Thursday, February 18, 2010

poem for the Al-Mutanabbi Street ( في شارع المتنبي ) broadside by Newlights Press

for Haneen Alshujairy

on Al-Mutanabbi (في المُـتنبي )

all the men sparking cars & all of them parking bombs, they fear your feet – your shoes are novels – they fear your ribs – the books strapped to your hips. Words shake them nervous, just look

on Al-Mutanabbi (في المُـتنبي )

all of them, blind to the knives inside your vowels. One day we will walk together. Really! We’ll share kabobs & browse the used fiction. When your novel is untied, I’ll bend down to tie it & make those men jealous

on Al-Mutanabbi (في المُـتنبي )

all the men bark because no one taught them how to read the city


Mutanabbi Street (Arabic: شارع المتنبي) is located in Baghdad, Iraq, near the old quarter of Baghdad; at Al Rasheed Street.[1] It is the historic center of Baghdad bookselling, a street filled with bookstores and outdoor book stalls. It was named after the 10th century classical Iraqi poet Al-Mutanabbi. This street is well established for bookselling and has often been referred to as the heart and soul of the Baghdad literacy and intellectual community.[2]

A car bomb exploded and killed 26 people on Mutanabbi Street on March 5, 2007, leaving the area litered and unsafe for shoppers, and destroying many businesses.[3][4]

On December 18, 2008, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki officially reopened the street after a long period of cleanup and repair.[3]

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