Mohammed Dib

Mohammed Dib Poems

The character, there on a Hollywood
plateau OK he looks a lot like me.
OK, he expresses his momentary joy:
he hasn't had to rehearse his role.

Freeway freeway freeway.
Blocks of houses, buildings turn
all eyes. There had been a massacre.

Close your doors
women, bitter sleep
will fill your nerves,
water and sand wore

But I'll barely sing
so that your pain not
impinge on your sleep;

Do not ask
if the wind trailing
along the peaks
fans a hearth;

Brush between your teeth, naked
you'll come out, and begin laughing
about toothpaste. Much commotion.


Cooking pot consecrated to the stars
the glasses which we raise then,
we empty. And neither the first no.

Sleeping hurts
even less.
And for a hundred years
he has shut his eyes.

Did you have to leave?
The children play outside.
They don't stop yelling.

Playing the hand without you,
existing without you: not them.
The luck of having you.

opening her own way
and always alone always
calm under a pall

go on into the flames
with a clamor of insects
an indiscernible dust
a shape through blazing

in the blanched morning she's
nearly as tall as a flame
it's the water entering for no other purpose

Looking out on the Pacific
from a rocky basin.
Oh sad, so very sad.

With the angel. Alone
pounding the night.

Mohammed Dib Biography

Mohammed Dib (Arabic: محمد ديب‎; 1920–2003) was an Algerian author. He wrote over 30 novels, as well as numerous short stories, poems, and children's literature in the French language. He is probably Algeria's most prolific and well-known writer. His work covers the breadth of 20th century Algerian history, focusing on Algeria's fight for independence. Dib was born in Tlemcen in western Algeria, near the border with Morocco, into a middle-class family which had descended into poverty. After losing his father at a young age, Dib started writing poetry at 15. At the age of 18, he started working as a teacher in nearby Oujda in Morocco. In his twenties and thirties he worked in various capacities as a weaver, teacher, accountant, interpreter (for the French and British military), and journalist (for newspapers including Alger Républicain and Liberté, an organ of the Algerian Communist Party). During this period he also studied Literature at the University of Algiers. In 1952, two years before the Algerian revolution, he married a French woman, joined the Algerian Communist Party and visited France. In the same year he published his first novel La Grande Maison (The Great House). Dib was a member of the Generation of '52 — a group of Algerian writers which included Albert Camus and Mouloud Feraoun. In 1959, he was expelled from Algeria by the French authorities for his support for Algerian independence, and also because of the success of his novels (which depicted the reality of life in colonial Algeria for most Algerians). Instead of moving to Cairo as many Algerian nationalists had, he decided to live in France, where he was allowed to stay after various writers (including Camus) lobbied the French government. From 1967 he lived mainly in La Celle-Saint-Cloud near Paris. From 1976-1977 Dib was teacher at the University of California at Los Angeles. He also was a professor at the Sorbonne in Paris. In his later years he often travelled to Finland, which was a setting for some of his later novels. He died at La Celle-Saint-Cloud on May 2, 2003. In a tribute, the then French Culture Minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon said that Dib was "a spiritual bridge between Algeria and France, between the north and the Mediterranean.")

The Best Poem Of Mohammed Dib


The character, there on a Hollywood
plateau OK he looks a lot like me.
OK, he expresses his momentary joy:
he hasn't had to rehearse his role.

He has his real face for a mask.
No stage-fright. No trouble. Still,
says he, I enjoy myself like a jack.
I play the part, bet ten to one.

A black boy ten to twelve years old.
And I terrify people in silence
without the smallest knife in my hand.
Women see themselves already ravished.

I've taken on his features to survive.
And from me to the kid, spotlights
have furnished only wastelands.

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