Saturday, January 30, 2016

New Middle earth

The experts warn-
the desert is taking over earth
water recedes to allow space for dust

show me life and I will show you
the face of your forefather
engraved under these bones

it feels wrong to assume
all that is left of us is a
dust we are making for this new earth

called it mid-terra, middle of the world
make its own land yours
by playing the wrong, right strings

except you do not hit notes
except you only hear deflated
out of tunes wheezing of lungs

ceremonies of the lack of innocence
drowned by the age of five
known to be a castaway with cooler documents

into new areas, you make out of  a comfortable living
an arid soil and request the return of the desert
to its own-

this is a recipe for new earth:

cut enough limbs of some to avoid the return of others
cast the native into the heart of the fish, like a ring
lost forever at its belly

redraw maps with words no one claims
to have said, redecorate the inner walls
with pictures of dancing harem

bellies exposed, heads covered
in shame of a soil that doesn't carry
the incense of the east

recipe for new earth;
stop pouring the blood over the map
let the old earth seep the red moist
to grow trees evergreen and demand of the desert
to take its dust back, demand the seas to spew
the treasures it swallowed, helping to decrease
global warming, at the center of earth

Decision time

On the thirtieth of each month 
when the moon half casts its shadow on earth 
a decision is made: 
a newer start, each time the calendar rounds up to one. 

Mountain Mist

From the top of the mountain the mist covers
the cities, drowning out the noise of vendors
the calls of the Athan that comes from the mosques
the mist is a glorious reversal of the clouds

under the feet, a beetle buzzes an early song
to revert the effect of the times one hunted
for insects to deprive them of song, of joy, of gathering
it soothes the heart, the song, the scent

not of a woman trying to become a flower
but of narjes, narcissus too much into
reflecting among themselves
the possibility of no other

this is how verse comes to the poet,
yoga- splashing on a mountain top
with rain running down old notebooks
wetter, wilder, dreamier lines

too much mysticism runs in these words
there are elements, ends of waters, winds, fire-storms
in these lines but maybe, sometimes the stronger
the ground, the higher the vision

they said poets dream with music on
because the words flow, now on top of the mountain
there is nothing but a few olive trees and morning sun
this is what the eye sees,
from here the watchtowers of the world grew
to make space to destory only to know at the mist's
arrival that pain can reside in the most peaceful moments

Friday, January 29, 2016

Finding metaphors

Spilled between the books, behind the coffee-table
she found a metaphor, that sums her being into one image:
hers only, revealed but associated with the deep connotation
of the salt, the sun, the stars, the shells
lingering she left it to the idea of others-
is it always necessary to each find their metaphor?

night-time in a familiar city

The city at night is a new vision;
this city; empty dancers and full streets
a rattle swinging past midnight in a taxi driver's voice
this city; bars and men with ease
around women who are miles away at mind
strangers in the way the body takes shape into space
this is the new city at night: much too old similarities
stale cigarette buds and empty shot glasses
only the stars are silent these nights.

Staring too long at the sun

Stare at the sun, turn your head away
there are red spots in your view today
unlike the colors, demand, tell me
what use are these eyes when sight is burnt down?

Stolen lemons

At twelve we dunked lemon in salt
all borrowed and chuckled at the taste on our tongues
climbed the fence between us and them, for a taste
sharp for our throats sneaked salt in pieces
from other men's oceans distilled

at twenty four, on the verge of goodbyes
we know, that lemons falling on your side of the fence
taste tangier, have more options of mixing
than with stolen salt, peels buried in the backyard.

