top of page

The NonconformistStanding in Linesby Nizar Qabbani

I asked for some sunshine

The policeman said,

Stand in line, mister

I asked for some ink to write my name

They said,

Stand in line

I asked for a book to read

The man in the military uniform screamed,

If you want education, you should read the party propaganda

and the constitution

I asked for a permission to meet my woman

They answered, meeting women is difficult

and lovers

should not get frustrated from standing in line

I asked for a permission to have a child

The general said, laughing

Having kids is important

Stand in the line for another year

I asked to see the face of God

One of the religious men screamed, Why?

I said,

Because I am oppressed

So he pointed with his finger

and I understood that there was a line for the oppressed too

God, I wish to meet you; don’t leave me

like a stray dog standing in line

Since I came to this world

I have been planted, standing in lines

My legs are frozen in the snow

and my soul is like scattered leaves

waiting for a homeland that doesn’t come

and a warm seaside and birds

I don’t know how to recite poetry

for every place I go, a machete follows me

All the papers are booby-trapped

All the pencils are booby-trapped

All the breasts are booby-trapped

And the bed of love

requires a passport


This nation is crouching between water and water

sad like a broken sword


the horizon is gray

If you want to help me, turn me to a bird

For I long for a spot of light

God, if you want to help me

3 views0 comments


bottom of page