Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Ali Znaidi Returns

Let's take a break from the 1940s and turn to today.  A while back the Tunisian poet Ali Znaidi sent me some poems, and I'd like to post them this evening.

Capitalist Beauty
I wonder why beauty is only edited by Capitalist media.
Are they the only beholders of this concept?
Why do they only see females as cheap skinny dolls?
Why do they vilify such words as ‘overweight’,
‘extra pounds’, & the like?
Why do women have to abide by fashion rules
& corporeal standardized forms to qualify as feminine?
Why do they have to be dolls in bric-a-brac shops?
Why do they have to be only glittering objects?—A handful
of tamed dolls displayed on the shelves of Capitalist supermarkets.
And those who differ?—I mean those without a pixelated body
of bones: Nothing awaits them but secluded lanes
and termite-infested attics.
They have no right to explore the highway.
They have no right to be on the road.
Even the margins vomit them out.
First published in #NastyWomenEverywhere 

Sappho or the Woman of Eternal Light
Ask her what is the word for ‘light’?
Ask her what is the token of light?
Ask her about her ruby lips?
Ask her about her pouts?
—Or those circular waves
against the corporate crows.
—Those fiery waves burning
any plumage enriched with signs of death.
Alone in her celestial light,
waiting for the moon,
Sappho was stitching something
sheltered by the wings of the dove…
—A luminous thing aimed at darkness
.…Sappho was stitching something on her lips,
a healing version of a tune
recycled into rhythms and  
continuous cadences
against the creepy macabre ghosts,
against the agents of darkness.

The above painting of Sappho is by the English painter John William Godward.  He ended up committing suicide in 1922, and his note is said to have the following statement:  "the world is not big enough for myself and a Picasso."

A Historiography of Fire
Because of what red means,
the language of fire is but
the cadence of rhythms
secreted on the coral of her lips.
The embers on her lips become
other than the expected plenitude
of presence; sparks encouraging
association with the invented
oral architecture.
Behind the arches
is a historiography of fire;
an invented tune clinging to the rose;
an evidence of presence
and an undiscovered form
of a generative grammar;
aesthetic patterns
fading into articulated
shades of red.

Ali Znaidi (b. 1977) lives in Redeyef, Tunisia. His work has appeared in various magazines and journals worldwide. He is the author of several chapbooks, including Experimental Ruminations (Fowlpox Press, 2012), Moon’s Cloth Embroidered with Poems(Origami Poems Project, 2012), Bye, Donna Summer! (Fowlpox Press, 2014), Taste of the Edge (Kind of a Hurricane Press, 2014), and Mathemaku x5 (Spacecraft Press, 2015). He has also authored a book of fiction, Green Cemetery (Moment Publications, 2014), which is, in fact, the first Tunisian flash fiction collection originally written and published in the English language. Some of his poems have been translated into German, Greek, Turkish, and Italian.
Talking about his poems and his use of the English language, Annie Avery, editor of Heard Magazine said,
“Tunisian poet Ali Znaidi’s poems rise up like flowers from the challenges he has faced as a writer. Now in full bloom, his work has been published numerous times with a new chapbook forthcoming. His craft is skillful and inventive and I sense a philosopher peeking out from behind his words. He writes in English as if it was his mother tongue, but the mystical voice of his ancestral gift cannot be hidden.”
For more, visit

I had thought about finishing off with music by Danilo Perez, a pianist whom my husband and I saw recently, but I think that a selection of music by female jazz musicians might be better.

I don't know if I've posted much by Anat Cohen, but here is a lively piece that features her on clarinet:

I'll add "Murmurando," which she plays with Trio Brasiliero:

On "Blues for Warren," saxophonist Tia Fuller is directing the Berklee Rainbow Band:  Fuller plays as well.

 Here she performs "Descend to Barbados" with her trio:

I'll finish with Cindy Blackman Santana's "Pro Tem":


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