Poem

Re: the vagabonds we meet in travel |It Was Nice Knowing You |

She was fascinated by

anybody’s ability

to capture a bewildering

emotion

in spoken or

written word

a systematic lyric (musique*)

or a consuming melody

what a gift to decipher

what a joy to be

as precise as traveling light

and sound frequencies

gravitational pulls

that keep us

grounded

when we have

nothing left (walou*)

but the love

we must give

to another

under these

flickering street lights

a broken heart

hums to itself

trying to

keep it together

in gratitude

and out of

respect to

the air (maktoub*)

that carries us apart

I wish you well

and many safe travels

ahead without me

we must go separately

just like how we came (au revoir*)

it was nice knowing you.

Word Glossary: Musique (music in French), Walou (nothing in Algerian Arabic dialect or Darija), Maktoub (fate or ‘what is written’ in Algerian Arabic dialect or Darija), Au revoir (goodbye in French)

Poem Background: like many of my poems, this particular one, although largely written in English, features both Algerian and French words to denote my multicultural memory. I speak these three languages, and although not all as strong as my English, of course using all of these possible Algerian mother tongues helps me express my three dimensional hybridity.

Image: A spice merchant at Jemaa el-Fnaa, Marrakech, Morocco.

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