"There are silent voices inside me. / I will free them now / I will free also / The letters of love words / Suffocated in my mouth."
"I was not sure about how good or bad of an idea it was to publish my book (the Arabic original at least) during this pandemic time, but I thought: What about the babies who will be delivered now? I know timing a book is easier than timing a life, but we can never guarantee what happens later; there’s always risk no matter what we do."
"You’ll find something that looks like a boulder, but it’s not—it’s cork, painted so that it resembles rock. Push it aside and go out. A few meters away you’ll find someone who’ll look after you.”
"Winter yields a Spring / Spring’s dreams are ruined by / Summer. / Summer, without farewell / cedes authority / to Autumn"
"Give her back her earrings, God / Return to her clay oven the fire / And the rain to her farms / And take away death which harvests her children."
"I am a writer of senses."
"The winters are long and dark in this country, with snow blowing in great generous gusts, while summer is shorter than a sip of tea at the side of the road."
Poetry was another thing Colla said he thought a lot about while he was writing Baghdad Central.
"There was also a problem about the terrorist operations and bombings that took place in Baghdad. I know a lot about all this, but I had to watch a lot of videos on the internet, which caused me great sorrow and depression."
Much as in old photo albums, we the undersigned—the Ayoub A.L. family—gradually appear either standing together, or behind one another, or in front, or a little further off. We thought it better to let our mother Makiah sit on a chair, as she can’t stand for long, even if it’s for a photo. Beside her is Auntie Fatihiya, and then the younger auntie, Saneea. Our grandmother Bebe Fatim has no place among us; she stayed upstairs.
"The central themes that emerge are al-Ani’s role as an organic intellectual who championed the dispossessed and identified with the left across his roles as theatre practitioner, playwright and actor. This came to see him identified as ‘the people’s artist’ during his ownlifetime, expression and function of his artistic craft merging into a coherent approach."
"The Chaldean translator turns to the truck driver:" / "Le traducteur chaldéen regarde le chauffeur de la fourgonnette"