For Nasreen Mbarki, my mom is a cloud blast in Brabant

Nisreen Mbarki was born in Tilburg. She grew up partly in Morocco and partly in the Netherlands and currently lives and works in Amsterdam. She translates poetry from Arabic and publishes her own poems in literary magazines. Her first group came out recently Endless.

via Heine van Kimenad

At the beginning of 2022, the poetry collection appeared Endless Nisreen Mbarki (Tilburg 1977). Writer, poet, columnist and literary translator. She is also the editor and presenter for the Winternachten Festival. In her first set Endless Capital letters and punctuation are missing, except for most proper names. Lambarki describes scenes from life and the different cultures on both sides of the Mediterranean play an important role. Mothers are not only the beginning of it all, they remain present and important until they reach the age of seventy.

language sensitive

Where you come from is important, father, mother, grandfathers, grandfathers and sons are close to the poetess. Blood relatives are also an unwanted celestial burden.
It is a very language sensitive group. Dutch alternates with Arabic, Darija (Moroccan Arabic), French, English and Berber. On the back of the package it is stated that there is an intention to put a document translated into Dutch on the Internet.

Nasreen Mubaraki. Photo> Willemique Cars

It is amazing how many aspects of life Mubaraki touches and describes in this collection. The images you are using are very clear. He says what he says. Only this is sometimes incomprehensible to me, because I do not master Arabic and Tamazight. French and English yes. At the same time, descriptions in another language added value from a cultural point of view. Because when her mother swears she doesn’t do it in Dutch and there are Arabic letters. Then I read it as “a thousand bombs and a grenade” and I could easily photograph it. She received a document with translations through her publisher. Then “whatever happens, happens” appears. Something different though.

It becomes more difficult when this word ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵥⵉⵔⵜ as the title of a poem. ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵥⵓⵏⵜ It does not appear in the online digital dictionary and means capital. But Mbarki translates the poem’s title as “homeland,” because there is no proper Dutch translation. This poem describes a city in decline in another era and in the Berber region: “Parties have no time and people have all the time.”

world map

“Mothers lovingly feed the whole country” and “master a wonderful set of instruments of torture.” They organize society and lure men. Islam plays an important role. No one is white nor black, “heaven is chased.” The balanced world (the past) is described poetically. Nisreen Mubaraki uses beautiful images such as the grandfather’s face which is the “world map of the wars of the last century”. The poem ends with the phrase, “My son must draw a new map of the world.”

in the poem Endless Beautiful images of existence without banks are constantly preserved. “My mother regularly overflows her banks” and the siblings dig deep trenches to house them, and her sister builds levees and prevents the rain. “My mother’s power is unparalleled and dazzles the earth.”


My mother regularly overflows her banks
You do too
On the path between the heart and the mind
By fog or short circuit
Not only in the rainy season
Summer and spring also have sudden cloud explosions
Even the raging monsoon

My brothers dig deep trenches to catch them
My sister cuts tree trunks with a sharp ax
building dams
Sisters-in-law gather their children together and shout silently
Then they raise their clothes to knee height
Her sisters are calming down on the phone
Seven simultaneously in the mother tongue
Her mother grumbles softly and licks the crazy wounds
Nobody sees it
While mom hears many dads talking at once

Grandchildren are trying to invite her to their birthday
But shoreless water does not know the grandchildren

rain is forbidden
Doctors forbidden to reverse the surface of the water
All the ominous words they don’t understand
Throw them into the sea
Shadow and dream are omitted from the dictionary
Cross-border situation
Morphine numbs magical creatures

Mom’s strength is unprecedented and amazingly overflowing
He drags everything in spite of the standards of love in the army

Beaches are not for dreamers
The mind will remain silent
drowning in silence
Creatures will
free swimming

We are water

We fear ourselves


Besides the omnipresent mothers in this group, a number of other items have also been discussed many times. Mubaraki allows her ancestors a lot to say. In the first separate poem, we read about the life of her parents and in the section Archives are the poems Moonberry And the ma mere beside and meet each other. Mbarki was born in Holland, the country to which her father moved. Her father is a human being carved from the mud of his city in Morocco. Her mother, who comes from Western Sahara, “kneaded it by the French nuns”: “mama est une boîte de vitesse vivante.” It causes the multilingualism and cultural differences that Mbarki has so powerfully demonstrated. “Mama is a cloudy blast in Brabant,” but she is also “the daughter of the Atlantic.” the poem Tongue Multilingualism appears, and with it a split. “On my tongue an orgy occurs/uvula shoot in distress while my lips softly erupt away from the bounds.”


My mother took her language and her language from me
My childhood tongue was handed over to
Difficult monastic sounds on peat soil
Grumbles prayers that always conjure up everything
Left oath by the old armed forces
Old marks on mothers’ tattooed chins
Since then I’ve been pulling fate behind me by the crown of her head

In my child’s throat a ruthless pact was struck
An agreement like a divorced family agreement
for the baby
A sacred meeting means from the days when ideals were gods
Gods who protect if you make worthy sacrifices
Great deals like cutouts
I drank swollen milk from your many breasts
Without knowing who it really was
In my windpipe I imagined your nimrod in Babylon

If you were physically in the sense that I believe I would
The syntax was on a narrow family
planted together
in my larynx

I’ve carved marks into the vocal cords
Put swords in your palate
Through my chest I pushed the wings out
In my oral cavity I recreate objects
You can’t pronounce his name
Their sharp curls are threatened daily
To banish the uvula
stomping hooves eux and oui and caressing j and m
for its flowing shapes
A string on my head, your ears kneaded with your tunes
promissory notes ma tête lorde de vos

I canceled the denial
Orgy is on my tongue
The uvula shoots at the plight of my lips softly removing the borders
Germanic snowflakes decompose
In the ancient high mountain scoundrels
Unlimited marriage is forged daily between my cheeks
Glides smoothly like polished beads in a rosary

My tongue is forked out of loyalty to the North and the South
My mom grows up and speaks her language sometimes
that you finally learned
Of the grandmothers who water the ground before they drink themselves

If you were physically in the sense that I believe I would > If I believe in the concept of motherhood, you are all my mothers
ⵉⵙⴽⵉⵡⵏ > horns
And the > The letters ya and mim

Another picture is the jungle and this is the jungle lure set. The forest is calling, as an escape route for an intrusive priest and also as a shelter to come to yourself. In the vision of Mubaraki, she allows her children to stay in the forest with the foxes. Her ancestors’ fears in her children’s pockets wrapped in chunks of fat. “Foxes eat fears greedily.”

The Islamic and Christian tradition is often used in images and metaphors. The poet is historically and politically conscious as well. While the first person is in Brussels, you remember that 137 years ago, the Berlin Colonial Conference (also known as the Congo Conference) took place where Africa was divided among the European colonial powers. On her street in Amsterdam, buildings grow from the blood-red bricks of VOCs. You see stumbling stones remember the banished.

Endless It is a collection of versatile poems carefully created. As beautiful, clear in language and internationally oriented as multicolored diamonds are. Each time I read it, other wonderful visions emanate from a woman who chose a motto for this group line for Al-Hallaj, a mystic, mystic, poet, and legendary and controversial thinker from the ninth century: ‘My faith (religion) is for me and others are for others.

Nisreen Mubaraki, endless. Amsterdam: Pluim Publishers 2022, 84 pp., ISBN 978-94-932-5633-0, pb., €12.99.

Bloom Publishing

Image front page > Bart Grietens

© Brabant Cultural 2022

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