Ten Identity Cards

By Buland al-Haydari

 

I went out tonight
In my pocket were ten identity cards
which permit me to go out
Tonight
My name Buland son of Akram,
I did not kill anyone, I did not rob
anyone.
In my pocket were ten identity cards
which testify to that.
Therefore, why can't I go out tonight?

***

The next day
Two policemen were at my door
They asked me: Who are you?
I am Buland son of Akram, I am  from a
well-known family,
I did not kill anyone, I did not rob
anyone.
In my pocket are ten identity cards that
testify to that, and that...
So, why?
They laughed at me, at my ten identity
cards;
I saw a hand flashing across my eyes
falling between disappointment and
cowardice.

 

Translated from the Arabic by Mohammed B. Alwan

This poem appeared in Al Jadid, Vol. 3, no. 17 (April 1997). "Ten Identity Cards" by Buland al-Haydari is described by professor Mohammad B. Alwan as "two discontinuous stanzas from a poem by the same title, "Ten Identity Cards."

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