Adeeb Kamal Ad-Deen





Seaview Press

South Australia, Australia 2009


Printed by : Salmat Document Management Solutions Pty Limited

South Australia

Cover  photograph by Shamsaldin Hama





Author: Kamal Ad-Deen, Adeeb

Title: Fatherhood- Adeeb Kamal Ad-Deen





About the Author





Adeeb Kamal Ad-Deen (Iraq -1953) is a poet, journalist and translator who has degrees in Economics and English Literature from the University of Baghdad plus a Diploma of Interpreting (Arabic-English) from Adelaide Institute of TAFE, South Australia.  He has published ten poetry collections and won the major prize of Iraqi poetry in 1999. His poetry has been translated into many languages and reviewed by many Iraqi, Tunisian, Lebanese, Palestinian, Yemeni and Moroccan  critics and published in "Man of Letters: 33 critics write about Adeeb Kamal Ad-Deen's poetry" (edited by Dr. Migdad Rahim). He has translated into Arabic short stories and poems from Australia, Japan, New Zealand, China and the USA.

  Adeeb Kamal Ad-Deen now lives in Australia as an Australian citizen and was a special guest at Friendly Street Poets in Adelaide in 2004 and at the Gallery de la Catessen in Adelaide in 2006. Some of his featured poems have been published in "The Best Australian Poems 2007" (edited by Peter Rose) and in many Australian websites, magazines and books, such as "Southerly", "Meanjin" and "Friendly Street Poets.

His website:  www.adeebk.com


Translated by Professor Aabdulwahed Muhammed and the poet.





-The poems: "Boredom", "An Attempt at Remembrance", "An Attempt at Music" and "Time Runs, Time Drowns" appeared in "Southerly" Magazine (Vol .64, No. 1, 2004), (edited by Rosie Scott and Thomas Keneally).

-"An Attempt at the Bullet" appeared in "Friendly Street Poets: Thirty" (edited by Louise Nicholas and Rob Walker) 2005 and appeared as Featured Poem in Friendly Street Poets' website.

- "Theft" appeared in "Southerly" Magazine (Vol. 66. No.1, 2006).

- "The Man" appeared in "Beyond the Rainbow" (No. 28, 2006).

-"Sleeplessness" appeared in "Meanjin" Magazine (Vol .66, No. 2, 2007) and in "The Best Australian Poems 2007" (edited by Peter Rose).

-"Fire and Sinbad" appeared in “Culture is …" an anthology (edited by Anne-Marie Smith) 2008.




Many thanks to;

Rosslyn Ramsey, Anthony Pain, Jill Gower, Jude Aquilina, Gaetano Aiello and Phil Heang.





Adeeb Kamal Ad-Deen's poetry:


The shades of darkness




Jude Aquilina




  I have had the pleasure of knowing Adeeb Kamal Ad-Deen through my position at the South Australian Writers’ Centre for a number of years.  Even before I read his extraordinary poetry, I soon realised, through our conversations, that he was a wise and articulate man.  Here is a writer who seeks to understand the passion, and the suffering in the world today and, through his poetry, shares his innate knowledge of the human soul. 


  Born in Babylon, Iraq in 1953, Adeeb Kamal Ad-Deen has pursued a lifetime of writing and learning. He has degrees in Economics and English Literature from the University of Baghdad.  He has worked as a journalist and translator, alongside his career as a widely published poet. To date, Adeeb Kamal Ad-Deen has published ten collections of poetry, and his poems have been translated into many languages, including English, German and French.  He recently attained a Diploma of Interpreting (Arabic-English) from Adelaide Institute of TAFE, South Australia.


  Adeeb Kamal Ad-Deen is known as ‘The Man of Letters’ in his home country.  In a literary study on his works, published in 2007 in Lebanon, 33 critics discuss and applauded his poetry.  Adeeb Kamal Ad-Deen is quickly gaining a reputation as one of Australian’s finest poets, with work represented in high profile Australian literary journals like Meanjin and Southerly, and in anthologies such as The Best Australian Poems, 2007, Edited by Peter Rose, published by Black Inc Press and Culture is, 2008, Edited by Anne-Marie Smith, published by Wakefield Press. 


  Layered in meaning and nuance, Kamal Ad-Deen’s poetry is rich with deft imagery and well-chosen, often hard-hitting, language. Wide-ranging in his choice of subject matter, the poet pays heartfelt tribute to loss and grief but also to love in its many forms.  Unafraid to address issues such as war, human rights and personal relationships, Kamal Ad-Deen does so with skill and empathy.  Expect the unexpected!  These poems are loaded with the strange and the symbolic.  Suffering is shared, and the mysteries and intricacies of Iraqi culture are thoughtfully explored, making the personal universal. 


  Adeeb Kamal Ad-Deen’s choice of metaphors and similes is always apt, often pleasingly strange:


 ‘I was as delighted as a corpse

With its new grave.’


  His poems reflect his love of language, both English and Arabic, and are rich with exotic imagery, as in ‘An Attempt at Eulogy’.  Here the use of repetition and word play, create a dreamlike picture in the reader’s mind:


 ‘As good as a lost date

As lean as a Bedouin fire’. . .

‘as lean as a lost date

As good as a Bedouin fire’.


  Kamal Ad-Deen’s love of language, of words, and in particular of the letters in the Arabic alphabet is apparent throughout this collection.  The letters that make up the holy Koran are explored in depth and steeped in symbolism.


  In the tender poem ‘Kelmat’ the poet writes to his ten-year-old daughter:


‘Whenever I want to drink from the glass

The glass of poison

As Socrates did

I remember you

And I throw the glass away.’


  The poet’s subtle sense of humour is also well placed, providing balance to the shades of darkness; I quote, ‘like a good fire which dogs make water on’. Often cyclic in form and always satisfyingly whole, these poems know how to dance!



