Nisreen Khoury



Nisreen Khoury was born in the city of Homs, Syria in 1983. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. She made her debut in 2015 with a poetry collection titled With a Drag of War. Her poems have been published in print and online magazines. She has participated in numerous poetry festivals and readings in Syria, Lebanon, and Morocco. Her novel project “Wadi Qandil” won the Productive Grants program sponsored by Al-Mawarid Institution in 2015.

Nisreen Khoury’s poems are translated from the original Arabic into English by poet and translator Nizar Sartawi.

The Portuguese Quarter

In the city of Mogador
I pass through the old Portuguese quarter
Guitars grow out of the cracks of stone
The fado songs flow from my steps
On my body grow leaves from Pessoa’s letters to his sweetheart /me
The rusty cannons wake up
They stretch their bodies
then point their muzzle at me
to bombard me with carnations
My blood pours, a sea surging with colors, music and love
But it has the taste of gunpowder,
patriotic gunpowder

A Poem

I comb my hair
the empty bullets hanging there
from yesterday’s nightmare are falling
~ ~ ~ ~

I dyed my brown hair blonde
for fear of the greedy axes
but I’d never thought of sickles
~ ~ ~ ~

I don’t cut my hair
for fear of what old memories
caught on its ends
~ ~ ~ ~

That you may burn
on your way to me
I’ll cut my hair giving you shade
~ ~ ~ ~

Al alleys fade
when its rascals are away
with their cigarettes,
and silly jokes.
Such are the alleys of my hair
in the absence of your fingers
~ ~ ~ ~

My hair which I braided
got loose
under the weight of nostalgia
~ ~ ~ ~

The wheat of my hair
can end all the famines in this world.
don’t you
a single
of bread?



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