Nawal Ziani is a poet and writer who lives in Tangier. Her work sings of the violence of patriarchy and custom, of the beauty of the forgotten everyday and of the freedom of love. Below we share what we hope to be but the first example of her poetry with english readers, translated with the help of a friend of Autonomies.
The original poem in arabic is presented, followed by a free english translation …
Do not be a guard over the vault of my body.
Do not count its changing paths.
Be my man.
Let us both steal horses.
Let us hang silver and ringing bells upon them.
Let’s celebrate us,
Like two who tarnish the purity of the tribe,
Bring down the walls.
Burn the carcass of the hideous grandfather,
And we go unharmed.
Shining bright far from the restraining moulds,
Far from the swelling grains.
Let us drink the contraband wine.
Let us read the forbidden books.
Let us live our time,
And not their dead time.