  As a fellow poet, I am grateful that Adeeb Kamal Ad-Deen chose to make Adelaide his home.  His contribution to the South Australian writing community and to Australian poetry publishing is already significant.  His dedication to the art is evident in the steady stream of new work he produces and publishes.  I look forward to reading more of his writings, both new and translated older works.

 I am certain that the exciting poetic voice of Adeeb Kamal Ad-Deen will continue to resonate with readers around the world.




Jude Aquilina 






The poems:

- Kelmat

- An Attempt at Hamlet

- Fatherhood


- Sleeplessness


- Boredom


- An Attempt at the Bullet

- An Attempt at Isolation

- An Attempt to Await


- Strangers’ Dining Table


- An Attempt at Eulogy

- Theft

- The Past of Meaning

- An Attempt at Joy

- Laughter


- The Head's Loneliness


- Graves of Meaning

- The crow

- An Attempt at Remembrance


- Fire and Sinbad


- Losses 


- The Piper

- An Attempt at Music

- Time Runs, Time Drowns

- An Attempt at Madness


- An Attempt to Write

- An Attempt to Voice

- The Man

- Small Poems

- Dyad


- An Attempt to Fly




Kelmat *




Whenever I want to drink from the glass

The glass of poison

As Socrates did

I remember you

And I throw the glass away.


Whenever I want to travel throughout the Heaven

As Dante did

Or to have my brother and myself lost

As Joseph’s brothers did

Or to enter the fire

As Abraham did

I remember you

And I stop traveling,


And fire.


All right, then

If you take me back to life.

All right …

But what is the solution

When death, my faithful friend,

Does not stop knocking at my door?

Tell him with the innocence of your heart

Not to come back

Ere we meet

On the peak of letter mountain

Or in exile

Or in legend.


All right, then

For me to resume practicing my role

In the drama of the lost humanity.

A drama that continued from Babylon to Baghdad

To Beirut, Berlin and London

Then surely ended in hell.

All right, then

To resume practicing my role

As your father.

But I cannot talk well to you

Since your alphabet is six thousand years old

Nor can I dance well with you

For my white and red blood cells

Have been exhausted by oppression and captivity

Nor can I give you advice

Because you are more mature

Than the queen bee.


That is how things are

I bend before you

Like an emaciated lion

Ruined by years, loneliness and earthquake.

I bend before you

And ask you again

Nay, I beg you as an Indian beggar

To let me drink the glass of poison

And I promise you I will never drink it again,

My daughter!


 * Kelmat is the name of the poet’s daughter. She is ten years old as the poet writes this poem.



An Attempt at Hamlet



A cloud of innocence,

Tell me; how did the whole world

Accumulate in your body,

Then get lost in water?

Tell me; how was my father murdered?

How did my mother release the snake

At my childhood’s birds?

How did the ghost lead me to the ghost?

And death to the flood?



Your moony body is my age’s elegy.

Thus let me, like an orphan child

Whose feast garment is stolen,

Cry at you.

Let me explore your fresh body

To know the secret of madness and delirium.

Let me explore your forehead

To know the secret of rain.

Let me explore your fingers.

To know the secret of joy

Let me explore your slim belly

To know the secret of childhood and assurance.



Your mythical beauty tortured me every day

Until it led me to the exiles of words.

Your saliva delighted me

As a magician who gets delighted with the thunderbolt.

Thus hug me

Before the last drop of my blood

Will pass away like you.

Hug me,

Before the water eats me.


Ophelia extended her hands to me.

But once I kissed her luxuriant fingers,

Then they turned to daggers and insults.

Once I kissed her charming breast

Then the devils and elfs came out

And surrounded me all around.

Once I kissed her lips,

Then the snake appeared to me

And made me drink the poison

In order to die... forever.









 The sea is a cruel father

Who deliberately frightens me with a knife.

The sea is false dates

And vague signals of glow and moaning.

The sea is blazing wars

And people deserting homelands

Sleeping naked at night like fish.

The sea is poems

Examining their palms by the fire

To realize the secret of my youth.

The sea is women, taking off the cuffs

Dancing at a mythical down

The song of the drowning boats

And the captain's moan.

They whisper like crystal

I, the enchanted child, rise up

I grope the waist of sand and the mounds of mud.


Go down!

The sea is a myth.

The spirit's bunches have fallen

In the middle of the waves.

The love words have fallen and the grass has roved.

The hours have disappeared.


You have not brought me the sea pearls

As people have brought.

What a disappointment!

You have come to me with poor man's eyes,

Martyr's homesickness,

A prophet's speech,

And a song saying:

The sea is an everlasting blood bleeding

From a god's wound.


The sea is a father,


Will slay me with a knife!








The flower dropped into the well.

The boys disbanded.

Oh! My eye,

Your eye has become a minaret and ash.


Time was almost dawn

And no one housed you: who houses us?

Your palm was empty except for the scent of myrtle

And of a dream extended to fuse the circle of people

Into flowers, Euphrates and date palms.

Running after the years tried us.

A letter like a hot bull tried us:

How could we tame it by our nails?

Our nails were full of the moaning,

Of blood and head.


You who dropped the flower into the well

You who dropped the flower into the guards' well.

Now you have become no more than a blind dervish

Weeping in the darkness for God's sun.


At this moment there is no one to protect you from

The people's action

The people are asleep…..asleep.








I got bored with looking at the bears

Eating greedily the giving

Of their great bear,

And with the monkeys

Climbing the trees

Every day

To throw fruit

And fill the air with screaming and yelling.

I got bored with the dogs

Sniffing the corpses,

With the parrots crushing the words,

And with the dove deserting us

Every day

To die in the midst of the letter boat

Searching for Noah and his great flood.


I got bored with waiting and non-waiting,

With advantage and disadvantage,

With friendship and enmity,

With the charity bread

And the bread soaked in blood,

With the scent of meaning

And the scent of meaninglessness,

With heaven that never comes

And with hell that stripteases every day

To uncover its violent attractiveness

In the circus of great torture.


