War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

who are you

“sta maslak chishay da?(what are you)?” the ANA asked me. looked towards the translator, a weedy man with broken, rotting teeth. I carried no pistol, wore body armour. arrived in a tornado of Chinook dust with only a small pack. wore tan but no camo.

“poet” I replied. my little moleskine tucked between my frag vest, my chest. ready. my black pen wedged between pages. the courtyard of the schoolhouse quiet in the way of all mid-day courtyards where the sun dictates.

“sha’ir” the translator told the skinny ranks clustered in a crescent around me.

“sha’ir. sha’ir” the Afghan soldiers nodded. smiled. turned and left.

a table of engineers playing cards looked up. resumed play.

poet. of course. poet. why wouldn’t these Canadians have a poet drop in on them?

this work is so damned undone.

1 Comment (Closed)

Alex VanderWoude

Makes me wonder what they said later on, after they had left. Did they talk about that? Was it a not-unexpected thing to them? Or was it one of those crazy things foreigners did? It would be so interesting to talk to someone who was raised in both cultures, and was therefore fluent in both. But from what I have read, most translators have only limited knowledge of the other culture, maybe just enough to get by — or get into deep, deep trouble.

Mar 09 2011 · 20:05

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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled who are you. It was posted here on March 06, 2011.


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