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.