At the border of spring

By Flint Michigan, 6 March 2013
Image: Abdellatif Laäbi, 2009

Flint Michigan responds to Abdellatif Laäbi's recently translated 1976 poetry collection, The Rule of Barbarism


Sometimes poetry can reach beyond the ideogrammes that come to fill our genes

the bacterium of a consciousness so self-conscious it cannot deplete itself

to face the widening open of the wider-than-I                            the need other

than my-own in the moment


Moan Manacle

Instinct Shackle


But this book makes me quiver

& belong to its ‘I’

as a shared electrode

This labial ‘I’

so full of a twining gift

that I despair in whispers

that it may well only be


that allows exist this Universalising-I

this communalty of the me-message


that enacts

without the room to act

That resurges itself

cell by cell

Smears itself

with the bruise blood of others

Imbibes solidarity

so as to seep into genes

without wording at the

spectacle of the man in the moon


Solo-eye of Moon

Woe of personalised pulp

Ideo-ipse delusion


So, the words enact

a formed-howl

after exact pain

& lay into

paranoiac extractors

The infibulators of

an already extinct knowledge


The resultant poems

are tight cooled murders

A know without no

An ‘I’ without ‘self’

A populous psyche traction

readied to be sprung ...




Abdellatif Laäbi, The Rule of Barbarism, Island Position, 2012.

Translated by André Naffis-Sahely


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