Excerpt from

Don’t say that my son 

Is walking in heaven

By Islam Nawwar

Translated by

Phoebe Bay Carter

Part 1

Everyone turns into a black woman from the Saeed

Head shaved like a man

Running on an impotent husband and


She might be called, for example, three-hundred million, three-hundred-and-seventy-five thousand, six hundred and twenty four

And this number might correspond in some calculation

To a redbrick wall holding up the roof of a four-story house.

Melodies dispatched from World War II

From Radio Warsaw, bombed as Wladislaw Szpilman was playing 

A movement of Chopin’s romantic Nocturne No. 20, reminds me

Of the absurdity

Of sell a kidney.

In 2050 the redbrick walls holding up the roof of a four-story house died a cliché death, at age seventy

“Avec Le Temps”*

The black woman’s walls died, and I had been hoping with all my heart, to fuck her ass.

Then our Father priest said 

To a black man

 named him my father:

Confess your blackness;

A black man bawled in a town square

A black gang passed by;

Both feet in hellfire

And a pillaged shack

A raped woman in Berlin

A black woman 


“The girls must wait

Wait, my friends.”

So rest assured

The ugly black gorilla is just that 

And I am still alive

Here, reciting poetry about the details of my life

Reading it like reading internal medicine books 

Or Facebook timeline

Hence there is no death in the surgery ER to make itself clearer than a non-present death in the internal medicine ER 

And rest assured

I am the ultimate romantic

I will call you “my darling princess”

And I will prove to you I am not a frog

That I have a cheek

It is my own cheek

And I let tears run down it

They are my own tears

So kiss this cheek and tell me:

“calm down

The ambulance is a delivery van carrying pizza from L’Angelletto resturant, to the university hospital, and there’s no death inside”

The heart-and-lung resuscitation unit is to the right of the surgery ER.

A rose tossed into existence did not ask why it bloomed or wilted

Our father’s bowels / in Ophelia’s hand / or a rose

In Gertrude’s hand / a rose / or our father’s bowels

O Hamlet Ur-Hamlet**

The heart-and-lung resuscitation unit is to the right of the surgery ER

In Elsinore.

O nirvana O nirvana, I despair to death

I don’t even understand my own language, my own metaphor

O holy Arabian, O holy shit

A terrified child didn’t ask, crying

O captin my captin***

*French song

“Ur-Hamlet: a play of unknown author thought to be one of the sources for Shakespeare’s play “

From a poem of Walt whitman



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