The time has come to settle the score to the wild rhythm of the dead years Certain fabulous dreams insist on sounding wrong Life takes their rusty old ways for a ride in the gasping of old throats Well covered like wet nurses the interlaced years blow us away & their transparences groan under the suction cups of the future Tender blood whispers as it slides away Its broken voice is undoing me Against myself I’m clutching at the invisible presumable thread that embroiders daily reality! The old fighters of memory set up their mock-up life army in the hibernation of political professional marital habit in the cloak of their dreams they are freezing. The time has come to make silence deep inside the self so as to bare the line of melody that rises inside the spike of memory’s radars But freedom with her bared fangs with a new hunger that each day will question the day the strict one who knows her own power by measuring it against the malnourished of the five continents, the fighter who works in the solid concrete of the living dead of the damned of the songs the great disrupter with her hands full of nothing, nothing, the one who’ll turn hierarchies over like rabbit skins & treat them with the tannin of the people, the uneducated, unhinged uncouth & unending one, who is it can love her with her strong smell her greedy belly her torn-out nails, her newborn skin stretched over the joints of a swarming dream? Who is it can love her, who will understand her?
By Anna Gréki
Translated by Souheila Haïmiche and Cristina Viti
From THE STREETS OF ALGIERS
by Anna Gréki
Translated into English by Souheila Haïmiche and Cristina Viti
Published by Smokestack Books (2020)
A central figure among the artists and intellectuals living at the time and in the aftermath of the Algerian war of independence, Anna Gréki (1931-66) wrote her first collection in prison and published it while exiled in Tunisia. Her second collection was published a few months after her premature death following complications during the birth of what would have been her second child. At that time she was working on a novel and writing extensively on language, politics and art.
Souheila Haïmiche is an Associate Lecturer in the Department of Languages and Cultures of Reading University.
Cristina Viti is a translator and poet working with Italian, English and French. Her translation of Elsa Morante’s The World Saved by Kids (Seagull Books 2016) was shortlisted for the John Florio Prize.
Photo by Lisa Kalloo
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