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Andy Young
Estados Unidos
Andy Young / New Orleans
أندي يونغ/ أورليانز الجديدة


we were going to visit each others cities
you loved New Orleans, said
if you could
youd live there for a while,
and I told you
there was always something
that drew me to Beirut
the books the songs
the name itself, the root sound maybe

we spoke of the something that lives
in a city, that gives it mortality

you said
try to come soon


a woman in New Orleans who thought
all was gone was given an ammunition box
full of old love letters theyd floated
three blocks away, the only thing to survive

what should we put in our bullet boxes
to save from flood, from rubble
a poem a letter a knife?
on day five you write: a quiet night in Beirut,
more or less, compared to what
the inhabitants of Tyre and the south
and the Beqaa and Tripoli experienced

port of Tripoli bombed, port of Beirut bombed

the range of targets expanded to new zones of hurt:
civilians, civilians, civilians
reservoirs of fuel vegetables and fruits
on the highway outside Jerusalem,
a man heads in one direction, a cart
piled high with white eggs
in the other: a truck
filled with bombs
to fire at Lebanon
you keep your humor:
I have to admit,
I am enduring siege with bad hair.
The roster of martyrs of this war now includes poor
soldiers, you write, reservists who were stationed in their posts,
watching idly the country go up in flames

and I read in the Iliad::
the god of war is impartial: he hands out
death to the man who hands out death
on day six you say the shelling hasnt
stopped just more
blank spaces
what do they need to see before they cease their fire
you ask, try to understand the consensus
that agrees to watch Lebanon burn
Hectors father asked Achilles to halt
the battle so he could bury his son

Achilles, who killed
Hector, agrees, then invites him to supper

3,000 years and nothing changes:
we kill we bury we eat

we wait like Hectors wife
not knowing the battles lost
black shirted fighters show up
at the scenes to count the dead

pull bodies from the rubble

but fire keeps raining
& the wind from the cyclone
of the helicopter blades
during the flood, Dan drifted
on a piece of fence all night
he felt things
bumping past, took a picture
wrapped his camera back
into its plastic bag, later
saw himself in the cemetery,
all the bodies having risen up
around him thick with water

we were to speak of our cities as ports
as places rebuilding from rubble
this was not
what we were to compare
you write of evacuation, privilege, solidarity
this is what we planned to speak of, but with
different stakes,
different contexts
vaporous stillness
turns a corner moves through

every gesture incomplete
familiar objects unfamiliar

war time mornings war time noons
siege time Beirut siege time sunsets
every dream a snarl
hero fighters claim victories
on television
when the generator works

in the coffee shop
where you write
cheers go up
a week into it, given a chance
to ride in a car to Damascus, you ask
for pause to think:

I decided to stay. I dont know when I will
have another opportunity to leave

I saw the people trying to flee
between shellings but I knew you
would not leave even if you could

they will not drive me away, you say

I think of my friend in New Orleans who swam
past billboards, was left for a week at the port,
then came back as quickly as he could
dementia creeps in at the rate of news flashes
you say you fear nighttime, believe the shelling
will get worse when darkness comes but its not true

I think of your groping your way down
my stairwell, telling me how in Beirut
you all keep flashlights
in your bags just in case

--the shelling is just as intense during the day


Soon sun will struggle
under the shroud of smoke,
steamers dock to take you
who can claim another country.
Ill leave along the coast,
take my chances on the road
to Damascus, tie a white scarf
to my window like a flag and pray

we will try to speak of later, after
as we stand on the dock.
Walk with me now to take
one more look at the stars.
With all the lights out,
they fill the sky.


tells me more these days than
news with words I know.
Our TV tells me stocks are down
because somewhere a person explodes.
On a short wave I find Radio Mart
which has nothing to do with the poet,
a Bin Laden country song, Christian
broadcast. For a minute there is testimony
of a soldier: I was sedated in Iraq
and woke up in Texas. He says he chose
to lose his leg rather than stay another
minute. A minute later the station
is lost to more frothy words about
the rising of Christ, but I dont want
to hear today of the thorn and the nail
and the stone rolled back from the tomb.
It is Easter Sunday in Fallujah, too,
where bombs are dropped on mosques
and they bury 600 dead in schools
and soccer fields, anywhere the ground
can be dug. The cemeteries are outside
of town and they are trapped inside it.
My friend is translating, asks me
the word for mob to explain that,
further south, one sets trucks on fire.
The camera pans to show a car
run over by a tank. The blood of the man
whod been in it streaks its white door.
Two men pull back a blanket to show
the camera a dead child. Look away
if you can, dont see it or the small still
child with a bandaged head who
has not yet learned the words freedom
or democracy. God save us from
the English language, from the ones
who silence mouths in the name of you.

