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Thursday, 18 February 2016

POET OF THE MONTH #34: Zaid Shlah


ZAID SHLAH, 2015




THIRTY-THREE BEADS ON A STRING

   
   
   1

I awoke from the nightmare
of a gutted maqam.

  
   2

Not because I have 
not yet bled my life

in yellow, but because
minarets sky downwards,
looking for purple births.

   
   3

One burly buffalo
Shrouded in hooves
and hot breath.


   4

Because the skin
is not yet numb,
and the lights
are not flickering,

I will continue to sip
at my hot tea, and stare
at the dust coloured noon.


   5

One white dishdadha screams
with the brilliance of red


   6

Can you hear them––
the melodious intent, the
glimmering oud in their eyes?


   7

Faith, stitch by seam,
a garment I have sewn
to my skin.


   8

Whatever remains of Al-Gubbenchi's
1932 Cairo studio recording, lives
between the old cobbled stone quarter,
and my still-warm mahogany ear.


   9

I should've gotten
up to shake his hand,

this uncomfortable tension
between me and God.





maqam = place, location, position
dishdadha = a type of long garment or tunic 



from the compilation Inclined To Speak (2005)





The Poet:  The following biographical statement appears on the excellent Wordpress blog Arabic Literature In English founded and maintained by M LYNX QUALEY.  [It is re-posted here for information purposes only and, like the poem re-posted above, remains its author's exclusive copyright-protected intellectual property.]

Iraqi-Canadian poet Zaid Shlah has a new collection of poems and essays just out from Frontenac House Press, ClockWork.

Shlah was 2005 winner of an American Academy of Poets Award. His first book of poetry, Taqsim, came out in 2006, and he currently teaches composition and English literature at Modesto Junior College.

In Fady Joudah’s words: 'Only a real poet would engage the labyrinthine domains of language, their factories and control systems, to achieve a genuine critical consciousness that insists on resistance as well as kindness. Zaid Shlah is such a poet, and his hybrid, achingly searching ClockWork captures this on the dot.'


Click HERE to read another poem by Iraqi-Canadian poet and educator ZAID SHLAH.

You might also enjoy:
POET OF THE MONTH #31: Malcolm Lowry
POET OF THE MONTH #17: Caasha Lul Mohamud Yusuf 
POET OF THE MONTH #8: Mohammed Bennis

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