Dynamic, energy, fate

For J, at the brink of forty, mad with this universe

On the brink of forty
four years starting by the smile of a two year old
dancing around, carrying the end of summer in his pocket
next to a set of rust keys that open no doors

this is childhood today, very similar; like those years
I spent dreaming with pink-tinted glasses on
calling the whole world girly, away from me
from my very finger tips

on the brink of forty and still a child inside
the roll of cigarettes is different;
a tint of sickness, wrapping a body
age in the bones, out of the hair

falls a history, piled with energy
there's a love of life, joie de vivre
it is called- on the brink of forty
you accumulate bearing of opening up
to a place that sealed itself shut
but gave you a two year old at your feet
on the brink of forty, a spasm of dynamic energy
and to a young woman: fate meaning something lighter
than feathers

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Us, romatinca

The people we know deserve a song like us 
with jazz notes and high end music, 
rose-petals crushed to dust over tables
but the smell remains the same 
this is how you play with form 
the way you play with meaning, the same way 
you play a heart, everyone we know deserves
a song like us, coming from the reverberations 
of the samba, Brazilia, mi amore
faked accents to make a woman believe a man 
is more than material he wears

everyone deserves a song like us
filled with high-noted violins, trying to be easy on the ears

optional: stay or depart?

this is the distinction of options
you are born here, in a place that binds you
to stay, to live, to never think about leaving
or belonging

this is a reality,
the walls will always be low around you
higher around other people,
ground to water and sand to stone

gibberish, what is spoken to convince you
against migration, or imitation
 because sometimes birds
are more comfortable in warmer weather

and if you set sail, call a place home
then you can truly never leave
it is not about departure
we are sick with language

ill with too many metaphors
this is the only option: no way out
you circle around yourself
to figure a way, a thing out

this is the new reality,
the homeland will always stay the same
uncaring by change itself
too easy for a comfortable living

crunched out, a history, mine

Stop relying on technology so much 
to predict the foul weather, our forefathers
one tells me relied on stone and cloud

to tell, to reveal, to reflect 
all synonyms with one meaning 
and a result of vain, rain and storm 

stop keeping the files written in words
typed into switches that can be 
erased without a trace

this is the advantage of history 
that it was made over the years
brewed, sugar-coated and sometimes bitter

but still keeping a record 
of possibilities, like math
what could happen, should happen, would 

eventually happen
here or elsewhere
the story is the same
it is how you tell it, it is who you tell it to
that makes the end 

Ars Poetica

After Dalton

Questions, he does the nature of a poem
an ode in between thought and matter
that there are things coming into birth
no one knows of, but does poetry know
it is more than just words?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

at a late late stage, some words

This verse got delayed again
by the fowl weather that stopped
the river from gushing forward
grief at the center of a glass

Friday, January 15, 2016

in Cursive

Hand double twisted,
one would say it is not normal to write like this
slanted to the left, bent double- faced

double clustered, all in one batch
these letters folded over one to another
you, unable to read, hunch over my shoulder and ask
is this cursive then?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The boy in the picture outside the house

The smile, no ease
there is sadness between wooden cupboards
like dust, take it out to find it piling up again 
slowly, over the counters in the house 
where one slept, ate, thought 
this is the extension of glory 
that now the walls talk about bluntly 

without need to seek advice from the inhabitant
the house talks, for this is not a cobweb 
that can be blown out by being blown in 
this is cement poured in, poured out 
a few hours after dusk, all dust

the rooms talk well of their inhabitants
the rooms leave space for the clothes 
piled, unworn, unwashed on the shelves
kept to cover up his bones in the winter

enough talk about the boy, the deaf
ears cannot do anything to one who hung 
his smile by the door and went to school; 
like yesterday, like tomorrow, like any other day 

there will be a return that is set for later- 
four months later, covered- iced
the boy. His smile will take care 
of the house, of the mother, of the father 
while the Quran plays in the room 
the dates are distributed and coffee, 
of course for the better, 
for the bitter occasions.  