To say nothing of Babylon

The water is level red
and no one knows what that means and no one
else seems to ask oil rigs
in the distance where the moon is not


You bring me figs and dates
from Morocco, a chunk
of amber to rub on my skin,
sandalwood from the Sudan
where its scent
is synonymous with sex.
I wash my hair in its smoke
as it rises to the heavens.

Egypt is a woman,
and shes the one you love,
though she always walks away
from you, hiding her face
in her scarf, though she
gave you the edge youre afraid
to fall off, and the brother still
burning in your mind.

In a silver pot you steep leaves
of Luisa and mint you regret
is not fresh, pour it
into painted cups and tell
me of the children of the desert,
whose skin is the color of mine,
of ones who call themselves
the people of the wind.

We speak of our countries
and the fields of food
mine takes from yours,
of troops that thicken
like swarms of locusts,
and you pour more tea,
shift the coals in the shisha,
sing in a language I dont know.

Santa Fe, July 14 2006

Its raining in the desert
as bombs
fall on Beirut

a small tidy square on my screen
shows smoke
billowing up from the airport

firecrackers sweets
in the streets
to the south

where they vow to fight back
already your ship is burning
already your ship sinks into the sea

nuts and drips
of honey

cordite and blood

the world in shock

youve been forgotten
youd told me, New Orleans
was shocking, and then it was forgotten

will it be the same for you?

last week
you wrote of your worry
for Gaza
and I dreamt all night
of flying there
trying to gather my lover my father
where were our passports? would they work?
which airport where exactly is the war?

I search the news:
another man walking through fire
another man holding a limp child another another

the story of Hatam Attar whose cousins
were killed for giving sandbags to their neighbors
to protect them from bullets. Outside their funeral
he says:
Im against firing Qassams into Israel,
but if I had a houseful of Qassams right now,
Id fire them all into Israel

no word from you for two days
power cut when bombs hit
city center

I wonder where exactly you live

your last note: write to me I feel
less isolated

how do I send this

how do I ask you where
people go when their houses are dust

where you should stand
when the floor shakes


you think we survive
because we must:

stubborn shrubs
in the desert

grateful for,
drinking in
the rain


In the beginning
was the fire.
In the center
was the burning.
She surrounded
creation with her clay.
She threshed the shadows
and gathered them like sheaves.

A blaze of rain gushed,
earth rafted the mantle,
a groan churned
in the hidden middle,
and all turned to ember and ash.
Thunder boomed
from within the earth
and the sea turned cinder-red.

Now the world
is being made again.

Everything is burning,
and if it is not burning
it will be soon.

All fires the fire.
The fire will purify.
The fire is older than us.
It leapt into the skin
when we entered the flesh.
It flickers out
without our asking,
licks with tongues
and singes edges.
Try to drench it,
and it burns hotter.
The fire is hungry and blind.

We are children
of the seventh generation,
and it is the beginning of the world.
We light and watch the flame
East South West North East

Everything is burning,
and if it is not burning
it will be soon.

Up in the hills, the flicker begins
the conch is blown,
the table laid.
There is a feast in the night,
and we are fed.
The world is made again.
The rocks are temples
to themselves.

People are taking the land back.
The land is taking the people back:
dancing and drumming
flying and calling the fire the fire
the fire the fire the fire the fire the fire --
the world is being made again
in blaze and water,
in air and blood.

In the beginning
was the fire.
In the end is the fire.
The world is made of fire.
The world is made again.

Everything is burning,
and if it is not burning
it will be soon.


One night we gathered our poems,
walked to the river, then set them
on fire by its muck and suckholes.
Some of the ash drifted into the rivers
throat, filtering silt as it ran to the sea.
Fire chiseled your face from the night.
You smiled as the blaze grew.

