Brown Bodies – Resistances

Aleatory curating.

cover - hana shafi - it begins with the bodycover - maged zaher - the consequences of my body

The titles of their books:

Hana Shafi It begins with the body

Maged Zaher the consequences of my body

The use of anaphora and repetition:

i stayed up all night writing poetry
drank my sadness;
it was sweet tea,
so finally finally
finally, the tide came in
and the land was clean.
i was clean.

Hana Shafi “Ritual”

* * *

[p. 9 – the beginning]

Failing is an act of love
Oh purity
Words are slices of time
They travel with us
Alone with a few bags
After the duty free


[p. 26 – pages later]

Words are slices of time
Together with few bags
They travel with us
After the duty free

If surrounded by noise
They allow forgetting
I will love you
As a collateral revolution

Maged Zaher

The shared lexeme of “failure” — “Failing is an act of love” “humbled myself in the presence / of my own failure, so finally finally / finally, the tide came in / and the land was clean. / i was clean.”

Failure of another sort — engineered failure for the monolingual English reader — you turn the page in Zaher’s book and on the verso is this section of what looks like Arabic. No translation, no annotation. You scan the WWW and find an interview:

On page 67, the reader encounters a poem in Arabic script. If this poem itself is translated elsewhere within The Consequences of My Body, it is not marked or identified in any way. Likewise, the reader is not privy to whether these Arabic lines constitute an original composition, or whether they are the work one of on those predecessor poets introduced later in the book. What hinges upon the un-translation of the poem on page 67?

So much hinges on this un-translation and its typeset — so much — I will leave it at that

You turn to your Arab-speaking friend:

Typically, one has to understand what one is reading in Arabic and do so with a good grasp of the grammar in order to read it correctly. This is one reason why the language is classified as one of the most difficult in the world.

Your poet is intentionally trying to make things even more difficult. The Arabic script is in mirror image. And, to complicate things further, it is all in upper case letters without any spaces separating the words.

I am assuming the intention here is to have the text resist optical recognition software and hence make it accessible only to a living breathing Arabic reading human.

The importance of typography indeed.

arabic segment - maged zaher - the consequences of my body

These have been placed here
a) because of their titles
b) because of their use of repetition
c) because of their theme of “failure”
d) because of none of the above
e) because of all of the above (including none of the above)

And so for day 2593

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