I got bored with crying and silence,

With tears and with petrified tears,

With those who crossed the isthmus

And sold our clothes.

With those who surrounded us

And stole our letters

In great pleasure.


I got bored with mail

And the post box,

With the faithless friends,

And the rough friends,

And the thieving friends

With the letter at its blazing

But finds nobody to see its light.

And the letter dying

But finds nobody to recite upon it

The first sura of the Holy Koran.


I got bored with war and peace,

With hunting and hiding,

With poverty and the ghost of poverty,

With hunger and the bear of hunger,

With embers put on the tongue,

With the salt put in the base of the wall,

With female slaves’ legs and effeminate men,

With harlots’ lips,

Spinsters’ breasts

And beggars’ palms

With time that turns into sand,

Straw and ash.

I got bored with you;

Whoever you are

Wherever you are

I got bored with myself;

I am the great bored one.


An Attempt at the Bullet



I had a heart

When I grew up

My heart turned into a sparrow

Then into a flower,

A word,

A tear,

A piece of bread.

When I became older

My heart turned into a steel bullet,

Cold and smooth.

Once I tried to protest against this change

The warplanes saw my heart from a distance

And sent a rocket at me.

It blasted me from inside

So, I fragmentized … fragmentized

Until I saw the sparrow dropping

With one wing,

And I smelt the flower red and red.

With the word, I wrote my tear and bread

And I touched the bullet;

It was as cold and smooth as death.





  An Attempt at Isolation


After my friends and brothers

Dropped in the sea of hate,

I got into my boat

Traveling up to the lake of my blood.


After uncountable disasters,

I reached myself and settled in.

I was as delighted as a corpse

With its new grave.


 Thus, I have sat in myself

To guard myself.

In order not to forget

What has been done to me,

I have put a spear at my door,

And spotted it with my blood.

I have made out of mud a head like mine.

I have put it on the spear and wept,

Wept until my soul flowed out

Then, I brought my soul back to the head.


Every morning I submissively kneel before the head

To say: “Good morning, Head!

You are heavy with sorrow and letters”.

The head replies very calmly:

“Good morning, owner of happy isolation”!



An Attempt to Await



   Which awaits which?

   Does the sun await the street?

   Or does the street await the people:

   The simpletons and the beggars?

   Do the fields await the bees?

   Or do the bees await death?

   Or does death await darkness?

   Which awaits which?

   Does disappointment await surprise?

   Or does surprise await uselessness?

   Does futility await lies?

   Or do women await gossip?

   Which awaits which?

   Does the bridge await the Euphrates?

   Or does the Euphrates await the hunched bridge?

   Does the poet await the letters?

   Or do the letters await the dots?

   Which awaits which?

   Does the killer await the victim?

   Or does the victim await the knife?

   Does time await people to put them to death?

   Or do people await Time to beg or to become old?

   Which awaits which?

   Does the magician await the jinns*?

   Or does the jinns knock at the door

   After being bored with waiting?


   What a wait!

   When the sun cried I charged the street.

   When the fields cried I charged the bees.

   When fear cried I charged death.

   When disappointment cried I charged surprise.

   When women cried I charged the gossip.

   When the poet cried I charged letters.

   When the bridge cried I charged the Euphrates.

   What a wait!

   What a torture!

   When the killer cried I charged the victim.

   When Time cried I charged the people.

   When the magician cried I charged the jinns.


   What a wait!

   It is said that the jinns and I

   Were waiting.

   If they knew,

   They would not have tolerated this strange torture.

   If they knew, they would have flown, flown, flown


   O! jinns

   Remember me … remember me.

   I am together with you in the flask of waiting.

   I am together with you in an iron flask.


 * Jinn is a supernatural fiery creature.




 Strangers’ Dining Table




Strangers met at a dining table

My heart's table.

The eldest was turbaned

The second ascetic

The third erotic

The fourth a drunkard

The fifth omniscient

The sixth comic

The seventh a magician.

Instead of a joyful talk

On the affairs of birds, women and the life after death

The whole lot exchanged insults and calling names.

Then one of them proposed firing …

I was about to die!

I was the eighth … the dumb!




An Attempt at Eulogy



At forty years old

In the fortieth year

I sat at the door of a dream.

The dream was as lean as a lost date

As good as a Bedouin fire.

The playing cards were showing its picture

With or without a crown

In a formal uniform or with iqal* on head.

I became aware of its silence.

I wept for its pearly tenderness.


At the fortieth shout

I said:

Dream, whose picture is shown by the playing cards

On the right and the left

On the left and the right,

How much we have missed your kindness.

How much we have missed your riding

The horses and the evenings

Asking after us

We the undated letters

And the futureless dots

And the meaningless future

And the meaning that leads us ferociously

To the death arena.


On the fortieth night

My shout fell down.

So I collected its fragmented glass with my wounded tongue.

The shout was drawn by freedom.

The shout was childish like water.

I said:

You, whose thin picture is shown by time cards

Up and down

Down and up,

How do I deplore your royal forehead?

I who made the tragedy by my blood

And by the flight from the fake lion that ate my liver.


In the fortieth treasure

The suns shrank and everything vanished.

The river Tigris was not drawn with ink

Nor with blood

Nor with anything

As if Tigris had never existed.

I wondered at my cowardliness

And at the confusion of my tales.

But your treasure – treasure of history – is more wonderful

And your tale – tale of the depressed – is more complete.

At the fortieth stab

I sat near your tree: the fig tree and said

Tree of the one whose picture is shown by trees

Time and again,

I am now near you in the capitals of hunger.

I pray God to make you fruitful

So that I may be satiated

And to supply you with water

So that I may satisfy my thirst

And to invoke you to write

So that I may write my song for the dream

Whose picture is shown by dust

As good as a lost date

As lean as a Bedouin fire.


At the fortieth door

The dream had no interest in my shouts and death rattles

Nor in my nudity and loss.

The dream was over there …

Without his queens

Without his butlers and retinue

Without his guards, throne and gold

Without any of those who carry out his orders.

