Three Poems

By Omar Ramadan

Hello! And welcome to Found Fest 2020! My name is Omar Ramadan and I will be reading three poems today from my ever-growing collection. These three are all relatively new and they document stories and things that relate to my growing up as a kid of immigrant parents and in an immigrant household and beyond that as well.

The first poem, titled Shorbet ‘Adas or A Soup that Tastes like Happiness is a nostalgia piece about home and my experience of living in a crowded household.

Shorbet Adas or A Soup that Tastes like Happiness

It’s quiet again

That childhood home

In my memory bank


The shutter of a kodak

Snaps silence


The sound of running feet

Down and up stairs

Through a corridor that

Never ends


In with the dull sound of a knife

Slicing through the flesh of onion 


Collide with the wails

Of passing ambulances and cop cars

Screaming bloody murder

As though they’ve been browned

By olive oil and flames

The kodak never stops shooting

Rolls of film empty from the cartridge

Like a magazine




              The flash holds my childhood home 

              Hostage; shuttered away

              Buried beneath red lentils and chicken stock flavoured


Running from the kitchen tap

Drowns out our voices

And my mother’s smile draws us in

Her breath perfumed with cumin, turmeric, salt 

The lemon juice drips from her fingers

Squeeze into our pores

And it’s quiet 


We learn to simmer 

We learn to pose for the kodak 

We learn grief comes in waves

We learn home is caught in the gaps

Between our teeth 

And we learn

That happiness tastes like

Red lentil soup.

My second poem is also very new.  The news has been overflowing with images of protests, and said protests turning to violence due to a lot of police escalation and I wanted to write a poem about my experience as a younger me getting caught up in a protest that actually turned violent due to police escalation and it’s titled Ready.  



can you hear it

can you feel it

it’s in the air now

hanging heavy like thunder clouds

ready to rage


to sounds of triumph

of beating rotors

flying low

threatening to guillotine







sending shockwaves

through heads

dun dun

dun dun

dun dun


to that music

so sweet

of boots marching

to a beat

you only thought existed

in the imaginary


to the bones snap

sending thunder claps

hailing everywhere

turning gentle winds

into sand storms


the red iron water-fall draining down your face

involuntary war-paint

colours to make blue turn blue

and to fill air with tears

and screams and yells and pain and

when did it get so



the asphalt down here tastes like salt, sand and iron

let it seep into skin

let it turn into scars so blazed

it competes with the sun –




Can you hear it?

Can you feel it?

It’s in the air


Hanging heavy

Like thunder clouds




The last poem that I’ll be reading is also new and this one is more of an allegorical piece that will be left up to you to interpret.


I’ve forgotten how to swim

Again and it’s summer

and the rains just don’t


the earth continues to

Rotate on some imaginary axis

made to keep us afloat

Try to keep your head above water

Try to keep your


The voice calling out

Submerges my body beneath

waves and I’m

Divisible by an uncommon


the Sea-Water here

tastes like life

knocking on some door

and you can’t convince me

not to

Swallow oceans

In one



Let me brand this Sea-

Water across my insides

Let the salt coat my skin

Let the sun burn into my flesh

Turn scar tissue into memory tattoos

That only I can imagine

When it’s summer

When it’s raining

When I’ve forgotten

How to swim.

I hope that you enjoy the other poets’ works. It’s such an amazing line up at Found Fest and Dwennimen has done such an amazing job getting this line up together. I highly recommend going and checking out their work and hearing their stories and words.

That is all from my end. Stay safe out there everyone. 



Head East towards 105th street and walk until you spot the Acacia Masonic Hall – walk PAST it and hang a right down the alley behind Pip, Next Act and MEAT. Walk until you reach the colourful alleyway between Glam Slam and Malt & Mortar. This is your next destination!