There is no poetry in revolution
It cowers between the hungry legs of motherless slogans
This gritted libido, sacrificed, hung
Off bloated landscape, limping minarets
And I am
Whisper screams in
Contemplate litter seduction of broken Jesus Sheikhs
Those locked-door beards, made to be
Closed, tickle, to be
Opened to be closed to be
Resigned to castrated light-bulbs
Sunlight, people, Sunlight!!
Can you hear it through the Azan?
The fuck’ll never die if you do
Pray sanctimonious West-facing balconies into the
Arms of Russia and Franco-Arabic abstinence
It’s more confrontational that way
To starve integrity till it beckons the stars or statistics to at least start counting
The price of vegetable humanity
Americans do, after all, call a dark-tint to a spread cunt and stale
It cannot be built, dammit
We have built, sweat and stone, we have
Lies, vacant summers too
Democracy cannot be built, dammit
And I’m certain they never did believe in it
From the way they dismiss our
flesh veiled the
The penis curfew Liberation
Starving to Bukowski (death)
And Lincoln quoted with Stella lips;
“We need a Women’s revolution of women by women of women;
it’s the one thing we haven’t tried yet”
To which everyone nodded while sinking into reticence
flesh veiled the
It beats the stare-down
Those that bred and fed and raised and wept with drainpipe expectations as we sang our songs of innocent and Marx
Souls in our hands
Daggers perched ready to leap from our
Foetal-position contemplations of
Sexuality and Truth
flesh veiled the
we will go home to our sensibilities
Or will we forge the constitution
With our dreams and our hips,
as carnivores do their meat?
Beneath the grand Pohutakawa
My friends and I sit in our underwear
Discoloured by circles of cracked lips, dry with
Communist sadness, a laboured Academia
Of slurred theory
The rich get richer, the P…
The rich get richer, the P…
The rich get richer, the P…
“It will ruin you, hypocrisy is
To love the working class
But want nothing to do with them or that
Wanking on soiled copies of Das Kapital
Who are we kidding!
No one gives a liberal shit
Can’t you hear the corporate concrete screaming –
Happiness is anorexic!
The woman at the bus-stop
Giving head to a plastic bag of magic
Or maybe it just was the speed laughing…..
You warned it’d be a long night
But don’t you see?
I spend sleep on white dust sex
Carving trenches of poetry
I search for purity in vein
I just want to bleed out the pollution
I’d even settle for meeting my reflection once again
‘Cause I can’t feel no stars in my bones
I can’t even hear my clitoris thinking
And I know I should be stopping
But only once
I am permanent
After telling my mother once as a kid that showering from a bucket at my great grandmother’s home in Shoubra was ‘falahi’, she grounded me with the most important lesson of all: ‘Money is no measure of character or wealth. Dignity can only be attained through hard-work.’ I remember, mum. That’s how I will always measure success.
“Fashakht, like too spread, but we use it to say I’ll screw you over (and over again)”
Avoiding the cul de sac of repression (sunlight),
We stumbled into it together –
The politics of gritted libido
Over and over and over and over
/rhythmic repenting, amidst the moaning call to prayer
An exchange took place:
Shadows sheltered silhouettes of trembling mosquito bites (synonymous to orgasms)
Out of fear, maybe
An incoherent malaise fishes for a
Marble vault, maybe
Or something tangible
Throwing its head back every now and then
in fits of utter ecstatic lunacy to
Cough out rose-buds
Sometimes just before the officer asks for his karneh
And a pat down, in (un-)celibate Cairo
Who are you fucking for?
If society is watching
If your neighbours, sister, mother, fish bowl are
Go back to sweating bodily sin
I can’t give you satisfaction
Not that kind, the puritanical pacifying kind
Out of some sort of passionate dislike for an upbringing you can’t fuck past
I can’t give you forgiveness
Not the kind that suffocates the romance out of an intimate darkness
I can’t give you the cheat
Not the kind that’d have my eyes kissing the ground
Out of shame
Who are you fucking for?
“The ontological presupposition that reality ‘is’ and whatever is determined to be un-reality operating outside parameters of knowable materiality ‘is not’”
Let’s have a fucking revolution of a revolution of fucking
Celebrate the impossibility of un-celibacy teething marriageless unions our gonads our Tahrir seeds our intifada our light bulbs and public space and foreskins our uprooted visions our leaders who will never lead our dreams our sewage Nile our stolen histories and wars/lessons lost our Sinai our comrades our forsaken future our revolution ongoing our responsibility our burden our collectivity is not celibate
And therefore is, but is not, and is
Is and is and is and is
special thanks to Nour Salman, Peirce Nice and Nat Jacques.
It is imperative safe services are available and accessible. Why? Because once a woman has made the decision to abort an unwanted pregnancy, she will seek alternatives, safe or not, irrespective of the legal, economic, social and religious road blocks she will face in doing so. However, till the Egyptian government paves the way for progressive pro-choice laws in the public sphere, it is important women are made aware of private alternatives.
