“A Naguib Mahfouz character arrives in Havana”: Maru Pabón Translates Rogelio Riverón for Valentine’s

Grey Dust Covers the Eyelids *

Nikos Economopoulos, Havana, 2017. Source: magnumphotos.com

A Naguib Mahfouz character arrives in Havana on a Turkish Airlines flight. He had escaped Cairo three months earlier and bounced around until he landed in Istanbul, where he was able to find work as a bellboy in The Seagull’s Nest hotel in the ancient part of the city. It was a three-story house with four rooms per floor. Lacking an elevator, the man – skinny, with a turbulent gaze matched by a discerning tongue – had to carry the luggage up a narrow and badly illuminated stairway, which multiplied the demands on his body. He felt safe at first, far away from where he had presumably committed the crime that had sent him into exile. He tolerated the excessive labor in silence, knowing that such was the lot of an undocumented immigrant.

Continue Reading

K. Eltinaé: wasiya

Rashid Diab, Out of Focus, 2015. Source: artauctioneastafrica.com/

How long is a life avoiding the beach? believing God spoke through my father some found seashell pushed off a shelf I cannot bury. I’d like to think there are aisles of men praying somewhere once I’m gone/that their tongues wrap around where I kept warm like a turban woven in prayer by strangers/that I am not found stiff/half hanging off a hotel bed under a phrasebook in another useless language/I hope I go dreaming in Arabic/because love there sounds like the wind passes through every vowel/somewhere buried in my voice there is asphalt singing as brothers build rooms for one another/I find new corners in case I come back/everyone gets a duaa to float across the lake and watch disappear/this is mine.

 


K. Eltinaé is a Sudanese poet of Nubian descent. His work has appeared in World Literature Today, The African American Review and About Place Journal, among others. He can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

No more posts.