Friday Finds: ‘The Exquisite Engineering of Geography’s Tumult’

Two poems by Palestinian poet Asmaa Azaizeh (@AsmaaAzaizehare in the latest issue of Asymptote:

asymptoteThey are “Do Not Believe Me Were I to Talk to You of War” and “I Didn’t Believe I Would Ever Learn to Die,” translated by Yasmine Haj.

Azaizeh has published two collections, Liwa (2011) and As the Woman from Lod Bore Me (2015). She is also a curator at curator at Haifa’s Fattoush.

Single poems of hers have been translated into English previously, and hse has spoken in London about her relationship to place and poetry.

She said then: “Poetry is a place where you fight poetry… I always feel that I’m breaking something, not building something. I’m breaking stereotypes, or language… I feel it is my enemy. That’s why I don’t write a lot. It’s in me – but it’s not in my head. It’s not something that I do a lot. I’m not searching for it and I’m not trying to bring it into my daily life. That is why I keep writing. If I’m satisfied about everything I write, I would stop writing.”

Haj is a co-founder of Dalaala, a collective for translating poetry, fiction, films, and other texts from and into Arabic and English.

From “Do Not Believe Me Were I To Talk To You of War:”

In an obscure crowd, an obscene clarity dawns on me.
In the midst of the exquisite engineering of geography’s tumult, a bullet quietly passes through me, at my lower back,
The crowd’s mystery grows and my ears’ windows are shut from within. The hole is as fresh as a spring, the blood is as warm as my mother’s voice in a song and as smooth as my father’s skin.

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