I am you


After watching for it for years from the window
and tucking it with anti-depressants in a backpack,
love suddenly explodes where no one expects.
The situation does not lack literary intentions
like scraping rust off the word love
and washing words like abandonment,connection
and weariness
from all the saliva that soaks them when they are sung.

If you are an Arab poet, you must have written about that topic.
You were probably lost for years in the desert of infatuation
seeking the mythological animal who occupies the only spring
so that you can kill it.
Then you weep regretting your preordained crime done only for a drink of water,
and even after you safely return to the family fold
you remain a poet.

Love has a bad reputation.
Love is the worst topic there is, no doubt.

I look for a muse in every poem I read.
The poet hangs his muse on the wall and straightens out her limbs with pins.
The image, which is the subject of inspiration, begins with the eyes of the victim and ends according
to one’s proximity to Modernism—between her legs—
or at best, with a recognition of her victimization.
I played this role in my spare time,
and I was lucky that I never met a great poet.
I left those experiments with contempt for the muses.

A bridge of chiffon
and you must cross it to the other shore.
Of course this is not a safe harbor.
You will not be the same person when you reach it
because immediately you will fall into the brackish water.
More than one hand will try to snatch you, hands of friends who consider  themselves experienced,
poets whose function is to witness the fall, and a psychologist wiling away his  insomnia.
None of them will be the hand of God, so no need to worry.
Fingers from beauty-product commercials will reach for you
to offer you exfoliated skin,
and you will never fear to fall again.

Love succeeds in making us authentic and selfish,
authentically selfish and authentic in our selfishness … etc.
Nothing from then on will suffice
as if the one who had said contentment is an endless treasure
had affixed the senses at degree zero
and walked towards the desert
whistling a tune resembling I am you, and you are I.

-iman mersal-


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