Traces

Yasser Niksada

Panshir, Afghanistan, raised in Iran


Be next to me and see,
What has happened to me.
It is over, the trace still in my heart.
No room for me to sleep on this bus.
Withered feet, the dream sunk into the eye.
The police said stop.
Go back, go back.
All then in the train car, just me alone on the tracks.
The rubber boat sank and my heart, hot for Europe, turned cold.
The world slept, only we were awake,
Hungry, thirsty, tired.
We left; it will be more difficult to return.
All this tearing oneself up, for a little bit of rest.
Not my rest.
The rest of my family.

 

Translation from German: Maxmarie Wilmoth
Foto © Rottkay

Yasser Niksada (14)

Yasser Niksada comes from the Panshir valley in Afghanistan. Ten years ago, the Niksadas fled to Teheran, where the family live as refugees. But that's no life, says Yasser. That's why the family sent him on a journey to Europe. In Germany, Yasser misses his family. Photo © Rottkay

Without You

Shahzamir Hataki

Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan


Living my life here without you,
Is difficult, father.
I am thirsty for your tears.
And to cry here among these people is difficult, father.
When you stride there and walk over thorns, father,
I feel the pain of your feet.
I wish to throw myself into your arms.
To kiss you from this distance is difficult, father.
I would tear my lips off to do it,
But to mourn without lips is difficult, father.

You are the most beautiful flower in a field of flowers.
You are the color of the sun, which bows at night.
You shine like the stars, my father,
And you are light as the moon.

 

Translation from German: Maxmarie Wilmoth
Foto © Rottkay

Shahzamir Hataki (16)

Shahzamir Hataki from Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, is his parents’ only son. They wanted to secure his survival and his future and therefore sent him away. On the passage to Greece, the boat sank and Shahzamir barely escaped death. Photo © Rottkay

Women

Samiullah Rasouli

Ghazni, Afghanistan


When I say women, I mean real women,
Those with eyebrows, real noses, and shoulders.
Who belong only to themselves from the beginning,
Who are not selfish and proud of their gifts,
Who love themselves in their simplicity,
And just want to be themselves
And not resemble another.
Those women I mean, when I say women.

The light in her gaze is like the scent of Kobeko*
Her tender hand is incomparably precious.
Her wisdom shines forth from beneath her make-up.
She walks with beauty in public.
The watering mouths of the gawkers do not bother her.
The self-confident, strong woman pursues her gifts and talents.

Some women stay at home, they dissolve
And become water.
And the ones who go out become bread and food.
And when I say women, I mean these women.

*Perfume named “Mountain to Mountain”
 
Translation from German: Maxmarie Wilmoth
The Poetry Project | Foto © Rottkay

Samiullah Rasouli (17)

Samiullah Rasouli grew up in Ghazni, Afghanistan. The region is highly contested today. His father died four years ago. Samiullah was on the run for four weeks. Now he has begun training as a trade merchant. His poems are about love and longing for his father. Photo © Rottkay

Only You

Mahdi Hashemi

Ghazni, Afghanistan, raised in Iran


We now see times,
In which you are there,
And just you.

You love and you are not loved.
You feel intimacy and nobody is there,
To lean on.

You have everything. and yet you have nothing.
The wound hidden,
Behind the veil of tears,
The secret remains unread.


Translation from German: Maxmarie Wilmoth
The Poetry Project | Foto © Rottkay

Mahdi Hashemi (16)

When he was an infant, his family fled from Afghanistan to Iran. There, he grew up as a refugee, close to the capital Tehran. Mahdi Hashemi writes about why Afghan refugees in Iran even apologise for breathing the air there. Photo © Rottkay

Mother

Kahel Kaschmiri

Ghazni, Afghanistan


If only you were here,
I would kiss your feet
I would bow before you
And kiss your face.

And everywhere you went and lingered,
I want to go and cry.


Translation from German: Maxmarie Wilmoth
Foro © Rottkay

Kahel Kaschmiri (15)

Kahel lived in Ghazni, Afghanistan. A Taliban commander was after him. Kahel fled his country, via Iran, in the trunk of a smuggler’s car. In Germany, he is confused by the lives of Europeans. Photo © Rottkay

Hopeless

Ghani Ataei

Herat, Afghanistan


They killed in the village before my eyes.
Four days I could not speak.
Four days I was mute.

Until I understood.
Nobody expects anything from anybody.
And anybody can do anything to anyone.

No matter, how much older I grow,
How grown up I will be,
When I am uneasy and full of sorrow,
I will wish my mother by my side.
But I am hopeless,
When it comes to the world.

