Bitar, Walid

Lebanon/Canada, (b. 1961)

The Island Porcile

  1. The trick is to sleep without telling the eyes
  2. which are mindless, and so easily fooled.
  3. The objective world is programmed to prey
  4. on narcissists willing to stare into its pools,
  6. and what it discovers are false witnesses.
  7. It doesn’t let on; we don’t care to know,
  8. This unsigned contract is our instinct for business;
  9. each wave conforms, except for the foam.
  11. Those of us stationed here have been travelling.
  12. The island addresses are largely squandered.
  13. If they’d been money, we’d be gambling.
  14. Every morning, we have nothing to launder.
  16. One day we might ask: are we eternal?
  17. We seem so makeshift, checking our watches,
  18. these china shops we wear though we’re bulls,
  19. or hope we are. Maybe we’re leeches-
  21. how unbecoming that would be!
  22. To think each of us, a self-styled explorer,
  23. is high on the blood of a real odyssey’s
  24. heroine, sucking away at her pores,
  26. and hallucinating like that Chinese general
  27. who ran out of weapons, sent out a ship
  28. to be rained on by the enemy’s arrows,
  29. replenishing his arsenal for the next trip.
  31. Could this have happened, or was it a dream
  32. of a drunken sailor whose idea of menace
  33. was to invent things better than feats?
  34. When he’s a pigsty, a man hops his fence.

© Walid Bitar. Bastardi Puri. Ontario: The Porcupine’s Quill (2005).

About the Poet:

Walid Bitar (b. 1961) is a Lebanon-born Canadian poet based in Toronto. He immigrated from Beirut, Lebanon to Canada with his family in in 1969.

Bitar attended the University of Toronto before traveling and working in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. From 1990 to 1991, he held a Teaching-Writing Fellowship at the University of Iowa.

His previous poetry collections are: Divide and Rule (2012), The Empire’s Missing Links (2008), Bastardi Puri (2005), 2 Guys on Holy Land (1993), Maps with Moving Parts (1988). [DES-07/13]

Additional information:

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