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

You look French today

Ashen hazelnut hair and matching eyes
I walk with a gait that is not mine
but one I haven't even borrowed from anyone
it is loose enough for my footsteps

bag to the left shoulder, clenched-
a beret covers half my head
hair falling to the sides like cotton
from the sky

push plush boots out into the rain
that doesn't melt over my head
or the skirt that covers enough to show
things I am not comfortable revealing

I have been called so many names that are not mine,
mami,  ya helu, pizza-face, cuban hips
all the names that tell
of the countries I have never lived

all the lives lapsed into a nutshell based on my face
the way I ate fromage, twist my Rs in French
there would not be a way to maintain one
solid life that is completely mine

do not judge, we say
do not  allow yourself the opportunity of the doubt
we stress over and over again, yet I have been told I look
a nationality or the other and today it was French

No one told me I look Arab, at any given point
because there are no desert camels behind my eyes, no olive skin
nothing too eager with the zest of the furious mares
in the way I hold up my hair to the sunshine

but there is something ever present, seas, foreign waters
there's a lot of wind whitening my face, a lot of spaghetti genes
I guess what I am and what I become is and will always be
two different things to the public eye.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

the fall from the sky

The sky is blue today
no clouds, when you look above you

you can practically see angels
of all sizes and colors, donned whiter than white clouds

do all angels live up in the sky?

isn't this a naive question
a two year old might pose

the sky is blue today
on the balcony I do not look for angels

rather think of the nemesis
so alive inside of me- the devil

of how he fell, the damage to his
waxed wings, cracking across the clouds

why, why would someone so blessed
reject freedom by joy, death to life by mistakes

maybe the answer would not
be in the belly of the question

maybe it was a problem of big and small;
put it like this, a bigger angel pushes a smaller one
from the sky, because it lacked space
and then, the revolution starts.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Scrap-booking for winter

Pile up the crumpets of papers
you collected from here and there 
a little sand in the pocket
a little stone from the poet's garden- 
twice cleaned up, the rose a loved one gave you for a special occassion 
lay them onto the table, double glossed
time, laughter and little things
all compiled between two pages.  

Chiseling in air

too hard was the effort put
to waste, the assurance of the need
to confront this statue she wants to make and blend
forgetting that sometimes this love she had
one for another person of flesh and blood is
like chiseling in air, a castle
stone by stone

Saturday, January 9, 2016


After Sandburg

Our fog comes
like a wave of a cast out ocean

it floods the city's walls and old houses
leaves behind
washed away bird nests
dragged fish bones and hollowed rods.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Christmas in another name

No snow, just heavy bouts of rain
a wind that shakes the baubles, sprinkles the glitter
shaking up everything, the arrival of the same Son
on two different dates.

Song of an origin

Mine is a song of an origin,
that is not bound by a city, a national anthem
nor composed by attention demanded by the others
for time, for a smile, for things done without purpose

this is my song , emanating from a depth
further than routine, larger than an idea
that floats elsewhere, doling on a hope for
love, among other things-

this is not a loveless song, it is an origin story
once far by the formations of jazz notes
in a sickly faint weather, foul by wind
a birth of an origin

the tones will start by a humming
for an idle childhood that was cut
to chase by the gun shaped wooden pallet
to guard, to hold at bay; enemies

the whistle of a bird carries itself forward
to years of struggles, for acceptance,
to belong in a place that is removed from time
but still tied to the human initiative to grow

wise, not just older
bolder, jumping ropes with hell burning under
riding a roller-coaster in mid-winter
or just plain prayer linked with tears

this is the chorus, that repeats itself
every few seconds, a haul across continents
dancing with a stranger on your chest,
then forming an epitaph for what's jotted in a black notepad;

roots, veins, cell-formation
desires, ideas we craft for ourselves to say
we came from here, point (A)
going there, if ever arriving- point (B)
this is a story of origin, not of movement
one that carries a sediment of all those who move.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

This is the new change

This is the change accepted,
that the day is termed shorter by the virtue of being alive,

awake- these are two adjectives that are used
to describe the way you deal with the hurling

of a universe compact in one morning's load
of opening and shutting one's eyes

this is a new self-assurance that there will be
enough time to love, travel, see

there is time, for time
for the coming and the going of the pendulum

there is enough time to receive and give
a lot, a little, a mostly forgotten object-

False kisses like showers,
hailing on a turned out cheek

time to kill, time to discover
lucid concepts without cracking the shells along the way.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A scene at the local bar

