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  • The Subhuman and His Habitat
  • Ramsey Nasr (bio)
    Translation from Dutch by David Colmer

welcome to the land of milk and honeywhere figalmondapricots growunmetaphorically on accommodating treeseat of them and be my guest todayi'll pay your taxi to the first roadblock

my father waits behind the second roadblockhe'll make you his guest of honor toowith oil bread oregano sesamestars press down upon his roofsleep there and give him nadir's love

the day to father is hard but essentialtry to find a kid with a barrowtake donkeys or scramble on foot round the cliffsfollow the others keep telling yourselfnow we are animals this is permissible

wheelchairs go bouncing through dustback from the city where they cure the sickdiabetic with cancer in blazing sunmany old, many sick, many sweating animalsbut that's the whole idea

in the day we are sweating climbing animalsbecause that's the whole ideathey beat and kick the animals to an endthat one day we will give milk and honeyone day manna will rain from human hands [End Page 115]

if this seems insane to you habibijust think that miles down the roadreal girls and boys are sitting nervouslyoutside starbucks as an act of resistanceuproarious in fear of their lives [End Page 116]

Ramsey Nasr

Ramsey Nasr was born in Rotterdam and lives in Amsterdam. He is half Palestinian and half Dutch. His books of poetry include Onhandig bloesemend, winner of the Hugues C. Pernath Prize. His poetry collection in English translation is Heavenly Life. He was appointed poet of the city of Antwerp in 2005 and elected Dutch poet laureate in 2009.

David Colmer

David Colmer is an Australian writer and translator who lives in Amsterdam. He is the author of a novel and a collection of short stories, both published in Dutch translation in the Netherlands, and the translator of more than sixty full-length works: novels, children's books, and poetry. He is a recipient of the David Reid Poetry Translation Prize, the 2009 Biennial NSW Premier and PEN Translation Prize, and the Dutch Foundation for Literature's oeuvre prize.



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