Derb Al Hammam

A dream of determination
And a desire to seek the unknown
Lead me to discover
Complexities I did not understand
That existed in this bustling city
Far from my own
Oozing with poverty, cats
And that strange old book

Lost in a labyrinth of twisting roads
Donkeys, carts of fish, motorbikes
Took priority on the streets.
The smell of mud and leather
Of sweat, olives, hard local bread.
My first day.
I existed only in the warmth
Of the Riad at night.

Evenings, they went to the square,
On the streets of this clay coloured city
The women and men
They came together in light coloured cloth
That protected and hid their bodies
Gathering in groups
Sipping scented mint tea
Singing songs of their history
Part of their passage of life

I yearned to join their celebrations
To speak in their tongue
To exist in this red city
Beneath the palms, dates
Those abstract squiggly lines
Only they could understand
Fear separated us like a large clay wall
As did my skin.

Then I met him.
He greeted me with dark, wide eyes
The same warmth from back home
"We say Salam Aleykombe.
Now its your turn"
A fortified wall crumbled
And he painted the city
With colours I knew

Scented dishes of Olive, lemon and chicken
Our souls were nourished.
We sang their prevailing tune
We walked the ever familiar streets
Friendships grew
The roots of the palm flourished
In red soil, as we crossed
The river of time

It flowed eagerly for months on end
Yet it forbade
My life here to continue
I kissed his dark cheek
In his tongue I told him
I would see him again
His reply:
Come back to your place soon.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

I wrote this poem after a trip to Morocco. I really felt a strong sense of belonging with the landscape and its beautiful people toward the end of my trip, and readjusting back to my old life in Australia was incredibly difficult.

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9inety's picture

This is a

great view of the worldly strata of memory
leaning into the unspoken where we pursue the trail of our
absence and not just the objects of past and future desires.

I hope to read many more of your adventures.

stay safe
be happy

"One of the best results of life, is the torment of love"

Dylan Eliot