Monday, March 31, 2014

The Town of Midelt ~ A Poet's View

The View from Fez has always avoided publishing poetry but we are happy to break that policy to bring you a fine piece of work by Christina Ammon. Christina recently organised a highly successful writers' retreat in Fez and Moulay Idriss. Following the retreat she and some friends headed towards the Sahara. On the way they stopped off in Midelt, a town that most people normally drive straight through. It was a productive stop

(For Anna and Sid)

They said there was nothing there;
A nowhere town.
Nothing to do.

But we went there anyway
and walked along the fossil bed
that formed the edge of town.

The highway-side glinted with broken glass
and trash was everywhere
Still everything looked so pretty
in that pre-Saharan light.

They said there was nothing there
but we set off anyways
in search of something sweet.
We found crepes du Maroc and
a street vendor willing to fill
our strange longings
with honey and with cheese.

They said there was nothing to do there
but we walked and we ate and played shadow puppets
in the orange alpenglow of a derelict building.
Sid clicked the camera
and Anna modeled beneath the graffiti bones
of a faded spray-paint skeleton.

They said there was nothing there
But we found orange carts and mosque songs and
old ladies who carried eggs.
There were sidewalks and tables and men who drank nus-nus under the dimming evening spectre
of the High Atlas Mountains.

A chill beset us as we walked away from Midelt.
They said there was nothing there
but Anna carried a bag full of dinner.
“Like Pirata,” said Sid and I speculated, too:
“Like tortillas and salsa, chapatti and chutney.”

It doesn’t matter said Anna
because fry bread is fry bread and
it is good, no matter the country.

They said there was nothing there
But we found poetry and a poolside and
while the Big Dipper doused with wine
we stripped off the façade of Kasbah-Asmaa in that

They said there was nothing there
But then plates arrived with crescent cookies and
sugared roses and
coconut macaroons.

The next morning we were met with coffee, croissants and
a traveler named Chris
and left Midelt asking
just what is the difference, then, between
someplace and noplace
and everyplace.

Pancakes for poets in Medelt ~ Anna Elkins (left) Christina Ammon (right)

Words by Christina Ammon
Photographs by Siddharth Gupta

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1 comment:

Juan M. de Paz said...

They said there was nothing there...

But we saw another perspective of the sky...
We saw another perspective of the stars...
We saw another perspective of the persons...
We met persons who will remain forever in our hearts.