Poetry: Selections from Amirah Al Wassif
Vision from within the womb
While you are sleeping in your mama's womb you have a creepy vision. Two buffalos dragging your body towards a cameraman. You move your fatty belly from right to lift as a stupid way to prove that you are not hungry anymore. Some mysterious smell flatter in the air like an unfinished task. You start to cry & laugh at the same time.
The two animals indulged their pointed fingers in a pool of dirt. They painted your whole face while dancing on their tippy-toes. The scene lacks Surrealism. You know certain words from an ancient age. You try to shape them into your lips. God watching you as usual. He waves in amusement. Numerous trees grow between your thighs. You crawl toward single laughter escaping from an angel's chest. You see the world with an open eye.
A woman sitting under you playing with the time machine. She makes a fuss but no one punishes her. You contemplate the world in awe. You love to whisper even when you don't know what to say.
The two buffalo returned again lifting your body to the level of the Seventh Heaven.
You watch million flying fish nursing their babies. A man looks at you. He wears some messy clouds. You think it is not real. You say it is just my imagination.
A group of poets embracing mint leaves. Crystal water circles their brownish necks. They bite a bread-shaped poem. You feel amazed. Who am I? You ask. Where am I? You repeat. God still watching. He composes a fresh play. You want to take a look. He knows that. Some of his precious papers fall down intently until reaching your feet. You read it. You feel a sudden shiver. Everything turns upside down. You close your eyes again & keep moving inside your mother's kingdom.
Dancing with an elephant
Imagine there is a black elephant creeping on your jelly belly while you are taking a nap after a very long day. The elephant moves his glossy fingers trying to fish out some of your best memories.
You lay on your dear bed doing your best to keep breathing.
Imagine you try to touch his creamy eyelashes as a way to steal more songs from his chest. The huge animal agrees to make an unconditional deal with you.
You cower in a secret corner holding your colorful pen for drawing your masterpiece. The elephant feels shy. He directs all his energy into your artwork. Your soul window reveals more magic.
You play with the animal. Both of you wearing an eternal smile.
Imagine you decide to dance with your black elephant throwing jokes through his giant ears. The more you succeed in making him laugh, the more pleasure he gives.
Each of you climbs the highest candy mountain, you love the feeling.
You long badly to repeat the experience. You behave automatically without wondering what if the elephant got angry in the midst of the game?!
A mystic moment
The moment you will know where your dead people have gone. You would follow something brighter than religious sermons and self-help books, maybe then, you will be turned into a whole flower or a mystic world. Your silver hair would shift into purple. Your body will be mixed with an eternal rainbow. The moment you will figure out how many holes are carved around your soul, you may stop posting about being the smartest guy on your social media pages. Instead, you will start to learn how to fly without a parachute.
Towards a better world
Every time I plan to read a self-help book. I change my mind. What is the hell the author is going to tell? Let it go? Focus on the positive energy? Don't forget to meditate? I ask myself.
Every time such an idea flashes in my mind I leave her as soon as possible & going to our roof to figure out how many neighbors are staring at our dirty curtains. Did god create the world in six days? I think trying to collect myself & the Breadcrumbs together.
The village children playing hide and seek with their hunger. My old uncle still winking to a pretty girl & my mother stitches the last piece of her patience.
I feel jealous of all those who believe in self-help books. Those who know very well how to take a selfie with the luxurious mirror behind them. Those who couldn't skip a little moment without sharing.
People who post about their achieved bucket list year after year. Those who long to buy one of Picasso's artwork not because they love Pablo Picasso but because they want to be called "art collectors"
I feel jealous of those who don't have the ability to distinguish between literature and beauty magazines but insist to write critical reviews. Every time I decided to read a self-help book, I look at my cocktail bird feeling that he is laughing at me.
I want badly to be like that one who says life is a piece of cake. I desire to go to many places just for taking pictures not to have fun.
Being born bald is a dangerous matter which requires much security. Imagine that you raise a hairless kid. Such a terrible feeling, right? That's what my mother felt.
Imagine your head is nothing but a naked ball while you live in a world where everybody wears feathers, leather, and golden wigs.
