Fatiha Morchid


2010 Morocco’s Poetry Prize
Translated from Arabic by
Norddine Zouitni
Published by
*Arab Cultural Center, Beirut/ Casablanca, 2010



Both wounded

            On guard against

            A long-awaited night

            That was shorter than a single pleasure,

            Its minutes like a fantasy

            Tick quietly

            On our fatigue,

            While our dream

            Promised clamor

            Both wounded

            When darkness is

            Oblivion to light,

            And lips

            The taste of ash


            The embers of reproach

            In the alley leading up to you

            You keep me standing

            Like a palm tree

            That can’t learn submission

            I lift up my branches

            To heaven

            Toward my depths

            How many departures will it take

            Before you become what you are more!

            Both wounded

            While this evening

            Lurks in wait

            Like a sin

            Open unto the sky,

            And palms

            See no reason

            To shake hands with the moon

            How many comings will it take

            To keep me farther away!

            Both wounded

            Glasses clink

            A failed expectation,

            And this heat freezes the senses

            In gloating delight

            Then, organs fall apart

            In boredom

            How many falls will it take us

            To rise more upright!

            A room the color of moaning

            Lost its brightness

            Where dual loving is no more

            Your lust is unable

            To repair the story

            The lover

            I was

            Disguises herself

            In the bed’s foreignness,

            While oozing kohl

            Signs the pillow

            Between the apex of my anger

            And your feigned calm

            A tear falls short

            Of untying the death-rattle

            Hemmed in between us

            Hand me

            A cigarette

            To stifle the falsity of speech,

            And a glass

            To sink in,

            Maybe drowning saves me

            From death

            On your bare chest

            O how I loved

            Your bare chest

            And how…

            It keeps now repelling me

            I threw the world


            And rushed to you

            Extending bridges

            That the cataclysmic distance

            Brought down

            It wasn’t love

            That which we made

            It was a sumo party

            Joining two bodies

            Filled with reproach


            Cold perspiration

            And racing..racing..racing

            Without reaching the finish line

            The night is in decline

            Don’t keep me

            A hostage to its tropics

            And grant the dying

            A death

            Worthy of it

            You lead me unaware

            For a test of the senses

            With the heart void

            Of all but chagrin,


            Gathering their own unrest,

            And a night

            Appropriate for loss

            Was it an attempt

            At freedom

            From the shackles of the body?

            Or a pretext

            To tighten the chains?

            Or because beds have no memory

            You resolved to bury me

            In the memory’s bed?

            Lovesick I came

            To merge into

            The spirit of fragrance

            The soul faded


            A desire without spirit

            No desire

            Could extricate

            The scent of surmise

            All doubts lead to me

            So don’t expect

            From storms

            A sign for god’s wrath

            Be a god

            With the spectrum

            Tearing the sky apart,

            And embrace me

            In your thoughts

            Far away from my past

            Or bring me back to it,

            A corpse

            Seeking rest

            How dare you dig out the graves of memories

            When I took off the robes of mourning

            And came to you

            A virgin

            Washed clean

            Of your predecessors

            As love accidents


            For the lustful part of the journey

            All doubts point at me

            With my pulse as sole certainty

            As we become one

            What evidence

            Would please your senses

            And eliminate potential similarity

            Between twins?

            For each their own twin

            And their share of longing

            What evidence

            Behind the pulled


            Would open

            The night’s eyes?

            Eyes catch sight of things they adore

            Though the path of passion is not sure

            A child reaches out

            We carry him up,

            But keeps crying on our breast

            So is love

            A coward

            When exalted


            Shed like the blood of defeat

            Find but in dust

            A cradle,

            While the echo

            Is carried on cafe tables

            Surrounded by the smoke of gossip

            And buried in ashtrays

            How far back now

            Is the thirst of the sea

            When it’s high!

            An island was ours

            When love was an astrolabe to us,

            Maps lines in our palms,

            And the wind with our breath competed

            For the tearing up of our clothes

            How far back now

            A candle lit beside

            Red toenails

            Ripe for kissing lips!

            Time and again

            The night prostrated itself to us

            And the light

            Got tired of our abandonment!

            How far back now

            Is homeland tea

            Which tasted of kisses

            And all paths led

            To a pair of breasts

            With the warmth of the desert!

            There’s still

            One kiss


            On its luminous throne

            Deep within

            You borrow letters

            From among the colors of the soul,

            Doesn’t the red quench your lustfulness?

