Thursday, April 29, 2010

وبلغيهم سلاما من اخي شجن
في قلبه من فراق القوم اشجان

ابن عربي

Send them this greeting from a grieving kin, whose heart
still reels from the instant he was cleaved from them.

Ibn Arabi, from his Interpreter of Desires.

Monday, April 26, 2010

This is that the leaving
of a lover from his lover
grieving for the going of
the spirit from its body
leaving when the clouds bring
wind that rises then you
beyond the city cannot move
or pass O generous prince from it
onto the white sand
you could call your rest so
you who parted from us one
day do not ever go

My very liberal translation of an Al Mutanabbi poem.

Monday, April 12, 2010


There is an M inside my mouth
an Um where my Mother should
be a razor hidden under

my tongue where my mouth
opens mimicking the one
who splits me for metal

Um me I can’t repeat those
words that move the blade
too close against my M

or be moved to slip my tongue
against its edge slipping
invisibly into you.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

كفى حزناً أني أناديك دائباً
كأني بعيد أو كأنك غائب

واطلب منك الفضل من غير رغبة
فلم أر قبلي زاهداً وهو راغب

It’s sad enough that I continually call you, bellowing as though
from far away, or as if you were no longer there, while I'm the one

pursuing you for your favor devoid of pleasure; I could never see that
it was me who fed your ardor, not allowing you a flavor.

Al Hallaj