Friday Finds: Hisham Bustani’s ‘Crossing,’ Translated by Maia Tabet

Znaidi is a poet, winner of the Split This Rock/Mutanabbi Street Starts Here poetry translation award, and the author-editor behind Tunisian Literature (in English). Read all four poems. The blueness of a dawn redolent of the sea’s breaths
and the scent of the departure’s white lilies. and 4 p.m. Now and then, from beyond the hills of fine sand, a date palm emerges, a village, some people. Just like that. And at the fourth, a policeman waves us on. Colored ships slowly glide across the surface of blue waters below. Yesterday, rumor had it that the crossing would be open between 10 a.m. From “A Whoop of Kohl”:
The weave of the night’s cloak. It was only a rumor, but oh, the hope that tickled their minds: They would get through. A city full to the brim with daggers
made up of the silver of days…
The memories…
The memories encroach upon time
in every fall from
the edge of waiting. §
Eight people on their way to Gaza: the road is long and strewn with checkpoints.1
“Salamu alaikum,” and we go through the second checkpoint; at the third, nobody’s there. #
Another Friday Finds: Ines Abassi, ‘A Whoop of Kohl’
The Brooklyn Rail   recently published four poems by Tunisian author Ines Abassi, translated by Tunisian poet-translator Ali Znaidi:
Abassi is author of several poetry collections, including Secrets of the Wind (2004) and Archive of the Blind (2007), as well as a memoir,   Tales of the Korean Scheherezade, set around her time in Seoul. The journal   Newfound   recently published a Hisham Bustani short story that centers   on Palestine, in English translation by Maia Tabet. Keep reading on   Newfound. A heart full to the brim… A soul full to the brim. “Crossing” was originally published in Arabic in Bustani’s 2010 collection   The Monotonous Chaos of Existence:
It opens:
1–First Attempt
You cross the bridge suspended over the canal. The sun is warm and everything is coming together, it seems. Fish dart across the lake and a swarthy, dusty child poses for the camera, stick in hand. Advertisements

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