Monday, May 28, 2007

Yellow Press by Iraqi poet `Abdul-Wahab Al-Bayyati* (my translation):
"Yellow papers these days
are distributing titles
kissing the hands of killers
wiping doorsteps
bestowing on quasi-men
and tales,
unconditional certificates
of absolution
throwing sand on
readers' faces
and the noise of flies
can be heard in its
lazy lines
and dogs bark in its rivers
its heroes are the forgers
of currency, history, and ideas
and the players with ropes
and the confidants/clowns
and the choir of evil and nasty
I saw them on every land
that is pregnant with
lightening and rain
under the shoes of toilers
and the hand of revolutionaries
those who lower the flags
in their eyes are
humiliation and shame
for the sea water to wash off the shame"
*A member of the Bayyati family sent me an email the last time I posted a poem by the poet. She said that it should be Bayati. She said: "
The name Al-Bayati refers to membership in one of the divisions of the Bayat tribe, which can be found in Iraq, Iran and Turkey and which can be Sunni or Shiite and Turkman, Kurd, or Arab (linguistically and now politically-speaking). It is thought that the Bayat arrived in Iraq with the Oghuz Turks. There are individuals called Bayati in Iraq, Bayat in Iran and BayatlI in Turkey. Nice people. I married one of their finest some 46 years ago. According to the family of my husband, Saadoun, bayat translates as “the people who camped overnight.”