Page Text

MARAM AL-MASSRI

On the 1st of September TRANSLATED BY KHALED AL-MASRI

I am the queen of this place to which I return without crowns. A sultana without a sceptre, an odalisque wreathed in Damascene jasmine, I dance and sing.

I am the body of the sun, burning like the tears of a man who’s lost his kingdom, hot like birthing blood; like the first sensation of desire, I sing and dance.

I am the queen of this place; in my right hand I carry the sun, and in my left, perfume. If one day I come out of you, weeping, dragging the ropes of my failure and the children of violets, I will return like the dawn that follows a night of love, soft like an infant’s fingers, joyous like a naïve heart.

O city of tales and oranges, O city of peace and songs, capture me, love me, let me savour your sweet saliva

30 BANIPAL 43 – CELEBRATING DENYS JOHNSON-DAVIES