The Dragon

Asian Geographic - - Front Page - By Ab­dul Wa­hab al-bay­ati (1926–1999)

A dic­ta­tor, hid­ing be­hind a ni­hilist’s mask, has killed and killed and killed, pil­laged and wasted, but is afraid, he claims, to kill a spar­row. His smil­ing pic­ture is ev­ery­where: in the cof­fee­house, in the brothel, in the night­club, and the mar­ket­place. Sa­tan used to be an orig­i­nal, now he is just the dic­ta­tor’s shadow. […] The dic­ta­tor hides his dis­graced face in the mud. Now he is hav­ing a taste of his own medicine, and the pil­lars of de­cep­tion have col­lapsed, his pic­ture is now un­der­foot, tram­pled by his­tory’s worn shoes. The de­posed dic­ta­tor is ex­e­cuted in ex­ile, an­other mon­ster is crowned in the hap­less home­land. The hour­glass restarts, count­ing the breaths of the new dic­ta­tor, lurk­ing ev­ery­where, in the cof­fee­house, the brothel, in the night­club, and the mar­ket­place. AB­DUL WA­HAB AL-BAY­ATI (De­cem­ber 19, 1926 – Au­gust 3, 1999) was an Iraqi mod­ernist poet who was known for his use of free verse, as op­posed to clas­si­cal Ara­bic forms. His views against the Iraqi gov­ern­ment forced him to spend most of his life in ex­ile, though his works – more than 20 vol­umes of po­etry – were never banned in his home coun­try.

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