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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