Hedy Habra is a poet, artist and essayist. She has authored three poetry collections, most recently, The Taste of the Earth (Press 53 2019), Winner of the Silver Nautilus Book Award, Honorable Mention for the Eric Hoffer Book Award, and Finalist for the Best Book Award. Tea in Heliopolis won the Best Book Award and Under Brushstrokes was finalist for the Best Book Award and the International Book Award. Her story collection, Flying Carpets, won the Arab American Book Award’s Honorable Mention and was finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. Her book of criticism, Mundos alternos y artísticos en Vargas Llosa, examines the visual aspects of the Peruvian Nobel Prize Winner narrative. A sixteen-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the net, and recipient of the Nazim Hikmet Award, her multilingual work appears in numerous journals and anthologies. https://www.hedyhabra.com/
Or What If You Could Overhear Our Hushed Voices?
After Horse, Owl and Chaise by Gertrude Abercrombie
At first glance, you can see that I'm not lying on the blue sofa, nor hiding under it. But how about the open window framing the white horse's head peeping into the empty room? Could I be outside the canvas, listening behind walls? Some might say that the meditative owl perched on the shelf is my alter ego, my mirror image looking back at you, or couldn't it rather be the horse? Now, if you were to enter my dreams in search of a clue, you might still not find me but you'll be able to hear me talking to my divided selves watching over me like guardians. Yet so much is left unsaid like in Chinese ink brush painting; you know, those blank areas similar to pauses in poetry? This is where the calligrapher's brushstrokes form verses, beckoning you to add your own. Picture me lying down on the aquamarine sofa, musing over the space of desire. I sink into the velvet upholstery as in a tailored cloud, see myself riding the wind, a winged stallion oblivious to the monotonous raison d'être of the wary owl. Could I be the moderator of their diatribes? When my mother's sight was failing, she would sit silently for hours, then, open up like a live notebook enumerating aloud all of the to-do things while I'd become part of a Xu Beihong ink-and-wash galloping horse, hair flowing in the wind, the featherlike equine mane caressing my face till I'd face her absent look swallowing life with every breath.
Or How Do You Think We Came To Be Stranded In That No Man’s Land?
when your mother is dying in a hospital and you can't hold her hand when you are pacing from room to room yearning for a friendly voice when museums' hallways are haunted by a few masked people when you die a thousand times of longing because you can only see your loved ones through a screen when you know funerals must be solitary affairs and weddings have become intimate when you can't hug your grandchildren don't you inhabit a no man's land designating others as persona non grata? when you only need to review old sci-fi movies to realize how their surrealness has swept into your own life when deserted streets and avenues unfold over our screens don't we feel stranded in an absurdist novel or maybe a hybrid painting conceived by a collaboration between Kay Sage and her husband Yves Tanguy within the setting of Dali's anamorphic landscapes and wouldn't the ultimate construct translate into a movie fit for the times? when Magritte's veiled lovers seem to be stepping out of the canvas reeking with repressed sensuality and Abercrombie’s touchless courtship seems natural aren't you then convinced that life imitates art since these characters learned the notion of physical distancing before it became the norm?
Or How Could I Find My Way In Suspension In Midst Of A Clearing?
After the Madeline Series by Marilene Sawaf
Lying down on the grass eyes filled with kaleidoscopic images rolling at full speed: the rabbit pulls me through a bottomless pit, the red-breasted blackbird keeps whispering, do not look back, do not search for his deep eyes, nevermore, nevermore. The bird’s monotonous chant sways me away from the moment he holds my hand. I think of maps of love still eluding me: they put flowers on my hair, sew dresses that mark my waistline, someday, someday, they'd say, won’t forgive my drowning within labyrinthine paths of wonder. They want me to grow into a likeness their eyes have already framed, keep me in a cocoon never imagining my flight: weren’t they ever lost in midst of a clearing or ever torn between mirrors, I wonder, as I spend time chiseling my features and figure a curve here, a straighter line over there attentive to the signals of my heartbeat. I am still dizzy from falling flapping wings ground me insisting eyes watch me from a balcony I draw a Map of Tendre of every time he looks at me: didn’t he whistle once when I walked home carrying baguettes? And the other day, oblivious of his friends, didn’t he turn around eyes piercing through the nape of my neck? Signs fill my pages awaiting to be deciphered: the flowers on my hair feel heavier, their perfume weighs me down, the rabbit is out of sight, the red-breasted blackbird keeps chanting his rhythmic threnody I have not written a word for a long time.