The dream was over there …

Lying dead

Like a letter falling out of a dumb mouth

Like a love date torn by knives

Like a good fire which dogs made water on. 

 *Iqal: a double-folded felt rope usually worn on the head by Arabs.






The letter has left me

And retired in a corner.

It could hardly bear

The mountains of sadness

Borne by the hands of my watch.

It could hardly bear

My crazy loneliness

Nor my childhood that expanded

And turned into an endless sea

Nor my age which was nearly

Fifty disasters old.

The letter has retired in a corner

Placed his head between his hands and cried.

I also cried until my soul flowed.

I returned it to my letter.

My letter cried until its dot flowed.

I returned it to Him ….to God.


Thus, I was destined

To see my head borne by spears

Like Al-Hussain’s head

To see my body ulcerate and die

Like Job’s body.

To carry on my back

Prometheus Rock

In order to exchange the madness of the homeland

By the unknown madness

And the Euphrates ash by the ash of the crippled rivers

And the joy of the Tigris by the joy of the cloud

With worn-out under wears.



It was a happy day.

During which I fetched a loaf

For my children, exiled far into dream

Without setting fire to Baghdad

Through Haulage wars

Nor killing the disarmed simple people

Through Tamer Lane wars

Nor plundering female slaves

Through Genghis Khan's Wars

Without Kneeling to the Pharaoh of the Age

Without hoisting the Barbarians' flag

Without interfering in the crippled towns' wars.

A hot loaf

I baked it in the dream of the good letter

And in the heavenly dot whose stalk is stable

And whose heart is in the sky.

But the thieves were waiting for me:

Pharaoh's thieves

Haulage's thieves

Tamer Lane's thieves

Genghis Khan’s thieves

The Barbarians’ thieves

And the crippled towns’ thieves.

They robbed me in the broad light

Cut my hand and blinded my eye

And stole my hot loaf.

Tonight, what will I say to my children?

Tonight, what will I say to my heart?

Tonight, what will I say to my letter

And my dot?




The Past of Meaning


The past came at the white dawn

Wearing a soiled hat

And a black dress.

The past came to streets that he knows

As a woman knows her hoopoe

And the place in which she submitted her nightingales to death.


The past behind the door, is he…?

But who can assure me that I can stay

Easy as the ladder

When a child attends so excited with death and forgetfulness?


The past is behind the door

While I am, for ages, wakeful as a broken clock.

But the past dare not enter

And I dare not open the door for guests I do not know.


The past sat behind the door.

He ate behind the door,

Slept and woke at dawn.

He thought of nothingness for long.

He married and practiced his blue habit.


Behind me is the door, before me is the door

Behind me is the past, before me is the past.


Through the hole in the door

I see him getting up from death

Walking to and fro,

To and fro and talking nonsense.

I arrest myself.


At a white dawn like a knife

I saw the soiled hat and the black dress.

I remembered I was behind the door for countless ages

As broken clocks I remained wakeful,

Catching the past with my palm

I stab him with the knife.

I choke him happily with death's breeze

Happily as the sunbeam

Happily with my moaning

Happily with the blackness of my blood.




 An Attempt at Joy




   I reached out my hand to God

   To what is permissible by God.

   When He looked at me with all his mercy

   That wraps everything

   He did not place gold in my entreating palm

   Nor silver dinars.

   He placed nothing but a little letter

   It glittered with hope

   Like the feast of an orphan child.

   When God looked at my thirsty tear

   And my smashed heart

   He sped up to put a dot

   In the middle of the letter.

   So my heart became full of gold and silver dinars

   Become full of wisdom, joy and love.

   Thus, I was a desert and the letter a camel.

   Thus, I was a loss and the dot a meaning.

   Thus, it was my case until I had a fill.

   Thus, I flew together with my camel

   I flew like a cloud of light.





   The rain has fallen drop by drop

   Wave by wave

   Sea by sea

   Until the sun has risen, dancing in its wonderful light.

   The children have laughed

   And flown through the trees of almond, apple and orange.

   The girls have laughed

   And become conscious of their beautiful rounded breasts.

   The sweethearts who have been smashed by love

   And the screams of the body constrained every night

   Have laughed.

   The sparrows and starlings have laughed

   In the middle of light and smoke.

   The clocks and hospitals have laughed.

   So have the patients, searching for a hope of recovery.

   The policeman and the dictator have laughed.

   So have the explosive-maker

   And the bribed border guards.

   The saints, the amazed, the exiled

   And the semi-dressed women dancers have laughed.

   So have the pupils

   The bankers

   The taxi drivers

   The coolies and the fruit sellers

   The thieves, the detectives

   The genius and the quasi-genius

   So have the effeminate and the passers by.

   Those fond of nudeness

   And of tables of plentiful wine have laughed.

   The murdered and the drowned have laughed

   Then the dead altogether have laughed

   The laughter has increased



   I alone was reflecting on the scene and crying.

   I alone was reflecting on the scene

   And slowly dying.





The Head's Loneliness



In my height,

I heard the sound of days,

The days were as widows dressed in black.

In my paleness,

I heard the guard’s voice

Quarrelling about the spoils of

My boyhood, my youth and my beard’s whiteness.

So, I got confused;

Was copper so cheap to this extent against gold?


In my height and paleness,

My eyes were too tired to see

Thus, I started to see through my ears

And perceive through my heart.

It was an absolute loneliness

Loneliness looked just like me,

I was the armless man

Stabbed and confounded by the scene of blood

Dripping heavily as a waterfall.

The scene of blood was frigid and quiet

As a child’s lullaby.


In my height and paleness,

I was transported from war to war,

From desert to desert,

From ship to ship,

From confusion to confusion,

From copper to copper.

But gold observed me.

My friends – before my enemies – bowed

In front of the brilliance of gold.

They secretly handed me to Judas

And Judas, before everybody got up

From his restless sleep,

From his bitter greed,

Led me to my exile and hell.

