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Do Not Attempt Anything Short Of

by Faraj Bayrakdar, Fawaz Azem

When your love is not your love,
and when the homeland is but
a map of blood and tears.
When there’s no color in the color,
and no booze in the booze,
o child of the long eulogies,
and no palm in the palm trees.

When the place fails,
and the time fails.
When you’re not you,
and when the sun yearns for nothing but
its settings,
do not attempt anything short of
the impossible.

Your meaning is behind you,
I mean in front of you,
in the alphabet,
I mean your steps,
your sins, if you will,
your rational, pagan ascension,
and your meaning is other than you,
so go to it as you wish.

What are you afraid of,
o son of your father and mother?
Do you even doubt the evidence?
Then a thousand times
alas and alas, my friend.

As if you never told me
once upon a distant despair:

“Every beast is but a pet,
and every garment but a shroud.”
Seidnaya Military Prison, 2000.


All artwork is courtesy of Eman Osama.

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