Four Poems by Hazem Fahmy

Summer Soundtrack: For Death, Despite

Summer begins
and with it the parade
of bodies the earth demands. I drown
out death with Imam and Miles Davis. 

There,
the trumpet blared,
all noise and glory—
melancholic confetti.

Here, I sit
swinging my legs like a hammer
in and out of the wall
violently.

Look, 
the camera encroaches:
close-up on the dead Arab.
very well-framed magic 
hold out to the world.

Sweet sleep,
now gone.

Dear death,
moaned,
escaped.

Alive,
for what?

 

Clubbing with Hamed Sinno

Across the dance floor,
he looks at me with onyx eyes
smiling a sunset into the room, 
hushing the beat to stillness.

For once, this is not a silence 
that scares me. There is no death 
here, though there be eulogy
for the body I left behind. Here, 
my skin quickly forgets
the unfathomable.

I hold his hand,
and we sway, 
our breaths as rhythmic 
as the music, careless 
as summer wind.

A symphony of skin: his touch 
is deafening, 

In this club, violins 
wail with excitement. 
I hum their moan as he
takes me by the waist, tells me
not to be afraid 
of the red neon, flailing
all around us.

 

Summer Soundtrack: For Life, In Spite 

On the Lower East Side, 
Imam croons to me. 

I tweedle in tiny spaces.
Bright lights blazing.
My body sways,
doesn’t shut.

And what a prayer this is,
to bathe in joyous sweat
on a shaking floor.

How can there be more life than here,
in this moment,
in this movement,
unabashed,
unafraid.

 

In Which I Find God in Midtown Manhattan 

Thousands of miles
from the homeland(s), hundreds
of us gather on a street

shut down with joy. A man wears 
a Moroccan flag like a cape, sings 
of promised lands and peoples,
and a crowd erupts in the moment.

He croons to us 
and we cry back:
fly us away to the ummah.
Let these deafening roars defy death.

Louder than bombs,
we cry out
to a stage adorned with red, 
black and green.

What a sight it is,
to see a flag wrapped around a breathing body,
for a change.

To smell smoke,
from shisha, sweat 
from dancing in the daylight.

Scream:
we are here,
habiby.

Tomorrow can’t tame this love.

 

 

***

Hazem Fahmy is a poet and critic from Cairo. He is an Honors graduate of Wesleyan University’s College of Letters where he studied literature, philosophy, history and film. His poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming in Apogee, HEArt, Mizna, and The Offing. His performances have been featured on Button Poetry and Write About Now. He is a poetry editor for Voicemail Poems and a contributing writer to Film Inquiry. In his spare time, Hazem writes about the Middle East and tries to come up with creative ways to mock Classicism. He makes videos occasionally.

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