            Meanwhile you dyed the wilderness

            And crouched like a breast

            On lungs

            Exhaling in bits

            All their sobbing,

            When love was a friend

            And candles Competed

            With the radiance of the body

            Don’t steal looks

            From behind the curtains

            My nudity has the reverence of mausoleums

            While you have the clamour of folk festivals,

            You make love without memory

            Then you repent your sins,

            You challenge the neighing of horses

            Ignorant of the breed you are riding

            Don’t eye me

            Like a jailer

            Unable to keep watch

            Any longer

            The more I shake the years

            Off my heart

            The more they weigh down on my haunches,

            My cheeks

            Can no longer blush

            When you are aroused

            Yours are letters

            “L” taking on the lead

            Assuming the pride of “O”

            While “V” elusive

            Like the gate to uncertainty

            You borrow letters

            From among the colors of the soul,

            I lent

            The dark

            To the rainbow

            And drowned

            In a drop of saliva


            Ink waters

            Run deep

            And digging

            Is insomnia’s friend



            Have vats of sins,

            And wolves

            Blue confessions

            Certainty is yours

            But mine is nothingness


            Ink is a mirage

            To one in quest of a homeland

            A night

            Steals a joy

            Rushing ahead to you,

            It yawns

            Like barren ink

            And dozes off in veins


            Shining through the wall opening

            Stands between us

            And nothing

            Saves for us

            The genuineness of our excitement

            A dim lamp

            Like a painful confession


            Stray bullets

            From the mouth of a woman

            Breaking free from my skin

            And going about

            Released from you

            Our feet

            Are the trunk of departure

            Your whispers

            Keep recurring

            Secrets breathe

            Inside their tomb

            A day

            That cannot stand light


            The temptation funeral

            I open a window

            Onto imagination,

            The distance contracts

            The moment expands

            A farewell letter

            Penned in spirit

            The wind is stronger

            Than the sails of the senses

            Weaker than the moaning of the flute

            Then, travels the horizon

            Farther than the desire of water

            A seagull

            I hold memories of ships

            And like a shell

            I carry the mystery of salt,

            Harbors keep tossing me about

            Whenever the glimmer from a lighthouse

            Leaks through the artery

            I pack my dream

            Into mirrors

            So that I recognize its features

            Amidst the crowd

            Then I untie the words

            From their pins

            Hoping the words carry me high


            Feelings embrace meaning

            I close my eyes

            To behold the gardens of spirit

            Hoping the soul

            Turn into dew

            And the heart

            Into the pulsations of a rose

            O you! Tampering with me

            For your own sport

            Roses bloom

            Out of passion for questions

            They dry

            Yet, no questions rise


            Crosses darkness

            To the other bank

            Eyes open the night

            Onto the dawn of the body


            Errant is your night

            Leave your address

            Before you fall asleep

            Autumn shakes my forests

            Some tiny leaves

            Cling to your steps

            Slow down

            Rustling still has

            A song

            Butterflies might return

            From their burning,

            The cricket from its wandering,

            And the queen bee

            To its throne

            While the ant

            Teaches us the secret of faithfulness

            To love


            To die a little


            We went than love

            Where indifference

            Sets in

            Following the flow

            Of your waters

            Toward tomorrow

            And like the wind

            Reinventing the sense of touch

            Whenever the tide ebbed

            Our eyes fixed into the sand

            We danced like desire

            At the borders of foam

            Quenching our thirst from the spring of time

            Like the children of a new dawn

            We caressed the laughter of the wind

            With lips hardened

            From intense kissing

            Many times

            We lost the way

            But to each other,

            And longing brought us back

            To a tune

            Which we nursed

            Like an orphan

            Many times

            We trampled

            The monotony of days

            With the lightness of a butterfly

            And hid

            In the shade

            Of our future dreams


            The maps of the body


            As the rainbow


            The waist of the sky


            You did to my rivers

            Once upon a flow

            Your thirst has no limits

            How much water is needed

            To baptize this love!

            Days are alike

            Moving farther away


            Floating in fog

            I cross the bridge

            In the silence of a pebble



            The story’s pain

            You dream

            Of chopping a mountain

            That cropped up between us

            I return to a place

            That would not conjure up my past

            I converse

            With album photos

            My life

            Colored by you

            I stoop






            Straighten up

            I love the reflection

            Of my memory

            On the face of water

            Whenever we took

            A step back

            I ran ahead of my death

            To you

            I sow apples

            All along the distances

            To mature in your absence

            We met by chance,

            We fell in love by chance,

            And this pain


            Into weary suitcases

            On the pavement of our last chance

            Is a drop of semen

            Fallen by chance

            Into the womb of obstinacy

            Take me

            Take me

            To another end

            Where coincidences are dates.