The single lady, at the bottom of the bar could have been me-
a loveless child, unmarried to the density of
the time spent for cultivating other chances,
by chatting to the sounds over the drinks
looks twice to her shoulder, once
to the men who could be a comfort.
That won't be me, I say, long after I order my drink
to walk away on my own.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

An artist's worry

It feels like there is wind
on the inside, storming away with ideas

that's a start, some other time
it is a ghost burrowing without a white sheet for head

or a faint image, half understood,
mostly blurry, a scent, a half apparition

elements, of outer weather
desires broken by the edges of mirrors

sometimes, gentle breeze,
a sea wave that only carries pearly bellies

or an image of war torn lands,
wasted, wasting, to be wasted

conjugation of verbs,
dysfunctional letters and faces-

quiet arrives when least expected
this is the truth, looked for, not found;
artists are haunted by a worry that is unprecedented
unmatched, forever lingering in exchange for a rosebud.

Soil spilt over

it was wasted, the soil that was meant to be hers,
most of the times metaphors start at land for those
peasants who keep to land
 never venturing out into the seas

why should they, our locals
used to the dust of the mountain,
to the blood spilling from its eye;
the water sources of doe and deer

when someone here dies, in lands not his
abroad, the women lament in black and weep
for the realization of the soil being split over
their body, so foreign. Turab Ghorbeh

A foreign soil, the women repeat,
moving their head, shaking it from left to right
to resist the urge to blame the returner from not returning
I do not nod, he thought that sand and soil are composed
of other bodies, human
is capable of making me silent, foreign or not was the turab, soil. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Narcissus, not daffodils

In the garden, it rains today
the kind of soft rain that falls gently in the daytime, yet storms with thunder
hail and parts of clouds as you sleep at night,
to make darkness even more uneasy-

in the garden, it rains today
on a batch of unnoticed, bright yellow shoots of daffodils
you ask me to pick up herbs from under the pine tree
Hosolban, you say, rosemary- I hear

for today is not a Sunday but the table will be rich with meats
green shoots on its end, from our garden-
I look at the yellow shoots, touch a past life
with a few months spread out, besides lakes- beneath trees

in the garden, it rains today .
the daffodils fold their heads together
bow down to the heavy drop in their sagging shoulders
still fuming with the smell of spring held in breath inside

I must keep these, you say to yourself
as if you can hold spring in your fingers, keep it for a minute
before releasing the flowers after faint realization
there would be no daffodils in July

You call for the Rosemary in my hand,
I turn and ask when you started growing daffodils in the garden
Narjes, Narcissus, you correct me,
not daffodils, Wordsworth invented and ohh, so strange to this soil-
Narjes, narcissus are white, ones I grew when you were away
calling local flowers by their forgeing names.

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Dos and Dont's of 2016

Say that this is going to be a start, like you do every other year
this is not a letter of negative attitudes toward the life you
are leading now, but rather, a possibility.

Do not call these resolutions, the rash decisions
you make between sleep, wake and drink-
but little deals you have sealed with yourself to be able to be full

with the others; this is the list you made-
Do start to clean up all excess, food,
friends who fail to make you smile when you least expect it

because excess can be a feature, on your skin
behind your eyes-
do look for the balancing point between dusk and day-light

Don't date a narcissist. (scratch that) Don't be a narcissist
it is time consuming, the staring, the selfish demands,
invalid dreaming- so wrapped into the beauty of your face,

your clothes, the smell of your own perfume
there are things that are better used for your time
do keep them close, like  movement

each push leads you forward,
like a cycle on a long haul to freedom
or writing that picks out the depth of you

throwing it to the public. Do not talk to those
who know you best, rather be at peace with the idea
of strangers touching you with the word with a hand

with an extra limb that is not and will never be yours
Don't deal with the start as if it is an extraordinary jump
but do feel with a leg that trudges earth, the flowing rivers bottled inside.

Second hand breath, fizz

The year draws to and end when the smoke rings rise
to make up a whole understanding for the clock ticking slowly
leaving the remain of the firework in the stomach,
this is chills composed with some fizz, with celebration
close a year, like a book, open another
this is your chance to start, something new.