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Ali Znaidi (born 1977) lives in Redeyef, Tunisia, where he teaches English. He graduated with a BA in Anglo-American Studies in 2002, from the University of Sfax for the South. He writes poetry and has an interest in literature, languages, and literary translation. His work has appeared in various magazines and journals worldwide. He has authored four poetry chapbooks, including Experimental Ruminations (Fowlpox Press, 2012), Moon’s Cloth Embroidered with Poems (Origami Poems Project, 2012), Bye, Donna Summer! (Fowlpox Press, 2014), and Taste of the Edge (Kind of A Hurricane Press, 2014). He has also authored a book of fiction, Green Cemetery (Moment Publications, 2014), which is in fact the first Tunisian flash fiction collection originally written and published in the English language. Some of his poems have been translated into German, Greek, Turkish, and Italian. His published and forthcoming works can also be found at aliznaidi.blogspot.com. Also see his page in The Haiku Foundation’s Haiku Registry.

Talking about his poems and his use of the English language, Annie Avery, editor of Heard Magzine said, "Tunisian poet Ali Znaidi’s poems rise up like flowers from the challenges he has faced as a writer. Now in full bloom, his work has been published numerous times with a new chapbook forthcoming. His craft is skillful and inventive and I sense a philosopher peeking out from behind his words. He writes in English as if it was his mother tongue, but the mystical voice of his ancestral gift cannot be hidden."
Can I dream?
English version

Can I dream?

Can a veiled woman sit next to a woman in a miniskirt?
Can they sit harmoniously beside each other telling tales?
Can they tell each other stories? Can they converse
without fearing that understanding between them fails?

Can an unveiled woman sit beside a bearded man
without being called a whore by that man with a beard?
Because only God the Knower know her inside,
and not that man who is counting his bead.

Can I hear the call of prayer echoing from a minaret?
Can I hear a church bell ringing and a chazzan singing?
Can I hear all those sounds in just one place
where waters of tolerance are harmoniously springing?

Can I dream of a world where religions and thoughts
flow spontaneously like a river, like a stream?
Can I dream that this stream won’t be blocked
to avoid wars and children’s tears and scream?

Can I dream of a world where people of all creeds
peacefully share the same slice of bread?
We are all humans. We eat, breathe, bleed,
dream, and on the same earth we all tread.

Originally published in Poets Against War.
Café de Paris
English version

Café de Paris

At 10 A.M.
the sun was thirsty for human walking bodies.
I was thirsty, too.
I ordered a caramel coffee,
& a frigid bottle of mineral water.
The heat of Tunis in summer is unbearable.
I was dreaming of dew
to the rhythm of the music of the sun’s rays
which were playing sweet sweat tunes on the
pianos of the walking bodies.
The dew glistening on the bottleneck
made me dream of roses that never
a child’s smile that never
& a free neck that never

Originally published in egg poetry.
This Humanity, a Tale
English version

This Humanity, a Tale

This humanity, this diversity
like endless lightning through
the night.

This humanity,
& its divergencies,
like a river w/ a delta at its mouth.

But how come water is always
down the drain?

This humanity, this diversity—
a tale that we still want to

Originally published in Century 121.