Editor’s Note: A. Rayan El Nadim is an Egyptian poet whose work has been translated from Arabic into English here for your enjoyment on The Fictional Café.
He categorizes his work as conceptual and performance poetry, specifically, “a deep dive into myths, folklore, and the secrets of inherited improvisational folk songs that deeply express pain, suffering and dream; the history of the Egyptian folk treasures; the songs of Rababa, a rediscovery of the true history buried in the walls of Egyptian houses; and the rituals of joy and sadness that lived for thousands of years on both banks of the Nile.”
My name has been crossed out a long time ago on a brick wall -1- I searched for my name in my body I found it engraved in aversion, estrangement, and revulsion I searched for my voice in my death I found it lost among Neighborhood storms I searched for my origin in my nature I found it crossed out a long time ago on a brick wall How to sing in a loud voice While all the words are confused and corrupt? -2- I am blockaded and sandwiched between seven walls Inside the walls, there is a devil demon I am tied with thread I have been clinging for two thousand years -3- I am spinning the world in my palm I drift away and keep away Disappear then appear and then brighten up My picture is a negative drifts away on the windows and the doors At every moment, a thousand trains run over me Freakish anxious, restless, hurried creatures run over me I caught the color of the sun once In the runaway horizon The Nile is deep, heavy, immersed, drowning And every year They throw my body in it as an oblation 1 1- They throw my body in it as an oblation: The ancient Egyptians in the era of the Pharaohs offered to the Nile "the god Habi" on his feast a beautiful girl who was the bride of the Nile, and she was decorated and thrown into the Nile as an offering and an oblation to him, and the girl would marry the god "Habibi" in the other world The clock is running at full speed I'm still looking for the obsession and Frenzy of clocks I am terrified of the sound of silence The clock is running at full speed, clock ticking behind clock ticking The sound of the ticking races me Pendulums are disappointed and isolated The streets are intertwined and convoluted A life with its tragedies, nightmares, suffering, pain, and intrigues is hidden behind the eyelashes I walked searching the faces About true color, I could not find it I found nothing but the Boredom, despair, and lethargy of humans, and a life with its tragedies, nightmares, suffering, pain, and intrigue hidden behind the eyelashes
A. Rayan El Nadim, a poet, writer, and cinema director who lives in Cairo, Egypt. He is the founder, promoter, and editor-in-chief of El Nadaha magazine, an online magazine for literature and folk arts, folklore, fine arts, and Egyptian poetry—the twelfth edition has been issued in October 2021; it is considered the most important aggregation, and grouping of the Egyptian cultural avant-gardes and intellectual classes. He has produced and directed more than 140 short films in the last two years you can watch it on his channel on YouTube (Ahmed Rayan El Nadim Films). Many Egyptian and Arabic critics considered him the most expressive of the eastern and oriental fantasy world and the fabulous, legendary, mythical, superstitious, fictitious folklore, and considered his poetry more philosophical and esoteric. He published 45 poetry collections of poetry including: Paper Walls, Cellophane Cities, Fir Trees, Thursday Market, The Seven Crescent Moons, Cloves Gardens, The Chrysalis, My Dear Love Is a Turquoise Rose, My Short Poems, Stretching Your Braids in the Palm Tree, and others. He has also published his poetry and critical essays in many Egyptian and Arabic journals and magazines for over forty years. He is the author of the encyclopedia of postmodern poetry in five parts and four thousand pages.