The two poems presented here offer the reader a glimpse of the continuing violence in Cairo. Centered around Mohamed Mahmoud Street, a point of dialogue and expression for the struggling Egyptians, Christine Aziz uses a space highly charged with symbolism to broaden our understanding of the complex ongoing revolution.
Come when the street is silent
and there is no witness.
Park your vans.
Raise your ladders.
Bring out the cans
of white paint.
Blast your blizzard
over me. That’s right.
Obliterate my wings.
My black-brush words.
My martyrdom. That’s right.
You did it before
with bullets and guns.
My mother takes a knife.
Scratches at my burial.
Turns my shroud to dust
until an eye emerges,
radiant, a skylight in the wall.
Mohamed Mahmoud Street
She walks across the ticket hall
draped in black, clutching a framed photograph
like a shield.
The son who never came home
smiles at strangers as if from a window
shut in her heart.
She ascends to the light,
bearing her mausoleum of silence,
walks to where the mourners stand.
There’s a place somewhere near the kerb
where he stood - guns with
the small dark mouths of birds, aiming.
Every day she sees the hand that held the gun,
severed and alone
smaller than her son’s, perhaps.
Buttoning a shirt, turning a lock,
steering a wheel, lifting a cup,
holding a hand, waving.
She imagines fingers unhinging,
selecting a spoon.
The injustice of stirring tea.
An enthusiastic wordwhore and bookbitch. As a former hack I focused on humanitarian issues in conflict areas, particularly as they affect women. Winning a major literary prize in the UK for my first novel, The Olive Readers, magicked me into the wonderful world of fiction. Am now wondering which of the two novels I'm working on deserves my full attention. A new play runs alongside the prose and a poem pops up every now and then. I was, until recently, visiting tutor in creative writing at the Arts University, Bournemouth, UK. My courses and workshops run on the premise that not any word will do.