The Number of Sex Partners: New Poems by Maged Zaher

Miroslav Tichý. Source:


My hunger for love exceeds me

Which has been a continuous annoyance


Although possibly a passe

But I do love both women

And the people who imagined God differently

It is a strange game


I am grateful and lucky for all the dictionaries I bought

I truly needed words

And they came through

Just a tad bit too much

And I died

And woke up




There is no symmetry in love

Actually there is no symmetry

All is predetermined somehow

Today I surrender

All surrenderings are surrenderings to God

I used my tongue too much

I apologize

I hope you survive this life

I almost did




To know God is to reverse engineer this mess

I had this anguish today

It was a gift

She told me a few weeks ago: I put on enough perfume such that the only person intended to smell me, smells me

Later she told me she doesn’t sleep with other men

Theoretically I wasn’t bothered

The lying is so hard though

Because it is an invitation for me to fill in the gaps with my thoughts

And my thoughts are full of pain

They are about some form of sexual inadequacy compared to the other men who smelt her

That too is a gift from God

I seem to have accepted

To go through all of this:

The occurrence of things

I think

There are few levels of indirection

In being here




To find my way around a single word has been taking me months of walking and meeting friends and buying books that have other words. Language seems to come freely, the words themselves, the grammar rules, etc – yet the realization, i.e. the mental, bodily, experiential totality (a bad word) and the adjustment of this understanding from the common one, and even from the understanding of others, comes at a cost of time and work. Each of us truly understands a few dozen words in their lifespan, even less.




Nothing here is physical

Except this word

It took me few years to learn

That I want to be with you at times

And not to fuck you at times

I surprised myself

You, my sexy Magdalen

Which really doesn’t do you justice

My genius doctor




You guys know

That nothing here is to be taken seriously

Neither me nor yourself

Not poetry for sure

And by poetry I mean knowledge

There is a chance we will never know

How can we take money not seriously

Given the amount of anxiety stored in it

But even anxiety

Isn’t to be taken seriously

But – maybe more important –

What isn’t to be taken seriously

Is the number of sex partners

Your partner had or is having