Poetry: Yahia Lababidi - Dawning - Words - What do animals dream? - Bio data - Data - Links

Posted by Ricardo Marcenaro | Posted in | Posted on 17:33


There are hours when every thing creaks
when chairs stretch their arms, tables their legs
and closets crack their backs, incautiously

Fed up with the polite fantasy
of having to stay in one place
and stick to their stations

Humans too, at work, or in love
know such aches and growing pains
when inner furnishings defiantly shift

As decisively, and imperceptibly, as a continent
some thing will stretch, croak or come undone
so that everything else must be reconsidered

One restless dawn, unable to suppress the itch
of wanderlust, with a heavy door left ajar
semi-deliberately, and a new light teasing in

Some piece of immobility will finally quit
suddenly nimble on wooden limbs
as fast as a horse, fleeing the stable. 


Words are like days:
coloring books or pickpockets,
signposts or scratching posts,
fakirs over hot coals.

Certain words must be earned
just as emotions are suffered
before they can be uttered
- clean as a kept promise.

Words as witnesses
testifying their truths
squalid or rarefied
inevitable, irrefutable.

But, words must not carry
more than they can
it’s not good for their backs
or their reputations.

For, whether they dance alone
or with an invisible partner,
every word is a cosmos
dissolving the inarticulate

What do animals dream? 

Do they dream of past lives and unlived dreams
unspeakably human or unimaginably bestial?

Do they struggle to catch in their slumber
what is too slippery for the fingers of day?

Are there subtle nocturnal intimations
to illuminate their undreaming hours?

Are they haunted by specters of regret
do they visit their dead in drowsy gratitude?

Or are they revisited by their crimes
transcribed in tantalizing hieroglyphs?

Do they retrace the outline of their wounds
or dream of transformation, instead?

Do they tug at obstinate knots
inassimilable longings and thwarted strivings?

Are there agitations, upheavals or mutinies
against their perceived selves or fate?

Are they free of strengths and weaknesses peculiar
to horse, deer, bird, goat, snake, lamb or lion?

Are they ever neither animal nor human
but creature and Being?

Do they have holy moments of understanding
deep in the seat of their entity?

Do they experience their existence more fully
relieved of the burden of wakefulness?

Do they suspect, with poets, that all we see or seem
is but a dream within a dream?

Or is it merely a small dying
a little taste of nothingness that gathers in their mouths?  

Lababidi reading What do animals dream?

 Author's Bio

Yahia Lababidi, born 1973, is an internationally published writer of Egyptian - Lebanese origin 
 Pushcart-nominated poet, with writing translated into Arabic, Hebrew, Slovak, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, Swedish, and Turkish. Most recently, Lababidi has collaborated with Alex Stein on a collection of literary dialogues, titled, "The Artist as Mystic: Conversations with Yahia Lababidi"(Onesuch Press)

Publications and Prizes


The Artist as Mystic: Conversations with Yahia Lababidi (Onesuch Press, 2012), Fever Dreams (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2011), Trial by Ink: From Nietzsche to Belly Dancing (Common Ground Publishing, 2010), Signposts to Elsewhere (Jane Street Press, 2008)


Liberated Muse, Volume II: Betrayal Wears a Pretty Face (Outskirts Press, 2011), Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing (Pearson Longman, 2011), Dogs Singing: A Tribute Anthology (Salmon Poetry, 2010), In Our Own Words: A Generation Defining Itself - Volume 8 (MW Enterprises, 2010), Stranger at Home: American Poetry With An Accent (Numina Press, 2008), Geary's Guide to the World's Great Aphorists (Bloomsbury USA, 2007)


Agni, Arena , Asia Writes, Being, Bidoun, Brand, Cerise Press, Cimarron Review, Gulf Coast, Harper's, Hayden's Ferry Review, Hotel Amerika, Leviathan, Mizna: Prose, Poetry, Art Exploring Arab America , Museum Views, New Internationalist, NPR, Orbis, Other Poetry, Philosophy Now, Prole, Raconteur, Rain Taxi, Red Fez, Serving House Journal, The Idler, The Literary Review, The Nervous Breakdown, The Pinch, The Tower Journal, The Wildean, Tikkun, World Literature Today


Poetry nominated for Pushcart Prize (2010)// Prose nominated for Best of the Web, Dzanc (2010)// Poetry Finalist, Emerging Writer Fellowship, Fall 2010 (The Writer's Center: www.writer.org)// "Signposts to Elsewhere" (Jane Street Press) selected for Books of the Year, 2008, by The Independent (UK)and Year in Books, 2007, by The Sun Sentinel (USA)// Films, by Swoon, based on poems of mine, shown at International Festivals: Mountaineer(USA), Experimental Film (Kroatia) Visible Verse (Vancouver) Vimfest (México) and Bideodromo (Spain) all in 2011.// Chosen as a Juror for the 2012 Neustadt International Prize for Literature -widely considered to be the most prestigious international prize after the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Lababidi was the featured poet in November 2006 on RAWI: Radius of Arab American Writers, http://www.rawi.org/featured_writer_Nov_1.html

Poetry: Yahia Lababidi  - Dawning - Words - What do animals dream? - Bio data - Data - Links 

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