote his first poems at Mohammed V University in Rabat. He is best known for his novels The Sand Child and The Sacred Night, each of which has been translated into forty-three languages, and Racism Explained to My Daughter, which was translated into thirty-three languages. Ben Jelloun's slim...

Page 1 of 3 pages  1 2 3 > 

Like what you read? Help WWB bring you the best new writing from around the world.