“9” Poems

Maged Zaher


Hey femme fatale

I love you I swear

Why did you leave me behind

To be devoured

By these nerdy girls


The deviants penetrate the colors - elegy on, elegy off

There is a madness baked in rationality

Call me recovering into death

I am on the first step toward heaven


I mean I am on the first step into dying

Now let us

Let us

Not block each other


This book about pain

Is it useful?

My mind stops itself

And thinks so

I'd rather read O'Hara

Or tell you about my desires

How I am behind myself all the time

Looking for technology

Where the solution is cunning


Linearity of thoughts

And their stains

I dance


Around the typical ideas

Of home, love, etc…

And I pay the price of leaving


I am fully secular, but I am not linear, which probably means it is inevitable to believe what doesn't work: Say for example the ones who treated me harshly are the ones who approximate me to love. The opposite isn't necessarily true of course. Logic is to be packed and thrown away.


The meaning of things is the number of arrows coming from them. Pain is the amount of excrements you produce without knowing. It is not the three dimensionality of space that things move within. The space of connectivity is bigger, call it pain, call it metaphors. Just stop the step by step fear of everything.


My literalness

Since I was 7

Seems to have extended

Until now

Where I am shaken

Under the waves of illness

This is not about God

God is everywhere already


Of course the fascists love you, you fucks. All of you, all kinds of them: Police, Army, high bureaucrats, etc… They love you to your death. It is kinda cool to love them back to save yourselves. Start by listening to their immense slogans. You spend time with them despite themselves, ah their jails where they advertise pasta and Coca-Cola.


It was an early date for them. She told him she wanted to go dance salsa. His shy body took her to the big salsa dancing event in the city, she tried to teach him and he failed, and she hit him with her shoes and he looked in her eyes in disbelief then continued their love relationship.

Twenty five years later, he sat in front of a more vivid copy of her, in a dance performance show in a different city. Sitting next to her, her boyfriend. She seemed to make fun of him and when he would become unhappy she would hold him. In one of these holding him episodes she slapped him mildly. And they kept the embrace

Maged Zaher is the author of seven books of poetry, including The Consequences of My Body (Nightbook, 2016) and Opting Out: New & Collected Poems 2000-2015 (Chatwin Books, 2018) as well as two books of translations.  His novella On Confused Love and Other Damages was published in 2022 by Chatwin Books. He has edited and translated The Tahrir of Poems: Seven Contemporary Egyptian Poets (Alice Blue, 2014), featuring writers from the Arab Spring. He has also worked in civil engineering and software, and taught poetry writing at Seattle University.