 

Translation from German: Maxmarie Wilmoth
Foto © Rottkay

Ghani Ataei (16)

Ghani Ataei grew up in the old trading town of Herat, on the border with Iran. His father was killed during the war, his mother died in an accident. As an orphan, he went to Germany alone. Photo © Rottkay

Beginning of life

Mohamad Mashghdost

Bandar Anzali, Iran



The beginning of life was,
That I did not exist.

There was a mother.
She was my God.

It was an unrequited love.
There was a father.
He was never there.

The body came to rest,
But not the mind.
I was without solac.

The sister wanted to be a mother to me.
But she was tired.
I loved the mother.
She died.

I wanted to leave
And I stayed.
I wanted to stay
And I left.

Leaving was not important
And neither was staying.
I was important,
I, who did not exist.


Translation from German: Maxmarie Wilmoth
The Poetry Project, Foto © Rottkay

Mohamad Mashghdost (18)

The son of a taxi driver from Bandar-e Ansali, Iran, set off for Europe in autumn. At home, he was afraid of being drafted into the war in Syria. In Berlin, Mohamad Mashghdost wrote some outstanding poems about the lack of meaning and his native Iran. Today he lives in Husum. Photo © Rottkay

Tomorrow

Ali Ahmade

Bamyan, Afghanistan


Be calm, you say to me.
Reminding me that you are still there.
What will be tomorrow? I don’t know.
Forgive me for I can not speak of tomorrow.
But today I am still here.

 
Translation from German: Maxmarie Wilmoth

Ali Ahmade (15)

The poem describes his thoughts about his mother before he gets on a boat in Turkey. He does not know whether he will survive the passage to Greece.

Like An Arrow

Mahdi Hashemi

Ghazni, Afghanistan, aufgewachsen in Iran

It took a month the trip,
That wasn’t a trip at all,
But rather a horror,
In the land of hope.

Now I am waiting for a paper,
That may contain bitterness and grief.
And I feel like an arrow.
Released.
Which should return
To its bow.


Translation from German: Maxmarie Wilmoth
The Poetry Project | Foto © Rottkay

Mahdi Hashemi (16)

When he was an infant, his family fled from Afghanistan to Iran. There, he grew up as a refugee, close to the capital Tehran. Mahdi Hashemi writes about why Afghan refugees in Iran even apologise for breathing the air there. Photo © Rottkay

Homeland

Mohamad Mashghdost

Bandar Anzali, Iran


I’ve left my home, my heart.
Now it is like sleep and dream
And burns in the depths of my body.
The weeping mother has sent me forth.

The troubles are over, I said.
I packed and went on my way.
Body and soul I left to the ocean,
God, I still exist, thank you.

May God curse the sea that devours bodies.
Prayer and love for my sister helped me arrive.
But my eyes have seen the colors of despair.

 

Translation from German: Maxmarie Wilmoth
Foto © Rottkay

Mohamad Mashghdost (18)

The son of a taxi driver from Bandar-e Ansali, Iran, set off for Europe in autumn. At home, he was afraid of being drafted into the war in Syria. In Berlin, Mohamad Mashghdost wrote some outstanding poems about the lack of meaning and his native Iran. Today he lives in Husum. Photo © Rottkay

Love

Samiullah Rasouli

Ghazni, Afghanistan


If you love me for my beauty,
Then love me not.
Love instead the sun and its rays.

If you love me for my youth,
Then love me not.
Fall in love instead with the spring,
For it comes again each year.

If you love me for my money,
Then love me not.
Love instead the Pari.*

If you love me because I am the right boy,
Then you should love me.
Love me as long,
As long as I can return your love.

*mythological fish that carries rubies and emeralds in its mouth
 
Translation from German: Maxmarie Wilmoth
The Poetry Project | Foto © Rottkay

Samiullah Rasouli (17)

Samiullah Rasouli grew up in Ghazni, Afghanistan. The region is highly contested today. His father died four years ago. Samiullah was on the run for four weeks. Now he has begun training as a trade merchant. His poems are about love and longing for his father. Photo © Rottkay

High and Madness

Shahzamir Hataki

Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan


Love is a high and madness
And strange to the world,
She sits there always, from dusk until dawn.
Love means, a smile in eyes cried wet,
Love means, to throw away one’s life.
Love means, to shed tears.
Love means, to be and thereby burn.
Love means, to risk your life.

Did I not suffer this pain,
The expression of disappointment would not stay on my face.

If only the last page of love could be the message,
That the rain will still stop.

Had I known, that love does something like that,
I would have put love in chains.

