A poet in good name, now, for several years—Farrah’s had her poetry published in the Litchfield Review, Cerebration, Avatar, Frigg, Ascent Aspirations, Poetic Injustice, Diagram, Arabesques and Columbia’s “Tablets Review” among others. A master’s alumni of Columbia University’s Global Literature program, Farrah’s Mediterranean- (Arabic) upbringing and various travels to France, Italy, Spain and the Middle East have succumbed to poetic rendering, poems that fill manuscripts yet to be published. Farrah won second place in the Marjorie Rappaport poetry competition, a scholarship to the [SLS]- St. Petersburg summer writing conference, and 2nd place award and publication in the Chistell writing contest.
A Culturalist, at heart, Farrah speaks four of five languages and considers her race, ethnicity and heritage of utmost, strange importance. Being Palestinian-Iraqi, however, her identity’s been occupied, warred, and severed from its ancestral land. It is for this reason she learned French, traveled extensively to the surrounding regions, to Italy-Spain-Tibet- China- but never hits home. Poetry is the imaginative; the nearest she can get to acquaint herself with her origins.
The cheeks and arms of buildings, their sides
melt into one,
joining hands in the sun
Long, smooth, they line Parisian streets
as a token
Details of balcony rails curve, twist
croissants to scratch
the surface and to match
finger-nails that swirl, twirl heads upside
down into smiles,
eye-browing sculpture tiles,
shaped to resemble woman’s earrings;
yet they are stone,
ornamenting the tall building.
Echoes of Scott Fitzgerld, Man Ray
dance, rise and stay
with the hope that I may
drink from the mug that made Sartre play
with words and uses
coffee’s romantic muses;
with the hope that some early Tuesday
may save me then
from anti-loving men
who whistle when
they want to penetrate young girls.
I proceed to Luxembourg gardens
to lie on grass.
Selves transparent like glass,
backs against trees–children on their knees,
orange juice, baguettes–
old smelt cheese, cigarettes–
all eyes focus on the new couple.
Her bright red dress,
blond hair, effortlessness,
she is the star. Hands active, (distressed?)
hold, pull the head
of him she hopes to wed.
Nourishment, she speaks little and sways,
kneading her hands
finger-fiddle, then stands
up to satisfy lover’s demands
while he sits and stares,
mesmerized my her air.
Lovers’ honest expressions, we lie
romance, bright cherry truth–
Ovidian dance, Daphnae’s chance
to love, to embrace.
He smokes in unsteady pace
discovering that he could never
pleasure sweet her
like fresh berry liqueur
of cups of spring yogurt. In garden
where artists whisper,
seeking to make crisper
their convoluted identities.
love— delicate, supple
memory, I sit and document
spicing the dullness of tomorrow.
Tongues like long
Passageways to her
Let our chests press unto the other
ribs like steel cages
climb with tricks and twists, forgetting
With blood vein
whose currents this love
wild hips explore
probe so deep
to receive, asking for more
push and pull
and vision arouse need to
Hands, rib bones
and strong intentions
into a pillow of pleasure,
clouds of steel.
Inner worlds lined brown like the earth,
tinted gold like divine mirth,
the occupied race of people plead
for an outside light to dissolve their worry
into the dead sea.
Dense bubbles, sugar grains condense
like caramel apple heating
under my hot tongue. I imagine
soldiers’ threats induce a similar
effect on their poor children who have long been
constrained to sacrifice
their fame, knowledge and skill. Sweet fig flesh
that grips wrinkled outer skin
like old native man’s hands made hallow
from fear, disdain, longing to cry peace by tears
formed from the pain of clouds
waiting to be tasted and felt.
Pains produced from sweet-thirsty twigs,
resting on the earth, come together,
tighten, roll, and shrink into small balls called seeds-
reproduce from the hungers, contempt and needs
souls. They swim in the memories
of their buried ancestors,
whose lives, disintegrated, nourish
fig tree soils, coalesce to become seeds
that constitute fig fruit.
Hearts gold- earth speckled, firm flavor,
a seeded promise that you
will savor the Arabian air
that you will inhale when you eat a fig
from my ancestors.
Magic Carpet Ride
Waving her torso back and forth like a thirsty cat,
the flavors roll along the carpet of her tongue
like a roller coaster in love.
Marjorum fries simmer in oil, as he chops the onions.
“Pass the beets greens,” she says—knife in her hand.
Slicing, tearing, the greens are warm
and ready to perspire m-i-n-e-r-a-l-s into a pot of steam:
The beet wedges release fragrance.
Bodies toast in their magenta sweats,
no neutral can counteract their dyeing colors.
