Poem for Tunisia: “Court of Nothing”

1 August, 2022
Mural in Kairouan, Tunisia, Madinati project, 2017, by El Seed (courtesy El Seed).


The writer of this poem has felt forlorn over her country’s floundering democracy for nearly a year, ever since Kaïs Saïed installed himself as President.


Farah Abdessamad


Temptation, hesitation, limitation — fences
Punch, barcha, hit, hit
Harder until I scream
Polyphonic bliss, your song of home, tune of envy and
Sit, watch a pink vomit of crimson and milk

                                    I run
                                           to a yes
                                                       to a no

Linger, sick sharpness
Heavy star, delusionary rides of lunar folly
Limbo in that flag. Pressed sky; I’m awake wallah
Full, noss, and

Red clouds, waves — conspiring into this big splash of nothing
Time, time, and time again slipping
Clock tower of Tunis, ring, ring
Minutes, hours, decades of collective despair

                                                      I run
                                                                           they catch me

Fathers, sing, sing
Restless, angry, I stand at a graveyard of cyanic pity
Cards of magic, a curse of plenty shuffling
A last dance of our headless mass
To the streets!

Our beautiful bodies, to the streets
Stuck in a court of reveries
Nothing left but to pick up the pieces of dignity
Deflagrated, skinny, eat, eat.


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