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Abboud Aljabiri was born in Najaf in 1963. His feet dragged him to the world of books at a young age when he was selling bread. He always wondered whether he would have a chance to enter that world. As he was pursuing the daily journey between school and work, his Arabic Language teacher informed him that a word has many meanings and he should decipher these codes in order to make poetic sentences. He wrote his first poem at a very young age.

A member of the Iraqi Writers' Union and the Arab Writers' Union, he was one of the founders of the Iraqi Youth Literature forum. His two poetry collections are Index of Faults (2007) and Lean on his Blindness (2009).

Like many of his peers, he did not find the ambience of freedom he wanted in Iraq and left his country in the beginning of the 1990s. Aljabiri says that to emigrate is to practice a continuing emigration, even in the place you are living at that moment. He looks at the intellectual's emigration as an overlapping and mixed emigration that causes more white hair, and breeds pain in the soul on a daily basis, until pain becomes a companion.

Aljabiri has a degree of nursing from Baghdad University. He has lived and worked in Amman, Jordan, since 1993.

Translatation from Arabic by Safaa Sheikh Hamad

The Shirts
Arabic version


قميص يوسف

معلّقا فوق حبال الغواية منذ قرون
ما الذي كان سيحدث
لو انه قـــّد من قبـــل...؟

القميص الأسود

قميص اسود
يتناسل في الشوارع
ورجال بقلوب داكنةة
يتربصون بقلوبنا

قميص مايكوفسكي

القميص الأصفر الواسع
الذي طعنك في الصدر
نبوءة الحسناء
التي أيبست الغيمة
اعترف أيها العزيز مايكوفسكي
إننا نرتديه صباح مساء
وترّوج العرافات موتنا
لا نموت... لكننا..

قميص فلسطين

نملؤه باللافتات
ونمسح بأكمامه
دموع أمهاتنا

قميص الشهيد

شظية غبية
ثقبت صور أبنائه في الجيب الأيسر
يرمم ثقوب القذائف في خارطة البلاد

قميص مانديلا

طوبى لها
تلك الورود التي تتمسح بأذيال قميصك
طوبى للبيض الذين سئموا بياضهم
وطوبى للسود الذين استظلوا بقميصك
فابيضّت جباههم
هل بقي لديك مّتسع من العمر
كي تمنحنا شرف اعتقالك مرةأخرى ؟؟
ربما سيمتد هذا الشرف قليلا
ربما لن نجد مقصلة تليق باسمك
فنكتفي حينها برصاصة رخيصة
ولو لبرهة واحدة
هذا الشرف
امنحنا ما تراه رّثا من قمصانك
المليئة بالورود
نعلقه على شرفات بلادنا
ونحلم انك حّر مرة ثانية

قميص جيفارا

ها أنت.. بلحيتك الطازجة
مرسوم على القمصان
وريش العصافير
وها أنت.. تخمش الهواء
من قناني العطر
والماء من الغيمة الآفلة
وها أنت
تعود حزينا.. منفيا
يجرحك الطبالون
ويقتلك الرسامون
فيقترحونك تاريخا
ما عاد سوى رسم
فوق القمصان

قميص بغداد
لم يجدك البرابرة
والسماسرة، حين عبروا الجسر
لم يجدوا عيون المها
ولم يجدوا عليا بن الجهم
لم يجدوا الشعراء
لم يجدوا سوى سفينة
تحمل من كلّ زوجين اثنين
وتوغل عميقا في الطوفان

قميص الغفران
أغفر لأبي حزن أمي
أغفر لأمي اشتعال أخوتي في الظلام
أغفر لأخوتي كثافة أسمائهم في دفتر العائلة
أغفر للعائلة مسقط الرأس المؤجل
أغفر لمسقط الرأس خشونة طبع البلاد
أغفر للبلاد المنافي
أغفر للدائنين عجا لتهم
أغفرلزوجتي أولادي
أغفر لأولادي شيخوختي
وأعلم أنها خطايا ألبستها قميص الغفران

وحين لم يبق من الحشد سواي
جمعت فلولي
ومضيت إلى الساحة وحدي
وتقافز من حولي:
العسكر والأصحاب
فلم يجدوا
سوى لساني الأثري
وقميص ابيض
حملته لافتة
تبحث عما كان عليها من كلمات..

English version

The Shirts

Joseph's shirt
Hung on the seduction mountains
For centuries
Had it been torn from the front,
What would have happened?

The Black shirt
A black shirt
Breeding in the streets
And men with dark hearts
Lurking for our hearts

Mayakovski's shirt
The wide yellow shirt
That stabbed you in the chest
The prophesy of the beautiful woman
That dried the cloud

Admit it dear Mayakovski
That we wear it everyday
While the sibyls spread the death news
We don't die

Palestine's shirt
We stuff it with banners
And use its sleeves
To wipe mothers' tears

The martyr's shirt
A dumb shell
Made a hole in his son's photo
In the left chest pocket

Yet he is still patching
The holes shells made
on the map of the nation

Mandela's shirt
Blessed are
The roses on your sleeves
The white who got bored of their color
The black who sat in the shade of your shirt
Their foreheads got white

Do you still have some time
To give us the honor of arresting you again?
May be
This honor will expand a little
May be
We will never find
Gallows worthy of your name
Only then
A cheep bullet would suffice

Give us
This honor
Even for a moment
Give us some worn out rosy shirts
To hang on the balconies of the
And dream that you are
Once again

Guevara's shirt
Here you are
With the fresh beard
Printed on the shirts
The walls
And the sparrow's feathers
And here you are
Scratching the air
From the perfume cans
And water from the dry cloud

And here you are
Coming back
The drummers wound you
The painters kill you
And in the end
They suggest you are only a history
Printed on the shirts

Baghdad's shirt

When they crossed the bridge
Barbarians and brokers did not find you
They neither found the Maha eyes
Nor the poets
They only found an ark
Carrying a pair of every thing
Sailing deep in the deluge

Forgiveness shirt

I forgive my father
For making my mother sad
I forgive my mother
For burning my brothers in the dark
I forgive my brothers
For the density of their names in the family notebook
I forgive the family
For the postponed birth place
I forgive the birth place
For the harshness of the nation
I forgive the nation
For the exile
I forgive the creditors
For their haste
I forgive my wife
For my children
I forgive my children
For my old age
I forgive
I forgive
I forgive
And I know that they are sins I have dressed a forgiveness shirt

My shirt

And when no one stayed from the crowd but me
I gathered my remnants
And walked to the yard alone
Soldiers and comrades jumped around me
They only found my ancient tongue
And a white shirt
Held on a banner
Looking for words once written

Translation from Arabic by Safaa Sheikh Hamad