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poem for the beings who arrived

zuihitsu for group c

Poetry | Zuihitsu
April 15, 2022

This piece is part of the 随筆 | Zuihitsu notebook, which features original art by Satsuki Shibuya.

if you ask me where i come from i have to converse with broken wings. this is a line. and all love is agreement, each day of living: an agree or a disagree. and love is not what we think it is. what we have been told it is: agree or disagree. i am telling you how to read me. neruda wrote: if you ask me where i come from, i have to converse with broken things. with the beings who arrived. who had the glasses of the heart. we are the beings who arrived because we had the glasses of the heart. we are the broken beings who arrived with glass for hearts. poetry is instrument; allows us to see through thought. thank you for saying my work does not sound like it is in translation, thank you for not saying my work sounds like it is in translation we are all the proof i need as singularity approaches us they ask with intrigue: how did you construct your blackness in america? each question requires a reconstruction. and i am always re never constructed in egypt, they ask: do they hate us? i pretend not to know who they mean by they what they mean by hate but i know because i live with they and aint they. aint they? we have to stop pretending we are not [capable of] winning and i know you know we know when i dip you dip we dip this one goes out to all the women in the world you see me everywhere i go they want to know which one i am and more of? still, you see me. the mask i wear is not leo rising but the colonizer’s falling and still, you see me. and when i say you see me, what i mean is: you feel me. we, we: the beings who arrive.

“poem for the beings who arrived” by Marwa Helal, from Invasive species (Nightboat Books, 2019). Copyright (c) 2019 by Marwa Helal. Reprinted with permission of Nightboat Books.