Colour Photograph

عبد الرحمن الماجدي 2

(Box: the Box Brownie)

In the box brownie of your head, sits the viper of your envy

swallowing the heedlessness of the road.

In the caves of your mouth, prison guards

are melting the truth in the acid of speech.

Your paper horses are lost on the road of your desolate spirit,

and your wooden God has lied to you

when you finished using certainty.

You run away from the photographer of forgetfulness

fearing he would enter you in the machine of absence.

Now you sit alone, on your last chair,

facing the deserted sea of your days.


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Abdulrahman Almajedi

abdulrahman almajedi 1

My uncle Salman
suffered a stroke
when his sons changed
his profession
from farmer to labourer.

He became silent.
One night they heard him weeping
like a widow in his bed.

In the morning he was gone.
They searched for him
in the alleys of al Thowra,
in its houses,
its street corners.
They found nothing.

A visitor came from al Amara,
days later.
He told them that an old man had been found
one night, weeping like a widow
in a shrub infested boat
in the drained marsh,
suffering from a stroke.

Al Thawra is a district in Baghdad where the marshes have been drained.
Al Amara is a town in southern Iraq

translated by Dikra Reda

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Abdulrahman Almajedi

Translated by Dikra Rida

Days are my enemies

I lock my doors in their faces,

I dust their light with rumours

about the weather

to evoke animosity between us.

When a day becomes the guest of my anger

I feed it apathy,

I water it with misery,

I cut its hours with the knives of frenzy,

and I give it an ending suitable

for defeated knights;

so I can keep a watchful eye for its mimicking brothers,

I arrange my forthcoming fights in fields

locked in the grounds of my head.

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Abdulrahman Almajedi

Translated by Dikra Rida


Our grandfather is a kindly elder
to our father.
Our foolishness reminds him of his youth,
so he cries,
then claims they are droplets of rain.


Guardian of the guards,
its buttons are the gates of the city,
its delicate routes lead
the blindmen’s hands to their homes.


Its colours are lover’s traps,
a friend of summer,
a fighter in his presence,
the one who hides, in cowardice,
from the relentless winter.


Obedient twins,
Carting the body wherever it wishes.
Contented in their fate, they obey the master,
and the dirt of the road.


In their somber stance,
long living,
yet they’re unlike their cousins coming
from the land of jeans.


The envied.
Hear its gentle calling,
the beginning of rain.


Loved when filled.
Degraded after the journey.
Two unknown soldiers.

Keeper of secrets in stone.
The last witness.

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Four poems


Abdulrahman Almajedi
Translated by Sargon Boulus

On the roof of our house
In Baghdad,
We found a graveyard
Inhabited by my father
And mother, my brothers
And sisters and me.
They gave up their places
And left;
My father with a crutch
To fend off his mistakes,
My mother weeping
For her dead sons.
And I, foolishness with a stick,
Tears shed over the dead,
A settled bachelorhood,
And a debunked prophecy.

My uncle Salman,
when his sons changed
his profession
from peasant to labourer,
was struck with arthritis.
He became silent.
One night they heard him weep
like a widow in his bed.
In the morning he had disappeared!
They looked for him
in the alleys of al-Thawra1,
in its houses, and streets . . .
and found nothing.
After a few days,
a visitor came from al-Amara2
who told them about an old man
found weeping one night, like
a widow, struck with arthritis
in a boat stuck in the mud
of the drained marsh.
1 al-Thawra is a district in Baghdad
2 al-Amara is a town in southern Iraq


The obedient twins.
They drag the body’s carriage
wherever it wants.
Satisfied with their lot:
obeying the master,
and the dust of the road.


The man said:
in God’s name,
have mercy on the ball.
Listen to it moan!
The woman said:
our neighbour’s speech
stumbles with sincerity
The child said:
when the birds die
the angels bury them in the sky.
The mother said:
There is a hole in my heart
that will only heal
when I hug my distant boy.
The photographer said:
Inside my black box
I store the earth
and those upon it.

From Akhtam Hijriyya – Mamalik li Ghadin Hayran, Dar Mahktutat, Holland, 2002

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