You died soon after, and we burned
your body. Now we face the four
directions to scatter you into the sea.
I think of that night, when you were still
whole, as I hold you in pieces in my hands.
This is your body, your dancing
body, reduced to palmfuls of ash.

Such intimacy! I touch each part
of you but have never even tasted
your mouth. The wind hisses and dries
the salt on my face. The cold sea slaps
and waits while I finger a few flecks
of bone that have defied the furnace.
They are dry and sharp. Perhaps

they once held your hand out
to me or hinged your jaw
open and shut as you spoke.
Before I let you go, I slip one
into my pocket, a keepsake.
Then I open my empty hand
and offer you to the sea.


live with a jolt with
an ache with a blow
in a hiss like a needle
of light no time not to
live with a yes joy jangles
like a panic pure bite it
like a yellow fruit face
a flash on its skin life
a tooth that could be
knocked out

Fruits at the Brink of War
فاكهة على حافة الحرب

أجلب لى التبن والتمر
من المغرب ، قطعة كهرمان
أفركها فوق جلدى ،
خشب الصندل من السودان
حيث رائحته
تساوى الخصوبة.
فيها أغسل شعرى
فيما ترتفع إلى السماء

مصر أمرأة
وهى المرأة التى تحبها
رغم أنها تبعد عنك دائماً
مخبأة وجهها فى وشاحها
ورغم أنها منحتك الحافة التى
تخشى السقوط عنها ، ومازال
الشقيق يحترق فى رأسك

فى إناء فضى انقع أعشاب 'لويزا'
مع النعناع الذى تندم لأنه ليس طازجاً
اسكبها فى فناجين ملونة واخبرنى
عن أطفال الصحراء
الذين لهم لون بشرتى
عن أولئك الذين يسمون أنفسهم
شعوب الريح

نتكلم عن بلادنا
وحقول الطعام
التى تأخذها بلادنا منكم
عن قبائل تسمك
مثل أسراب الجراد
وأنتم تسكبون المزيد من الشاى
وتقلبون الفحم على الشيشة
وتغنون بلغة لا أعرفها

ترجمة سامى إسماعيل
Translated by Samy Ismail


ذات ليلة جمعنا أنا وأنت قصائدنا
مشينا إلى النهر ، وأشعلنا فيها النار
إلى جوار الوحل وفتحات الشفط
شئ من الرماد تطاير إلى حلق النهر
منقياً الطمى فيما يجرى إلى البحر .
ابتسمتَ عندما كبر اللهب
النار فصلت وجهك عن الليل.

مت بعد ذلك بقليل ،
وأحرقنا جسدك ، الآن
نواجه الجهات الأربعة ونذروك
إلى البحر.

أفكر فى تلك الليلة ، عندما كنت كاملاً
وأنا أحمل أشلاءك بين يدىَّ
هذا هو جسدك ،
جسدك الراقص ،
اختصر إلى حفنات من رماد
يالها من حميمة
أتحسس كل حزء فيك
لكن حتى لم أعرف طعم فمك.
الريح تفح وتجفف الملح على وجهى
البحر البارد يوجه صفعاته وينتظر
بينما أصابعى تتحسس بقايا العظام القليلة
التى كانت أقوى من المحرقة
أنها جافة وحادة

رفعت يدك إلىّ ذات مرة
أو حركت فكك مفتوحاً ومغلقاً
كلما تكلمت
قبل أن أتركك تذهب
أسقط واحدة فى جيبى
تذكاراً لوقتك هنا

ثم .. أفتح يدى الفارغة
وأقدمك إلى البحر
ترجمة سامى إسماعيل
Translated by Samy Isamail

to the quick
إلى المسرع

عش مع هزة عنيفة .. مع
ألم .. مع لطمة فى صفير
يشبه إبرة من الضوء
ليس ثمة وقت
كيلا تعش مع السعادة الصاخبة
التى تبعثها 'نعم' مثل عضة من الفزع
مثل فاكهة صفراء تواجه ضوءاً
مثل ضرس يمكن إسقاطه .
ترجمة سامي إسماعيل
Tanslated by Samy Ismail

أغنية النار

فى البدء
كانت النار
وفى المركز

أحاطت الخلق
نفضت الظلال من السنابل
وجمعتها مثل حزم من محصول الحصاد
انهمر لسان من المطر
الأرض حملت المصباح
فاندفعت صيحة عنيفة
من المركز الخفى
وتحول كل شئ إلى جمر ورماد
انفجر الرعد
من داخل الأرض
وأصبح البحر أحمر
بلون بقايا الجمر

الآن ...
يٌصنع العالم مرة أخرى
كل شئ يحترق الآن
وإذا لم يكن يحترق
فسوف يحترق قريباً.

