The Forest of Deceptions

In honor of Moroccan Independence Day, we offer this work by one of today’s most independent Morrocan poets.

Ouidad Benmoussa
b. 1969



There were countless deceptions in the notebook of life:
A radio transmits news of war while a hand raises the white flag
Dead people issue from dreams
Blood oozes out of the body of desire…
A distant house that you climb to from an angle watched over by the river… Deceptive it is
A reception room with a table in the middle, on which drunken poems sleep… Deceptive they are
A white curtain, from which light creeps in and assaults love’s posture… Deceptive light
A kitchen, from which you cross to the hugging space within the books’ view… Deceptive books
A bedroom, with sensual butterflies keeping vigil on every side pleasure… Deceptive vigil
A pair of pillows, a pair of witnesses, bawdy, reporting news of orgasms to the bedsheets which are jealous… Deceptive orgasms
A lamp, that lights up only when the body is extinguished… Deceptive it is
An undesirable morning… coming speedy and reminding of ablution rites… A deceptive morning
Deceptions… deceptions


Even shoes in the wardrobe spotted countless deceptions
Cockroaches wandering in the bathroom hall reported news of deception on the phone
On the T-shirt
On the blanket
In the jacket pocket
Deceptions without smell but suffocating
Deceptions on walls
On paint
On paper napkins
On the necktie
Deceptions in the window crack, from which emerges an eye flirting with another eye on the other side
Deceptions in greetings
Deceptions under the shower
In entreaties
In high-walled separation
In cities
In monasteries
In the waiting rooms of Heaven and Hell
Deceptions all along the difficult path
Towering deceptions
Pervading the city, the neighborhood, the building gate, apartments, ghosts that that haunt apartments
Deceptions leaking from gas pipes
From balconies overlooking roses, wheat, cactus, oleander flowers and black plastic bags
Leaking from palliative medicine boxes
Night clubs, matchboxes, tomato cans, packets of cigarettes and black boxes in booby-trapped planes
Deceptions skating on ice
Dancing on the heart stage
Demonstrating out in the street, and running for presidential elections
Raising slogans with the unemployed, although they hold the highest offices
Voracious deceptions, chewing the destinies of lovers and the weak
And crushing chickpeas and roasted almonds with their teeth in the love street
Deceptions trampling heart after heart
Suppressing passion after passion
And spreading in all parts of the mind fomenting more treachery… more discord…
And I upon the rubble of deceptions
Waving a scythe and a sword
A wound and a hemorrhage
Songs and music
I will deceive:
My face in the mirror
My body on the death bed
My time woven with error threads
I’ll deceive my joy and laugh loudly out of excessive pain
I’ll deceive the faces of those I loved with a slap of forgetting
I’ll deceive those who loved me by adding them to the list of the Mughal war victims
Those who betrayed me by dropping them into an electric wheat mill
Those who suffocated me with love palpitations, by dragging them into an abyss over there
I’ll deceive the world with a hard shoe blow on the head, till blood gushes as from a geyser… the blood of the world
I’ll deceive life with her lover death
I’ll deceive myself with anxiety
I’ll deceive the sky by breaking through the ozone hole
I’ll deceive monsters in the jungle of my imagination with poetry angels
I’ll deceive my step with a backward step
I’ll deceive the back with the front
I’ll deceive the front with the invisible
I’ll deceive the invisible with indifference
And laugh
And join the Forest… in my full elegance
And at the gate – the forest gate –
I’ll wear my high heels
So as not to disturb sparrows:
The foremost deceivers.

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