Led me to my long spear.



My long spear!

All of them bear copper spears

Mine is the longest.


How cool my forehead is!

How peaceful my dream is!

How beautiful my birds are!

They follow me from slavery to slavery

From freedom to freedom.

All of them see but they do not understand.

All of them get tortured by the copper spears

That enter their eyes blinded by brilliance.

What cries they had!

What sobs they had!

What disappointments they had!


In my height,

In my loneliness, paleness,

And in my great travel,

I heard the sound of everything.

With the eyes, the ears, the heart

I saw everything.

I mocked the brilliance of gold and copper

The brilliance of guards

The brilliance of days

And the brilliance of words.



Graves of Meaning



A female forest is breaking off relations

In an ambiguous music and wearing red colors

Until I have ascertained that water

Partially represented my shape.

I am vanishing and turning into a wolf

Near the glass of the forest

A wolf searching for his she-wolf.

I am the night, the only night,

What is happening?

The forest is playing.

The play here is fierce and as sharp as a knife.

The finger is raising something.

The laughs are tearing off the clouds of the room.

The female refuses, a female near a female,

Nothing but a female.

Time of female, give me a banquet!

Do you play with the forest near me

While I tear into times of desires?

Do not scream, nor stab;

I am thrown into the past of the past.

The forest refuses, becomes angry

And hides its laughs.

The colors flow: the green is embraced by the red,

The blue is crystal,

The yellow uncovers the colors of my torture.

So, at ten years old I become a boy

At twenty years old I became a monster

At seventy years old I turn into a cave.

The forest is playing.

Look! Stare! Nothing but blind staring!

The forest strips something, wears charm, grows and shows.

The forest is ambiguous days breaking at night

As a language invites the sea vehemently.

The female laughs by the sea.

That finger uncovers something recklessly.

An aged man inside me torn by the torrential flow of colors

A man tortured by a female body sleeps for years

And wakes up on a dam of lusts

A child tried by the night and leafed a down of birds.

The forest is a female of light.

The forest is playing. Look! Stare! Spend your lifetime!

Nothing but the wicked staring!

The forest is a comedy.

The aged man passed away.

The female is satiated by her play.

She wore a black dress to cover

The nakedness of fresh body.

The child cried, cried at midnight.

And I, carrying the aged man's coffin

With female's colors and child's cry,

Went away to water graves.



The crow


 When the crow passed

Over the head of Death, it said:

“I am the crow!”

“So what?” Death said.

“I am the black crow!” the crow said.

So Death laughed and said:

“For me you are whiter than ice!”


Yesterday I remembered you

You have no name nor address.

You whom I forgot before

The beginning of the flood.

So I danced without arms and feet.


When they removed my naked body to you.

People laughed at the whiteness of my heart

And at the blackness of my corpse.


Music of pain is unforgettable

And lies of love are as true as

The kiss of a teenager.


Why does time haunt you?

Is it because you have breasts of pomegranate,

A belly of ivory,

Eyes narrow as a southern boat,

And a fate that looks like the crow’s?


Music played our fate;

There were not so many colours.

There was black as blood

And there was white as blood too.


I return to poetry

As usual

Because of you.

I return to see Time

Beating my letters with his great whip.

I return to see my biggest dot

That looks like a big city

Losing in the sea.


Your kisses did not reach.

Maybe because the postman

Was jealous of me.

Maybe because your language

Was white as the crow.


Your kisses did not reach

Though your neck was warm.

Yes, you were in your nineteenth summer.


You were full of music,

Moony as a summer night,

Obedient as a jewel that lights in the dark,

Silly as a parrot that lisps,

Foolish as a mad man’s laugh.


You who taught me to dance:

Dance over the corpses of letters

And over the remains of burnt clocks.


You are my crow.

This is what I had to say

At the beginning of the poem

To relieve others and relieve myself.




An Attempt at Remembrance



Here I am!

I have come back to your remembrance,

Come back like a beaten army

So, do not try with me your attempt

To count the wounded and missing.


Letter, your dot was a winter's fire

And smoke of a happy cigarette.

Your dot was the suns caught in the hand,

An ambiguous summer full of kisses

And a sudden entrance to the happy nothingness.


After your parting,

My death began as a mythical festival.

When I asked about its name,

I was boxed on my mouth

Until my blood flowed.


Here I am!

I have come back to you

Like an addict who decided

For the thousandth time

To give up drink

And managed so every time!


After you was my mirror

That smiled to my smile

And got excited at my coming,

You became my absurdity

That seized me wherever it saw me

Or whenever it remembered one letter

Of my broken letters.


I do not conceal this secret from you;

After you left,

I turned into a sharp zero,

An everlasting loss.

I turned into poetry people loved

But I did not.

Because it was a bleeding

Only an intensive bleeding.


I do not conceal this secret from you;

After your green night,

The nights became fragments.

After your fresh bed

The beds were no more than deathbeds.

After your room on the top

The rooms rendered into basements.

After your sharp kiss and honey saliva,

The kisses became slain birds.

And after your words as good as childhood,

Words became artificial teeth.


After you left, time got lost

And nobody knew where.

I asked everything about everything

But nothing answered me about anything.

I published an advertisement

In all the newspapers,

Asking, where, where and where

So, I was accused of mystery,

Forgetfulness and nowhere.



I imagined women to be like you;

Trees of green and fruit of gold,

But my imagination was naked,

And my nakedness was great.

I imagined the towns to be like yours

To be myths of black love, kisses of fire

And stormy meetings like glassfuls of alcohol

But I found them towns of dead people

Who communicated through barking

And offered each other

Nothing but bouquets of insults.






Fire and Sinbad




Whose fire is that surrounding us

As the torches surround a naked witch?

Is it Hell's fire or Magi's fire?

Is it yearning's fire or Al-Bassos fire*? 




  During the travels of my great illusion

  I tore up the dot of love.

