By: Marilyn L. Davis
Communication Through Poetry
My introduction to Anwer Ghani was in 2017 when his first poems appeared on Two Drops of Ink. Scott Biddulph was Editor-in-Chief at that time and had also published a book of poetry. We’d sit in the coffee shop and discuss submissions, and I remember how excited he was at these poems from Anwer. He said, “You’ve got to read his poetry with a different eye. You talk about your poet envy, and this will help you understand that poetry is not what you think.”
Since writing, researching, and imaging were my domain then, I did. It appeared narrative on the surface, but underneath that broad definition of “story” was a sub-text that touched me – this was poetry that I could read, absorb, read again, and be moved each time – sometimes in conflicting directions from the first reading. His poetry had layers, depths, and nuances that made me think as well as feel.
Coming from a family of artists, I always envied their ability to take a tube of paint and turn it into a sky, flower, or person. I’ve said that I wanted to paint pictures with words as a writer, and when I first read Anwer’s poetry, I knew that he was a poet who painted pictures with words and communicated emotions that bridged the distances and our seeming differences.
This Isn’t Roses are Red, Scott
After reading those first poems, I asked Scott to explain why these poems were so different. Again, he said, “Do the research.” It was a standing joke between us that I was the Google Queen, finding, ferreting out obscure references to topics or spending hours looking for just the perfect image.
Some of that was legitimate. I wanted to know as much as possible about a topic before I wrote about it or make sure that the image represented the text without being blatant, but also because of my insecurities in writing.
Finding Anwer’s Antipoetric Poems helped me understand that poetry is one word for many concepts.
Roses are Also Simple Flowers – Never Mind the Color
Getting past my preconceived notions of poetry, I asked Anwer to explain his to me. He said, “Narrative expressionism is writing style where the literary piece is in a narrative – lyric system. The written text has appeared with the superficial narrative structure and deep poetic one. In narrative expressionism, the narrative text is composed of poetic elements, and there are no time, place, or characters, but there are poetic, lyric, imagery elements that are narrated. In this hybrid system, the glory of both; prose and poetry have been transformed completely, reaching the infinite target of prose poetry writing. The expressive narrative text appears in one block; no lines, no breaks, and no blanks.
The anti-narrative, narrative, and anti-poetic poetry co-exist in the narrative expressionistic system. Traditionally, the writing depends on the meanings to produce its effect and its emotional impact on the reader.”
Beyond an Explanation – Have an Experience
Sometimes, we just need to experience something, rather than understand the hows and whys. I still wasn’t sure I understood all the nuances and structure of Anwer’s poetry, but I knew I enjoyed it. Here are three of my favorites.
The Gypsy Girl
My mother is so expert in the seasonal souls, and she told me that the Autumn is a gypsy girl. I didn’t see Autumn, but I am sure that my mother saw her because she described her face precisely. She told me that Autumn is flying between the trees’ branches as a small bird and leaving her veil weaving airily in our souls. Sometimes I feel that Autumn is a fairy, and you may see her stormy tale swimming deeply in our dreams’ water.
A Gypsy Tent
I am not a hippie, but I seriously had thought to live in the forest without a cooker or air-conditioner, just wood for the fire. I will drink the river water with birds and eat the green leaves with deer. I will sleep under a tent without walls or doors. I will leave all your walls and all my closed doors for you. I will take a gypsy tent because I wish to dream at night widely and chant in the morning loudly.
A Gypsy Wagon
My grandfather had a beautiful horse with a heart filled with compassion. He might have possessed a wagon. I don’t know and didn’t ask about this, but I think if we had one, it would be closed as our souls. I am a farmer from the south, and you know there is nothing here but dry sunset, so I decided to bring a gypsy wagon into my home to teach my children waterish freedom.
Anwer Bridges the Differences and Finds the Similarities
Poetry knows no nationality, boundary, or belief. I’ve learned so much about the feelings and thoughts of a Muslim man from reading Anwer’s poetry. The similarities far outweigh the differences. Read these poems and see if you, too, do not cross the great divide that permeates so much of our world today.
For me, the images evoke the similarities of our thoughts and feelings, masked in different guises- Anwer from Iraq, me, from Georgia, where the birds also sing, the water ripples, and the flowers bloom. Again, if the poetry touches us, we can find common ground to build friendships and perhaps in a small way remove the barriers and not reject each other for the differences.
This is Anwer’s World – Welcome
To bring a stranger into your world takes courage. Yet, that is what Anwer does. He is vulnerable and, with open arms, he defines and explains his world, and encourages us to visit him.
I’m Muslim from Iraq, and like any human, I like the sun, and I have dreams, but I am not an American or British, so I have no friends from these lands. Yes, my father had a headband, and my grandfather had a woolen mantle, but this can’t make me a rejected creature. We know the gazes of the birds and the sounds of the water, and we know the tales of the moon and the lovers’ dreams, but this won’t help prevent the rejection. In fact, I am not an ugly creature, and my mother’s veil is to keep our beauty in a special manner and not to hide repulsiveness.
I’m Not a Terrorist
I am an Arabic man, and like you, I feel the preciosity of life and the depth of the smile. I have a family and children, and like you, I like the coffee and eat the eggs and cheese for breakfast. I am a farmer from the south, and I bring the orange in my pockets. I like poetry very much and write for peace and Beauty. I am a Muslim writer from Iraq, and I’m not a terrorist as you think.
