Ceasefire/Pianissimo – Michigan Quarterly Review


Accompanying the launch of Decades of Fire: New Writing from the Middle East and North Africa, a special Spring issue of MQR dedicated to the documentation of political, social, and cultural transformations of the past three decades, MQR Online is featuring additional non-fiction, poetry, and fiction not available in the print issue. We have gathered work here that, as Guest Editor Huda Fakhreddine writes in her introduction to the print issue, confronts the Middle East and North Africa as a bind, one that the writing presented here and in print might “begin to unravel in the mind, by some rearrangement, some association or unexpected juxtaposition, some turn of phrase, some wild metaphor.” 

We are pleased to publish Lawdenmarc Decamora’s poem, “Ceasefire/Pianissimo,” below.

1st: I was very proud I passed the test. The test was about how strong and firm 
        I was with my faith, political or racial or hologrammatic. 

2nd: The gift of democracy so essentially fluid, ergo, was time. I had to witness 
          time suture history—or the narrative of forgetting in peacetime. 

3rd: How were the militants calculating the algorithm of hurt when protesters
          themselves were the curators of Lego-like ideas and wild algebra? 

4th: Gaza was a place of blacker and blacker appeal to our strategic liberation. 
          She rebuilds herself amid rocket fires and air strikes: home. 
5th: She who stood astound by the palace walls read her // self, more than 
          bodies melting in the rain, freezing in the sun. 

6th: The heroine who did this should become the anti-auteur. The second 
          heroine in our mind would be the myth and metaphor of our freedom. 

7th: I didn’t believe I would allow myself to listen close to my mind—how  
         imagination gurgled so loud repeating revolution like a Bacharach  
         masterpiece on ‘ceasefire’ pianissimo.   

8th: From Ramat Gan to my now city tetris: I have finally recognized  
         that life was full of bricks 

9th: ... that if you try to fit in, you’ll disappear. 

10th: And the tenth was of course the trick. I wasn’t double-crossed by     
          anyone, by the crooked teeth of society. 

11th: For this, I thanked the Earth’s magnetic field—how it deconstructed 
          democracy in spheres of spectral marginalia.                
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