Hedy Habra

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.

One thought on “Hedy Habra

  1. I like these poems very much! Hedy Habra develops ideas fully with lyrical images and evocative details. Thank you for publishing these wonderful poems!

    Janet Ruth Heller
    Author of the poetry books Exodus (WordTech Editions, 2014), Folk Concert: Changing Times (Anaphora Literary Press, 2012) and Traffic Stop (Finishing Line Press, 2011), the scholarly book Coleridge, Lamb, Hazlitt, and the Reader of Drama (University of Missouri Press, 1990), the middle-grade chapter book for kids The Passover Surprise (Fictive Press, 2015, 2016), and the award-winning picture book for kids about bullying, How the Moon Regained Her Shape (Arbordale, 2006; sixth edition 2018). My book of nature poems, Nature’s Olympics, is forthcoming from Wipf and Stock.

    My website is https://www.janetruthheller.com/


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