An excerpt from

Joy is Not My Profession
by M. Al-Maghut

When the Words Burn

Poetry, this immortal carcass, bores me.
Lebanon is burning--it leaps, like a wounded horse, at the edge of the desert
and I am looking for a fat girl
to rub myself against on the tram,
for a Bedouin-looking man to knock down somewhere.
My country is on the verge of collapse,
shivering like a naked lioness
and I am looking for two green eyes
and a quaint café by the sea,
looking for a desperate village girl to deceive.

The goddess of poetry
stabs my heart like a knife
when I think I am singing poems to an unknown girl,
to a voiceless motherland
that eats and sleeps with everyone.
I can laugh till the blood runs from my lips.
I am the lethal flower,
the ruthless eagle that swoops on his prey.
floury mountains of passion,
fields of blind bullets--Do you want a poem about Palestine, about blood and
I am a strange man, with breasts of rain
and in my absent eyes
are four injured nations searching for their dead.
I was alone in my bed and hungry, tossing like a silkworm,
listening to sad music,
when the first shot was heard.
The desert deceives us!
whose hand is this purple hand,
and who tends the flower so carefully under the bridge?
Whose are these graves bowing under the stars?
Yesterday, a thin-lipped hero returned
to these hoary breasts,
these heaps of sand which give us
a prison or a poem every year
bringing the wind, and broken cannons,
his long spear gleaming like naked daggers.
Give him an old man, or a prostitute;
give him these stars, and all the sands of Jewry
where we weep over the mountains
and yawn in bathrooms,
where I turn my treacherous eyes toward the sea.
in the centre of my forehead, where hundreds of words are dying
I invite a final bullet.
My brothers,
I have forgotten your features.
(Those seductive eyes!)
Four wounded continents crowd in my breast.
I expected to conquer the world
with my poetic glances, and my green eyes.

Lebanon... white woman under the water;
mountains of breasts and fingernails.
Scream, voiceless country!
Raise your arm high till the shoulder splits
and follow me, the empty ship,
the wind laden with bells.
Over the faces of mothers and captive women,
over the cold ashes of verses and metres
I will spurt fountains of honey,
I will write about trees or shoes, roses or boys.
Tell the misery to depart,
tell the pretty hunchbacked boy
that my fingers are long as needles,
that my eyes are two wounded heroes,
that this is the last day for verses.
When Lebanon breaks, and the slow nights of poetry close
I shall put a bullet in my throat.