No. 8


Amir Or  


Plate 5:      Journey to the World

An image against the image       of the falling spirit
the small body   shakes below  with the big one

when a savage sea        is pounding a depth into both
  and the casing is the interior,

grasping, shrinking, wriggling, swallowing
– like a throat or an intestine –
its prey.
Electric pain throws him out of it
towards the faces leaning over convulsing thighs 

to the sky of the room   and further 
to the room of the sky      rounded over the eye. 

Faces, faces   and more faces
from the sea, the cities, the burning air –   –

Bones squeak, crack, split under-skin 
ants are crawling      down the eye holes.

Walls are changing into more changing walls: 
a cradle, a bathtub, a street, a grave.

Down below

a crying.

Plate 9:  Palimpsest

Therefore   we've all gathered here    for the expected graduation
stretched out on the grass in the promised land
where honey's being licked  from young thighs
and  milk      being sucked from our chests 
along with the blood, fat and marrow;
we wipe our lips in satisfaction       gloating at ourselves
full of meaning  we don't want to have.

But we feel no pain  we're munching and shitting,
like a cashier going through a supermarket trolley,
the correct answers       voice and tone 
and come out 
by the book         in a winged buzz –
a swarm of thoughts
                belonging to nobody.

The rest is a piece of cake – 
     we inherit the earth the beds the  words.

Night’s falling. 
Long angular shadows 
are cast from the sphere overlapping the sun
on the procession of I’s 
                                      leaving      heading home.

Here In The Land

Here in the empty land       in the diminishing time 
alive yet not alive  dead and not yet dead 
   pacing like immortals on a darkened road  –

we've never been and are not        and what can befall us 
that could  possibly hide         the worst of it all?

We rise daily at dawn 
to go round and round the city of non-being 
     in the processions of  judgement
and like bruises on a beaten skin 
our dragging footprints mark the earth,          blackening slowly. 

Seven times we encircled the city      sounding our throats
but its walls didn't fall           they move round with us

around one more      undeciphered tiding     that dawns without light –
and hangs above us          like a lot     not yet cast.

Our necks are stiff from staring upwards 
with dislocated pupils        soaring beyond our eyebrows and forehead, 
agape at a further-on        that blows a new name into our chests
and spreads at our feet         one more abyss ajar, 
a box of echoes          for the howl.

Behind the TV, the generations of the tribe are passing: 
demons of  quilts smelling of naphthalene, 
ghosts of a deserted laundry-cupboard, 
portraits in an album  and store-room mirages;

Repeatedly they peer with a decaying eye 
   leaping from the corners with a crumbling leg
and with a mouth full of earth          sigh throatlessly 
              "We haven't lost hope yet…" 
And we all repeat after them        an endless supplication 
rolling on like a wild, though unheard,  laughter 

– Oh, fading  God whose name's forgotten, 
     endow us please with day or night –

Between the tallboys along the sideboard      and all the way up to the pantry, 
we, Destiny’s firstborns and still too young for trepidation, 

tread on their faces          ruin after ruin 
and through the glaze of our wide opened eyes
seek a mirror  or a death 
   within  forgetfulness. 


After some time the death-bird 
started to cut through the murmurs of night. 
On a blue coffin

sparrows were gathering straw-stalks and gleanings for a wreath.
Keening women, whose breath was getting short, 
burst into their marvellous lamentation:
 Even he who’s free of everything
 isn’t free from being himself. 

By The Temple

By the temple / Assad's begging bread / Abdalla's begging money.  Nearby / among the booths of / incense and charms 
Mustafa's begging stars / and Issa's begging love / stretching out / their begging bowls / gaping.
Mansur's begging truth / from every passer by / Jallal begs freedom / Omar – life. 
And he? / He's begging nothing / yet no one gives him any. 

His begging bowl's filled / with glances and stares / thought-alms / word-alms / air, fire, earth, / kingdoms / elixirs / salvations.
He turns his begging bowl upside down / and empties it. / Yet it's still quite full. 
"Dear Self," he writes on it / fills it with wine to the brim / and drinks up in one gulp; 
ah, it's not empty! 
He smashes his bowl / in one go / broken pieces / yet it seems to be now / even fuller; / multiplied. 
By the temple / Assad's begging flesh / Mustafa – pebbles / and  Omar – walls. 
By him / by the temple / there's no 




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