Tunnels, just wide enough for the body to squeeze into, twisted and tight,
Routes carved of volcanic rocks.
I crawl through them, prowling blindly.
I hear the footsteps of guards, blocking the only exit.
No guiding light, no exits, no way out,
I try to go back but the guards are up at the gate.
I prowl blindly
Through twisted tunnels and routes.
I am lost.
My screams reach no one,
My mouth shut.
My screams will reach no one so long as my mouth is shut.
Ibrahim El-Salahi: Here I was remembering a nightmare where I was trying to go through some underground tunnels. I moved about, and whenever I found an outlet, the guards would close it. So I had to go backward through a very, very narrow hole. It made me feel claustrophobic, going back into these twisted lanes underground.
Publication excerpt from Ibrahim El-Salahi. Prison Notebook, 1976. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2018.