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14th Anniversary Edition, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Seven Nov-Dec 2023.
Exercises on loneliness, poems by Aicha Bassry.
Exercises on loneliness
“Every woman for herself”
To get out of bed
Without looking for an arm that embraced your night.
To go to the bathroom
Without tripping over wet towels
Or miss the single toothbrush
To look in the mirror
Comb your hair
Shake off the snow sticking in your heart
Arrange the collar of the dress
And flirt yourself
“How beautiful I am without a man’s eyes”
To say to the sun:
Without drawing the curtains of chronic depression
To enjoy the monotonous rhythm of coffee bubbling
When it boils in the silence of the spacious house
Without passing your hand over the boredom of the silk, hesitantly:
– Why did not I put two cups?
To contemplate from the kitchen window
A lonely woman on the opposite sidewalk
Who soothes waiting for who does not come
That woman looks like me.
And indifferently, you look away
About a scene of two lovers sharing love
Without being ashamed by nostalgia.
To start your day with a silent cup of coffee
Without tears in your eyes.
To listen to the morning news
Without remembering yesterday’s dreams.
To follow climate forecasts
Without guessing that a rain storm
Will delay an absent from the evening appointment
To sit at the desk
You blame your fingers every time you try
To open your email or Facebook inbox
You dive into the whiteness of the paper
You start writing a poem
In praise of loneliness
On one condition only:
Not to cry.
Immunity to pain
Do not be afraid
These are days
And perhaps months
And I will be healed from the bee sting.
Life has taught me
That I own nothing
And spite of this life
I taught myself that nothing owns me.
It baptized me as a daughter of the wind
Wherever she walks, I walk
For losses in my mouth have
The salinity of migratory algae
If I win one day, I doubt myself.
Disappointments have the scent of vanilla in the memory
-The smell of first love-
And if I win one day
I doubt life.
Do not be afraid
These are days
Or perhaps months
I will be healed from the bee sting
Perhaps I will cry a little in the long nights
Perhaps the calcification of nectar in my breasts will pain
Perhaps absence will hurt me
And the delicious honey on my lips longs for his lips
But I will surely forget.
And I will wipe away every tear
That fell under my feet.
I will forget all that pain:
The date of the first meeting
The farewell harbor
The first tremor
The taste of the kiss
And I will forgive the sky for its false promises
I will also understand the birds’ desire to change their nests.
I will forget
I will definitely forget
Even the man’s name.
I will only remember this poem.
And at another intersection
I will meet myself
I will shake her hand
Then I congratulate her on her safe return
I will read to her everything I chronicled this love with
And I will ask her:
Which of them was more accurate and more creative
In describing pain
Prose or poetry?
© Aicha Bassry
Aicha Bassry is a Moroccan poet, novelist and storyteller. She published many novels and poetry collections. She won the International Prize for the Novel, Kateb Yassin (Algeria 2016) for the novel (Greta Garbo’s Granddaughters), the Simone Landry Prize for Women’s Poetry (Paris 2017) for her Diwan (The Bathers in Thirst), and the Prize for Best Arabic Novel for the year 2018 (Sharjah Exhibition – United Arab Emirates). Her books have been translated into English, French, Spanish, Italian and Turkish. She, also, participated in many Arab and international cultural events (book fairs, festivals and conferences.)