كل النيران النار
النار سوف تطهر
النار أكبر منا عمراً
قفزت داخل الجلد
عندما دخلنا إلى اللحم

إنها تندفع
- من غير سؤالنا -
تلعق الجلد بالألسنة
وتلهب الحواف
حاول أن تغرقها فى الماء
سوف تزداد اشتعالاً
النار جائعة وعمياء

إننا أطفال
الجيل السابع
وهذه هى بداية العالم
نشعل اللهب ونراقبه
الشرق الجنوب الغرب الشمال الشرق

كل شئ يحترق الآن
وإذا لم يكن يحترق
فسوف يحترق قريباً

عالياً فى التلال تبدأ الرجفة
ويزاح الغطاء
المائدة جاهزة
ثمة وليمة فى الليل
سوف نٌطعم
العالم يٌصنع مرة أخرى
والأحجار معابد أنفسها

الناس يستعيدون الأرض
الأرض تستعيد الناس
يرقصون ويقرعون الطبول
يطيرون وينادون النار النار
النار النار النار النار النار
العالم يٌصنع مرة أخرى
فى اللهب والماء
فى الهواء والدم.

فى البدء كانت النار
وفى النهاية تكون النار
العالم مصنوع من النار
العالم يٌصنع مرة أخرى

كل شئ يحترق
وإذا لم يكن يحترق
فسوف يحترق قريباً
ترجمة / سامى إسماعيل
Translated by Samy Ismail


Andy Young / New Orleans
أندريا يونغ/ أورليانز الجديدة

Andy Young is the co-editor of Meena Magazine, a bilingual Arabic-English literary journal. A creative writing instructor at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, her poems, essays and translations have recently appeared or are forthcoming in third coast, Callaloo, Southern Quarterly, Mexico's Forum, Dublin's The Stinging Fly and the Norton Anthology of Contemporary Eastern Voices. Her chapbook All Fires the Fire was published in 2003 in a limited, hand-made edition by Faulkner House Books.

Poetry Publications

All Fires the Fire [Faulkner House Books, 2003].
mine [Lavender Ink, 2000].
Individual poems, essays and translations have been published or are forthcoming in: Appalachian Heritage, The Arts Paper,Callaloo, Carolina Quarterly, Concrete Wolf, Desire, Double Dealer Redux, The Eternal Anthology, Exquisite Corpse, The Florida Review, Gambit Weekly, Gloss, How2, Kattab [Alexandria, Egypt], Mesechabe, mind the gap, The New Laurel Review, The New Orleans Review, Pierogi Press, Shaman broadside series, Shoestring Magazine, SnowApple Journal, Stinging Fly [Dublin, Ireland],Southern Quarterly, The Texas Observer, Third Coast and Think Tank Press broadside series, as well as in the anthologies Another South [University of Alabama Press, 2003], French Quarter Fiction [Light of New Orleans Publishing, 2003], What Have You Lost? [Greenwillow Press, 1999] and the Norton Anthology of Contemporary Eastern Voices [forthcoming].

Honors & Awards

Writer-in-residence, Santa Fe Art Institute, 2006.
Writer-in-residence, Vermont Studio Center, 2005.
Recipient, Surdna Arts Teacher Fellowship, 2005.
Whos Who Among Americas Teachers, 2004.
Finalist, War Poetry Contest, winningwriters.com, December 2004.
Guest of U.S. Consulate, Monterrey, Mexico, performing poetry as part of Faces of America series, June 2003.
Nominee, Pushcart Prize, 2001.
Recipient, Louisiana Division of the Arts $5000 Fellowship, December 2000.
Named Emerging Writer, Southern Women Writers Conference, Berry College, GA, April 2000.
Winner, Will


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