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The truth is, I don’t believe all that much in writing. Starting with my own. Being a writer is pleasant—no, pleasant isn’t the word—it’s an activity that has its share of amusing moments, but I know of other things that are even more amusing, amusing in the same way that literature is for me. Holding up banks, for example. Or directing movies. Or being a gigolo. Or being a child again and playing on a more or less apocalyptic soccer team. Unfortunately, the child grows up, the bank robber is killed, the director runs out of money, the gigolo gets sick and then there’s no other choice but to write. For me, the word writing is the exact opposite of the word waiting. Instead of waiting, there is writing.—Roberto Bolaño



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Cairo by Piri Reis, 16th century. Source: Wikipedia

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إسلام حنيش: ركوب البحر

Han Sungpil, My Sea, the Sea I Dreamt (015), 2006
Han Sungpil, My Sea, the Sea I Dreamt (015), 2006
مركب على حجر بقرب البحر
يسألون من رسمه؟
أحد المارة ربما،
أو شاب محبط،
حلم قبل سنتين أن يركب البحر، ويهرب.

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Carol Sansour: In the Time of the Apricots (Selections)

Greek Orthodox service in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

Christopher Anderson, Greek Orthodox service in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, 2007.


All the letters – talismans,

and the words are riddles.

Between the alef and the yaa,

metaphor, metonymy and pun.

Beginning and end,

place and time,

lover and beloved and homeland:

puzzles, puzzles, puzzles.

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Jessica Sequeira: Three Poems


Liza Zhakova, from “fuckmehard”. Source:


From this red block of pure substance we look toward sea, separated from it by tiny flakes of white paint. Some finger has stuck itself in the same pot to draw wave tops, a line quivering but unbroken. Doctors speak of low iron levels in the blood and say things, “a nice broth is what you need” “a good cut of meat”, while the strength of the soul goes unmentioned. Yet here we rest, Soul and I, knowing better. I talk to you as if I’m old and you’re innocent, and I keep a shell in my hand. We sit in the shell of the boathouse, and my body remains a shell for you, and nothing passes through my mind except that I want to write lines clean and new. The wave top looks like a dishcloth wrung out, and the speed I move is not the speed of the water.

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Julian Gallo: Hoxha’s Children


Alex Majoli, Scutari, Albania, 1997. Source:

Tirana, Albania — April 11th 1985


The foremost leader has died.

National mourning. Black flags flutter from the windows along side our national flag. Tears, agony, grief, everywhere one looks.

The television shows nothing but tributes to our fallen comrade.

I sit in the café, sip my coffee, watch the grief stricken faces of my fellow comrades. I look out the window at everyone just standing around, consoling one another, seeking comfort in another’s embrace.

I turn my attention back to the interior, continue to sip my coffee, occasionally watch the old films of our foremost leader when he was young, healthy, strong.

The café is crowded but most people don’t speak, most sit with their own thoughts, grieving, as if a member of their own family has passed. In a lot of ways, one had.

A woman sits by herself at the far end of the café. She isn’t crying or gazing at the television. She simply stirs a spoon in her coffee cup, smokes a cigarette, gazes out the window with no expression. She looks sad but there are no tears. Thin and pale, deep lines  crease the corners of her mouth. I can tell that she must have been very beautiful once but either time or hardship had nearly erased all traces of it. It isn’t until she glances my way that I realize who it is.

I can’t look at her.

If it weren’t for those eyes, I would have never believed it.

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أمجد الصبان: قرباننا

By Youssef Rakha

By Youssef Rakha

لمح مجدي – بالصدفة – إعلانًا كُتب بخط صغير أسفل زاوية في إحدى صفحات جريدة محلية.
ولأنه فضولي، أزاح طبق الطعام جانبًا، دفع مقعده الخشبي إلى الخلف وقام ليبحث عن عدسته المكبرة حتى يتبين تفاصيل الإعلان.
وبعد أن أعاد القراءة مرة وأخرى، شعر للمرة الأولى بأن هناك طريقًا للنجاة. كان الإعلان عن عودة مسابقة “قُرباننا” بعد انقطاع دام عقدًا كاملًا.تم الإعلان عن المسابقة أربع مرات، نُفذَتْ مرة واحدة وألغيت ثلاث مرات، على الرغم  من الإغراءات الكثيرة التي قدمها القائمون على المسابقة لحثّ الناس على الترشح. شروط الترشح أن تكون سليم البنيان، حسن الهيئة، خال من الأمراض. والفائز سوف يحظى بجنازة مهيبة تُذاع مباشرة على قنوات التلفزيون المحلي. وسوف يُقام له تمثال صغير يُوضع في مدخل المدينة.

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