Belal Mobarak reads "Qatr Faranca"

Audio Feature

 

 

 

Belal Mobarak reads "Qatr Faranca"

Audio Feature

 

 

 

There are no oceans in Cairo
no one fishes, the Nile is dark
the color of a wall in the shadow
of a wall in the shadow of another

I cup a handful and rub my eyes
to see Abdelhaleem Hafez dying

I think of my barber back home
heckling Egyptians for not
speaking a second language or third

I think of my mother scuffing
at Moroccans, for not kicking the
French out of their tongues

On my way back to Cairo Station
the kumsari suggests Qatr Faranca
he tells me it is better than Qatr Britannia 

I ask if there are trains built in Masr
He says
           Yes,    but the people who ride it
                                  are not the best.

There are no oceans in Cairo
no one fishes, the Nile is dark
the color of a wall in the shadow
of a wall in the shadow of another

I cup a handful and rub my eyes
to see Abdelhaleem Hafez dying

I think of my barber back home
heckling Egyptians for not
speaking a second language or third

I think of my mother scuffing
at Moroccans, for not kicking the
French out of their tongues

On my way back to Cairo Station
the kumsari suggests Qatr Faranca
he tells me it is better than Qatr Britannia 

I ask if there are trains built in Masr
He says
   Yes,    but the people who ride it
                       are not the best.

Belal Mobarak was born in Alexandria, Egypt. Raised in Queens. As a middle child, writing is how he learned to finish his stories and poetry is how he learned to tell them with the least amount of words. Recently selected as a finalist in Brutal Nation’s Competition for Writers of Color. You can find his work published in Columbia Poetry Review, Newtown Literary, Blueshift Journal, and forthcoming work in DMC and Apogee Journal. He currently works for Higher Education in New York City.