maged zaher



For the love of ideology


I dreamt of chairman Mao jumping between skyscrapers. NY cops were after him. He told me that he never agreed on the separation of the spice girls. I found myself screaming: "I LOVE CHAIRMAN MAO. I LOVE CHAIRMAN MAO." He taught me how to use chopsticks and stole me watermelons in his truck. He told me that I donít need flowers to fall in love. Chairman Mao never killed the people he disagreed with; they volunteered their death.




The city with round dining tables


I thought then that I need better nightmares. Nightmares that reflect my inner conflicts. Take for example, a nightmare about women in men's clothes ordering take out in a Chinese restaurant. Imagine the insights such a dream could tell me about myself.

I knew that I have (sic) to ask for forgiveness, but I was not sure from whom: As a start I excluded Michael-Angeloís saints. This fracture started from the heart and went all the way to the concrete wall. In the middle of the foggy streets I called for Rimbaud. I told him: exile is a sexual position. He disagreed: exile is a state of betrayal, and at night you donít have the right to look yourself in the mirror.




love letters from the middle class (i)


. . .
yeah, me too, i love you.   sorry for the dramatic title.   i am working 9-7    it’s a freak show out here: magic princesses in BMW’s will cut your throat for a dollar.   but it’s also so lovely to have free soda all day.

i miss you
love, sarah

yo sarah – have you found the never never home of your dreams yet?
i hate civilization sometimes,  say hi to your boyfriend – i miss him too

most love,

ramy, john says “Hi.” we went to a small nightmare yesterday & swam with the ducks.  it was okay.

i miss you too. by the way, how’s corporate america treating you?

have you received the Baudelaire’s book i sent?
send me a poem please

love, sarah

found a magic carpet yesterday & flew east but you were busy     so i spent the rest of the night In tuxedo pretending that money doesn’t matter, and bought you some west coast wine –

sorry about the poem    i am not writing much lately

damn it – why you always have to be so tragic? - got the pictures you sent. shave your beard.

love, sarah

sarah, back to square one    (i used to call it loneliness, now it feels great)  come over next time you’re in town. i gave up on casual sex, but a threesome isn’t such a bad idea. or is it?
love, ramy

ramy,  yes, it’s a bad idea, but an orgasm may help you get real.
i am thinking i will come with the butterflies and we can torture each other kindly

love, sarah
. . .



MAGED ZAHER was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt and came to the U.S. to pursue a graduate degree in Engineering.  His English poems have appeared in magazines such as Columbia Poetry Review, Exquisite Corpse, Tinfish, and others.  He has two chapbooks, speculations on a second weather, and the wholesale approach, and has taught poetry workshops in the Seattle area.  He is currently translating the book turned out into the cold by the Lebanese poet Abbas Beydoun into English.