Download PDF Here Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Two Sept-October 2022.
A Winter Morning, poems by Alaa Khaled
These poems are translated from Arabic by Amal Shafek.
A Winter Morning
Our breakfast plates
And the breadcrumbs,
I carelessly leave on the table
To complete our daily chatter
After we’re gone
On another journey
Where we gather at a heavenly table to complete our unfinished conversations
Like that miracle table which God sent to Jesus so they would believe in him
But today we need no other miracle than love
Love made us alive
And the birds from far away gather around our left-over crumbs
I Meet Death with a Flower in my Hand
All our daily rituals became important.
Our rushed breakfast,
The smell of burnt bread.
Maybe there is no time for more important things.
We all leave an empty footprint.
There are those watching us from the other side
like prophets from another time.
We abandon our empty footprints,
The sacred emptiness that follows us when we walk,
And the coffee that boils over
When I am sitting in front of you at breakfast.
I embrace you without leaving my chair.
It is all that we have,
To touch each other in The Book of Spirits.
I am not afraid of death.
I only want it to take my memories with me,
as a last barter.
Even the smell of burnt bread,
the odor of our bodies.
Let my heaven be the heaven of memory.
I don’t recite these intimate details to soften the heart of death.
I don’t put our burnt bread under its nose
to arouse its appetite for our daily life,
for the smell of our kitchen.
But it is the truth.
I meet death
With a flower in my hand
Just once, we burn to light the darkness that we won’t walk
For the future not for us
For what will grow in the garden of coming memory
A ball of light we drag step by step
up the mountain
And life doesn’t end
No matter how many brides of death we accumulate
or rare seedlings of death we might keep
or edges of a high balconies we stroll
or turnings of our hearts and skins, like socks, inside out
We are responsible for our own pain
even if we are not to blame
Of our stray gestures
to greet a distant passing star, bidding farewell to the sky of our joy
Just once, life shine
like a sodium flare
As if transcending itself
challenging the intimate future darkness
From the beginning we learned to read by candlelight in bed
so the book falls on our face as we fall asleep
We are the only and last copy of life
© Alaa Khaled
Born in Alexandria in 1960, Alaa Khaled has published Seven Divans, the last one being For once only 2015, and 4 prose books. Khaled has written a biography of his home city, Alexandria, titled Alexandrian Portraits. Published 4 novels including Alexandria Labyrinth 2021. He graduated in Biochemistry, University of Alexandria, in 1982.