31 July 2013

Abdellatif Laâbi

Burn the Midnight Oil

You must stay up all night at least four times a year.

        There aren't enough crazy people around me to go further than that. A single sleepless night isn't worth much when you're on your own. It needs to be shared. Only then does the city open up to you without thoughts of death. Gargoyles carry out their work as exorcists. Muezzins get drunk on street corners. There is always a couple who get married at dawn by drawing lots. The Partisans' Chant becomes a drinking song. Satan starts to wax lyrical and hands out unbaited, red apples to the worshippers. Feet trample on a treasure-hoard of stars. The taste of sex rises in the mouth like lemon on oysters.
        Only vagabonds can be poets.

The Elegant Sufi
When the Sufi discovered English wool, cashmere, and silk scarves, he tore off his coarse, woollen robe and said to himself: 'I'll feel more comfortable wearing these cloths. They will make my genuflections more graceful. I'm going to cut my hair and trim my beard, brush my teeth three times a day, use a good Eau de Cologne as a deodorant, chuck my tattered prayer mat away and replace it with a genuine Zemmour rug. I will show myself neat and tidy in front of God and I dare say my prayers will become purer. Henceforth, I will no longer live on alms. I'm going to find myself honest and honourable work. I will mingle among my kind, become acquainted with their preoccupations, find out about their blasphemies and initiate myself into the secrets of their terrestrial attachments, taste their earthly wines, and little by little lead them back to the path of the Mystery. After all, my life would only have changed in an outward way, but I will have paved a new path towards mysticism, that of the elegant Sufis.'

24 July 2013


Hey nerds! I wrote a dirrrty story, it's at PANK. Sweet.

22 July 2013


His white hand or his hand which appears white (almost as though he were wearing a glove) flashes periodically out from behind his head. I keep trying to predict when it will come again, which rhythm it is responding to or making, but I cannot. As soon as I think it has stopped entirely it begins again in a hurry - once twice or more in quick succession. Tap tap flash. But it's not quite a tap, a tap is lighter and more ordinary yet it is not violent as a slap, maybe it is a beat, a beat beat of an unpredictable heart. I sympathise. I empathise. I perhaps allow myself to think I am it and it is me. An unpredictable heart beat beat stop.