Void

I’ve seen the light as a nameless kitten –
One amongst many of a couple,
I still remember the care of my mother
Even if there was no time to cuddle.

It was the time my eyes just opened –
Without seeing play and cheer,
Just a couple of months before
Our little mother did dissapear.

Remained alone, me and my brothers –
Day and night we feared dogs,
Then, just like our weakling mother,
Hunger kicked us out of the box.

                        ***

I became a lone-wolf street-cat –
Walking from alley to alley,
Living on the waste of others’,
But I had a change of story.

One night, I met a grey figure –
Sitting at the pavement,
He looked on me with silent care,
And took me to his apartment.

I got a home under his bookshelf –
Full of Nietzsche and Freud,
The grey fellow fed me with milk
and named me: Void.

                        ***

The years went quickly like days –
My man was a strange one,
Sometimes sad, sometimes moody,
But we had a lot of fun.

There was always a weekly party –
With philosopher friends;
I myself was a part of this,
I wished it never ends.

On the nights, everyone was happy –
People laughing overjoyed,
Talking longly seriously, then laughing:
“Look, there’s looking us Void!!”

                        ***

I was always waiting the weekly parties –
Tho I also liked the silent nights,
Sitting next to my reading thinker
Hushing away his sighs.

One night, the party friends didn’t come –
There was a woman instead,
I spent such nights under the sky
While they were in bed.

Firstly, I was still happy for this –
Seeing my man ever happy,
But once the woman didn’t come,
The house became an alley.

                        ***

Silence sat on our days with my man-
Greyness stole all his delight,
I couldn’t hush away any of his sighs,
He didn’t read or write.

One night, I came home from roaming –
I was terribly hungry then,
Found my milk and food prepared,
But without signs of my man.

The house seemed and sounded empty –
I felt my man, but I was annoyed;
So I found him hanging from the ceiling,
Wishing I was never named Void.

Benyamin Bensalah

29.08.2020

Ey, ey, ey…

For a woman in the eighties,
The most important thing the peace is.
But how to reach it with a dozen of nieces,
Daily breaking my peacemaker into pieces…

This is why I was frankly relieved,
When I got a house-offer suddenly received.
I called the agent and in 10 days I achieved
To live in a peaceful village – leastwise I believed.

Nathless, my peace was brief;
My groove turned quickly into grief:
Even if the village was devoid of mischief,
My neighborhood had a noisy Muslim chief.

The noisy chief had a noisy mate,
Tho, not only one, but a brigade of eight.
For peace, I decided to wait wait and wait,
But then, I rushed out angry and veiled:

“Hey, you weird!
Ya’ll there, geared with beard!”
Hearing me, they packly neared,
But not for a moment I was feared.

“Y’all! The sheikh and the eight!
Don’t you sense what time is eit?!
It’s eight! And I am out here veiled,
Cuz my neighbors like horses neighled.”

My quick siege cooled down their vein.
“I implore pardon, we will hold the rein.
For God’s sake, forgive us if you would deign.”
And then, they never broke again my peaceful reign.

Yey, yey, yey!

Benyamin Bensalah

21.08.2017

A summer in Constantine

There’s no summer as best summer
In my achromatic life;
However, I’ve remembered
When I was Dani’s guide.

One of my friends, if there’s any,
Came to me in Algiers;
Checking the white Africans,
And facing all his fears.

I showed him the world of Aladdin
That he couldn’t see online;
Wonder after wonder,
Like the mountains of Constantine.

                     ***

Like the wrinkles of a stone-giant,
The place was super-high;
Forest camping at a school’s scout
Was a must to try.

Dani fell in love with Islam,
Having no stirrup;
He said Salam, labas, bismlah,
And Hamdullah to burp.

Mocking people everywhere,
We were Hungarians;
Like superior intruders,
We conquered the lands.

                     ***

Breakfast of the morning sunshine
With some cafeteria
Burnt the freedom to our mind
Through that utopia.

How could one forget the hot wind,
The cold lake of the hollow;
The lost billiard matches at night
As our only sorrow.

Now, that time flew far far away,
As far as Constantine;
But I still keep the memory,
Till it’s no longer mine.

Benyamin Bensalah

19.04.2018

E’ib Mubarak

Today’s been a slaughter ordered;
Abrahamic hocus-pocus, fairy-tale,
Like Artemis replaced his daughter with a sheep,
We are doing the same;

Following a social construct,
Taking away thousands of life;
Sheep are crawling in mere bloodbath:
“Look! It’s running towards paradise!”

Not even a minute has passed
that the last breath left the still warm body,
but the people eviscerate,
and ate the inside organs already.

What holiness, what a story behind!
A mad man losing his mind
to imagine a sky-sent message:
Yo, murder your son or just do me sacrifice!

Those of nature – lions, wolves and leopards,
are killing for the sake of killing
or either for surviving the circle they’re aligned,
but we paint children stories with bloody body parts.

