Reme Zakzuk
Glimpses from the arts: poetry with visuals



لأنه لا يمكن لي

For it isn’t possible

أن أكون

to be me

لأني لست ملكي

for I am not my own



لأنني لا أملك

for I do not own

ما يحق لي أن أملك

what I have the right to own

أنا الأنثى بمصير مبرمج

I am the female with present destiny

أنا الطفل الجائع

I am the hungry child

لحنان لن يكون لي

for compassion that overlooks me

أنا الإنسان الحالم

I am the human longing

بما وراء هذه الجدران

of what is behind these walls

لأشياء لن تكون لي

for what is not meant for me

لن أمنح غير اللوعة

Only to be given this grief

خطواتي مكبلة بعاداتهم

my steps are heavily chained by their customs

رقصي مربوط

my dance is shackled

بأثقال وقارهم

by their holy honor

من أنا؟

who am I?

أضيع في معتقلاتهم

Wandering in their cells

بحثا عن رضاهم!ء

Looking for acceptance

أين أنا؟

where am I?

مكاني من الإعراب

what is my parsing place?

ضمير منفصل

a separate pronoun

ظل تابع

A following shadow

بنت فلان

someone’s daughter

و أخت علان

someone’s sister

و حسب البرنامج و الإعلان

& as per the set advertisement & menu

زوجة فلان و من ثم أم فلان

someone’s wife… then… someone’s mother

انا الذبيحة المعدّة للوليمة

I am the sacrifice for the feast

أنا العهدة للوالي و الخليفة

the owner’s stock and the Khalifa’s

أنا ورقة تعبأ فيها رغباتهم

I am the empty paper to fill with their needs

أنا المضاف إليه

the genitive

جسدي محتل

my body is occupied

عقلي مختل

my mind is deranged

قلبي مجتر

my heart is recycled

لأنني لم أكن

for I had never been

وئدت قبلا منذ قرون

for they burned me alive centuries ago

و ستوئد كل الأنا بعدي

and all that are born after me

و سأملأ من بطني السجون

from my belly, I’ll fill the prisons

نحيب يعوي

wailing howls

في أجواء لا تسمع

in a deaf space

في بلاد السقيع

in land of frost

حيث الأشياء الدافئة تضيع

where warm things get lost

و لاشيء يهم

لا تفاصيل

and nothing matters

no details

أرق .. الوطن بعيد

restlessness .. home is far

أسطورة كانت تروى منذ زمن

a myth told long ago

صدى في الأعماق

echoing deep inside

يطفو … يتردد

surfacing … repeating

عندما تكون وحدك

when you are alone

و تشهج بالبكاء لأنك

And you weep

انت وحدك .. وحيد

you are alone .. lonely

لأنك غريب

you are a stranger

لأنك لا أحد

a nobody

لن يبكي عليك أحد

no one cries for you

و لن يسأل عنك أحد

no one asks about you


you sloughed yourself

كي لا تتعذب

so you won’t suffer

و تعذبت لأنك لم تعد تشبه أحد

then you suffered for you no longer resembled anyone

و حدك تحاول أن

alone you try to choke the wolf that claws your heart

تخنق الذئب الذي ينهش قلبك

You imprison it in routine’s grave

تسجنه في قبر الروتين

believe whatever

اعتقد بما تريد

object to whatever

و اعترض عما لا تريد

maybe you will prove you have a voice

ربما تثبت أن لك صوت

go with the flow

سر مع التيار

or let the stream drown you

أو دع التيار يغرقك

what is the difference?

و ما الفرق؟

you are a stranger

أنت غريب

and alone

أنت وحيد

without no one

و بلا أحد’

يفقدني الصوت

voice loses me

و بحة الهمسات التي تقهر الموت

Hoarse whispers defying death

في جيبي المشقوق

in my torn pocket

فترا فيه تواريخ أسفاري

lies a notebook with my travel dates

لا زلت هنا .. وحدي

I am still here… alone

كما بالأمس القديم

As the old gone yesterday

عدا عنوان بيت جدي

except for my grandfather’s address

و ذاكرة رحم دافئ تقسو على أحلامي

and warm womb memory harsh on my dreams

عندما تصفعني ريح الشمال

when northern wind slaps me

يتيم ابن يتيم

orphan of an orphan

أرتل أنشودة الصبر

Singing a patient lullaby

و أدق مسامير الأبجدية في باب مخلوع

hammering nails of the alphabet on a broken door

علني بها أسد صرخات الجوع

Perhaps, I am able to quiet hunger’s cries

لأطفال لعبهم من حجارة

of children with toys of stone

علني أتعلم فن العمارة

Maybe I’m able to learn the art of the architect

وأبني لهم بيتا ليس من طين

to build them a house not made of mud

يسكنه فقط الموال الحزين

Inhabited by sad hums

I’m still standing here

With brown eyes and skin

Refusing to submit to the enemy within

Against a cracked wall

Every moment expecting to fall

Old stories that forsake my today

And a today that diminishes my tomorrow                                                        

I’m not filled with hate… only sorrow

The dreams the one true thing I own

Filled with air from betrayed lungs

As my sound muffled by louder violence

Still I’m standing here in the thin light

A balloon to lift me up

I speak to silence

Praying my soul to keep

Carving my existence

Of immortal creations

surviving annihilation

Desired by them black beady eyes

hungry for my black blood

vampire that owns the darkness

polluting mother earth with lies

Volcano of erupting emotion

Where do I begin, where should I end?

I seek solitude to hear my own little voice

I trace the silhouette of a lover

Lingering on some doorway for me to cross

These abrasions mapping my existence

Longing to practice the religion of silence

I long to believe that truth does exist

And cry God’s tears upon his faithless earth

a tourniquet to humanity

Choked up on thoughts

Tide of memories flowing

Clear of all pollution

Filling hollow eyes

The Holy

the date is 2014

but still we are in the dark ages

when you get murdered for nothing

in the name of blind vengeance

by god’s chosen ones

upon god’s discarded ones

in the age where

the politicians

the scientists

the awakened

condemn religion

and the religious condemn the governments

and the governments condemn the people going against it

dark ages

60 years of lost prayers

upon all Gods

upon all societies

hundred thousands of human sacrifices:

in diaspora




burnt alive

in any civil court, they condemn:

the hit & run

the rapist

the pedophelic

and in U.N court

they sign papers of independence

while in reality

there is no border of defense

against ”civilians” that drive as they please

running over people, children

kidnapping and killing & burning

it is not army to people with simple weaponry of self defense

stooping to a level we can not pass centuries to forget or forgive

one boy here…one girl there…one family…one olive tree

one number is too many equaling the horror of long milked dry holocaust

dark age of same repeated human biggest foolish sin & disease


Reme Zakzuk was born to a stateless 1948 Palestinian family that fled to Saudi Arabia—her father is an artist and her mother is a teacher. Reme lived a year in the USA during her studies and 7 years in the UAE, then in 2013 was granted permanent residency as a political asylum in Sweden. She is still awaiting a decision on citizenship. Her voice in poetry started in her teenage years as a coping tool and an act of rebellion against facing challenges as a refugee and a non conventional female in a radical religious patriarchal state.