My fingers, red from taking the pen for hours
turn black against the piles of white papers.
Heavy with nonsense,
the way a camel bears a burden on its hump.
This is not the Truth,
but a version of it falling into
the tips of your fingers
kneeling to the papers and liberating the mind.
As paper comes and paper goes,
my mind learns how to climb the walls of the Truth,
despite chasms and forgetfulness.
And the pen becomes a ladder
for my mind to climb the stairs of the paper—
I mean versions of the Truth.
Poetry is that original sin.
In the beginning was the fig leaf.
The snake’s tongue was the pen.
Ink was tamed
to write the first sin.
What is a poem,
but a sweet sin
written on the fig leaf
that covers the private parts
I brought scissors, so sharp.
I cut images from papers.
I cut especially catchy headlines.
I also brought
a bottle of glue, so sticky.
I brought black ink,
various water colours,
and some virgin white papers.
I wanted to make the nicest collage poem ever.
When I started conquering
the seductive white papers,
I spilled the ink and water colours
because I was so eager and impatient to finish
I just remained agape,
looking jubilantly at the mess I had done,
like a little child
who had just torn that doll.
Biography: Ali Znaidi lives in Redeyef, Tunisia. He graduated with a BA in Anglo-American Studies in 2002. He teaches English at Tunisian public secondary schools. He writes poetry and has an interest in literature, languages, and literary translation. Some of his poems appeared in The Bamboo Forest.