 

Translation from German: Maxmarie Wilmoth
Foto © Rottkay

Shahzamir Hataki (16)

Shahzamir Hataki aus Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, ist der einzige Sohn seiner Eltern. Sie wollten sein Überleben und seine Zukunft zu sichern und schickten ihn deshalb fort. Auf der Überfahrt nach Griechenland sank das Boot und Shahzamir entging nur knapp dem Tod. Foto © Rottkay

My last summer in Afghanistan

Kahel Kaschmiri

Ghazni, Afghanistan


…was hot, the rays of the sun burned, so much
that i could barely work.
But is it possible not to work?
Not working means to go hungry and live on the street.
Where would my family and I have found shelter?
I sprinkled water on my face, put on a thin white shirt, and went to the bazaar to attend to the customers at the shop.

In Berlin, on the other hand, I didn’t even notice the summer. It was almost always cold. Only a few days were hot. And on those days, everyone walked in the streets naked. Or lay in the parks. Or went swimming. And I was astonished - how could it be that they nakedly walked in the streets or lay in the park and still found something to eat in the evening?

But the summer in Afghanistan was not only hot.
It hurt. There was the suffering of my mother. The poverty and desperation of my father. The hopelessness of my sister, forced to shield herself from greedy stares by covering herself from head to toe to. In the end, she was married off, although she is younger than me. And now she already has a son. I ask myself, is that her son - or is it her doll?

During my last summer in Afghanistan, an armed motorcyclist shot a policeman on my way to work. He fled. This policeman had just been married. It was the beginning of his life. All he wanted was to do his job and earn money.
He died within one second.
By the time the police came, he had already parted from this world.

Do you want me to tell you more about my last summer in Afghanistan?

I loved riding my motorcycle, roaming around and speeding up.The air was blowing in my face and the sun was shining and I opened the throttle. I was only thinking of Ghazni’s beautiful nature as I accelerated.
Suddenly, a car overtook me. It was driving slowly. The driver gave me a sign. Stop!
I was afraid. I stepped on the gas and and fled. I called my cousin: I shouted: “Open the gate, there are people following me. They want to kidnap me.”
It was the ones who are after pretty boys.
At incredible speed, I flew in his direction, to his house. He opened the gate and I burst in. I took a deep breath and thanked god.

Do you want me to tell you more about my last summer in Afghanistan?

After a year away from home, I was relieved to finally have a place to stay, a room just for me. Four walls to myself, as well as a key for a door, which I could dispose of as I wished.
I sighed, opened the door, and fell asleep from exhaustion.
My eyes were not quite closed yet when a door opened and I felt the heavy presence of someone. I kept my eyes closed, the blanket over my face.
Suddenly I felt the heaviness of his body on my body, and I broke out in a sweat. I began to shiver.
I opened my mouth, but no sound came out.
I heard this being say: What are you doing here and why did you come here?
I began to scream, so loudly that I woke up from my own screams.

He was gone and I asked myself, who might it have been?

 

Michael Krasnov answered to this Text with »My last Summer in Berlin«.
Translation from German: Hanna Baumann
Foro © Rottkay

Kahel Kaschmiri (15)

Kahel lived in Ghazni, Afghanistan. A Taliban commander was after him. Kahel fled his country, via Iran, in the trunk of a smuggler’s car. In Germany, he is confused by the lives of Europeans. Photo © Rottkay

My last Summer in Berlin

Michael Krasnov

raised in Berlin, Germany


My last summer in Berlin was warm,
The sun’s rays burned so strongly,
That I went swimming almost every day.

Who already works during summer break?
Not working means at most,
Not being able to buy a new iPhone this year.
I splashed my face with water,

Picked up an ice cream and chilled with my friends,
To see them before I left for vacation.

Upon arrival in Turkey,
I almost didn’t notice the summer at all,
Because the hotel was always air-conditioned.
It was only hot outside.

The tourists all ran to the beach,
Or laid in the spa,
Or went on sight-seeing tours.

And I was amazed,
How was it that they ran to the beach,
Or laid in the spa or went on sight-seeing tours,
And still managed to get something from the buffet.

But summer in Germany wasn’t just warm,
It hurt. It was the pain of my friends,
My brother’s desperation, my sister’s hopelessness,
Because we all had to go back to school so soon.

I wonder,
Did summer break only pass so quickly for me,
Or did it feel the same for others?

 

This is an answer to Kahel Kaschmiri's »My last Summer in Afghanistan«
Translation from German: Hanna Baumann
The Poetry Project | Foto © Rottkay

Michael Krasnov (18)

Michael Krasnov ist raised in Berlin and goes to Friedrich-Ebert-Oberschule. | Photo © Rottkay