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Mohamed Chetouani
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Mohamed Chetouani - Morocco

Poet and Painter

My name is Chetouani Mohamed. I was born in Mzourfa, a small village close to Tifelt. I don’t have brothers or sisters. Because I was the only child, it made me enter this vast world on my own. What I want to say is, “I am alone”. When I am alone, I am thinking about painting or this painting comes from the imagination. I swim through this painting to express my emotions.

In addition to that, I feel at ease at writing. I love that which is very old. I look for the source, the history of the village, the storytelling and the city that I live and have lived in, and anything beautiful. I remember when I was a child. I remember my infancy. It is an honor to speak about my life freely.

I continue to fight even when I am surrounded by obstacles, and God helps out. Artists will continue to be artists, and some of my drawings allow me to say what I want to say. I don’t speak the street language. No. I am looking for the source of the words when I use Sufism language, which makes me reflect on God. There is no difference between the Muslim and the Christian. We all believe in one God.


And a poem comes to me...I want to say it..

(*Listen to audio for first poem)

These words are pure Sufist words. It makes you hold one to your tradition and your heritage, and it makes me feel I am living in a world without limitation. When I use an image or flower or tree or stone or anything, I am thinking about the One God. I start from four elements, us the word “naturamo”, which means in the Middle East, blessed—everything that exists on Earth is from God, even human beings are made up of four things...from fire, soil, air, water. When there is a problem of the Earth’s system involving all four things, that means this is the end of the world, even if people don’t realize it. Some Muslim scientists foresee that when there is this problem with Earth’s system that mean’s the end of the world.

I have always believed that I had an “other half”. Every time a woman came to me, even when I was little, and later when I married the first, then I married the second one. Then everything inside me explodes with Khadija Mssyeh, who is my wife now, she made me write fine poems. Everything I feel from my wife, this wife gives me a lot: love, tenderness, nurturing. From this place, I salute her, and my eyes cry when I talk about her. It is beautiful to talk about her. She is a sister, a wife, not saying she is a mother, but she is close to it, this wife.

I want everybody who listens to me or sees me to know love exists. Love is real, not just a word or a lie. When a person feels the other person, it is a beautiful thing... I can’t find words...I can’t find the words to thank her. I can’t find the words, but she deserves more than what I can say because she loves my mother; she loves my two own daughters—one of them lives in France and the other lives with me.

I thank you very much and all the people who love me. I wish I could say this in English, but I am not fluent. Thank you, Mountassir Chemao for translating and thank you, Patricia. I hope our friendship continues.

Note: Audio continues with reading of Mohamed Chetouani and his wife Khadija Mssyeh with this preface by Mohamed: I am a poet and painter, a researcher of the oral tradition of storytelling. This poem is a “Sora”, a love poem in conversation.





2016 Patricia Goodrich
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