Coaxial Cables

Rula Jurdi

Intrepid land
releases me
in the Underground.
I transfer what I can
of its dialect in New York,
and my ruinous hand,
holding the arrival tight.
Its blonde bones clang
on English-speaking screens,
so I ask:
“When will you achieve
your color?”


The strong-built ones join
me in the fat celebration.
Preordained, our bodies,
and collateral.
Home is home is stolen.
Geography collides
with a lover’s ardor; a topic
unfit for us.

They decipher my eye blinks;
my coy eyebrow
raised only in the suitcase.

We count the stones,
hair textures, notebooks,
and ropes.
Regularities gush through sight,
without interference.
Proper tilling of forgetfulness
is long gone.
We watch. We load
wrinkled schoolbags
with time and hope.
We catalog skulls,
the small ones,
the middle-sized ones,
and fingernails, the delicate
and accomplished ones.

Lenses gather the form
of the oud player who goes
back to the place of devouring:
The first Palestine,
the second, and third.
He prattles about place;
a fig tree, fastened to the
season, intimate, to the extent
of craving him in return.
Grand land, obscured in breath,
land of throat, of cattle beef,
phones, and games of passage
at any two moments.
There is also the gentle hand,
its unexchangeable violence,
when it offers you back
the sahlab you offered it,
with another name, a slight cut.
There are also the police jeeps
fortified with yogurt and honey.

Then there are also statistical designs,
the numbers, their flooding,
their constant bleeding on screens.
We are familiar, enormously,
with distant bodies,
licking the monitor’s glass.
We know the objects,
which used to throb,
and know how we set out
summarizing the unseen.
We exhibit the benefits
of bewilderment:
Berlin may lend a hand to beauty,
and bring forth a star.
A plough crosses the clock of
the world, the full world.
We have Stephen Hawking
and chaos,
and all what God has become.
Still, the defended ravenous land,
is beyond the reach
of the oud players’ lips.
We have orbit hunts, regularized,
and soon enough, fingerprints
will seek celestial bodies.
We jump to the miniscule,
and take care of the length
and weight of every ant.
Only our accents, upon burial,
at disreputable hours,
are for the screens to eat.

Gazing, numbed. This is how the
Eye is. Another Eye like it
comes along, dragged to
the day torture, to another meal.
It is more precious, on this screen,
than any other Eye we know.
The towers too, do not forget them,
the communication centers,
and vein sites,
and uncertainty awash in Arabic.
Then the Eye screen, inside the wall,
sad and love-stricken,
editing the electronic newspaper.
Where does Ahmad lay his head?

We have loneliness,
all forms of loneliness,
because it is Palestine,
and all types of smiling:
A head-split smiling,
a serial smiling,
a miscarriage of smiles.
We have artistic escapes,
and fish flying with no sea,
and air fences flanking
the chest.
Confessions depart from
the mouth, in purity,
tools yakking away,
despite their great verve
in smashing oil, oregano,
and tongue.

Then there is suffocation,
by expanse, in courtrooms
and paper, constantly giving birth,
declassifying indicted bodies,
until they calm down
like chairs and tables.
(Not like signatures.
These ones breathe.)
Then there are the tribes,
regaining their losses,
and the Ethiopian Jews; they
throw an expensive rose-glance,
at the same curly poems.
It is a plan embroidered on the
heart, and the coarse hair
comes out from the highway,
dead, and rupturing.

The archived cities
are further away,
and the smell of villages,
There remains the language,
peeling in bird rooms,
and the welding of breath to
handles, when the skin,
in general, is stained.
This is how the heart turns
into stones, daggers, bombs,
and happiness, finally!

It is merely salt, this earth,
stuffing the box,
which fits together,
the fish, the hands,
and the teeth.
O, and we have
the language cube,
the light imperative verb,
a miracle of reducing
expression to bare bones,
as far as slightness:
Lie down

translated from the Arabic by Rula Jurdi