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Etel Adnan Born and raised in Lebanon, Etel Adnan studied philosophy at the University of California–Berkeley and Harvard. Her novel about Lebanon’s civil war, Sitt Marie Rose, originally written in French, is considered a classic of Middle Eastern literature and has been translated into several languages . Her poetry, too, has received worldwide attention and garnered her a reputation as a “visionary.” At once “deeply personal and political,” her poems “explore fissures within words as places where thought enters” and attempt to make sense of the disorder and chaos of the world’s many upheavals. In addition to writing poetry and fiction, Adnan is also a major painter and playwright. A frequent traveler to Europe and the Arab world, she lives in Sausalito, California. from Transcendence . . . . . . . . 2. The distillation of reality the filtering the cleaning out the clearing the pushing aside the shadow’s advance the revolving of thoughts in the flesh in the burn the cut the bruise and the amputation 13 1CHARARA_pages_i-164.qxd:Layout 1 11/14/08 2:36 PM Page 13 In a day like this the body loses its integrity and soldiers while raped curse the goddesses of fertility in a day, in this day, time loses its value on the market-place as in this room this petrified forest, this illegitimate piece of wood, this chair, these nails, this wind, this stupor. 3. and in a day like this we read assassination and blood runs out of mouths out of minds we hear cries over the telephone 14 Etel Adnan 1CHARARA_pages_i-164.qxd:Layout 1 11/14/08 2:36 PM Page 14 we don’t see tears we don’t see eyes it’s a matter of what we hear of contamination of knowledge learned in spare time and fingernails bitten and desires beaten down and shame running down our legs And here comes despair filling the refrigerator and here comes the ocean now a stranger and the police get wet and we shout through the wood’s thickness the roof the basement Etel Adnan 15 1CHARARA_pages_i-164.qxd:Layout 1 11/14/08 2:36 PM Page 15 no-exit for the waiting the terror the soiled love and the news replacing the rain. 4. I will not buy bread not allow the light in nor watch a game by satellite I will not wipe my face with a soft towel I will ask you: have you paid your dues to uneven numbers have you counted the corpses have you told your doctor you wish he were a witch 16 Etel Adnan 1CHARARA_pages_i-164.qxd:Layout 1 11/14/08 2:36 PM Page 16 and warned your veins not to fool around with your brain? Have you measured the coastline full of vicious refugees did you fear their power over you did you take out your gun out of the closet, from under your mattress have you silenced their voice their smile their footsteps their stench? at least did you sleep well? . . . . . . . . 9. There’s murder in the air where else? children henceforth Etel Adnan 17 1CHARARA_pages_i-164.qxd:Layout 1 11/14/08 2:36 PM Page 17 not of the earth are waiting to become ashes To a day like this one which is passing by there’s no adjustment rage exhausted and following a cortège no longer is contained in a closed fist but is feeding innumerable reservoirs along the natural bend of the mind It’s too early to rise still though undecisive the sun is piercing the enlarged circle of the chorus of clouds 18 Etel Adnan 1CHARARA_pages_i-164.qxd:Layout 1 11/14/08 2:36 PM Page 18 it has vengeance in reserve. . . . . . . . . 12. I have to give voice to those immured mere vibrations but a word is first atom of language bomb of the disarmed all ending in ruins there for a moment long moments of momentous happenings in the sky the sky the fullmoon is treason but I have to tell Etel Adnan 19 1CHARARA_pages_i-164.qxd:Layout 1 11/14/08 2:36 PM Page 19 to those waiting for their state a state of transcendence have to tell they’re waiting! they’re used to waiting have to tell them that I’m enjoying myself —I have to reassure them— because they are dying. 20 Etel Adnan 1CHARARA_pages_i-164.qxd:Layout 1 11/14/08 2:36 PM Page 20 Etel Adnan 21 from The Arab Apocalypse...


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MARC Record
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