168 article(s) translated from Arabic

Solitary Confinement on the Seventh Floor

One day I’ll tear off my lips and eat them like candy. One day I’ll rip out my chest because I’m not an orphanage for gathering angels. One day I’ll remove the door and stand...

“Your Baby”

She felt like laughing. How could she laugh in that position, what would they say about her? It was the first time she’d ever felt the effects of local anesthesia. She’d heard dozens of...

A Knockout Punch

When Adib saw the delegations of athletes waving to the applauding fans in the Moscow stadium, he sighed, I should have been there. He had promised himself a gold medal, and they had all expected one...

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...

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...

Walt Whitman and Me: Notes on a Poetic Education

To the poets of the Lebanese Journal Shi‘r   I know I’m about to write myself into another maze and I’m going to get lost in it. In my infancy there was my father,...

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...

I Am a Refugee

My apologies, Sir, That I come to you As a refugee. Accept me as a human being and not As a slave. Do not look down on me; Do not look me up and down. I am a poet; My testimonies plaster the walls,...

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...

Exile is Born at This Moment

Oh, my love, while you are in my breath, I am a statue of snow at the entrance to Damascus, with eyes closed, nose breathing anger, ears tuned to the noise of death, mouth speechless, trying to say:...

The Curse of the South

“Two kinds of people live in this city: The ones who were born here, and those who came here, fleeing something. Me, I wasn’t born here!” When his fever peaked and he started to...

Chicago: Present-Day Paradise, Future Magic

The great Iraqi writer Mahmoud Saeed was imprisoned in Iraq six times between 1959 and 1980. He left Iraq in 1985 and has lived in Chicago since 1999. He wrote this essay on the eve of his departure...

Bag of the Nation

I took the big bag that I had inherited from my grandfather down from the attic. It was brightly colored like a storm of rainbows. I hoisted it onto my back and went out into the street. I closed my...

The Bamboo Stalk

One evening I called a taxi to go to the gas depot near the central market to change an empty cylinder. One of the streets in Jabriya was severely congested. Jabriya is always crowded, but congestion...

Bushrawi . . . Ranjini

Ranjini I’m frightened. Why are the people I’m to work for late? When will they come for me? My heart is pounding. Will they send me back to my country? I see that it’s dark...

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...

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...

On Death

When we die the words we haven’t said yet turn to bubbles to inflate the body and smuggle it from the grave while the cemetery keeper sleeps. But we run up against the stone slab over our...

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...

A Stray Bullet

After crossing the living room, the library, the corridor and the photo that brings us together on a trip to Nahr al-Kalb, and after passing by the washer and my mother (exhausted in spite of the...

Isolation

It's hot, hot enough to suffocate. There is nothing except this table upon which I sleep, a rectangular hall with four doors and twelve windows. On each side a door. On the shorter sides, two...

A Condition

You’re certain that nothing will dissuade you now. Nothing. Not your neighbors’ invitation to the luncheon to celebrate their boys’ circumcision. Not the kind old lady’s...

Conjunctions

Doves! Doves flying on a horizon of signs and metaphors. I can never hear the word “doves,” nor think of it unexpectedly, without picturing them flying as if they were the horizon's...

The Sad Portuguese

Luis Carvalho was the “sad Portuguese”—that is what they called him, or at least what we called him, we the children in the neighborhoods of Sif, Mahallat al-Pasha, Nadhran, and...

Bled Dry

The Casablanca night doesn’t really begin until after midnight, but after midnight, anything goes. Nezha was wondering where Hammadi would want to finish off the evening. They left La Falaise...