The tree’s leaves are green, but we can’t hate the purple one, and we can’t assemble all the violence to fire the blue leaf. The colors of flowers tell us the story of difference’s beauty, the sounds of the birds teach us the wideness of our colored word, and the differences in our names point to the deep mosaic of our presence. I’m Abumohammed from Iraq, and you are Davidson from England, and all I can tell you is that colors are not barriers but flowers of beauty.
The War’s Garden
I am an Iraqi man; my life is postponed, and wars stole my face. My voice is vaporous as a shadow, and my dreams’ clothes are as short as my laugh. I am an Iraqi man; I know nothing about the beauty of Detian Falls. I don’t want a colorful hat or a golden watch. All that I want; the water of Euphrates lives a day without blood, and the shells leave the crushed ribs of Babylon. When you visit my garden, you won’t find but sadness and see nothing but the stolen faces.
Superficially, Anwer’s poems are not always about a war-torn county, a saddened man, the difference and similarities for us, but profound ideas of sadness and loss run through many of his poems.
A Mostly White Rabbit
I am a sad rabbit, but inside me, there is a big white flower. This black world has broken my legs, but I can’t hate it because my mother has planted a white flower in my heart. Yes, I am a white rabbit with a broken leg, and all these big flowers are just a short story of my hidden love. You can see it; you can smell its fragrance, and you also can see my broken leg.
A Smiling Rabbit
It is very strange that I can’t do anything but smile. You know, I am the smiling rabbit, and if you rummage my pocket, you won’t find just orange. Look at my hand; it is warm and may look at my face; it is a shadow. When the morning sees my eyes, it gets to shine smile, but when the evening touches my heart, it will see my hidden wound. Yes, it is me, the very smiling rabbit of the wasteland where everything is a shadow, even my smile.
A Flying Rabbit
We have a small garden, and a small rabbit always wears his wings, flying with delight; in the morning and in the evening, but these black voices had stolen his lovely wing, so I am now a flying rabbit without wings. You can’t imagine the deep sorrow of a flying rabbit without wings. Someday you will remember me, and you will know that your hidden hand has stolen my wing, and you will know the size of my lost love and my lost flying.
Anwer: A Monthly Contributor
Two years after his first submission, Anwer became a monthly contributor to Two Drops of Ink. As I said in that introduction to joining us, “He has consistently brought us poetry that makes us think, reflect, and remember. His mosaicked poetry evokes lands most of us will never see, but through his eyes and words, we have a sense of the richness of his world.”
Anwer’s Art Work
I don’t remember how or when I realized that Anwer was an artist, too. In January 2020, we used some his paintings to illustrate his poetry. Abstract: Digital Art has seventy-two photos of the digital artographic works by Anwer painted between 2017-2018.
A Farmer from the South
I am a farmer from the south and I bring nothing in my pocket but orange. Look at my face; it is brown and look at my hands; they are white. I am from here; from the south, where the river knows nothing but love and the sky tells its stories in a loud voice. Here is a farmer from the south, an oriental man with a dreamy spirit, and my ax smashed the bitter rock head and built the great Uruk. Yes, I am a dreamer from the south, a bird, and a poem. My heart holds only legendary love, and my mouth is always smiling as a colorful butterfly.
I am an old farmer, know the amazing colors of the flowers’ hearts where the dreams wear their shiny dresses and whispers make a sunny cake for morning birds. As the squirrel travels through green songs, all flavors take on their green veils, and every girl drenches her dreams when rivers wear their stories. On their hands, times are filled with windy passion, and plants smile in dry deserts. In their sleepy eyes, you can see the secrets of the river, and from their soft whispers, you may know the silent desires.
When this southern bird saw our dreams, he opened his book. He knows the hearts of our farms and his hands that used to come from the far valley color the face of the moon with laughter. O seer bird, this is my love, sitting behind my eyes. Can you see it? Can you hear its voice? Here is an exposed veil that covers a fiery and shy smile, carrying the pretended coldness on the warm wings.
Coffee, Tea, and Time to Read
To say I’m a fan is redundant. To understand why I’m so enamored by his words, I’d suggest a large cup of coffee or tea, turn off the phone, and take a moment to travel to different lands, images, and wonders through his poetry.
Bio: Anwer Ghani
Anwer Ghani is an award-winning Iraqi poet and Pushcart nominee. He was born in 1973 in Babylon and he is a religious scholar, consultant nephrologist and author of more than a hundred books; thirty of them are in English like; “A Farmers Chant”; Inner Child Press 2019, and “Warm Moments”, Just Fiction, 2020.
Anwer is the editor in chief of Arcs Prose Poetry magazine.
Submission Open at Two Drops of Ink
We are looking for poetry, prose, and problem-solving tips for the writer and blogger.
What You’ll Get with a Guest Submission
- A new audience
- Another published post for your writing portfolio.
- Links to your books, blogs, and other writing in the bio.
Marilyn L. Davis is the Editor-in-Chief at From Addict 2 Advocate and Two Drops of Ink. She is also the author of Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate and Memories into Memoir: The Mindsets and Mechanics Workbook, available on Amazon, at Barnes and Noble, Indie Books, and Books A Million.
For editing services, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org