The cities dissolve, and the earth is a cart loaded with dust.
Only poetry knows how to pair itself
to this space.
No road to his house, a siege,
and his house is graveyard.
From a distance, above his house
a perplexed moon dangles
from threads of dust.
I said: this is the way home, he said: No
you can’t pass, and aimed his bullet at me.
Very well then, friends and their homes
in all of Beirut are my companions.
Road for blood now-
Blood about which a boy talked
whispered to his friends:
nothing remains in the sky now
except holes called “stars.”
The city’s voice was too tender, even the winds
would not tune its strings-
The city’s face beamed
like a child arranging his dreams for nightfall
bidding the morning to sit beside him on his chair.
They found people in bags:
a person without a head
a person without hands, or tongue
a person  choked to death
and the rest had no shapes and no names.
-Are you mad? Please
don’t write about these things.
A page in a book
bombs mirror themselves inside of it
prophecies and dust-proverbs mirror themselves inside of it
cloisters mirror themselves inside of it, a carpet made of the alphabet
disentangles thread by thread
falls on the face of the city, slipping out of the needles of memory.
A murderer in the city’s air, swimming through its wound-
its wound is a fall
that trembled to its name-to the hemorrhage of its name
and all that surrounds us-
Houses left their walls behind
and I am no longer I.
Maybe there will come a time in which you’ll accept
to live deaf and mute, maybe
they’ll allow you to mumble: death
and life
and peace unto you.
From the wine of the palms to the quiet of the desert … et cetera
from a morning that smuggles its own intestines
and sleeps on the corpses of the rebels … et cetera
from streets, to trucks
from soldiers, armies … et cetera
from the shadows of men and women … et cetera
from bombs hidden in the prayers of monotheists and infidels … et cetera
from iron that oozes iron and bleeds flesh … et cetera
from fields that long for wheat, and grass and working hands … et cetera
from forts that wall our bodies
and heap darkness upon us … et cetera
from legends of the dead who pronounce life, who steer our life … et cetera
from talk that is slaughter and slaughter and slitters of throats … et cetera
from darkness to darkness to darkness
I breathe, touch my body, search for myself
and for you, and for him, and for the others
and I hang my death
between my face and this hemorrhage of talk … et cetera
You will see-
say his name
you drew his face
reach out your hand toward him
or smile
or say I was happy once
or say I was sad once
you will see:
there is no country there.
Murder has changed the city’s shape-this stone
is a child’s head­
and this smoke is exhaled from human lungs.
Each thing recites its exile . . . a sea
of blood-and what
do you expect on these mornings except their arteries set to sail
into the darkness, into the tidal wave of slaughter?
Stay up with her, don’t let up­
she sits death in her embrace
and turns over her days
Guard the last pictures
of her topography-
tattered sheets of paper.
she is tossing and turning in the sand
in an ocean of sparks-
on her bodies
are spots of human moans.
Seed after seed are cast into our earth­
fields feeding on our legends,
guard the secret of these bloods.
I am talking about a flavor to the seasons
and a flash of lightning in the sky.
Tower Square-(an engraving whispers its secrets
to bombed-out bridges … )
Tower Square-( a memory seeks its shape
among dust and fire … )
Tower Square-( an open desert
The Book of Siege 201
chosen by winds and vomited … by them … )
Tower Square-(It’s magical
to see corpses move/their limbs
in one alleyway, and their ghosts
in another/and to hear their sighs … )
Tower Square-(West and East
and gallows are set up­
martyrs, commands … )
Tower Square-( a throng
of caravans: myrrh
and gum Arabica and musk
and spices that launch the festival … )
Tower Square-(let go of time …
in the name of place)
-Corpses or destruction,
is this the face of Beirut?
-and this
a bell, or a scream?
-A friend?
-You? Welcome.
Did you travel? Have you returned? What’s new with you?
-A neighbor got killed . .. I
A gamel
-Your dice are on a streak.
-Oh, just a coincidence I
Layers of darkness
and talk dragging more talk.

From “The Book of Siege” (1985)

From “Adonis: Selected Poems” by Khaled Mattawa

QUI la versione Italiana

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