Ahmed Abu-Saleem




Ahmed Abu-Saleem is a Palestinian poet and novelist. He was born in Zarka, Jordan in 1965. As a descendant of a Palestinian family that migrated to Jordan in 1948, he attended the UN Relief and Work Agency schools in Zarka Refugee Camp. He started his college Education in Turkey. Later he travelled to Russia, where he studied Mechanical Engineering in the Friendship University in Moscow and received his Master’s degree in 1992. Abu-Saleem is a member of Jordanian Writers Association and Arab Internet Writers Union. He is an anti-Zionism activist. He has participated in various readings and festivals in a number of Arab capitals and cities; he has also appeared in radio, TV, and Journal literary programs. Abu-Saleem has published four poetry collections: Strange Blood (2005), A Cavalier’s Memoirs in the Time of Failure (2006), On the Ruins of Sodom (2008), and I have Seen a House (2010). He also has published two novels, Zero Sense (2011) and Seminal wolves (2016). In addition, many of his short stories and poems have been anthologized and published in magazines and newspapers.

Ahmed Abu-Saleem poems are translated from the original Arabic into English by poet and translator Nizar Sartawi.

Declare Your Disobedience

Declare your disobedience a capital
for the fall of the flag
Trees have a language
scattered, borne by the wind
The fire is ablaze
This world is but the regret of a free man
The metal-like homeland is an urn
and cities are a “dump” for dreams
No country lies within you to take off your sandals
and lie prostrate to wash off the dirt of sins
All things feel smooth
You have no homeland but your sandals if you lose your way
as if your self is shattered
They are nothing … but a delusion…
One corpse … two corpses
three slain… four… a hundred…
a million or more

“Ohhhh” son of a bitch
How many corpses do you need
to build a rhythmical homeland
a broken home
that wouldn’t house a couple of pigeons?


Their Blood Is Rain

Their blood is on the leaves of trees

as if a sparrow has chanted
to connect with the world
but met his death, despite all precautions

Their blood there is akin to the ultimate reach of sight

Their blood… the spells of the south
the hoarseness of the agéd voice
in the mills of the hearts
rotating freely
between the two sides of the stone

Their blood is our steps in moving or in staying
Their blood is the evening tales of valor
when a mother is burned with silence
and her eternal grief
quenches the thirst of a child
whose father has not returned from the end of the world
and he kept staring at the emptiness and waiting

Their blood has lighted as if it were an olive tree
from whose eternal oil the moon ignites

After their space, all things disappeared
Under their heaven all things were shattered

Their blood is rain
Their blood is rain
Their blood is rain

Would That I had

Pass your hand over my wound O beloved
The young man within me has not returned from his hunt
The secret of the prey lies in its heart
And I’ve left the years of my life
in the folds of notebooks
on the lines like dry flowers
without roots

Would that I had a shadow for a friend
who would collect me at the end of the long night
from the terror of the great darkness
Would that I had a home, even a tiny, weak home like a spider

Would that I had a dress to cover my loins
whose threads are mulberry leaves

Would that I had a young heart that never dies
Would that I had a young heart that never dies

The collar of flowers

I’ve never gone forward like my steps
as though I still am looking for a lad I’ve lost in a dream
Time is a sharp sword, but with the length of my time it has become so dull
The collar of flowers is an anniversary present that
fascinates me on my birthday
But a collar from times of old
is still hanging around my neck reminding me of one collar:
the iron collar.



Comments are closed