Benyamin Bensalah

31.07.2020

*E’ib Mubarak : It is related to Aid El Adha the celebration of Abrahamic story for what all Muslims around the world slaughter sheep as a symbolic sacrifice. The original wish is A’id Mubarak that means Happy Celebration. The title of the poem as E’ib Mubarak means “Disdained Celebration”.

Life and Death

Firstly, I experienced the death of my great-grandmother as a child;
it wasn’t sad, but rather shocking to see an inanimate body
and the mourning people around burdened with silence.
I couldn’t understand much of that picture that time,
but my mother was in grief and crying for a long;
she must have a lot of memories with her,
all reaching a dead-end road.

Then, my kind friend – our dog was beaten to death by my old neighbor;
she was my father instead of father and friend instead of friends,
a true mate that was hard to imagine to get so brutalized.
The shock seeing her missing dried up even my cry;
that time, I imagined how my mother might feel
when someone close disappears
and leaves a terrible hole.

Still a child, after the dog I loved, I saw the corpse of the dog I hated;
that huge dog been let out to the side when I walked daily
scared me and made the streets ominous, evil-holding.
I wanted to think of it as a big relief from my fear
that the big, evil dog won’t be around after me,
but I felt grief seeing its bloodshed death;
will it leave a same hole in someone?

Then, news of deaths came and went around with daily regularity;
in the broadcast Queens died, presidents, victims and criminals
as well as at school, acknowledging dead kings and poets.
I thought that great deeds leave a thing to remember,
not to let people die as a fly or a cornered spider,
but I quickly changed my mind at the museum
where generations lay without any memory.

Starting to grow, I realized many terrible things while just living;
terrible things like whole families, weekend parties
and such things I never could have in my life.
These left a hole greater than death itself;
leaving an unknown, missing hole in me,
a hole of me whom I could be,
saying: I never was alive.

Somewhat later, having assured that the holes of non-living remain;
they mark the person and it marked even my personality,
I tried to meet Death by my own, to rejoin the holes.
I failed and left but awkwardness of craze,
my close ones saw me abnormal
and saw no danger seeing me
as a hole, simply disappear.

With knowledge, I understood it later and it made more sense than any;
a person who didn’t live and left no experience
won’t leave holes or griefs in nobody.
All the synopsis-held memories,
all the heartbeat on the globe
like life and death in books
have no meaning at all.

Benyamin Bensalah

12.07.2020

The coolest prophet – Jonah the crook

There’s a story, nearly fairy tale,
about a guy sent into a whaley jail
by reason he did disobey
his Lord’s survey-ridden, nasty play
to send him alone against a city
that already lived by peace and felicity
until the Lord said so:

“Hey, Jonah! I’m your Lord;
I should be worshiped by your crowd:
tell ’em who’s the all star of heaven;
I will give them some days like seven,
then, I will show them some cinema;
go before I burn down Niniveh
because I said so.”

Jonah was shocked by the message;
why this aggression, ravage
while he himself just like that poor people
is meek, simple, desirous and feeble
who eagers no newly made prophethoods,
rather sitting by rivers and staying in woods,
but the Lord knows no fun so.

Murmuring: Yeah, go to Niniveh,
turn them some disastrous cinema
as if the people would believe it
that their life’s wicked, needing to leave it…
but before they lynch me I pick a ship;
Yo, Lord! I’m outtie, fuck this shit –
and Jonah got on board as he said so.

On the sea, there were storms coming,
like water-mountains clapping;
the ship’s crew started to shout, pray and weep,
finding the hiding Jonah, threw him to the deep
by what the godly wrath found peace,
except for Jonah who got eaten by one piece
ending in Leviathan’s fishy jaw.

“Yo, Jonah! How’s with the escaping?
Are you happy now, you made me blackmailing;
go back to Niniveh and kick some butts,
or enjoy the odor down in the guts.”
Smelling the power of the omnipotent,
Jonah found that he’s not an opponent;
saying: “Yolo, I will do as you say so.”

As he spoke, the fish spitted him out,
and Jonah faced back to the unbelieving crowd;
no welcoming, no results,
just a bunch of dislikes and insults,
but God was finally happy
because his sponsor was there in the city,
Jonah who didn’t care at all.

Benyamin Bensalah

07.07.2020

Three butterflies

Once upon a time, there have been
three little butterflies –
so happy, sadly never seen –
under the lightblue skies.

They were but dancing all around
on fields been flared by light –
where flowers’ petals were the ground –
in yellow, red and white.

But all at once, the sky darkened
calling clouds out of chrome –
Yellow, Red and White disheartened –
It was time to go home.

                      ***

The three butterflies aimed their hut
reaching it with the storm –
drops by drops, but the hut was shut –
need’ to find a new dorm.

Yellow came: the yellow tulip!
While Red said the red one –
Going with White’s similar tip –
They went’ check one by one.

Reaching each tulip, they begged as
let us in, dear palace –
only one colour, the petals’ –
they found closed chalice.