Ashamed of my baldness, creeping toward the ground holes like a rabbit.
I was seeking to hide in a secret place between some person's thighs or deeply in the cave of an eye.
The story began when the authorities decided to cut off the umbilical cord of the pregnant women themselves to make sure there is no mother carrying a dreamful child.
I still remember how I slept wide-eyed in my mother's womb.
My body quivered like a candy-shaped wish. I was dreaming of swallowing the delicious sky and going far away with my limitless ideas.
The officials stopped in their positions feeling trapped. This happens every time they found a newborn child shaking hands with colorful imagination.
Nothing scarier than having a third eye, they thought raising their weapons toward us.
My mother fell on her knees &the moment her salty tears settled on my little head didn't leave me.
Without a time machine
Time is our own invention. No need to calculate hours, seconds, days, and years. God didn't create the calendar. He just put an endless sky giving us hopes to reach it. We crowded in each corner stretching our hands like beggars.
The sun was too close. She kept watching. The moon waved and laughed. The other universes played hide and seek. We run into the wide forest seeking wings and light. We found language. We didn't know how it works? Moving our tongues and lips in a helpless way. Nothing came out. We tried pressing on and on. Nothing came out. Not a word.
We squeezed the upper bottom of our souls. Nothing happened. After billions of years, we decided to call things by its name. If we feel hungry, we say it is lunchtime. If lust knocks on our inner door, we say let's have sex.
If we feel lonely, we announce an urgent working meeting. If we feel scared we write books and make movies. If we feel bored, we invent other public holidays.
Our fellow animals grew smaller. We entered them into cages and prisons. No cell is big enough to endure our grief. God didn't create clocks and stopwatches, we just invent a brilliant way to smooth ourselves slowly.
I was dreaming of hearing some voice scratching the heart of my ear. Standing half-naked on my tippy-toes crawling toward a cell peopled by rats and desires. Don't. I said to the dream-eater, that one who gets ready every night to eat my sweetness with knife and fork.
Every day I wake up forgetting what my dream was? I'm not Alzheimer's patient but I feel like I live in two different worlds. Is that a particular disease? I don't think so, it is a delicious kind of suffering. My father passed away the last year. He was laughing then he died. Everything around me became dark and gloomy. Everything even the bright sky. I swear I thought of contacting a physic medium. I didn't want to know where did he hide his money pocket or his preferred glasses frame.
I just desired to know how he feels right now. Does his soul indulge in a pool of honey? Had he gone to a darkened cave?
I was afraid that he would go to hell because he lied once when he told me he will never ever leave me.
Meaning of kindness
If you want to know something, don't Google it. Just search deeply within you. Last night, I thought of the kindness meaning. I tapped on the keyboard. The dictionary definition appeared on the screen. Nothing else. I know that meaning, so I chose to see more images related to the searched word. I found many stretched-handed poor boys sitting in the dirt under someone's mercy. Some cute girls looked miserable waiting for your financial support. African single mothers breaking the rocks under the heat.
Indian children wanted to be fed up. Egyptian beggars wandering the wide streets. A European blind man wants somebody to take care of him. Some American orphanage house needs volunteers. Some Arabic old paralyzed woman seeks healthy aid & finally, a group of Asian children holding empty pots stare at the camera.
I closed the pages. That wasn't what I'm looking for.
I wanted more than this. I tried to pronounce the word softly between me and myself. I repeat what I did many times. My heart moved slowly. I decided to add more rhythm and delight. The word "kindness" danced on the edges of my tongue.
I felt warmth surrounding my libs. A poetic voice clutched the core of me. I swayed like a feather trying my best to count my sighs.
The carnation grew between my fingers. I believed that my body was lighter than the dream. Billions of rooms showed themselves inside.
Amirah Al Wassif is an award-winning published poet. His poetry collection for those who don’t know chocolate was published in February 2019 by poetic justice books & arts, and his illustrated children's book The Cocoa Boy and Other Stories was published in February 2020. His poem "Hallucinations" was nominated for a science fiction poetry Rhysling Award.