First Step: Confirm the Pregnancy
The first thing you should do is purchase a pregnancy test, which can be brought at any pharmacy. If unmarried, you might want to wear a fake wedding ring to avoid awkward questions. A pregnancy test costs around 20 EGP.
Once you have confirmed the pregnancy, you need to ask yourself: do you want this pregnancy? If you cannot discuss the abortion or alternatives with a physician, try talking with a good friend or a relative, but make sure you can trust them. It is important you make the right decision for YOU
Ok, so you’ve decide you want to abort. Here are your options:
1. Gynecologists can perform dilatation and suction curettage to end a pregnancy. This essentially involves dilating the cervix and using a suction pump to carefully remove the contents of the uterus (fetus, placenta, and lining of the uterus). Many private clinics in Egypt do provide this service, under the table. However, it is not unknown for gynecologists to take advantage of the woman’s situation and charge excessive prices. Also if you choose to pursue the solution, make sure the gynecologist you entrust your body with is qualified and trusted.
2. Medical abortions are carried out using certain drugs to end a pregnancy. Medical abortions can be carried safely at home up to 63 days after the beginning of the last period. The drugs used are: Mifepristone and Misoprostol, which are locally known as Misotac and Cytotec.
- Pharmacy purchase
While these drugs are readily available in pharmacies, pharmacists have begun to police their distribution, often telling women they are “not available”. This is because pharmacists have become aware these drugs, which are also used to treat gastric ulcers, are being used to perform medical abortion.
However, it is worth trying to ring a few pharmacies, describe gastric ulcer symptoms (such as those below) and then request Cytotec.
- Dull aching pain, often right after eating
- Indigestion and heartburn, or acid reflux
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- May occur 2 to 3 hours after a meal
- Vomiting, especially vomiting blood
- Online purchase
The other option, which I can personally attest to, is purchasing an abortion kit from an organisation called Women On Web. They are an international collective that answers thousands of help-emails every day in many languages from women around the world.
There is no help-desk phone number, but they very diligently respond to every email and will support you throughout the process. You may address them in Arabic. Their email is email@example.com
- The cost is 90 Euros donation, which is around 850 EGP
- Abortion kits include 1x 200mg Mifepristone tablet and 8x 200mcg Misoprostol tablets.
- You will need only 1 tablet of Mifepristone and 6 tablets of Misoprostol. In the package, there are 8 misoprostol, meaning there are 2 extra Misoprostol pills. You do NOT need to use them, but do not throw them away. In some cases they can be useful for post-abortion care.
Initially, you must answer a series of questions regarding the details of the pregnancy and your own health, which are then referred to an entrusted qualified physician to decide your eligibility. Eligibility depends on whether you are less than 9 weeks pregnant and have no severe illnesses. This is for your own safety, so please answer the questions truthfully.
To begin the consultation, click here: https://www.womenonweb.org/en/i-need-an-abortion
They will then email you the approval and all the information you need to carry out the abortion safely.
Receiving the Abortion Kit
The kit is sent to you using DHL within 24-48 hours of receiving the donation payment.
If you do not want the package to be sent to your home address, it is possible topick the package up from any of the DHL locations. This can be organised with Women on Web via email before they send the package OR with the local DHL business here.
I would personally advise you organize to send it a DHL location before Women on Web send the package, as they can tend to get confused by Arabic addresses. Here is a link to the various DHL locations you can choose from:
Once the package arrives in Egypt, you will be contacted by custom officials for proof of ID, which can be sent by email to them. Also because of custom regulations, you will most likely be charged around 100 EGP for taxes on top of this.
Before going ahead with the abortion, it is important to be prepared. Here is a list of things you will need:
- Pack of 20+ heavy lined pads. No tampons.
- Pair of shorts over the top of your underwear to prevent leakage
- Strong pain medication to prevent fever or excessive pain. I would advise that you take an injection immediately after you take Misoprostol, as the pain can be excruciating in some cases.
- Anti-emetic medication to avoid nausea and vomiting. Again, it would be best to take this immediately after taking Misoprostol, as vomiting can hit fast.
- Antibiotics; these need to be taken from the very beginning to prevent infection.
- Wheat bag or hot water bottle for comfort.
- Ensure you have someone you trust with you throughout the process. If there is excessive bleeding or a high fever that lasts longer than a day, you urgently need to see a doctor.
Carrying out the Abortion
Women on Web will provide you with the instructions to follow to carry out the abortion. However, here is a copy-paste of this email:
- First you should swallow one tablet of Mifepristone. This medicine blocks the effects of progesterone, the hormone that is necessary to maintain the pregnancy.
- 24 hours later, put 4 tablets of Misoprostol under your tongue and keep the tablets there for at least 30 minutes, until the tablets are dissolved. You can swallow your saliva. After 30 minutes you can swallow any remains of the tablets.
