Amjad Nasser (Jordan, 1955)
The Ascent Of Breath
Neither the spears of the mighty, nor the knifes of dwarfs;
the fingers of your hand;
tearing furrows through the eternal air and leaving them to the seeds of pain spreading through the front tooth and tongue.
I hear them beneath the incense of poppy luring the idols of my life,
spreading their palms at the doorstep.
I ascended their path, raising my confusion as a flag of surrender
|to the gales.|
On the way to you
I denied the star that had guided my step
and my skill amongst my peers.
Amidst those passing with wide shoulders
mine was the bent figure beneath the lightning
I turned towards slopes that silently received the sermons of the summits
I heard beneath the deafness of the sky things splitting apart at the height of their abandonment
I came upon hills being born of the forgetfulness of mountains
and floating spirits tattooed by the horseshoe of midday heat
I passed boxthorn spreading aimlessly along the paths
and I offered support
and with what strength I had I partook of the soil
that harboured the seed of poison and of theriaca.
Crowds came, and the dust raised a veil between us,
so they returned with spoils of nothingness.
I resorted to a mountain hoping to take something of what could be seen.
why do this glass
and that smoke
not relieve sleeplessness?
Why do I
not drift away
It is as though I had not seen
and had not heard
and had not touched
and had not inhaled what your breath
left upon my hands.
Crowned with my lightness;
my throne upon the air
is supported by tormented breath
My lightness has not left a trace of me on the ground,
nor has it raised me to you
Oh my lightness
or drop me with a sloping shoulder
to repel the dust blowing over my childhood footsteps
amongst the rams.
Oh my lightness
the stranger has arrived
who has no yesterday or tomorrow