‘Il-bandli’ by Marie Gion

Għax id-drogi sbieħ (‘because drugs are beautiful’) is one of my favourite collections of poems ever written in Maltese. Perhaps because it is one of the few works of literature that really captures what it was like to grow up in Malta for my generation. And because the poems possess a frankness and lack of self-consciousness that is so often present in Maltese writing. The collection tells of the ennui, desire, love, heartache and loss experienced by a group of youths, framed through the first-person narrative voice. Their lives are coloured by the highs and lows of drug-taking – a subject that is handled with ambivalence throughout. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read and reread these poems. I keep going back to one in particular, ‘il-bandli’ (‘the playground’). This is because it feels like a personal memory; the boredom, the references to specific places and things, transport me to a past not necessarily my own, but one I recognise intimately. Something shared and yet, unmistakably, Maltese. 

from għax id-drogi sbieħ, self-published, 2013

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