Maged Zaher: Five Untitled Poems

Maged Zaher by Youssef Rakha, Oldish Cafe, 12 August 2021


To Youssef Rakha

Revolution is a brand

Come again in proper clothes

And say that you love me

Do this before I die



My body is good for figure drawing

It is dark enough

And it has unusual curves

I’ve never used the word “adhesion” in my poems

I am tired

I am actually dead

But having dinner

I don’t exist here

I arrived earlier

To have coffee

And read literature

Early on

I loved everyone

I also

Hated myself

The good part

Is that all of us will perish

I love each of you

I am sad we will die

I am also happy

The injustices

We allow

As a group

Are punishable


By death

I love poems

And lots of poets

I also love

The intersection

Between engineering

And mathematics

But I know

All our achievements

All that we love

Is void

As the poor go hungry

And raped

I don’t want to die

I don’t want you to either

But I am happy we will

I am happy each one of us will



The ones who doubt that this world is made by God

Are close to my heart

Mythologies are a matter of birthplace

At times I woke up breathless in the middle of the night

And I panicked as death felt near

But when depression hit me for several months

I hoped badly for death

And as I was browsing for a way to leave

Other than slipping into the cold Nile

I felt hungry

And ordered food

Seneca was cool with dying

But I am not a Stoic

So far I like kabob more than death

Or oysters

Yes, I would die for oysters

But this metaphor never came true

Metaphors never come true

I died for oysters a lot

And I never even had food poisoning

To die luxuriously

You need to go to the Netherland

They will feed you pink juice

And you will be out in an hour

But you have to bring your own oysters

I dream that after I die

My soul will turn into mathematical fractals

The angels will draw me

In black and white

On some surface out there

So my loved ones can see me

And I them

Also the ones who hated me

Because I was a better engineer

And they will forgive me

The sense of superiority I had

When talking with them

I will forgive my mom and dad for bringing me

To the awful place we are in now

And they will forgive me the burden I caused them

And immigrating to another land

So I can further my knowledge

I will forgive me grandma

Scaring me of monsters

And tell her

The monsters I met in life

Were scarier than yours ya teta

I will give Plekhanov a hug

And ask the bookstore I went to in my childhood forgiveness

For stealing Plekhanov selected works from them

I will bend on my knees

To ask the last dozen of oysters I ate

Their love

Forgiveness is mathematically an addition

To a negative quantity

Until the result

Is zero



Of all




One day we will understand ourselves in mathematical terms

And maybe all the pain we encountered is but a manifestation of love

I am thinking of God

I am

I won’t feel bad if death erased me

It will be nice to sleep longer

But maybe my friend who killed himself awaits me

Before my leaving to Atlanta we sipped coffee

And he gave me a cool book

Morgan taught me to eat oysters

To bite it a little bit then swallow

He would take me to expensive restaurants

Or exquisite bars

Where they serve cocktails and put rose petals on them

Or some stuff like that

I was trying to save then

By going to teriyaki shops and Thai restaurants

Seattle was full of both

When it was time to go out

I wouldn’t dare mention teriyaki to him

Morgan went from one software company to the next

They abused him

Because he was very good

And couldn’t deal with mediocrity

Our experiences were similar

In his last gig

He couldn’t take it

And took his own life

I am still here

But I want to leave

So we can compare notes

While sipping nice cocktails

In some bar out there

That is fucking expensive



We prayed so God would leave us alone

I wasn’t sure why I was angry

I sat in my favorite coffeeshop

Waiting for my meds to kick in

Today I bought Penrose’s astronomy book

The math is too beautiful to be comprehended

I also got a book with all of Schiele’s drawings

Humanity can do cool things

I was Jesus for a moment

And I planned a reincarnation scheme

Plato was there

And an Arab poet named Imru Al Qais

I think Rosa Luxembourg too

And boom, I was myself again

Eating applesauce and peanut butter

Telling everyone I am vegan

With a shawerma sandwich in my hand