                      ***

The red tulip let but Red in
and so on the others –
butterflies stayed ‘gether, wetting –
dying as true brothers.

They hid under a bigger leaf
where the wind still reached them –
fair moment to do disbelief –
but they still prayed the sun:

Bright sun! Dry our wet pollen-wings!
Bright up sun! Let us fly! –
The sun heard the cry of their song’s –
It became lightblue sky.


Original Hungarian prose of Jékely Zoltán: A három pillangó.

Benyamin Bensalah

30.07.2018

György Faludy: Learn this poem of mine

Learn this poem of mine
because how long this book will be by your side?
If it’s yours, it will be borrowed,
ending in a public library,
and if it’s not: its paper is so crappy,
it will turn yellow, will break, will be raggedy,
will dry out, will shred, will swell,
or it will catch fire calling upon hell,
two hundred and forty degrees is enough –
and what do you think how hot it is, how tough
when a big city becomes ash, burning down?
Learn this poem of mine.


Learn this poem of mine
because soon there will be no book to find,
there will be no poet and no rhyme,
and your car won’t have gasoline,
there won’t be even rum to be drunk,
since the shopkeeper won’t open the shop,
and you may throw out your money,
because the moment is coming with agony,
when your screen instead of image
will transmit a ray of death and cellular damage
and because there will be no one to help,
you will realize the only thing that remains left
as yours, is what your forehead has dined,
you hold.  Give me a place inside.
Learn this poem of mine.


Learn this poem of mine,
and tell me when it’s the deadline
of the seas littered with alkali,
and the industries’ puke already
covers all soils
and grounds, like the drool of snails,
if all of the lakes were killed,
and destruction is coming crippled,
if the leaf is rotting on the trees,
the sources bubble up disease,
and the evening wind brings you cyan:
if you put on the gas mask fine,
you can recite this poem of mine.


Learn this poem of mine,
to let me accompany you. Belike,
and you still survive this millenium,
and a few short years will become,
because the bacilli’s raving
revenge may fail,
and the technology’s greedy
divisions have more power
than the globe moving extremely –
bring it up from your memory
and sing another time to me
these lines: since where it has gone
the beauty and love?


Learn this poem of mine,
to let me accompany you if I’m no more alive
when you will be bothered about the house
where you live because there is no water nor gas,
and you hit the road to find a shelter,
to eat buds, seeds, and other gather,
to find water, get a club,
and if there is no free land, to use that club,
to take the land and kill the man –
there, let me amble with you, man
under ruins and above them
and whisper to you: Undead,
where are you going? Your soul is frozen,
no sooner than you leave the town.
Learn this poem of mine.


It could also be that up there
there is no more world, and you down there,
deep in the bunker you ask:
how many more days until the poisonous
air through the lead sheet
penetrates the concrete?
Then what was for and what worth had
the man, if he arrives to such an end?
How can I send you comfort,
if there is no right but discomfort?
Shall I confess that I was always for you
thinking of you for many, many years
through sunlights and through the nights,
and even I died a long time ago, I am still for you
looking through my two sad eyes?
What else could I tell you before I resign?
Forget this poem of mine.

Benyamin Bensalah

15.04.2020

Translated from the Hungarian poem of György Faludy, “Tanuld meg ezt a versemet”(1980).

A can of beer

Taken life as a divine test,
God may suprise us well;
You may be probed in a sudden,
As others been as well.

Once – it happened somewhere-
Events of a crescent’s,
Among proper white houses, and –
Inhabitants like saints.

Good, bearded men wearing white robes,
And meek, hidden women –
Under beard-black spacious chador,
Lived there godly driven.


***


Men, hand by hand left the crescent,
Helping one another,
While women took their child to school,
Wearing pious chador.

They were sweeping other’s forefront,
And taking other’s child;
They used to live in harmony,
Till mildness became wild.

Once, before the sunrise prayer,
A beer can in the dawn –
Was thrown into the crescent’s ground,
And the purity was gone.


***


“What a poisonous surprise is-
There, a greeny beer can,
Where alcohol was never seen”-
Was thinking the first man.

Passing by it without a word,
Frowned likely the next one:
“Who could possess this possessed can?”
Escaping the third one:

The Iman came to lead the pray’,
He saw and threw the can:
“Oh God, none of us could drink it!
I throw away the can!”


***


One saw him removing the proof,
While the others gossiped:
“The Imam could not drink the beer,
But the question: who did?”

The harmony, trust disappeared;
No woman sweeped but hers,
None took anyone’s child to school,
Men were no more brothers.

Families whispered among them –
“These are staying astray”
“Those must be disbelievers” –
End of the old array.


***


Once – it happened somewhere-
Events of a crescent’s,
Among red and blue houses, and –
Unveiled inhabitants.

A can of beer appeared to them,
Poisoning their prayer,
Changing their pious life, into –
A poisonous nightmare.

Taken life as a divine test,
God may suprise us well;
You may be probed in a sudden,
As others been as well.

Benyamin Bensalah

16.09.2017