  In it I found the blank space as white as death

  Or as black as the sun of a killed feast.  




  The letter is my heart's orchard and my blood's apple.

  The letter is my master,

  My blind old man who rolls me

  From one mountain to another 

  From one desert to another

  From a drowning boat to another burning

  With wonderful beauty.




The drum is my blood.

The sea is my brother.

The travel is my sister.

The fire is my mother.

The letter is my sweetheart.

But who are you

You who keep screaming all the time: "Help! Help!"

Are you my son or my father?




Miserable is Sinbad

For he fights boredom and death.

As for me, I have to fight boredom,

Death and fire.

Yes, I have to eat fire every morning

And cling to a drowning letter

To reach a land drowning every night

And floating every morning

Like Sinbad who became bored with himself

And with his home address.




* It is a long pre-Islamic tribal war.








My losses are no longer unbearable.

No sooner do I come out of a loss

Then I fall into another.

I – for example – died,

Died a long time ago

And had enough death.

When I decided to rise from my death,

Dressed green rather than black

Ride the cloud instead of the bicycle,

I was shocked

By the corruption of the cloud

And the tear of its underwear.


My losses are no longer unbearable.

I have gone into fire and got burnt well enough.

When I rose up from my ashes

And gathered my ashes

And sprayed in my blood

Lest I might newly die,

I was shocked to know

That those who threw me into fire

Were my friends to whom

I gave the light of the green

And my beloved people to whom

I granted the sun of the cloud.

So, I got puzzled as I had not had

Myself ready for the role of a redeemer.

And I did not imagine that Judas’s role

Would be re-shown everywhere with great success.


My losses are no longer unbearable.

When I thought over the names of cities

I found them similar to death.

And when I thought over the names of rains,

Wounds, thunderbolts and women

I grew puzzled

Because my body that rose up

From its death dozens of times

And my heart that resisted

The storm, the blood, and the gold

Wept before me as two orphan children

And complained to me of the lost dream.

They screamed because of the lost dream,

They went down streets like any crazy couple.

So what else could I do but uncover;

My losses are no longer unbearable

No longer … no longer …unbearable.

Thus I will uncover

The rearrangement of the rivers,

Make them run from the south to the north

To reduce my pains.

I will rearrange the clouds

Make them travel by mail

To reduce my childhood’s nakedness.

I will rearrange the tears

make them more mysterious

To satisfy the longing of my gold towers.

So nobody can observe my crying

And nobody can rejoice at my disaster.




The Piper


In the middle of a yellow, blue and orange cloud

I sat and looked at the world’s greenness.

As it carried me,

Crossing from a time to a time

And from an age to another.

The cloud stopped.

A beautiful sound of the pipe was heard

Like a spring in the middle of summer.

The cloud stopped.

I had a look down

So that I might see the piper.

I imagined he was my father.

But he was not.

I imagined he was my son.

He was not.

Maybe it was I.

I was not.

He was nobody at all.

It was a beautiful, astonishing sound

Filling everything with pleasure and gold.


The cloud got tired.

I looked and found my father

Lying on a cloud ahead of me

And my son riding a cloud following me.

The cloud got tired from stopping.

So, it moved quietly to the end.

But our clouds,


Started to lose their delightful colours

And became darker and darker.



An Attempt at Music



Music is falling, falling

Like a bird,

A bunch of grapes,

A waterfall.

So my heart flies with the bird

But my hand can not touch it.

The bunch of grapes touches my lips

But there is no love knife

To cut our sharp emptiness.

And the waterfall comes to me

I become water to meet it,

But I collide with its big stone and drown.


Even the letters made me worn-out.

They are the only visitors in my biggest loneliness

Who did not hold in their hands:

A sun’s bouquet,

A handful of the moon

Or kisses of feathers.


Everybody dressed in the clothes

Of the other

Except me.

When I found nothing to dress in,

I went out naked to the street

Stark naked.



Music is falling

With the nice letters ‘L’

Which are as sweet as children’s lips,

With the chirp letters ‘R’

The whispering letters ‘S’

And the dew of the letters ‘N’.


Music is coming.

I rise from death

To meet it as two orphan children

Sighing on the festival swing.


Since I had acquainted with my blood

I found it surrounded by birds.

Since I had acquainted with my heart

I found it brimmed with alphabets.


Happiness is a ballet dancer

And sadness is a Bedouin

Making earth as a seat for him

To play on the rebec.


My death was admired by me.

But when I tried to repeat it

I went crazy!


Music is falling, falling

The soul gets lost

Then vanishes.


Music melts as silver does.

Music sleeps like lovers

Tired by long parting

And heavy abandonment.


What beauty!

Music plays on

And the letters blaze.


The rich man delights with the hotel’s female slaves.

The singer delights with his new sweetheart.

But I, like music,

Seek delight only in myself

Only mix with my letters and dots.


How long will I be tortured  

By the bleeding of letters;

The protest of the letters ‘H’

The loss of the letters ‘R’

In the memory of the lost cities,

The hypocrisy of the letters ‘S’

The inversion of the letters ‘B’ until death?

My God,

How long will the bleeding of letters torture me?




Time Runs, Time Drowns



Time runs, runs

As a thief hunted by a policeman

Drawing his big gun.

Time drowns

As a child breathing his last breaths

In front of us; the poor who have been created

Without hands and feet.


Time is an old man

As good as his white beard.

But when I wanted to bid him farewell

I was shocked by his room

Full of the remains of henna

Full of usurers, hangmen, and harlots

Together with their giggles, trifles and heavy breaths.


Time is my letters and dots

Surrounding me with clock’s hands.

Time is my hours that search

In vain for two good arms,

Two lips compact with warmth and blossoms.


Time is an urn in which delight

Was poured,

Then set at my heart’s shelf.

But the black cats broke the urn.

I did not go out to drive them off

Because my heart died of bleeding,

Died of delight.


Time is a woman who stripteases

In front of the dogs with high backs,

Strong and delightful as their lifted tails.


