The dance of the Arab poet

One day I hope to write in my mother tongue,

that is, embryonic fluid and gauze,
in allegory and hypocrisy,
wit and pride that drips off my cuffs,
in a fit of rage,
and the aphorisms of a sage.

One day I hope to meter out,
just as a Prophet does on a mountain,
a dance of moths around the light of my chest,
with musk scented breath.

To spin like Rumi did when he missed his Sun,
to write a poem of apology,
in hope of pardon,
for guilt to be undone.

Although I write in English,
I think in Arabic,
what verse I lay,
is a battle fought,
wrung and wrought,
where neither the flower cares for being sabotaged,
nor the bee for giving it’s life,
but the sweet nectar drop that’s made,
is the only thing that’s sought.

I ache to spend my days,
stuck in between breezes of lands that are at odds with each other,
perhaps with a poem of mine,
I can be the alchemist of hearts,
softening hardened ones,
healing broken ones,
and if not a heart hears me,
so be it,
I’ve always been my only audience.


lost in translation

How will you know what I mean,
if you won’t taste my tongue,
how will you hear my song,
with all this poetry unsung.

Why is my exotic only palatable,
when it is food on a menu,
and at other times, mock it, beat it,
without so much as a chew.

When I write, I write with the soul of an Arab,
if you see anything floating in the dust of these words,
that reflects light into your heart,
know, it is from my ancestors ashes floating about.

Atoms of longing,
centuries of belonging,
sternums breaking, loins disengaging,
it’s hard to quell this poetic thronging.


i’m Arab, ten

i’m Arab, ten
Spray that at me with venom all you like,
Do you realise my ancestors are prophets?
Whatever lashes off your breath with vengeance,
 lands on my skin with silken embrace.
Wesam El dahabi

It utterly baffles me when white supremacists herald themselves as civilised,
as the benchmark for humans to rise to, in the name of Jesus, in the name of Moses, in the name of whatever religious figure they suppose and they forget,
Jesus, Moses, Muhammad, Abraham, Jacob, Soloman, Joseph, and every prophet that ever lived was of African to Middle Eastern decent.

Enough with your amnesia, enough with your cognitive dissonance and dissociation with reality.

I have firm conviction that people who think this way have serious cognitive abilities, bordering on mental health issues. Their spiritual states are a given, there is nothing Jesus like nor holy about them.

But to throw an insult at me like ‘hey Arab’, is the most laughable. You do realise the word Arab only exists in a negative framework in a mind that has been utterly shaped by empty media rhetoric, void of any meaningful and rightful association to negativity.  Calling me an Arab with intent to insults only affirms my conviction and love of my heritage.

Structural racism, selective amnesia, hate, prejudice and bigotry are not diseases and states that can be cured overnight, or ever, if someone is comfortable bathing in lies and misinformation.

In the words of a George Galloway in a recent debate, ‘The Iraqi’s were teaching the world Algebra when you (English) were sitting in forests painting your faces blue’.

If you’re that stupid and gullible to fall for media jargon, then it’s high time you wake up and realise the true worth of civilisations far more ancient than your infantile colonialist forefathers and their successors to present time will have you believe.


-i’m Arab, nine


-i’m Arab, nine

They want the exotic of you,
not the reality of you,
they fancy all things,
media propped into their minds.

If they could,
they would take only the sound of the ney,
on a sandstorm backdrop,
palm trees rustling,
harems filled with boy servants,
and jewellery on plates.

But they don’t want your stubborn skin,
your eyes so dark,
because they carry the weight,
of what your ancestors have seen,
even if your eyes are sky blue,
emerald green,
or almond brown.

They don’t want your bulging discs,
because your backs are so heavy,
with the weight of the world wanting,
the black sludge under the ground,
your peoples blood is being used to paint the canvases of war.

Their addiction to the canvas,
to our paint, to the sludge.

They can’t survive,
it’s their drip feed,
it’s our curse.

Keep your callused hands they say,
because we have no use for the soil you tended to for generations.

Were gonna’ turn it over,
and build pipelines through your hearts,
and then when you turn your backs on your homes,
we’ll have the audacity to call you savages,
homeless, barbaric, refugees ……
But we’ll still want your exotic.

We’ll holiday in Dubai,
hashtag ‘exotic’ all day,
drape our heads with your veils,
to show how accommodating we are to customs,
and when we get back home,
turn on the news and revolt at seeing a woman in a veil.

Just last week, it was exotic,
and now it makes you neurotic.

I’m exotic when they want me to be.

English tongue,
Arab heart,
Olive skin that sizzles a copper brown,
reminisce of the Moroccan pots you hang,
I’m Under your southern sun,
but still….
it’s that Muslim soul…
whatever are we going to do about that thing.

