I have no fatherland
I live within words
That are shrouded in black
And held hostage
Mustapha Khayati, can you hear me?
The seat of power is in language
where the police patrol
No more poetry circles!
No more poet laureates!
In my neighborhood virgin poets are sacrificed
Rappers with dust-blown eyes and baggy pants
push rhymes on kids sniffing words
Fall and get back up again: the art of the poet
Jean Genet, can you hear me?
My words are homeless
they sleep on the benches of Klathmonos Square
covered in IKEA cartons
My words do not speak on the news
they’re out hustling every night
My words are proletarian, slaves like me
they work in sweatshops night and day
I want no more dirges
I want no more verbs belonging to the noncombatants
I need a new language, not pimping
I’m waiting for a revolution to invent me
Hungering for the language of class war
A language that has tasted insurgency
I shall create it!
Ah, what arrogance!
Okay, I’ll be off
But take a look: in my face the dawn of a new poetry is
No word will be left behind, held hostage
I’m seeking a new passage.
Translated by Peter Constantine