Ghassan Hassan



Hill top green cliff seaside beach.

Daisy flower silent speech.

All the power matters reach.

Dividing space existence breach.

Sense and meaning endless teach.

Circles are the only shape.

Nothing really is at peace.




a cross

between duality

do you understand all the laws that surround you?

and all the repercussions of the actions that define you?

or do you understand them like when nature gives you a sign

and you puzzle life away trying to get to a design

or have you humbled down so low

that you don’t need to understand

and it’s better safe than sorry under any circumstance

or have you reached the point

where you’ll give it another go

cos if you get down to that point my dear

then there’s nowhere left to go

and you might as well throw in the bloody towel

and start growing an afro

cos I’ve done had it up to here you know

and all of this just goes to show

once you’ve seen it then you know


I only have one memory

and its not even mine

I walked down that road

ignored the sign

I really didn’t know though

What I would find

Numbers and lines

Numbers and lines

Numbers and lines made me lose my mind




Medina Whiteman


Back Where The Paths Begin


Some men love the idea of Islam

for its manliness and its femininity

the gendered garb

strokable beards

scarves like petals round a woman’s face

feet marching with a purpose

heart stirred with beauty

but then

the allure of being manlier

kicks a kink in their path

and the lamp shining

on a womanhood bashfully admired

disappears behind a brick wall.

The frowns deepen

the march becomes military

the segregation obligatory

no touching hands – don’t break

my wudu’ – and the beards are now

not thoughtfully stroked but

firmly put in their place.

Chivalry is confused with chauvinism,

gallantry with greed.

Man ascends to the position

he feels is owed to him,

a towering throne from which to judge

how well the womenfolk

are keeping their earlobes covered

lest the animal within him wakes

and he grows so comfortable there

it seems this seat of power was

made purposely for him.

Barbed wire goes up to warn off girls

who might think they

could grow learned and give advice

and every passing decade sees

fewer of them sneaking through the palisade

until the lookouts start confirming

the old ones’ belief:

they just don’t do intelligence like us.

Meanwhile sunlight dashes

fleet-foot over beardless faces

laughing in private, weeping in private

knowing in private, loving in private

cracking almonds, brewing tea

holding a lost one in their arms

stroking her hair while she finds herself

seeking in dreams and the unseen

for guides whose hands

they are forbidden from kissing

and all this round the crook in the path

where the lamp still flickers

and the watchtower sentries

have forgotten the path begins.


Hidden Under The Things They Grasped

They carried a plague on their fingers

when they went to seek gold and sell guns

took a ruler and pen to a map

birthed nations by caesarean

sliced human terrain in hot places where

their germs settled into the hot skin

and they returned thinking

their hands were clean

only the sores on their palms were

hidden under the things they grasped

They took back their queen and flag but

the disease was marrow-deep

fed by fictions of our happiness

ads for things they cannot possess

because they are working in the factories that make them

films with white heroes and brown villains

until some took the bait offered

by canapé waitresses at arms fairs

grinning bankers offering loans to pay for it all

and one surgically created side

was pitted against another

so the wound never heals

And the sickness we gave them never left us

the pockmarks on our diseased body

are hollows in the wet sand

along the outline of our nation on the map

And we decry their assault on our fortress

calling their desperation


€1,500 to board a lethally overcrowded boat


the desire for a safe home and enough food


And while the borders grow metal spikes

develop a rash of guard dogs

ossify into concrete walls

a man and his wife

hold hands each night

and try to leap onto a train

travelling fast underwater

until they reach the promised land

or die

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