Flavored sewn by the staccato of small black sesame seeds
screaming in the infernal intestines of Lucifer,
they scream, h e r e s y.
Beets make juice and greens make green,
“Salut! To love, to friendship, to spring!” We drink casual wine
whose tears are moved to excellence
by the blood-thickening beet.
Flying on her magic collard-carpet ride,
she dances like Beatrice on the tip of my tongue,
dyes my lips purple,
and causes me to sing a silent song of love
called “Thank you.”
Bouncing possibilities from couchette one to four,
I lock the door
Knock knock, he knocks–I open:
Fifty years or more, not ugly or slim,
he senses that I’m upset—
that my inner lights are dim:
«Tu es ici aussi ?», j’ai dis.
his gentle paws
though I do not see it that way.
I’m a Christian woman who must sharpen her claws
and exhale sound, lion-like and profound.
He barely looks at me,
yet I still feel bound,
Boxes, pearl laden and checkered with Sahara gold,
he carries in a plethora of new bags;
plastic, Moroccan velvet, and Tunisian linen hold
Hieroglyphic silver plates and chained cartouches
Qur’anic versed with Arabs’ pains
“I have another gift for you,” he shares.
Grand pink argeela trimmed with fur painted gold;
amber-incensed myrrh, green pears.
Papyrus memories, Horus eyed
Have retried to incarnate desert “evils”.
“He makes up for the other men in my life
who don’t shop,” says mom.
Beads woven onto strings,
your care cobra snake-weaves empty sand
spaces between prayer rings.
You spent two months in Egypt, my brother,
and brought back all these things!!
From Me to Strawberry She
Little strawberry patterns line our friendship
like hearts that square-border your younger sister’s picture frame.
Tiny, red buttons dot our spines like rosary-beads,
and each is worth a prayer.
Tapping together they make a rhyme
that in time lines the tops of heads
like a crown of rounded thorns;
We reach for the Sun
like the tall plants that bear the heart-shaped fruit.
Our spines elongate–
we twist like ropes and satiate
sexuality whispered under our breaths
for so long.
Looking up, I turn my head to
the stunning vision of a girl all dressed in red.
Layered in sheaths, alternating auburn, maroon-bled
frosting, she moves in slow curves and
you know his glance serves
to make her motion all the more stunning
Keeping it inside, I go on moving.
I continue acting, being, pretending nothing
and sending you nowhere
I too, stare
at the exquisite RED she who
unlike poor, skinny me
lives with the eloquent grace
of a strawberry.
A Romantic Dream to Sew Together Urban Pieces:
Eye Lenses ReFocalize d-r-a-m-a from dream
Sniffles and giggles shatter the glass
c r a c k s into pieces with light reflecting various people’s faces
like marble does the eyes
Sesame seed-lashed, his eye-rich prune glossed,
Like black olives—
I will remember
reaching neck line, as moist thick waves
in which I could let my hand swim
imagine that it were dark chocolate that
I could scoop (heartily) into my mouth
and become the
that wakes me CLEAN
from the dusty
Calm like an ocean at dawn
she approaches the castle of knowledge;
one foot in front of the other,
her metals liquefy as though she were a fawn;
smiles from smart girls nourish
her heart’s fear of falling thin;
she is merely writing
because he is not yet in.
Will this be the final fee before
she can be happy again?
Like inhaling stones, sand laden, dark and dry
this last month she has relied
on their response.
Yes, no, perhaps…
her joys are manipulated by shadow
like, dark alternations
the plaguing “if no then where do I go?”
Holding his tears back selfishly so he can
taste the sweat of Palestinians sufferings,
his selfishness shows
his need to retain
I d e n t i t y flows
as blood through his veins.
Rivers of memory, lost hopes
of the silenced, forgotten
of which he day dreams
attempting to suture
blood- transferring gleams
of truth, love and future.
I Want to Bleed, Womanly
bring the woman
inside me to form,
To expand, beautifully
enough to warm All
without becoming too blue
or red passionate glue
in Love with not one
Men or women or Friend,
Distant emotional wanderings
Prevent straight career.
Trying to allow the woman
Inside me to flower,
To develop petals strong and in
The one has not come,
I’m only one,
essential path is work
Transformation of Rivers
Rocks into boulders
over which I cannot see–
over the immeasurably dirty
and depressing hardship
Raisin striped gorges,
Sedimentary dips-into clay,
I play amid rocks- climb boulders
And saltily stay until the sky’s Wings
So sweet, arrive to delicately
To deliver me from Death,
All poems on this post: © Farrah Sarafa
Published with the permission of Farrah Sarafa