We can’t have him using our language,
to spread love like fire rings,
that’s not part of the narrative,
that the media sings,
that’s not what we can slot,
into the category of terrorising,
speaking  of terror rising,
when were you thinking,
of giving back the land,
and stopping all the Aboriginal killing?

I’m exotic when they want me to be.

When the words sink deep into their souls,
and make them wonder,
just how the fuck I can write what they’re thinking,
what they hid from everyone.

He’s just be a gypsy magician,
he must have access to a realm we don’t.
For  the most part, I do,
it’s my father’s blood, and his father’s blood,
it’s my mother’s womb, and her mothers womb.

I’m exotic when they want me to be,
but for the most part I’m Arab,
because I was made a refugee from Australia the minute I was born here.


Read whilst listening to this.

i don’t matter

-i don’t matter

my heart hurts
my head hammers

in the light of black lives matter
and the drudgery of all lives matter

all i am trying to do
is not matter


i burn,
for the endless pain that my brothers and sisters have to endure,
my grandest of ancestors,
are not what can pass under the radar,
without the scrutiny of the colour trained eyes,
they would see them a mile away,
they still see them in my eyes.

their tongues are tied and pronunciation poor,
except when it comes to pronouncing something foreign,
then they are experts in all things culture, religion, politics and war,
boy do they fucking know war.

i am heavy with the guilt of half my skin,
for the idiocy of pretending everything matters,
not brown enough for being completely lashed,
nor white enough to be given the pass of passage,
into the realm of privilege.

olive man, brown boy,
heavy name because two syllables is too hard to pronounce,
but shariah, Osama, Al Qaeda roll off their lips like they’re natives.

no, i knew inside i didn’t matter a long time ago,
i only chose not to,
later in my life.

when winter protected me from abuse,
as I paled into the sea of whiteness like them all,
but summer makes me glow like an Arabian horses coat.

they want my skin in summer,
because it makes for exotic photogenic,
they all want my skin,
to touch it,
rub their hands over it like it is a precious silk,
i become the envy of the melanin challenged.

it’s just a tan in summer,
i am safe from scrutiny,
because it makes for seasonal comfort.

look closer you colour blind fools,
it’s always brown,
it’s always olive.

it’s just golden in summer,
ironic, that my ‘badge’ is ‘gold’.

Wesam (two syllables for ‘badge of merit’)
El dahabi (four syllables for ‘the golden’)

my name means something to my mother,
to my father,
to my ancestors perhaps,
but to me, it matters not at all,
because that is how to take away,
the ammunition of those who do or don’t want you to matter.

they can’t make or unmake you.


i’m Arab, eight


-i’m Arab

there is always war
taking place inside me

threatening the communal civility
of soul, heart, mind living in tranquillity

when will the mind come to the altar
offer itself up for the slaughter

when will heart and soul conspire to kill
erase the mind-ego-blabber to nil

then heart will hang itself in humility
and leave the soul to manifest its nobility

the swinging states of obedience, disobedience
regret and remorse at my convenience

we Arabs, know what it tastes like to be parched in deserts
to walk between the line of extro and introverts

always aware, our worthlessness known
born into something, on loan and dying alone

we carry this well within our breasts
aware for the sincere there is no rest

the secrets states come from admittance and pardon
seeking only His countenance, neither hell fire or the garden

so what is this self love you boast about and seek
forever enslaving you, keeping you weak

strength comes from internal war, not internal peace
until seeing your true colours manifests, and self worship will cease

come then, join us, we’ll show you the way
how to be at war with yourself and ego to slay


-i’m Arab, seven


-i’m Arab

death is swallowed like water

it glides past our throats
and into our bellies with ease
we never choke on death


We honour our dead,
with acknowledgement above our emotions,
there is always time to cry later.

The rights of the dead must be fulfilled upon passing,
just as they were when living

A lack of knowledge and preparation prevents the deceased and the living family from comfort. It prolongs grief and leaves people bereft, dysfunctional and wandering, questioning their own life, living in regret.

There is no way, you can completely prepare, but there are hurdles you can lower by raising your awareness.

As Arabs, we are taught about the reality of death from a young age, we have no delusions about it, whilst we share the same human emotions as all other races and people, being exposed to death, without shame or fear makes us robust in accepting our lot when it finally arrives.

My fathers passing still hasn’t hit me yet, people tell me it will later. I don’t know if it will or wont, but he deserves more than my wailing, he deserves my service. That is the way I choose to cry, to honour and remember him.

-im Arab, six


i’m Bedouin blood
i’m not offended when you tell me
you’re not welcome here
that is a given


Slur your face off,
rant your head off,
pop your jugular with insults,
tell me i don’t belong,
to go back to my country, to pack my bags,
my heart’s unchanged,
I’m going, not because you said,
but because my blood calls.
My ankles long for red earth,
my breast for sand dust,
my eyes for Kohl,
and tongue waits for the parch,
I’m silent here anyway
at least over there, my silence  is poetry.