Jaylan Salah, Egyptian poet and aspiring novelist

From an email conversation with Jaylan Salah on life, inspiration, and writing:
…Being a woman who writes in Egypt isn’t a very easy task, usually you get laughed at or even considered impolite just because you are a woman & some will start calling you a freak but tell you what, this was exactly what made me more eager to write, to prove myself as an independent woman, even if others didn’t want to believe that or tried to put out the fire burning in my veins.
…Well to sum up all the beautiful commentary I have in mind about a beautiful country like Egypt in just a few words is like trying to describe every single wave of the sea separately. The whole image isn’t as bright as it may seem, you may imagine it as a clear sky darkened by grey clouds that grow thicker & thicker day by day. We have inspirational scenery, an amazing sea (that inspires me a lot) & a proud heritage, a rich history of different languages & civilizations – but at the same time we have religious extremists, anti-feminists & those who believe women were meant to be kept under lock & key.
…All this inspires me, along with daily life events that shock me entirely or dazzle me to the extent of running towards my desk, grabbing my pen & piece of paper & getting ready to write. I’ve been writing since I was 11 & although this may sound like an OLD age to some, I was just listening, reading, watching & learning right up to my 11th birthday when I decided to rebel & take matters into my own hands. I won’t just watch from a distance, I’ll be a part of that crazy, fast-paced world.
My mother & sister are my greatest supporters & they believe in me as much as I believe in myself; maybe a little bit more.
A sampling of Jaylan’s poetry, translated into English:
It was a cold November day
I prayed to reach the stakes, before midnight
The flight to the moon was full of gloom
The executioner said, I’d soon be dead
I’d kick the box by noon, he said, I would never forget
The road to death was full of screams, begging and pleas
I held on to the bars of rusting iron
I fought back all the scars of blazing pain
I sniffed all the tears of distant fears
I watched the stake, fire and wood
I watched the faces of the people
Hatred filled eyes, despising with fear and loathing
All they did was point a finger, scorn with a look
I took my last weeds of wisdom, shut my senses
No preferences, today was the day I’d slowly die
The fire burned so scarily high, Mary was there, her hair was rising up to hell
Sarah was hiding, her tears were washing all my pain
Elizabeth stood both strong and frail, she hoped her trial would just fail
I laughed my heart out at the stake, I was in a hurry to embrace it
Hands tied roughly behind my back, hair trimmed coarsely in a bun
faggots beneath my feet, soot and tar over my head
Eyes reaching the sky so high, ears deafened by church’s bells
I waited for the flames to flare, to burn my feet and burn my dare
But nothing came although the flames were piercing high
across the cloudy, foggy sky
they blew the fire and the wind, waiting for me to turn to dust
But I was higher than them all, saving my dignity and soul
I waited for the time to die, afraid to hurt my precious pride
The executioner’s vicious laugh was turned to gasps and doubtful glare
Maybe she isn’t guilty, someone shouted
But she must die, and die i should
Before I go and leave behind
nothing but ashes, dirt and slime
I had to say that I would pray, to see the day where they became
lesser than me and more than this
Their wings would succumb to distress
Their eyes would certainly behold
The death of an innocent lady, a woman with a heart of cold
A woman so pretty and bold, whose crime is turning dust to gold
They lit the fire and withdrew, that time, it hurt to watch it glow
My skin began to melt, my hair began to fume
But I would never beg, would sure not bend
The terror soon swept away, leaving a flower to decay
I wasn’t there when ashes sprang, from bodily hope and dreams and trance
I was above the cowards and whore
Flying across the distant stars, singing along the vale profound
smoke dancing with every single sound I made
I wasn’t dead, you pathetic twits
I was a symbol of resistance, a gale and holy princess
smoke that arose from me was twisted sending letters to the saints and children
Behold the witch in Salem lot
She was the bravest on the spot
Fields of Innocence
I wish I could go back
to the long lost track
where you and I have been together
Always and forever
Go back to the lonely sand castle
to the twizzler and the whistle, the dreams we shared in bed
If only I could turn back time, I would go back
To the old oak tree, the spring and endless sea
to the deep dark woods, the goth tower roofs
The turmoil and the hoofs of a horse miles away
I wish I could retain, the kiss in the rain
The touch in the mist, the hug and the tricks we played on time
If only I could turn back time, wipe away the dirt, the mud
The fog and the dust, that came along as years passed by
If only I could break the unforgiving stake where we abandoned us
where our dreams and fears, our rain and tears were burned away
our hugs were pulled apart, our arms detached, souls distracted
love brutally crushed, under feet of people running in a stampede
The things we shared are lost, the frost destroyed the love we shared
I wish I could relive those days when we would walk for miles along the coast
when we would make a toast for ourselves
when we would cry if our eyes failed to see each others
where sand slipped through our feet, our skin tanned by the heat
that came from the evening sun
If only I could go back to being small and naive, covered in sheets
Knowing the world was only white and black; no shades of gray
I wish I may, turn my back on today
Relive the day when we were one and stayed together
Forever I will keep you in my heart…
Close your eyes…

Whisper my name

Take my hands, teach me how to fly; otherwise

I’d sell my soul to the devil, I’d offer my body to the cannibals; I’d sacrifice…

I’d teach you, to listen to the sound of the waves, to watch the birds swaying in the dark blue sky; otherwise

You’d teach me how to live, how to change the truth & the lies…

It’s cold, chilling to the bone, on this lonely afternoon…

So teach me how to break free from the burden of the deep blue eyes & silver skies, in your gaze

Otherwise, I’d teach you how to march with petals, for you I’ll memorize,
my faults, my dreams & cries…

Save me, I can’t tell the wrong from the right, the day from the night

I can’t find the answers, I can’t compromise; otherwise

I’d burn the weeds of wisdom, I’d carry the world on my shoulders, I’d walk alone, head up & die…

So Close your eyes…

Whisper my name

Take my hand, I’ll teach you where to land

When to fly…

Word from a Teenage Rebel
Though I’m a lonely falcon flying far and free,

No one has ever dared to try and glide with me.

My engine never weakens moving so fast and wild,

A firm belief in me, that I was not a child.

Too bold to take all risks, I always shed my tears,

Roughed up by beasts and ghouls this made me kill my fears.

I dreamt of a vacant world a place for heavenly cries,

No borders to prevent my reach for the Seven Skies.

Crashes of waves do thrill me; thunder knew me by name,

Without hunters that trail me, world stays so dull and lame.

I love my rare adventures, the territories I gained,

Never joining the crowd nothing left me restrained.

Missing a lover makes me enjoy the lingering pain,

I yell and call for someone; my cries are still in vain.

Shall I bear this flight one eighty towards hell,

The brakes are missing or am I blind; I dare if you can tell.

Whom shall I ask for help, who will receive my letter?

I cannot leave the sky coz Earth is nothing better.

Needn’t I keep in me this charming rebel free?

To know I’ll always lead the stormy cruel sea…

I can be; no body else but me…

Jaylan’s work can be found online at http://community.livejournal.com/jaypoetryoasis/ and she welcomes comments and correspondence with other writers around the world. Her email is joly16_blackpearl@hotmail.com