Tim DeMay translated two poems by Moroccan writer Abdallah Zrika for ArabLit Quarterly’s Winter/Spring issue, The Strange, which were accompanied by a conversation between Zrika, Shireen Hamza, and Ali Abdeddine. Now DeMay has two more poems in the latest issue of Asymptote:
The first poem, “Sun Tearing the Page’s Flesh,” opens:
Like a candle’s wick
I extinguish the light in me
Like an eraser I erase
my face with my face
The second, “Mice in the Wardrobe of Solitude,” closes with a gorgeous, terrifying image of the world as a refrigerator, which, when opened, gives off nothing: “but the odor / of the white / rotted by the ice.”
You can read both at Asymptote.
From Ali Abdeddine’s introduction to the conversation with Zrika, as translated by Shireen Hamza:
Abdallah Zrika has a unique poetic voice, a dual linguistic formation. He writes his personal world, his unique self, wrapped in the cloak of solitude, and then expands the reach of his text to speak of everything, searching for the well of his poetry, which protects him from the screams of the world:
“Where is the well, that I may throw in my head and retain the rest of my body in another well, full of the cries of my void?”
The poet’s musical replies in this interview intervene in his texts, as if his text is his answer to this world. For Abdallah Zrika, writing is a translation of an “inner language,” a protection of the tree of language in the poet’s consciousness. That is Abdallah Zrika, whose tree of poetry is unique in its reach. His poetic voice is special in the way it crosses the lines, bends, and divisions of this world, sensing poetic heights.
You can also listen to Zrika read the poem in its original form on Asymptote.