Nagat Ali – Sailors

Ali LE P&W 7 Nov-Dec 2023

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

Sailors,  poems by Nagat Ali.


Boycott the sailors
As their dead here are many
And every time I raised my eyes
To look at them
I saw traces of my blood
On their fingertips
Do not tell them I am here
And I crossed the ocean
Just for them
Now I am doing nothing
Except that I write
Their names on my wall
Then erase them
I do not want them to mess with my soul
My very tired heart is enough for me
And my days that became heavier
Than my dreams.

Far away

They say that you do not look like my father
In anything
For me to be fascinated by you
But I was fascinated by you
So do not straighten your gaze
Towards me
Like two cannons piercing my chest
I am not The Young Nagat*
To draw me with
Two sexy lips
And hang my picture
On your crumbling wall
Your room is really narrow
It will not accommodate my shadow when
I cast it at night
Alone here I collect what is left
From your traces near my window
From which I look out
On my defeated heart before you
How dare you sleep
And there is a burning ocean between us
By my longing for you
I am alone here talking
To your picture
Perhaps it will tell you about my maze
And that the fifth cup
Was the one which made me feel easy
To reach your bridge!

But Brooklyn is very far away
I just want you to see me
When I wave to
You above it
With my trembling hand
To know, you crazy man
How much I love you.

*The Young Nagat is a famous Egyptian singer

The road to the cemetery

This cold land
How can it be a homeland
For a soul exhausted by successive defeats
But you did not plan
To come here
And the road to the cemetery
Was haunted by the noise
And with the voices of those who remained stuck to you
And you buried them all
In a body heavy with
Ghosts of loss
So you started asking desperately
Why did your father choose
This faraway place
To lie in it alone?
Now they have erased his name
And stripped him of every identity
That indicates him
And they did not leave you
Even a small tree
To hide childhood scars underneath
So you searched for a long time
About the chemistry of pain
That fits your punctured lung.

© Nagat Ali

Nagat Ali is an Egyptian poet who obtained a Ph.D. with first class honors from the Department of Arabic Language, Faculty of Arts, Cairo University in 2014. Her poems have been translated into several languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Kurdish, Portuguese and Romanian. She has published four collections of poetry, in addition to two books in literary criticism. She won several awards, including the Best Poetry Award for the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, 1998 and Tangier Prize for Young Arab Poets, Morocco, 2009. She was selected among the best young Arab writers at the 39th Beirut Prize in 2010. In addition, she wonNaguib Mahfouz Award for Literary Criticism and Literary News Award in 2017.

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