I knock my head against false ceilings


by Sheema Kalbasi

Yahia Lababidi and Sheema Kalbasi

I have not found the key to myself

the one that will get the high gates

to swing wide open and the lights

to come on all at once


I have not found an ethos,

one that does not seek to impose

and expect but is alert and able

to breathe in all at once


When not denied entrance entirely

I fumble in the dark and stumble

blindly, run into doors and walls,

groping and hoping


A place where everything

does not hoard a secret and hope

is not false reaching, grief neither

furtive nor triumphing


I knock my head against false ceilings

and trip on traps I forgot to dismantle,

then start at the sight of my reflection

bumping into my selves.


Yahia Lababidi is the author of Signposts to Elsewhere and the only contemporary Arab author in encyclopedia of World's Great Aphorists. In her testimonial Naomi Shihab Nye writes: “Signposts to Elsewhere is a succulent, stunning collection of images and thoughts more well-lit than the old swinging torches of the lamplighters. I find myself pausing everywhere among these wisdoms, wondering why the world stumbles and staggers through such a dark and greedy time when there are people alive with such keen, caring insight. If Yahia Lababidi were in charge of a country, I would want to live there.” Lababidi’s latest can be ordered here.

Sheema Kalbasi is the translator and editor of Seven Valleys of Love, a bilingual anthology of women poets from Middle-Age Persia to present day Iran. Visit howitgoesnaked.blogspot.com


more from Sheema Kalbasi

Beautiful piece.

by Anonymousk (not verified) on

Beautiful piece.


A witty child in the dreamland.

by Francesco Sinibaldi (not verified) on

There's a witty
child where
a beautiful dreamland
presents the profile
of a delicate hedge,
over a feeling, in
the care of a
blackbird; and there's
also that sunset,
the timid contour
of a glittering flame.

Francesco Sinibaldi

hadi khojinian

شیما ی عزیز

hadi khojinian

شیما ی عزیز همیشه کارهایت برای من تازه و دل انگیزه .آرزوی بهترین ها را برایت دارم