See the edges of the buildings –
White buildings, red buildings!
What monstrous and numerous are those things!
From the upper highness,
As from viewing up from their legs,
They are giantly erupting like trees.
But what are these?
What are these?
Not like trees that arise from the seeds,
Are they just there?
Just like that?!

Ask who did build those buildings –
Roofed buildings, bald buildings!
What squared shape they have,
What eminence some of them holds.
But who asks about them?
And who cares
after all?

See all those what’s heard of buildings –
Greek buildings, Ottoman buildings!
Does mortal eyes’ seeing see these things?
The glazed ceramics and corinthian crinklings
Under the seas and upon the skies,
The art of the architect’s,
Or the pain of the masons by whom the brick lies?

See nothing what’s in the buildings –
Commercial buildings, industrial buildings!
Even the one who sits, stands in these things
Sees only prisons fenced in wall by wall.
As in a zoo, they are inclosed in the buildings.
People see people only feeding
When running out of the buildings.

See the monstrous, numerous buildings –
Breathing buildings, oppressing buildings!
They eat up the landscape
And even other buildings.
In them, people and people and people,
Working and eating without seeing
The buildings and buildings and buildings,
Digesting the people, the look
While they are seething and eating us till we go.
Though, they’re not seeing what those buildings do
Because they are just buildings after all.

Benyamin Bensalah


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



White while matt, are the mort of hatless flats,
Like dominoes, they are, set back by back,
One by one’s head, making a blanche headlessness,
Black spots do window on each head’s restless stare,
In the city of Algiers.

Its legs rest by the bright bight of the Mediterranean,
Making the city more than hybrid, demi-terranean,
In the sky and up to it, in the sea but swelled through it,
Making people to dwell – from far – in a white citadel,
In the city of Algiers.

But behind the white curtain and the blinding sea,
Moist bites are doing black and greenish feast;
The dead walls are no more dead-white anymore, but ruins,
At times, scaffolded by grey webs of an endless remorse,
In the city of Algiers.

From out, black veins pump stink into the white city,
Its sewers drink up the filthy, invisible ullage
While the fantom toxicity makes its people itchy;
Letting the itchy thoughts sitting on the road and at the walls,
In the city of Algiers.

Then, by the sun going down, black replaces the white,
Lamplight-formed, yellow baits wait for innocent souls
That might appease the toil of the white daylight
By feeding the hiding white-dressed imp under the toxicity,
In the city of Algiers.

Benyamin Bensalah


Grey Rays

Grey-blue pastel strokes brush the sun behind,
Leaving just enough light to the ground
To see the city, see the city with its toxicity;
Concrete jungle with vrooming sounds,
Soulless machines, and in them souls with wounds.

There’s no greenness behind greyness,
But meaningless parks as mere illusions
To keep our primal instincts alive –
Keeping them machine-fed, coma-like.
The art of nature’s hard to realise.

Parks are the new heart of the city,
Us – not even feeling pity,
Going there to fetch our nurture,
So-called being in the nature
As hypocrite machines.

Is there other machines lying
To themselves as we do –
By laying plants surrounding
While concretely it’s not
The green we went through?

How come then on the sky,
On that grayish sunbeam
Made of pastel and bluish dye;
We’re still a part of this sight,
Human machines as we are.

Benyamin Bensalah


A Promenade in Strange City

The taps are just steps on this land,
No old friend calls me from the childhood,
No near familiarity where I stand,
Nor from the far place where I stood.

My mind, eye and heart are all out,
Only my ears are listening to my strange steps,
Where’s all the peace I heard about,
Wandering on the new, strange lands.

Then, a tap is sounded; a tap and another,
My childhood is echoing back from a dimension,
I can’t drop a tear, so I walk rather,
Walk, walk, walk… Maybe out of sensation.

Benyamin Bensalah


A Dream in Vienna

Dream if a dream, or either a hallucination,
My heart stuck on a land, in a city, at places.
I can’t help it, even if I would, I wish I could
Free my mind from my heart’s ceaseless call.

What if it was real? So what if was not?
The landscape revived my heart, then took it.
It painted green and red a grey stone,
Then, it felt no shame, stole it.

As if a child been playing at the Danube
With stones in the hand to throw it,
So that my heart went with the flow,
And here’s my mind to follow it.

I’m looking for traces where is that dream;
In the city, named Vienna.
What happened there? Why is this ease-,
Happiness- and grief-dyed dilemma?

The city is living, but it’s silent, no answers.
Rather, its streets walk hand in hand –
Days and nights, silently,
Its trolleys wear knowing smile seeing each other –
No rail can separate them forever,
Its elegant houses cuddle together –
Inside them, thousands of secrets,
Its grass in the parks are camping daylong –
Changing their places while caressing each other,
Its sky is the blanket of freedom –
Nobody can dream what happens under’,
Then, its river,
Danube that if only could run backwards,
Only could return my heart and mind,
Letting me leave from dream to dream,
Leaving this reality for another
Dream if a dream, but it happened
That I was living
With the city
Of Vienna.

Benyamin Bensalah



Oh, hundred millions of son of Adam
Erring around the sands of time,
Tell me, whether you heard of the city: Thebeste,
The city that claims – merits my rhyme.

Now, the hundred gates of Thebes
Luxoriate his wife near to Tunis,
On the non-Egyptian land of talking stones,
Tebessa, the Algerian metropolis.

Lo! Gaius Cornelius had sung of Thevest,
Out of the Empire’s admiration
Since there’s no motherland bartered by seste’ri;
A muse that breaths divine inspiration.


All what the time has left testamentally,
The archs, pylons and attics,
Are no more than white stones of a sordid realm,
Hiding all the one-time wisdom’s and ethics.

Now, where is Minerva from the temple?,
The ruins made bed for Mani,
The centuries bartered the pillars of brightness
By ages of darkness; but by how many?

No! Where are the words of the epic poets,
Hanging – glaring on Solomon’s Walls,
Prophesying the coming preposterous epidemic
From what every civilization falls.


How could I make noise on a foreign podium
That is surveyed by no ear,
Why would I even raise my voice to the wretches;
Whom were numb when Caracalla was here.

Nay one hundred and more and one gates
Could make me to enter the city;
However, I’ve noticed my White Lotus there
That is the source of my felicity.

Lo! The sands of time blew me inspiration,
To learn the city and its ancient history
That feeds my mortal clay only with white stones,
But my spirit with an eternal flourishing story.

Benyamin Bensalah