It Was Concealed in Interpretation

Yousef el Qedra

In the lips of speech there are lilies that bloom beside the cheeks of night; in his eyes glows the sadness of cities that are sketched into forgetfulness. Days have carved a calm path on the margin of the beginning. Nothingness often passes sticking out its tongue and in its stride there is a limp that glows in similitude. The cunning wind often leaves the doors of its beginnings open. The satisfaction of clouds comes late when prophets descend on the shores of meaning that was concealed in the interpretation.

The fire said to the desert: Woe to the thirsty, and a thirsty person said: Woe to the fire from my cruelty; the desert's eyes remained closed, absorbed in imagination. As hope was leaving the darkness of directions, he exited the window of his being into rings of fire, searching for the only surviving rose that was left by those arriving from the magnificence of tales.

Transients asked about the trace of questions, about their feet and the paths they traversed, and what husky singing meant during incendiary nights. His grand silence soothed him and massaged his paranoid, cruel soul. He dreamed of impending wars, deformed people, and fragmented hearts, so he woke up in a sweat all drenched in its weeping luminosity. He ignited his fingers from writing on the walls that store the manuscripts of those who have passed on. So he was a body. He shook off the dust of all the travelers to the first dream, searching for the first innocence, gradually pulling the emptiness of his days into his bed, paring the nails of nothingness, brushing its teeth, washing its face. He dressed in the elegance of names that chirped, and he scented the distance with a sadness of an imagination sprung from the eye of his sleepy heart.

He climbed his time in blind mirrors, he passed cruel things normally and tolerated its savage preying in his chest; he allowed combustion to consume every bit of him, he drew houses clearly, naked, and conscious of his long silence.

He said: "Let this night go on. Let songs rise in your hoarse voice. Let it issue songs from sleeping birds who dreamed of flying."

He said: "Let this urgent silence be evident in mirrors of chamomile followed by the anise of trembling that seeps into my chest, while the honey of your breasts flows in warmth that sees me at the altar of coughing; I hallucinate what is coming, but they don't arrive with their complete boredom to save me from a drowning that also hallucinates."

He said: "I sing to the far labyrinths and my blood is a labyrinth; the lemon gets lost in the tea so the bitterness of both passes my lips in darkness that refuses medication from which you are absent."

He said: "I grab forests around their waist and I make them dance to the heart's rhythm, and my heart's pulse runs in the wilds redolent of your perfume blending memories that never slumber."

He said: "I dream my days and carry them to peninsulas of madness in the veins of necks made of recitations and prayers."

So I got my name from an old souvenir and hid it, exiled in my silence.

He said: "I grabbed my sleep from the peeling wall of the house and I folded it; later I kept it between the covers of a book that speaks of aspiration."

He said: "I learned to dance from the curtains and from the heart of the light; I pulled it and offered it a glass of joy as usual, and I asked it to take my breath away and to depart out from the shadows."

He said: "I snatched my heart from its vacillations, and I grilled it on the fire of tranquility so that it would be done to a turn."

translated from the Arabic by Yasmin Snounu, Edward Morin, and Yasser Tabbaa