The Cow

habitants of imilchil

One day, the elder, the town’s sheikh, announced:

“The day after tomorrow a high-ranking government delegation will be visiting our town in order to send word of our trials and tribulations to the decision-making centers. We will host a large reception in their honor, larger than any event this town has ever staged. For the occasion we will slaughter a cow ‘bright in color and pleasing to the eye’.”

In response to the sheikh’s notification, the town’s fool asked, “And where do we find such a cow, venerable sheikh?”

“What an excellent question! I see you are smarter than most wretched scoundrels from around this neck of the woods,” the sheikh remarked.

After a moment’s thought, he spotted the hoary old widow. She was toiling up the cliff path with the donkey her sterile late husband had bequeathed to her.

As if he were Archimedes and had just puzzled out a conundrum in the bathtub, the sheikh suddenly squawked, “Eureka! Eureka! Eureka!”

He then turned to the town’s fool and said, “Listen, this is what ...Read more

Taforalt: The Collective and Individual Memory

Taforalt, mountainous landscape in the North of Morocco

The cultural club’s party ended after the speech held in honor of the retired teachers of the city of Berkane. He had been awarded a certificate in recognition of all the work he had carried out during a lifelong career dedicated to education. To his dismay, they had misspelled his name and mistaken his faith. He got into the car and drove off to Taforalt, a place that he hadn’t been able to get out of his mind for quite some time, despite having had his life buzzing with activity lately. With every curve and slope of the road, he felt grateful for being able to snatch a few moments of rest while enjoying the glorious scenery provided by the Beni-Snassen Mountains. He parked the car just a few meters away from his grandfather’s grave and approached it with great respect and solemnity. He began delivering his sermon right away:

“Peace be upon you who now walk the earth of the ...Read more

The Archaeological Site of Volubilis

Volubilis Marruecos

We humans have always been into stories of journeys and adventures. After all, who doesn’t love to travel to the various cities our mighty world comprises and discover different civilizations and cultures?

The story I want to tell you is based on a half-mythical, half-historical city lying in Morocco, west of the city of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun. The city is called Volubilis. I went there a couple of years ago during a trip I made to explore several cities in the beautiful country that is Morocco. On the one hand, the city is famous for the region’s fertile lands and, on the other, for the magnificence of its old structures—old as in dating back to days of yore. The ruins prove that the city has been governed by different people throughout various periods of history: the Romans, the Berbers, the Byzantines . . . all of whom have left a touch of their distinctive cultures engraved on the rocks. In 1997, UNESCO declared Volubilis a World Heritage Site.

I have described the city as ...Read more

I Have No Intention of Returning, So Take Care

Street in Tanger, in the North of Morocco

Today, the cold is kicking in on Tangier’s streets, numbing my extremities. I sleep on a mattress on the street. I may even freeze to death in the next couple of hours. I suffer from insomnia, but it’s not the sort rich people experience after losing a lucrative contract or some cash, when they get dumped by their chicks and decide to hang themselves. Be that as it may, I don’t really give a damn for the wealthy right now. They can either follow the right path or end up in hell—it is up to them.

Yesterday, the cold murdered my friend and brother on Al-Arabi Street. We had been sharing the same cot made of newspapers and cardboard boxes, and were covering ourselves with a blanket gone to rack and ruin. By no means was it fit to protect anyone from the terrible cold that sweeps Tanger’s streets. At night both society and state leave us to pave the streets with our bodies. What a grand ...Read more

The Pillow

Rabat, the capital of Morocco

What does this mean on a deaf night? A short walk across an executed land under a vindictive sky made him want to propel the chest of drawers to its rightful place and lean back very badly. Afterwards, he was entrusted with the task of addressing anticipation, which is a path that is illuminated day and night in both the summer- and wintertime where one may meditate, feel, and polish up impressions any time.

Tell me, when people claw their way up, who gives a damn about anybody else? By the time he returned to his safe haven, twilight had set over all corners of the horizon. He pushed the rusty door aside while snarling the way animals do when cohabitating. He stepped inside the room, scuffing his feet as if someone were prodding him to move against his will. As he groped his way along the room toward his favorite spot, while trying to wipe the spider webs off his face, a stranger called to him hurriedly, “Switch ...Read more

Attraction

The fire had spared the conspicuous facial features, the rumors, and the fingerprints left on the white bread. The bicycles, as many as there were people living inside that gray house, had been left unscathed as well. The impression one got from scanning the area, from the color of the open doors to the farther corners lying behind the white scarf, was that of a thwarted welcome, barely muttered by the wind, which made the scarf sway like a handheld fan commanding the outsider to enter and descend to the most dismal place imaginable. It was a spot where the honor of sitting on the ground and reveling in a sumptuous feast ought to be bestowed upon the newcomer. The very first seed had been devised here, the source of all genius and battle.

He started repairing the pedal thread of his bicycle, which had lost some metal teeth due to a failure in the gears charged with stabilizing the chain rings. This time, the kick that usually removed the need ...Read more

Choose your own adventure

Crying over spilled milk is way more soothing than

a) purchasing a cow.

b) thinking about adding soy milk to one’s diet.