Memories of Souq al-Hamidiyah

By Oisín Breen

This city is an edifice, and its children blush.
Yet its streets belong to everyone,
And I, the people, sing.

I sing for the millennia,
In which we have constructed edifices,
With a loose knit pageantry of space and difference,

And I sing for the dream of us,
Dipping our beaks in home-spun interlinears,
Walking and falling together like drunken lovers on old Damascus’ streets,

And, propped against a stairwell in Bab Sharqi, the Muezzin’s call stirs
Us from our reverie, and the houses, too, they shake and stir, even mine
As the boiler turns its old sickbegotten gut.

And I remember tamarinds, and young boys playing truant,
Lugging shoulder slung contraptions, ornate and gaudy,
Hawking tea, coffee and juice:

Five Syrian pounds,
Only at the Souq al-Hamidiyah.

Poet: Oisín Breen
Twitter: @Breen
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Artist: Maher Salma
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