Muhammad Al-Kafrawi – Portrait on a wall

Kafrawi LE Arabic Poetry September 2023

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Portrait on a wall, poems by Muhammad Al-Kafrawi.

Portrait on a wall

A noble and chivalrous feeling
To pat every day on my image
The one hanged on the wall
And the wrapped into the folds of your memory
As soon as you shake off its dust, it breathes and refreshes again
And It starts its day with energy and vitality
Like any pet picture hanged on the wall
For a happy departed

A noble job to rub every day my features
You leave me that awesome expanse
To wander on my freedom in your memory
So I relive my days and recover your smile.

Soft and inspiring work
To reach an agreement
That makes me breathe thick fumes in your imagination
That clogs pores, which secrete bad visions
That haunted us for a while.

It is a wonderful feeling
For the one to be free of all burdens
(From flesh and blood to feelings and sensations)
And to remain alive even if symbolically
In the eyes and imagination and the memory of his lovers
Without costing them howling in the daytime
Or a serenity at night
Or a cry of apology
Whenever time robs them of one of their limbs
Or his sharp saws penetrated to slit their bones.

A chivalrous job my friend
To keep my picture there
Dust it off day after day
And do not forget to feed it every now and then
With memories and tears.

How I triumphed over a city of fools with a rusty fist

Not less. Maybe more
The smell of living corpses writhing in the void
Sticky snakes seeping into the soul stream
Her heads screwed up by the jamming
Their mouths are traps for flies and other stupid insects
They groan from pleasure
With every blow of pick or scrape of axe that level their limbs
It comes out of the friction of their joints
A creak of centuries of an old abandoned door
Their bellies are emptier than the waste quarter


Like a classic villain
He scrapes nothingness with his nails and giggles
Galloping here and there
Looking for a fresh prey
Behind this great emptiness.


Wait a little
I did not tell you everything
Over there… In the darkness
The ghosts of the past appeared
Demanding their inherent right to attend
Here on the barrel of the cannon
And they stood cheering, screaming and rumbling
Begging everyone’s anger to go
To tear the flesh of the present.


On the outskirts of the city, the sun hardened
It seems that the day will not pass peacefully
I am the one who shed that flame on you
I am the accomplice with the desert sands
To burn your skins
And leave her beloved mark
On every passing body.


I actually did not have weapons
Just a worn cloak and a dozen of imagination
Nevertheless, my plan worked
Entire armies fled
Kingdoms have fallen and civilizations have collapsed
Here at the crossroads
Where the mind sets up its trap
And leave to the arrivals the task of falling into it.


With a rusty fist and a broken heart
Walking around without a clear aim
Was he crossing the streets looking for meaning
Or wandering behind lost spirits
No one knows
But in the end
He was able to join all groans that came out of the cracks of the walls
To gather his strength and strike deep with his fist
Until he reaches the bowels of lost time
He managed to emerge victorious from the maze
In his hand, the magnificent skeleton of a dilapidated city.

© Muhammad Al-Kafrawi

Mohammad Al-Kafrawi is An Egyptian poet, born in 1978. He has been writing in cultural journalism and literary criticism since 1998. He has four collections of poetry: A Pink Dream That Raises the Head 2006, Shortly After the Dead 2018, and A Suspicious Place 2020, and a fourth collection entitled scraping nothingness with his nails and giggling is under print at the Egyptian General Book Authority.

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