Agenda, Poetry, RMW Festival 2013

The Ironic Rebel (SUN | ZON)

Malaka Badr

(Nederlands onder)

Irony is back on the the literary agenda, resulting in a great deal of controversy. Meanwhile, a new generation of writers seems to be emerging worldwide, looking for new ways to relate to irony and the political power of expression that messages seem to lose with the use of this stylistic device. This is well-illustrated by the first line of the Vrije encyclopedie (Free Encyclopedia) by the recently debuting poet Maarten van der Graaff: ‘Let me tell you who I am and then / we can finally move on.’
This desire to move on also seems to be essential and obvious in the body of work of the young Egyptian poet Malaka Badr. In her poem ‘Death Leans on its Rifle Eating Crackers’, she writes about her experiences in the uprising on Tahrir Square: ‘We have learned / only to rise / for the funeral procession of a friend.’
Malaka Badr and Maarten van der Graaff will discuss the role of irony in their body of work and the differences between writing in the Netherlands and Egypt, where life these days is turbulent.

6 – 7 PM
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Poetry, RMW Festival 2013

Poetry: Death leans on its rifle eating crackers

In my way to despair,
I cannot cry..
Crying is silly
As a sit-in disarrayed a hundred times,
A revolution repeated a million,
or many rebellious generations
who saw vanity and death
with their own eyes.

Silly isn’t it?
I keep a knife in my bag,
Welcoming my chaos,
Rejecting my soul,
I keep it for “thuggery”
But I can’t open it,
Another weight on my sluggish shoulder,
A silly knife for a silly thug
who tries to harass me
while teargas bombs are still licking me,
I wonder
How do those get their sex desire,
Drowning their heads in the absurd swamp?!

My lover holds me tight in a dark street,
At its end lie Death,
A line of soldiers with hepatitis,
All waiting for us;
Two lovers
“enemies of state”.
I cross over, cursing, boiling,
My hands pressured on my lover’s,
Followed by a fear inherited years ago.
Reaching a cigarette kiosk,
We buy cheap wipes,
Drowned in cold water in the end of January,
and clean our dirty cloth,
fearing our parents’ punishment
because we asked for dignity.
We wipe the glasses of bloody tears in our eyes,
Teargas bombs has already mobbed away our humanity,
25$ per bomb= one dialysis session.

I pity the hepatitis,
Leaning on his rifle, waiting to shoot us,
I give him some crackers
And he thanks the “lady”
He was just beating with his baton.
Months later,
My lover won’t be able to eat those crakers,
When he gets out of jail,
Teethes smashed.