Monday, 13 January 2014


These guys hang out round the corner from me, along with the barbed wire, humvees and a couple of tanks. I'm getting used to looking down the barrel of a gun as I walk to the Metro, though most of the time I take the long way round to avoid it. Tomorrow there'll be 350,000 of these little cuties on duty for the voting on Egypt's draft  constitution - just in case there's a spot of bother from someone with an opinion. Hopefully, they'll be like the guys around the corner, making tea on the pavement, texting and chatting on their mobiles. But with Egypt's security chief  doing a post 9/11 George Bush v Al Qaeda, they might not have time for tea.   "I am telling them, (protesters) they will be faced with force, decisiveness and strength never seen before," interior minister Mohammed Ibrahim  said on state TV on Monday. "Everyone rest assured, we are watching your back." 

To show the military-backed government  means business, at least seven peaceful activists from the Strong Egypt party  are now facing  criminal charges, apparently for hanging posters calling for a “no” vote in tomorrow's  referendum.  Ironically, Article 65 of Egypt’s draft constitution states that “[a]ll individuals have the right to express their opinion through speech, writing, imagery, or any other means of expression and publication.” It's a bit like giving someone who's broke a £50 note and then telling them its counterfeit. 

Foriegners have either left Cairo or are barricading themselves in for the two day referendum with chocolate and movies. The city itself is quiet, although there are an awful lot of dogs barking. Shops closed early and the streets are emptier than usual. For some reason, I keep hearing this sentence in my head, much quoted by my mum, "If only I had learnt to say No, I wouldnt be in this mess."

Sunday, 12 January 2014


Suddenly,  her face in glass,
an old moon rising,
tide tired.

Her eyes, like a child that cannot find her. 

 More of my poetry can be read on,,

Sunday, 5 January 2014


All that is ugly shivers, unprepared for beauty.
Rubbish mounds,  frozen cats, broken chairs 
swell to soft round hips, building sites pose in lace,
pyramids shine, ghostly. Minarets plume the sky
The city is a stranger.
People  huddle around  televisions, 
watch snow  flakes herd across the screen.
People hang from windows, drink snow like milk.
It’s unbelievable, they say. A miracle.
They drive  to see the snow, parking where
the city expires in frosted breath,

stand on ledges of forgotten space,
pale mutations of themselves, still and silent,

marvelling  at cold ash drifting - a soft caul
of  something newborn, nameless, voiceless,
a forgotten god, 

until, the children run, galaxies riding their backs, 
shoes biting ice, waving  palms
wreathed in crystal, tasting sky - expecting sugar.
The curtain thickens, snowballs fly,

a  snowman stares, stone eyed
at footprints gouging, the caul splitting.
A terrible silence is born.

More of my poetry can be read on,,

Friday, 3 January 2014


Is it you I pass 
in  a cafe in  El Fouad street,
raising a  cup to your lips?
An act of practised charm

assuming beauty, posed 
at a chipped table,
a ghost wearing
whatever memory has 
dragged from its wardrobe.
We are too long apart now, 

for anything to matter,
yet, your eyes looked 

as they always did when 
my back was turned, spiteful -
talons settling on my shoulder.

More of my poetry can be read on,,