Poetry Suite by Hazem Fahmy

Editor Carrie Seitzinger, Poetry, April 4th, 2017

"The nightingale sings and a boy follows. Voice like fresh bread rising."

Hazem Fahmy Poetry Nailed Magazine
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Ballad of the Bleeding Queen in Two Parts

 

1: A Queen Bleeds in Ramadan

I suppose no matter how much we don’t believe in God,
………………………………………………………………………..we still know how to pray
………………………………………………………………………..when the news headlines hold
………………………………………………………………………..one of us out

 

 

…………………………………………………………………………dangling

a fresh rag of blood
to dry out in the blazing pain.

We cry, Oh God,
if his name sounds like ours
let him forget it.

If he calls to you
in the same name
let him be confused.

……………………………………………We pray
they make this more about the gun
than the prayer uttered by he who held the gun.

……………………………………………We pray

and somewhere in Washington
a man in a well-pressed suit
asks us to apologize instead,
to blame the prayer and the prey.

Oh God,
let today be about the predator,

………………………………………………………how his first hunt was through our language,
…………………………………………………………………………..how he entered a mosque,
………………………………………………………………………………………….fangs barred,

…………………………………………………………and forgot to leave his weapons at the door,
…………………………………………………………………………………how he saw your name
…………………………………………………………………spreading its arms in grace and glory,
…………………………………………………………………..how he wanted it to be none but his

so he shot it through the neck
and slit its throat for good measure.

Oh God,
they mock your name
as it’s dragged through the streets by the ankle,
the Arabic marking the concrete sparkling red,

…………………………………….and we kneel down,

watching this parade pass us by every day,
you stolen before our eyes.

…………………………Today we cry again as another man takes you away from us,

our book held up
to closer scrutiny than the law,
than America,
than the sweltering of this skin,
how its softness knows no savior.

Oh God,
we look to you and are told you hate us,
where else will these eyes go.

2: A Queen Speaks Back

When they open their mouths
in unshaking audacity
and tell you that God hates you,
make them quake with your laughter, child.

Hold their foolishness forth,
like a freshly blessed lamb.

Drink it down like the wine that awaits you in heaven.
Say: I’m a river and you have forgotten the flood waters,
how the ancestors once set aside five days a year just to praise them.

Say: God cannot hate these arms
when the Nile runs after the Euphrates within them.

Say: men only fear what they do not know
and God knows everything.

+ + +

In Which the Gay Sultan Opens His Palace

 

And a curtain of velvet collapses
on my face, the fabric, too ecstatic
to wait for lovemaking,
so it decided to fall.

In the courtyard,
across from the wine fountain
a couple hold hands and sway
to the splashing, every plop
the sound of a verse swimming
or stretching. No horizon needed,
but for leisure,
sanctimonious surplus.

The nightingale sings and a boy
follows. Voice like fresh bread
rising. Eyes brown as desert dusk.
Dawn a red dress
in my closet,
always there
for me.

+ + +

On Not Owing Shit

 

………..This body was not made
for a passport.
………………………….You can’t cut this skin
…………………like a map.
……….I did not consent
to your cartography.

………………………….. Do not write this name
…………………in bureaucratic cum,

……….your Jacksons and Leopolds splattered
on stolen ground.

…………………………..I am not the number of massacres it took
………………. .to make a nation.

+ + +

September

Bless the pavement
and the feet that walk it.

My grandfather
embarked on an odyssey every day.

Let this be his epic.
History remembers music more than men.

I make memories out of music;
………………………………………..that time my mother
………………………………………..blasted Bryan Adams in the car,
………………………………………..smile wider than the rift we’ve been bridging.

The Brooklyn Bridge
mended a vein that popped in my head.

I slept the sticky nights away.
I am an open window.

The cool dew sticks to my skin.
The wind welcomes me.

+ + +

Header image courtesy of Adam Martinakis. To view his Artist Feature, go here.

Hazem Fahmy Poetry Nailed Magazine is a poet and critic from Cairo. He is currently pursuing a degree in Humanities and Film Studies from Wesleyan University. His poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming in ApogeeHEArtMizna, and The Offing. His performances have been featured on Button Poetry and Write About Now. His debut chapbook, Red//Jild//Prayer, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press this Fall. In his spare time, Hazem writes about the Middle East and tries to come up with creative ways to mock Classicism. He makes videos occasionally.

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Carrie Seitzinger

Carrie Seitzinger is Editor-in-Cheif and Co-Publisher of NAILED. She is the author of the book, Fall Ill Medicine, which was named a 2013 Finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Seitzinger is also Co-Publisher of Small Doggies Press.
Learn more about her at her official site.