Feb 7, 2015

Fourteen Poems from Loneliness Spoils its Victims

Dara Abdallah

Translated by: Mona Kareem

Illustration by Shuxian Lee


This might sound crazy, but isn't war nostalgic for singularity, loneliness, purity, and solitude? Isn't killing others considered "cleansing"? War is a mechanical rubbing between groups that are fighting to translate the collectivities' desire to be composed of individuals. War is the aggressive application of an instinctual longing for a purified heavenly world where the inhabitants are pseudo-elements, and quietness is an echo of loneliness. Who among us remembers the faces of those killed in massacres: in Halabja, Karm Al-Zaytoun, and Sabra and Shatila—where the hands of hundreds and thousands got together to jump from one shore to another. Their beating hearts and united breath might redeem the tragedy of a solitary individual. During a massacre, the killer misses out on the pleasure of killing one individual at a time. In massacres, hundreds of names decay, while one victim becomes a star: loneliness spoils its victims.

Feb 5, 2015

Imprisoned Poet Ashraf Fayadh’s ‘Frida Kahlo’s Mustache’

Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh has now gone more than a year without trial in Saudi prisons on the ostensible charge that he’s been “insulting the Godly self” through his poetry, as well as “having long hair”. Poet and activist Mona Kareem has translated one of Fayadh’s poems, posted online on Laghoo.

Frida Kahlo’s Mustache
By Ashraf Fayadh, trans. Mona Kareem

I will ignore the smell of mud, and the need to reprimand the rain, and the burn that has long since settled in my chest.
I am looking for fitting consolation for my situation, which doesn’t allow me to interpret your lips however I wish
Or to brush away the drops of mist from your reddish petals
Or to ratchet down the level of obsession that overtakes me when I realize you are not beside me at the moment.