Writing on Al-Sayyab’s Tomb

Abd al-Wahab al-Bayati

I climb your fences, Baghdad, and fall a lover in the night.
I stretch my gaze into the houses and smell the flower of the anteroom.
I weep over al-Husayn, and will be weeping for him until God
may help unite the separated
and tear down the wall of partition,
so that we can meet as two children


Abd al-Wahab al-Bayati

(From al-Bayati’s elegies, dedicated to his daughter Nadiya who died in California in 1990)


He who dies in his diaspora
Dies a martyr



Faraj Bayrakdar

Sad and desperate
Bleak and forlorn
With guilty conscience
And bad intentions
On the brink of the abyss
Burdened by 

As Lebanon Dies

D.H. Melhem (1925-2013)

my background is Lebanese
and peaceful, I said
proud of redundancy
grandmother beirut
grandfather damascus
my father tripoli
on the clear coast, a boy
diving for sea urchins
now the tides cast

My Friend

Buland al-Haydari

My friend,
Why don’t you take your past with you and
Leave my path?
We have finished, ended,
And we remembered much, and forgot much.
With our own hands we cast away
All the deep love we carefully guarded
All that we guard in distant past:

The Compulsory Reasons

Mohammed al-Maghout

Whenever freedom rained down anywhere in the world,
Arab regimes rush out to cover their people with umbrellas,
fearing that they would "catch cold."

Why would the Arabs appear to cling to everything and anything?
Are they about to drown?


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