- 4 hours after using the first dose of Misoprostol, put 2 more tablets of Misoprostol under your tongue. Again keep them under your tongue for 30 minutes, until the tablets are dissolved. After 30 minutes, you can swallow any remains of the tablets. These last two pills are very important to ensure that the abortion is complete, even if you are already bleeding after the first dose.
You should NOT use the last 2 pills of misoprostol, but please keep them for possible future use. They can be useful in treating post-abortion complaints or complications (though this is very rare). In such cases, always contact the helpdesk for further guidance firstname.lastname@example.org)
Normal Side Effects
- Painful cramps
- Vaginal blood loss that is more than a normal menstruation. Blood loss is often heavy with clots
- Nausea and vomiting
Bleeding will last about two weeks, but it is possible that you might bleed for a shorter or longer period of time. The normal menstrual period usually returns after four to six weeks
Check the Abortion is Complete
"Bleeding and pain do not always mean that the abortion took place or that the abortion is complete. The only way to be completely sure that you are no longer pregnant is to have an ultrasound 10 days after using the medicine, or wait 3 weeks to take a urine pregnancy test.
It is normal for the uterus to slowly empty for 1-3 weeks after taking the medicines; so you may have light bleeding for 1-3 weeks. You do NOT need any surgical intervention (like curettage) if there are no signs of a problem, such as heavy bleeding, pain, fever or abnormal vaginal discharge.
A pregnancy test can be done 3 weeks after the medical abortion. Sometimes the pregnancy test is still positive 3 weeks after taking the medicines because the pregnancy hormones are still in the blood. If that is a case, you can repeat the pregnancy test in a few days or have an ultrasound.”
- Heavy bleeding
Symptoms: Bleeding that lasts for more than 2 hours and soaks more than 2 maxi sanitary pads per hour. Feeling dizzy or light-headed can be a sign of too much blood loss. This is dangerous to your health and must be treated by a doctor.
Treatment: A surgical abortion (also called vacuum curettage). Very rarely a blood transfusion is needed (less than 0.2% of women)
- Incomplete abortion (only 2% of women)
Symptoms: Heavy or persistent bleeding and/or persistent severe pain.
Treatment: A surgical abortion (vacuum curettage). This can also sometimes be treated with additional doses of Misoprostol.
- Infection (only 0.08% of women)
Symptoms: If you have a fever (more than 38 degrees Celsius) for more than 24 hours or if you have a fever of more than 39 degrees at any time, there might be an infection that needs treatment.
Treatment: Antibiotics and or surgical abortion (vacuum curettage).
- Ongoing pregnancy (1%)
Symptoms: a positive pregnancy test after 3 weeks or an intact pregnancy visible with ultrasound after 10 days. If the abortion failed and you continue the pregnancy, there is a slight increase in the risk of birth defects such as deformities of the hands or feet and problems with the nerves of the fetus.
Treatment: repeat medical or surgical abortion. If you have a continuing pregnancy, please also contact email@example.com as soon as possible.
If you have any questions at all, feel free to message me on here. Im happy to help as much as I can.
Good luck and choice to all women!
Look with me at the street,
let’s try - together - to understand
who’s killed on the ground,
and who’s walking;
who’s weeping in the pulse’s poem,
and who’s weeping in a poem he never wrote.
Dust and smoke.
You want to hold my hand and show me the blood?
Of course I’ll cry again,
and you’ll cry too.
You think I’m only tears in songs?
I’m days that were lived
and feelings frayed
and feelings still being felt.
Don’t say we’re friends .. but each on his own path
.. as soon as dawn can catch its breath
the sun will come
and we’ll appear:
Look with me at the street:
the street is people,
and any two who look at each other - the air between them’s a mirror -
Any two, Amin?
Any two. They don’t even have to like each other.
Any two. Even if one is absent.
Look with me at the street. Call out:
you’ll find the angry and the content.
Look at the street and speak:
describe the present
and the past.
Describe its dust.
Describe the house with the descending stairs and the knocker on the door.
The boy waiting for his friends.
Describe it from the beginning
and speak of how he changed
into a man holding on to his son in Rameses street two bullets in his side.
Describe his agony
let me feel the agony
let me scream
and remember the bread and salt we shared.
The blood on our school uniforms
came from a normal future
never on our minds.
The door that won’t stop knocking.
Describe the details exactly
describe my fate.
Forensics prove he was martyred with military bullets.
And his son martyred with him.
I ask you .. is this a life?
Is this a death?
What am I supposed to do?
Shut up or sing?
Or speak and not be understood?
Or stare stupidly at the street?
Or will the spirits call me
and I vanish with them?
Or shall I go on walking
till I meet my friend, killed on the ground,
and chat with him?
I swear I don’t know what to do
or what to say to you.
But, look with me at the street,
let’s try to work it out together.
Translated by Ahdaf Souief
Inspiration overload. All images courtesy of Helsinki-based blog Hel Looks .