Ali Znaidi


Ali Znaidi






The Museum of the Cotton Club


‘Spanish tinge’ for dessert because the clientele’s ears

must  listen to the rhythms of the tango-congo.—An expansion

within variants of the right seasoning


sub-Saharan African memories & the habanera rhythms

trigging the crowds to survey the terrains of their ontology

versus the existence of ………. ( silence) (pause)


such jolly designs of rhythmical footsteps & hand clapping—

syncopated waves lapping  their cotton-filled ears


more of guilt feeling or mirth amid the orchestrated



they misinterpret the sounds but prefer their version,

their vision




of cotton rhythmical ruminations


cotton contemplation   this whiteness  a syllabus of


a mid-summer night


mosquitoes licking the sweaty wounded ebony skins


fissures            spring dreams        evasion


in the plantation fields the moon loses  its glitter

to glittering bodies


beads of sweat   tiny moons  strumming  the slaves’ pain

w/ sharp silver scythes


sorrowful moans         &  this hidden harmonica elaborates

on a broken grammar                      tones of a shattered psyche

rhythms of freedom  still lingering




moon blues


pain, could as well be the moon

an algorithm unto itself, sad rhythm

the algorithm releases saddened moments

of injury

there’s so much the rhythm can exorcise

jolly beats amplified—an exercise into distorted semantics

the saxophone is full of the prints of your scarred fingers


the memory invents its own repertoire

{a silver sad moon repertoire}

followed by broken rhythms

algorithms absorbed until the moon begins to shed tears



torrential rain begins to drop in the form

of viral dejected tears

of a hurt moon




A Brief Historiography of Jazz


The situation composes a rhythm, replacing the imposed fait accompli.

Scathing pains are transformed into marvelous airs.

Rhythmical metamorphoses wipe the symbolic soots from the memory

of the slaves.

The beats are assigned to remove the painful glands.

When fire starts to burn, bodies become whipped under the name

of affluent economy.

In the forgotten territories, the moon springs forth neurotic light,

leaving the grass w/ out leaves.

Slaves’ pains are encrypted into dejection, but dejection is a fountain

of bluesy megrims.




The Songs of the Moon


All this music is not enough.

All this jazz is not enough.

Poetry is not just a musical instrument.

Poetry is a hand zipping silence closed,

& every word rises like an angel’s voice,

& every word rises like a demon’s voice.


This world is not created for silence.

This world moves on

according to a theory of sound & fury.

Listen to violins!

They are tearing up the curtains of silence.

Guess who’s coming to dinner?

Lilith with a lute.

Sappho with a lyre.

Plato with a drum.

Langston Hughes with a harmonica.

Guided by the songs of the moon

everyone comes with a musical instrument,

& melodies on the lips.

Everyone throws away a handful of ashes into

the eyes of silence to make it scream.

Everyone wants to hear more music.

Everyone wants to hear more sounds

even those screams of silence.




The Birth of a Song


moon fragments

partial eclipses fondling the psyche


strawberry-shaped lips thus


at the apex of these partially somber night’s

elongated rhythms

surviving beats: a song was born













Ali Znaidi (b.1977) lives in Redeyef, Tunisia. He is the author of several chapbooks, including Experimental Ruminations (Fowlpox Press, 2012), Moon’s Cloth Embroidered with Poems (Origami Poems Project, 2012), Bye, Donna Summer! (Fowlpox Press, 2014), and Taste of the Edge (Kind of a Hurricane Press, 2014). He also authored a book of fiction titled Green Cemetery (Moment Publications, 2014) which is in fact the first Tunisian flash fiction collection originally written & published in the English language. You can see more of his work on his blog at :

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