Fathi Abdel Samee – The only fish

Samee LE P&W 7 Nov-Dec 2023

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14th Anniversary Edition, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Seven Nov-Dec 2023.

The only fish,  poems by Fathi Abdel Samee.

The only fish

They all go back to their homes
With a valuable catch

The sea humbles itself before me
What do I need to be a hunter?
My rod is good
And my boat is solid
Why, then, should I return to my darkness without a fish?
Who knows patience like me?
I am the one who stood for more than a quarter of a century
In front of the southern bakeries
Without a single sigh?
But they hunt
Without luck
And without patience
And without a hook
And without sea

Why I do not want to believe
That I am the only fish
And they do nothing
Just come back with me
To their homes every evening?

The jug and the ring of the anklet

{To a fly comb that I used to place before my eyes
And look at the sun through its long holes}

The mud wall fell
And scattered from its shattered cracks
Locks of my mother’s hair
We collected it in a bag
And threw it into the Nile.

She sits among her domestic birds
And she combs her hair
A white cloth on her lap
And a tender sun flutters around her
My mother did not need anything more
Of water and fly comb
To renew her feasts.

The fly comb teeth are sharp
And it often scratches the skull
My mother’s face hurts me when it contracts
Her little cries hurt me
When it falls to the seventh land
Without anyone hearing it.

My mother trained to respect cruelty
And patience when the fly comb falters
In the curly hair
Her face contracts greatly
But she believes in transformations
And here is the fly comb
Gets infected of her straight hair
And it becomes water.

The feast begins
When the fly comb’s movement softens
And the sun enters between its delicate teeth
For the roots to drink it
My mother exaggerates in styling her hair
While singing for the ring of the anklet
Or for the kettle at the door
She sings and looks
From time to time to her birds
Her birds are her mirror.

There is joy running through the house
When she collects the fallen hair
As she collects eggs in her scarf
Or she carries the chicks in a cradle of straw.

She does not leave a hair on the ground
Very carefully
She removes the hair accumulated in the fly comb
Wrap it in a small piece of cloth called hijab
And stick it in a crevice
She is afraid of an evil step
That passes over it and causes baldness
She never burns the hijab
So that the burn’s scent
Does not get stuck in her braids forever
He just can
Leave the veil at the Nile
To keep her hair healthy and soft.

Naqarra in the Hand of the Majzoub

Your mouth is with us
Your eyes are with us
But you are with your amputated leg
That sleeps alone with strangers
Who came with their complete organs
Do you envy her
Because she preceded you in seeing the angels?
Or you are afraid of her call for her brothers?

What will she do now
With the emptiness
They amputated your right leg
And they left it beating
Like a Naqarra in the hand of the Majzoub?

Do you agree with me
That it is a believable tragedy
For a man who linked his life to the art of grief?
He goes around the mud houses
And whenever he finds an old woman who speaks to the dead
He puts her mouth in his sock.

You will need a crutch, my friend
Not to rely on it
Rather, to keep the mosquitoes away
When they extend its hoses
In a void the size of a skinny leg
It lies close to you
It speaks and no one hears it except you
And the more you move a little
It does what you do
But it becomes a hole
When you are about to stand.

You were lying down when we came in
And it was polite to open our mouths
For our astonishment to appear in front of a pair of pants
Half of it is suffixed and ends with fingers
And the other withered
Vanishes into the bed sheet
It was polite to take our features
In a demonstration against the cruelty of life
As if we are doing something with our lives
Except looking at our organs as they wither

The hem of your sleeping pants
Like an unfurled flag
Looks at me and whispers:
There is no emptiness in the world
There is no emptiness except in damaged souls.

What will you do now
With a part of your body
The doctor stripped it of its flesh and bones
And let its blood flow into the hospital drain?
He stripped it of everything
Except feelings and memories
What a good bait to catch the soul
How long will it take you to the world of emptiness
And the company that does not accept resurrection
In words and statues.

The naqarra is a type of small drum beaten with a stick or a piece of leather,
used in Sufi processions.
Majzoub: Darwish

© Fathi Abdel Samee

Fathi Abdel Samee (1963) is an Egyptian poet residing in southern Upper Egypt. He has published seven poetry collections, and five other books including a book on his autobiography, and an extensive study on revenge in Upper Egypt, which won the State Encouragement Award in Social Sciences.

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