Ritta Baddoura

Ritta Baddoura

Ritta Baddoura is a Lebanese writer and transdisciplinary performer born in 1980. She is currently based in Montpellier where she is enrolled in a PHD program, her research work involving psychology, artificial intelligence and performing arts.

A former Akademie Schloss Solitude fellow, Ritta Baddoura writes literature and art criticism and is an editor of the Lebanese Newspaper L’Orient Littéraire. Her published work (poetry, fiction) has received several international awards. She gives literature workshops addressing writing in relation to other artistic genres and exploring spoken languages as sensorial tools. The poetry blog Ritta parmi les bombes, which she started in Beirut during the Summer 2006 War, aroused an intense interest among readers and media worldwide, and is still updated with new texts.

Her talks and actions, performed in various literature, music & visual arts venues – in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, North America – address edgy encounters between poetry, voice, Butô, contemporary dance and theory. They are site & time-specific and rely strongly on improvisation and interacting with the audience. In her work, Ritta Baddoura seeks the intersection of the intimate and the political, the real and the fictional, the ritualised and the subversive, the archaic and the avant-garde.

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Summer morning She sleeps against me

Of all the make-up beauties in shop window Mediterranean
Only she followed me
In my bed Only she bleeds

She sleeps
Parcels of earth overflow her eyelids
She retrieves her abortions’ multiple offspring

They gnaw her fingers and lick her hair and heal the wounds of bridges
Towards her belly they flow
They are the long-held sobs

Ain’t no fire Ain’t no house
Firemen carry their cisterns on the back
Where little ones splash about to soothe their burns

Summer morning The housewife polishes the floor
Sprinkles her nape with Bleach

Memory is the immaculate mop


By the inn where I wrinkled darkness
Tadpoles relished shingle cakes for this anniversary

Wait struggled in its square
The sun rolled as ball from wave to wave
Against my apron’s black lichen spurted your call
Your voice could never break

Is it enough that the lighthouse gives birth to its smooth snake loves
That you pursue your grief piece by piece
And kiss and swallow the scales of a princess whose golden tail divided the forest

You found shells in the course of your tears
Where frail newborns turned to blue

Without waking the banana trees softly I have slain you

In the morning the statue of liberty
White bomb raised in the orchard
Squeezed oranges with giant screams

Facing the horizon already I burned
And pointed the harbor to the strayed wars

Without you I slept in Cyclops’ eye
Cyclops laid his eye in his hand

I died from a blink


Birds twitter like night falls from the clouds
The pillow is hard meat
Of our kisses I keep the peel in my mouth
At whale song rises the onion burning and pure


I did not know God before the satellites
Now God blows his nose in front of me all the time

In my bed
I inflate
My Lebanese prosthesis

I feel like a woman amidst the bombs

It’s good to be addicted to an electric chair

My Dickhead-quarters are in ruins
In a flash limbo systems acquired zippers

I am this foreign body fallen from the puking sky

Surfing on the highways I collect
Weeds ablaze
Funny it is so hot
My Silicon melts
By land or by sea
Terrorists are beardless

Voyeuse at my window
Slashed to skirts of whirling dervishes like helicopters
Thighs and purses they stuffed with Persian missiles
Might as well evacuate American ex-pats

From the top of my building
The embassy’s roof is only one jump away
The whirr whirr of air machines is so good
It’s like mammoths French-kissing
The soldiers of Zion restructure Southern anatomy
By plane

At the Fort’s foreskin
Yellow with anger the flag flogs the wind

“Sanayeh“ garden
Kids suck
Phosphorus cough drops harvested from the fields

Ritta Baddoura

© Translated from French by Lougal Jazzar & Ritta Baddoura
These poems are excerpts from “Ritta parmi les bombes”
(Ritta amidst the bombs) published by Saqi books, 2008

Published with the permission of Ritta Baddoura