A report about beasts and collapse
Asmaa Azaizeh is a Palestinian poet, born in 1985 in Lower Galilee. She studied English language and journalism at the University of Haifa and made her debut in Jordan with her poetry collection Liwa (2011). She writes in Arabic. Recently her third bundle, Don’t Believe Me If I Talk To You Of War”, appeared (2019) with which she is introduced to the Dutch public.
When the author talks about the war, she does among everyday things: "Because I talk about blood while I pick daisies in Marj Ibn Amer, about the murders while I was caught up in the laughter of friends." Yet her story is not sweetish, but penetrating and blazing. She writes in long verses that look prose, but in which every sentence contains a surprise. Long monologues as justification for unspoken.
Although Azaizeh is displaying an abundance of metaphors and focusing primarily on the emotional side of things, the war is explosions and bullets, massacres and refugee camps. That is the harsh reality for her. It is also relevant to us when she mentions Syria and Aleppo, and it comes even closer when she cites world wars, Auschwitz and the Berlin Wall.
The real urgency arises when it turns out that the war is about our inner world: 'You put an ambush on the table for you and you wait for hours for the crucial moment that I will look at you as a person without warning you of the constant play in my heart, caution slowly fills the air, my movement becomes rude and you catch me '.
The bundle is a symphony of disappointment, confusion and disgust that comes from a heartless world. Here people figure who hurt the author and the people around her, but it also turns out to concern the poet herself. The heavy armor against suffering is at the same time a frantic attempt to regain dignity and compassion: "I thought I went into the forest alone, I who was healed by the evil of love of my humanity, I have become an animal. I brush my canines for the Mirror, but I don't expect prey. I sharpen my eyes so that I can cry better. I train my sense of smell on the scent of death to spell the news and to be able to grieve for the victims just like the people".
Azaizeh shows that she masters the language game and the imagination, but even more that she approaches the essence of existence. In spite of that, she puts everything into perspective before she starts: "Be careful, don't think this is about me now / it's just a figment and not worth a penny / I am an underground tunnel they spin like sawn planks / (...) poetry giggles and the tunnel / her eyes protrude from her blue skull like a sheep in the slaughterhouse '.
It is precisely because of this warning, this merciless judgment, that it is a telling collection.