Gamal Al-Qassas – There Was Music

Kassas LE P&W 7 Nov-Dec 2023

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

There was music,  poems by Gamal Al-Qassas.

There Was Music

We had a fight yesterday
Our voices rose in the café
And in the street
We were not normal in the dream
We did not notice him gasping in our eyes
Looking for a shelter
Afraid of being bitten by an ant
That lost her way to the opera
Or a rogue star that is not good at drawing a heart Messes with his lips

I thought music was enough
It unties the knot of your infinite body
And I revolve around you
Looking for a wiser exile
For a word that splits this evening in two
For a more gentle struggle
Between two clouds that know that the borders
Are gallows
That passion is a reckless thief
That does not know how to bear a rose
That waits for the lake to clear up for its birds.

We had a fight yesterday
The grass burned
Before the garden finishes its prayers.

Never mind
Perhaps when the revolution dyes its hair
When the poem seizes power
When the night settles in a fleeting kiss
We can interpret the text
Distribute it equally among the poets
And the poor
And the addicts of abnormalities
We can come up with another slogan for the era
Fight with more love
In the cafe
In the street
At the metro station
On the one who lights the firewood at night.

Under the Wings of a Bird

I am dependent on love
I always make excuses for it
That the road is crowded
That the thieves stole the square clock
There is a mess in the coffee bag
There is a star skirting the river
To give her a teaspoon
I got used to the feel of an empty plate
How do I become two?
A man and a woman
A poet and a dove
There is wisdom to hunger
To be alone in yourself
Biting your fingers at the crumple of the bed sheet
You imagine it as a shadow of a lover
Getting ready for bed.

I stay home
Kisses are in the freezer and on the shelf
Hugs without wings
Life is on hold in the café
And the supermarket
And on the sidewalks.
It is difficult to breathe your serenity or your boredom
I double my desire for you
Everything is remote
I stay home
It is okay to make a mask for the body
Give it a watermark
Perhaps he will untie the ropes of his labyrinth
It is okay to arrest the air
Determine his residence on the sofa
Or in the balcony.
Teach him how music thirsts
How does the melody dry…

This is the time of Corona
We have to look for other exercises
Similar to sleeping
Or the dream
Or sex
Perhaps we remember how cruel we were
When we breastfed by this earth
And disguise as humans.

* From my collection (Under the Wings of a Bird) 2020

The poet must rest
Goes farther than the poem
Than the language
Than poetry
Does not talk to anyone here or there
Only declares his solidarity with a bird
The sky broke its game
When fluttering on his wings like a child.

* From my collection (Under the Wings of a Bird) 2020

© Gamal Al-Qassas

Gamal Al-Qassas (1950) is an Egyptian poet and journalist. He has published fourteen poetry collections, the most recent of which is “There was Music here” published in 2023. Selections of his poems have been translated into English, Arabic, and Greek. He also won the Cavafy International Prize in Poetry in 1998. He is considered one of the most important founders of the “Illumination 77” poetry group in the 1970s.

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