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ali habash (Posted: May 23)
The way to the camp
(The way to the camp)
by ali habash
The day floats like a ball
And be pored in streets which are like my mom and dad
The country is a pocket my friends patch with their tears.
How can a wife become a night?
Meat is still raw in my guts, thinking about debts
My dreams are a growing bullet, and poetry is a hospital
From one son to another, a ward of sleep is erased.

And the pen stars to vomit.
Meat is still raw in my guts, thinking about debts
How can I digest this spirit as it goes down with Iraqi dinnars in my trousers, and goes up in my shirt’s pocket as a dummy?
How can I clean my tongue form salt while it receives a new position everyday?
The ground collects its feet in an ashtray
And my shoe is a coffin racing the noon
And bleeds junk to potato vendors,
Like a wick of a lantern, I carry my kids at night
And mornings shoot at them at bread stores in the morning
Nuts gather them merrily
Then happiness falls as crusts on the floor.
I have to make nylon feelings that look like my evenings
Poetry arrived with a real bomb and a shovel
Which one of us will be berried?
Which coffin will top the tour of life?
The city gathers on a match stick and gets extinguished
Ants migrated towards the curb which comes before my life, leaving their memory in the house
How did the kitchen become a means of suppression??
How did Africa climb my dreams?
My third millennium was not received by a camera,
It was not received by a bus
Days lift their dreams in the news reports
Then broadcasting is interrupted
No birds are there in “Al Tayaran Square”
The statue of the morning welcomes pedestrians with patriotism
“Kamil Shibeeb.Fell a martyr on 20.May.1944”
I stand near a church that supports the sky with its crucifix.
The lipstick fumbles behind the glass of the bus
“Al Tahreer Square 36 the road to Al Rasheed Camp”
My language stumbles with the bus driver, and it grows bigger close to the traffic light
Priority is to those who are in a combat
I bump into colossal axes called restaurants
I sneeze a country that has two rivers” Mesopotamia”
We race against the desert
Live separate them outside the borders
I drag my friends with newspapers to the café but the passports arrive before me.
Suit-cases are saws for the letters
And on egg boxed, future counts its empty bottles
This is my evening
Glasses made of plastic and Christians; Idris for instance…
The glass is addicted to my right hand fingers
I finger- print my documents with my left thumb
I know that the destruction which is holding my back is the same one that is in the library
I know that the glass that was shattered in “Bab Al Mu’atham”…
It’s a warplane I dreamt of two wars ago.
My daughter is polishing the screen of the news with a lighter

I carry the world in a tea spoon and smile
The walls of my bed room were relieved when I sold the furniture.
The house became as harsh and rude as the city itself
The frankincense ran quickly oh so quickly to India leaving its corps on the floor
And when the rug began to crack, my wife started believing in life
My family is chess statues who are nostalgic for powns
The castle is but fog in between two breasts and clans
What am I going to do with this spider that is breeding along the horizon?
They talk using symbols
Used clothes are enjoying their bodies
They count martyrs with a rosary
Going down the next station… he said wishfully while the road was climbing up with us
I wish I can cross the time where the traffic light is
And collect the city buses with their green light
My gaze coheres with the borders in the news man’s throat
My life is a cigarette… its smoke is trains
Its ash is women on the curb
I light my dreams with the country
And I alone can hear the buzz of my soul in the ashtray.

Translated by: Dahlia Shawi

Translator’s notes:
• There are some Iraqi names of streets, parks, famous intersections, and squares in Baghdad in the poem, they are the ones between the “….”
• Tiba is the poet’s younger daughter who is in kindergarten now.


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