Time is a mother who dropped

Her child from the iron bridge

In fear of hunger.

Thus her infant cried on his drowning brother

For full forty years.


Time is a myth that we try to draw

And modify by false colors

And stick our naive poems

On its ruined wall.


Time is my friends who died without reason

Except that they puzzled a little

In front of the ghost of love

Or the ghost of death.


Time is a candle that does not give up

Spreading darkness.

And days that are seized and charged of striptease

In the markets.


Time is a lute, a tambourine, and a pipe

Drowning in the warmth of your song.

That hunts me

From one street to another,

From one house to another.


Time is unbearable noise

And infinite silly things

And clack that deafens the ears.


Time is a bullet.

You must quietly stand before its course

So that it will get your good heart!


An Attempt at Madness



The moon is at the door

Hung by its feet.


Everybody became self-sufficient

As a cut string.


Friends beget hither and thither

Lies and trifles.


The meaning is imprisoned within itself

None can redeem it

Nor even I.


Those who died

Had written well their destroyed poems.


Yesterday I died.

In the morning I, as usual, woke up.


Hunger is a letter.

All you need is to envelop it

And send to you.


To me.


The woman died: so did the dream,

The sense and the dawn.

Her death was an occasion for forty other disasters.


Madness is beautiful

Because it is my post box full of birds

And my future full of darkness.


My letters have protested

Against the grief mountains in themselves.

So I crushed them with a hand of steel

With patience and horror.


The poet and the ruler died.

The philosopher died

And the historian died.

When the fruit seller died

The people, then, protested.


My only friend who survived

Sent me a letter, full of serpents and owls.

It filled my home with horror.


When I read my poems yesterday

In a public celebration

A large mass of audience was there

I had never dreamt of.

Over there, there was none

But my heart,

My table

And my blood.


Your love is poetry of light

And you, my sweetheart,are

A she- prophet of darkness.


When I wrote your name, I became embarrassed.

I madly loved its letters.

I feared that people would behold them.

Nay, I feared that I would behold them myself.


Where are you?

Bring back to my blood Africa’s drums,

Asia’s follies

And the phantoms of the lower world.


Your love has become a poem.

All the crazy people of the Earth

Are fond of it.

How wonderful!


Your love has led my poetry

To the essence of letters and dots.

It has led me to superiority

To superiority madness.



The moon is at the door.

It has lifted one foot!




An Attempt to Write



The poet wrote the title of his poem.

He was tired like a severed head

Alone like a desert falling into the sea

Lonely like a grave waiting for a corpse

Stolen by thieves.

When he attempted to write his poem

The head besieged him

The desert surrounded him

The corpse and the grave mock him

And the thieves captured him very happily.


Time is dust.

The day is straw.

The hour is an ash.

When the poet caught

The first letter of dust

The first letter of straw

The first letter of ash

He turned into a letter without dot,

Without joy or fire.


I searched for my childhood in an old song.

I searched for it in the date palm of Babylon.

I asked Hilla’s* night about it.

I found it nowhere but in the palm of a child beggar

Sitting near an old bridge

Reaching out his hands to the frowning passers-by.

Now he laughs, then he weeps or sleeps.


The poet wrote his elegy

And searched for a listener but he found nobody

Only the Euphrates

Who listened and kissed it

And concealed it within his heart:

 In the middle of mud and fish.


The woman is in the mirror.

The mirror is in the bathroom.

The bathroom is in the drum.

The drum is in the dinar.

The dinar is in poverty.

Poverty is my friend

Poverty is my lovers,

My people and my sun.


The poet wrote the address of his grief

As well as the address of his post box;

Bankrupted to death

And the phone number of his pain.

That he sent to the elegant magazines and newspapers.

The magazines competed to publish these poems

And to full them with joyful colours.

But they forgot to reply

To the address of the bankrupt post box

And to the phone number of his great pain.



* Hilla: an Iraqi city near old Babylon.




An Attempt to Voice




   Are the occasions of my loss and exhaustion

   So few to justify, my voice, that you also

   Become lost and exhausted?


   You, my voice, were my throat’s nightingale.

   Now as you have soared further away

   My throat has appeared to my eyewitness

   As a cold cage of iron.


   Nobody can help me in my disaster.

   The doctors remained silent.

   The medicines became mute.

   The prayer trembled between my fingers.

   The only thing on the phone line was my tears

   Shouting: hello, hello.


   As the pit of my grave deepens more and more

   The poetry I write grows deeper and deeper

   What an irony!


  Friends, Pay attention!

  The nightingale flew away

  And the crow laughed.


 When will you come down?

 Tell me: when will you come down?

 Or am in front of me

 Find myself dying member by member?



My voice, the bird, come down!

I will not whip you as a slave.

I will not let you thirst to death

Nor shout at you as a mad man.

I will not ask you to sing needlessly nor to protest

Nor to part with the text

When the text gets stupid.

Light down, Bird!

I will not let Sophocles pull out his creatures’ eyes

On the stage of my blood

Nor At-Tawhidi * burn his books every night

In the desert of my dream

Nor Al–Maarri * die alone

As I do

And as you do.



 *At-Tawhidi is a great Arabic philosopher who burns his book at the end of his life.

* Al–Maarri is a famous, blind Arabic poet.



The Man


Your name has the light of sun when rising

At dawn through the universes of darkness

Or the coast' brightness

Dawns through the sailors' screams

In the middle of the seas of darkness.


In suspect,

I groped torn off limbs

Searching for torn off limbs

Calling your name.


The darkness absorbed me

And the sea inside my chest flooded.

I have not yet beaten the sea with my stick

Nor have I drunk from the spring of wisdom.

The sailors inside me screamed: where is the captain?

I wept when I saw the people naked smiling around me.


Now erect

Your wall around me.

You, by your name,

The sea bottom shakes,

The stab deeply sinks,

The curse with two canines averts.

Grant me unsuspicious head

Not complaining of the horror of the wild waves.

