Hazem Fahmy is a poet and critic from Cairo. He is currently pursuing a degree in Humanities and Film Studies from Wesleyan University. His poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming in Apogee, HEArt, Mizna, and The Offing. In his spare time, he writes about the Middle East and tries to come up with creative ways to mock Classicism. He makes videos occasionally.

Hazem Fahmy

Autopsy of an Arab

Cause of death: English, sometimes French, stuck between the ribs. Rotting history overwhelmed the body, a bloodstream fighting itself. Open rebellion. Hell hungry for skin. Skin open, like a prayer book by the wind. No one notices. It closes again, just as easily. Just like that, an Arab dies, and a human lives, breathing with punctured lungs, speaking with gurgling blood. I pull the sheets over the sight, too afraid of what comes next. Too afraid a corpse might still speak.

One of the most sinister ways through which neocolonialism manifests is the erosion of identity and heritage in the name of Euro-American 'globalism'. Growing up in Cairo, I always had the uncanny, and devastating feeling that somehow parts of my culture were dying around me, that English and the symbols it brought with it were killing much of what made us who we are. This feeling was, of course, only worsened by the fact that my own Arabic is far weaker than my English. This poem was first and foremost my attempt at reckoning with this uncomfortable paradox, but it is also the beginning of a sort of investigation into this feeling of cultural loss.

Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published monthly by Glass Poetry Press.
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