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Translated by Allison Blecker
A man carries a bundle of dreams,
an idea for a beautiful country
and a heart possessed by childhood.
He walks along the street of hope
Harassing his fear.
A gang who steal principles, armed with emptiness
and a detachment from the battle against hope
obstruct his dreamy path.
They aim their darkness
and their inheritance of hatred at him.
He falls, stained with his greenness,
while his dreams continue
their luminous journey.
The pupil escaping from his school
gathers cigarette butts,
exhales their smoke in extraordinary delight
and dreams of a school with teachers
who have not mastered frowning nor the grasping of rods.
And the general stealing away from his barracks
with a band of villagers
dreams of taking the radio station by storm,
doing away with parliament
and glorifying the rod.
He would hang his sorrows
like a freshly slaughtered animal
on the laundry lines,
and hang all falsehoods
on the wall of the wretched room
and then fire at them
rounds of sarcasm.
He entered the restaurant
and ordered from the pale waiter
a plate of silence,
a plate of solitude,
a cup of indifference,
and a knife, to cut through
the sorrows of his days.
Four of eight poems selected from the Yemen feature in Banipal 36