Dr. Jamal E. Benhyaoun (Morocco)

Dr. Jamal E. Benhyaoun (Morocco)

Dr. Jamal E. Benhyaoun was born in Marrakech in 1968. He is a Moroccan poet, literary critic, and scholar. He is Vice-Dean for Research and Cooperation, Senior Professor of English literature and cultural studies at Abdelmalek Essaadi University in Tetouan, Morocco, and author of numerous publications in Arabic and English, including Narration, Navigation, and Colonialism (Peter Lang 2006). He is Professor of classical and modern poetry and chief editor of Poems on the Edge, an online poetry magazine and a forthcoming anthology of poems. Jamal E. Benhayoun’s poetry has appeared in Arabic and English in anthologies and newspapers, and is currently translating the work of the highly acclaimed Chinese poets Tian He and Meier into Arabic. He is also known for his opinion articles and is currently director of the research group on literature and cross-cultural translations. Jamal E. Benhayoun has participated in numerous prestigious literary festivals, including LIFFT, the last edition of which took place in Baku, Azerbaijan, 2019. His poems have been translated into several languages.

 

Solitude
 
Solitude is a moon in a vast dark night
Solitude is you and I looking in opposite directions
At the unseen object
Solitude is an ocean without salt
Without mermaids and ancient lore.
It is a lame albatross hit by the frantic mariner on a hijacked boat.
Donne in his last prayer with the church bells forming an angry choir
Your coffee as it turns cold
And my thoughts as they follow on blank sheets
Charioting after my absence.
Her desire as the artist fails to paint
And we have a tree instead on a shrivelled canvas.
Solitude is you and I talking of days, seasons, and lengthy calendars
Visiting basilicas and pretending not to remember our sins.
We locate places in our minds and go our way among surging crowds
Inspecting faces the way we read our own obituaries in the Sunday Times
Every afternoon when the neighbour across the street takes her poodle for a walk.
A couple of biscuits and some peanuts will work wonders for the occasion.
I will dream of you celebrating an odd number on my birthday cake
A symphony of splintered tunes
Snatched by a soloist with a broken arm
Expressing his wisdom in a spiccato before an audience of two photos with manifold cracks.
Is it you there with a crooked witch hat and a bouquet of unseasonal twigs?
Is it me squinting in my dark chamber before an episode of absconding fantasy?
The unusual always happens, and we call it either miracle or calamity.
Silence reigns and excludes our conversation from the newsfeed of the day.
We report our loneliness to a child haunted by his father’s eulogy.
The child is no longer a child.
The child is old enough to laugh at his penumbra on the wall with a walking stick.

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