Grant me two eyes,

A lip and two hands.

Tear out whatever hate or torture I have.

Now erect

Your wall around me.

You, who leaves me in suspect

To live, to die, and to be resurrected

So that to be buried

In the middle of the barking dead.



Small Poems




Do not go further

Than the children's table,

Than the lofty joy's table,

Than lofty date-palms,

The duck's singing,

The clay icons and the winds of herbs.

Do not go further than the desert of jealousy,

The blue sleep,

The desert of white lime and the unkempt words.

Do not go further than the body of vision.


 What is the use of poems

If they do not lead me?


“What do I do- the stag said -

If you drink from my pulse?”

The crocodile was silent for a while.

On the stag's cheek 

On the river's cheek and flowers'

The crocodile patted smilingly.

Only moments passed

The crocodile devoured the stag.

Only moments passed

The crocodile devoured the river and the flowers.


I fear that my black moons will steal me.

I fear that my black moons will leave me

As a dead whale at the coast. 

I fear that I fear.


Do you remember who named you

Who gave you the frustration and the play?

Do you remember who gave you;

Named you after the play' name?



Once the memory occurs to the mind.


My memory has gone like the dust of wild storm.


It has cut the trees of exile

And brought the birds' moaning.

Remind …. Who …?

The memory!


My love is papers blown by wind; it is haunted by pleasure.

My love is papers for streets inhabited by strangers

And for streets as lost as estrangement.

My love is papers from black mud.

Papers refuse and migrate, sow or forget.

Papers for the past and desire.

Papers for jealousy and enchantment: white papers!






   The kiss is a she-gazelle. 

   The date is two eyes, a sahara and a gun.


   The kiss is a love poem.

   The date is a stab in the belly.


   The kiss is a butterfly.

   The date is golden fish.


   The kiss is wonderful tenderness.

   The date is a great bed.


   The kiss is a feast.

   The date is happy children

   In the middle of streets

   Full of horse-drawn carriages.


   The kiss is vagueness.

   The date is an attempt to decipher the puzzles.


   The kiss is a lie.

   The date is a false witness.


   The kiss is separation.

   The date is a song glorifying separation.


   The kiss is a dead smile on a drunkard’s mouth.

   The date is a fragmented glass.


   The kiss is a legend.

   The date is a world legend conference.


   The kiss is a waiting.

   The date is the poems of waiting

   Written in Cuneiform, Sanskrit and Arabic

   On the Book of Existence.


   The kiss is a blossom.

   The date is a garden full of honey.


   The kiss is a green beach.

   The date is a poet who does not stop smoking hope.


   The kiss is a star.

   The date is the sky held by a she-lover’s palm.


   The kiss is a drowning person.

   The date is a bottomless sea.


   The kiss is your astounding eyelash.

   The date is your smile that guides me

   Every night to delicious death

   And it does not leave me until the cock crows.


   The kiss is the dot of your nuun*

   Or the nuun of your lost dot.

   The date is an alphabet revealing

   The talismans of the world

   But they do not know how to bring you back home.


   The kiss is friendship.

   The date is an engagement until death.


   The kiss is a chair.

   The date is a bed.


   The kiss is a key.

   The date is a body.


   The kiss is a violin.

   The date is a love dance.


   The kiss is a tear.

   The date is a swift shooting of rain wets

   Lovers in the pleasure garden.


   The kiss is a cry.

   The date is a romantic plot.


   The kiss is a green room.

   The date is closed curtains.


   The kiss is a song.

   The date is a singer, a composer and a poet.

   They all have cried

   Because of the beautiful tune and words.


   The kiss is beautiful noise.

   The date is secret willow rows.


   The kiss is a lost child.

   The date is a bride lamenting her bad luck.


   The kiss is a daydream.

   The date is heresy and hallucination.


   The kiss is a poem at its top level.

   The date is a collection of love poetry.

   Every line in it is your letter

  And every letter in it is your name.


   The kiss is a window.

   The date is a country home

   Looking upon the sun and the duck.


   The kiss is a pleasure.

   The date is a call for writing on it

   As a cureless deep death.


   The kiss is your dreamy eyes.

   The date is your lips; abandoning their

   Wonderful miserliness.


   The kiss is a love hour.

   The date is a wedding night,

   The wedding candles

   And the bride’s white dress.


   The kiss is you.

   The date is you ............ of course!



 * Arabic letter.



An Attempt to Fly



The stork flew.

The stork of my childhood

Flew farther and farther.

But the meeting with it

Remained as a dream growing inside me

Like a growing fire in the crater of the volcano.


Alas! my ambiguous letters.

Alas! my lost women.

Alas! my masks that go on uncovering me.

Alas! my years that follow one another

Meaninglessly or almost meaninglessly.

Alas! my nakedness that surrounded me

Like soldiers surrounded an armless man.


In times of black chairs

Dreams to fly lessen every day



Until they become as small as a sand grain.


Who are you?

What makes me write to you my contemporary Iliad?

Uncover your selfishness

So that I can show you my orphanhood.

Uncover your miserliness

So that I can show my date palm.

Uncover your ambiguity and plots

So that I can show you my clearness and naivety.

Uncover your death

So that I can show my doomsday.


I am no more than a child

Who fell in the sea, the sea of letters.

So he drowned until the letters wept for it.

I am no more than a monk

Who saw a fresh white violet undressing

So he remained trembling all his life.

I am no more than a feather

From a slain bird.


My stork,

When will you come so I can stop weeping?

When will you perch so I can stop my tears from welling up?

When will you perch so I can get happiness

In your warm beak,

And sense my boyhood

Laughing through the whiteness of your wonderful feathers?


The stork is still hovering around my heart.

My heart which death, hunger and fire have confiscated.

My heart which the dream to fly has confiscated.

So what will I do

I who have no hands to speak with

Nor legs to fly with

Nor lips to remember with

Nor a memory for practising magic

Nor magic for catching my wonderful stork?



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