Sunday, December 17, 2017

hometown

I have seen a different rain this winter
mothers' eyes clouding over
sons screaming, fainting on the tarmac where the warriors once walked
locking children in the houses
clouds lifting from earth- skyward
this is my hometown, midwinter. 

Reading this world

I am reading on how life
bends us to stand up again
the words of my heart between two pages.

The light, once more

We count backwards, 
with glitter on our lids 
the amount of times we have been good

we count backwards, 
with a sun that half set down 
the effect of sunlight on the night 

we count backwards, 
with dignity
wait for it as it approaches 

the light makes small spaces 
roomier, makes the heart wilder 
makes way for the festive season approaching.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

paper-wasting

You waste paper
think you ruin earth with demand of trees
cutting down into sheets
forgetting that money too is paper.

a question evades her

lover,
do you expect me to answer
every time you call, while I am sleeping?

in the old country

This disappointment
like blood, lives and breathes
inside of me.

Riches to rags and in reverse

this is your success story,
you leave behind the things that remind you of home

escape the story and claim
hindrance to another space that wraps your bones

but will not be kind to you when
you grow old,

your face is too foreign
the same goes for the hope hiding beneath you high-end frames 

this is your success story,
from riches to rags and reverse

to the basic banter of bone on bone
skin to pockets full of disappointments

this is your success story, ordinary and lacking glory.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Maybe, the realization arrives

Maybe things do not get better with age
it is a mere idea hammered into your head
that wine left for too long will become vintage
and wine left in the open too long can also become vinegar.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Candle making on an autumn night

Melt the wax without hurting those slim fingers
ones the sorceress told you belonged to an artist
in a cold city that never belonged to you
where you searched for reason to keep walking without looking back
assure that the perfume is added gradually to avoid burning
your face, the smell is always potent to fill you
with nostalgia to the one who let you stand
and knew how to bend you, left and right
to his will, to his touch-
add a wick, there should be a source of light
something to keep the fire going, shouldn't there be?
desire, despair and other dead things
you burn to light the leftover darkness in the corner of your room
this autumn takes you by storm
by way of the sun disappearing behind the mountains
the natural turn of the leaves, the wind and the day.

Go, be

I said go, but you didn't move
I said go, without budging
go, I will order you
be better than me,
I have a gift and I am wasting it
waiting for other gifts that will never arrive.

First Aid to a poet

Cover the bones fractured
with power of holding meaning, twice

bandage without stitching
a simile and a metaphor constraining

restrain from rushing towards the broken
the fallen, it is a trap for most novices

you are not meant to save the world
it will still keep going around without asking

without waiting for you to take
five minutes to arrive to disaster

don't pull out anything from your wound
it might be infected, oozes out, little held-on- secrets

a promise or two that hide
in the crevices of the markings under your skin

watch out for water when there is electricity
these are little things that can stop the heart from beating

not just music, lyrics, a dance
or someone holding your hand

be careful of irregular rhythms
a rise and fall around your heart

it is always the reason why you are standing up
just be careful and attentive, listen out and call for help when you need it.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

the grace, like a cyclone

Folding over yourself
like a napkin on a Christmas table

the knowledge that if you fall
something cushions your skid

enter then, into the grace
that keeps bubbling under the surface

of the noise awakening with daybreak
the urgency of your eyes to feed on water

wash out the numb repetition
of yesterday, the day before it, the day after

don't think of funerals
when you bury time away

waste to make of old sweaters
something beautiful

re-purpose the words you say carefully
fall back into the creation of living

veer towards the grace received
all in one breath, like a cyclone turning around its own self

Old friend

Old friend,
I miss
writing to you in cursive

these hands

These hands cannot
carry across your way anything
when they are holding a baby

Blackout

You do not feel it
how winter arrives until you lose
your sense of space and place
the blackouts are often a sign that you are living

by choice or by practice
in the land of your forefathers
where they carried touches
learnt how to burn and be burnt

this is the brutal effect of winter
some don't find cover
when what you need is just at the fingertips
of your very hand

it is hard to build up to warmth
when there's much on the line
repeating, like freezing pipe
a need for warmth

you will be upset for the black out
when darkness swallows you
but then again, it is never new
how you can let go and stop resisting sleep. 

a new host

You give me hope
in a piece of candy, wrapped well

insist I drink from the water
brought out of your own well

maybe I am growing to appreciate
the things others do to make distance smaller

yet still, it feels strange
that you are surrounded with lonesomeness

wrapped well rather than the blanket
you give me as a host, on a dark winter afternoon.

urgent

the need to finish the year
with vigor, before time flips
the calendar explains your anger and my apathy.

Too many eyes

stare at you when you try to work
how the work can be set up
like building blocks in music
how he looks ahead, disheartened
to the sounds of music forming from your heart
how you turn, there are the eyes, the ears
the years made up in a time bubble
how we learn by giving and taking away
same skills we gain, since childhood
just magnified day to day.

Challenge

It takes one, normally,
one indication of failure to know
the challenge is still alive

like riptide

It washes,
like riptide that can tear you to pieces
the effect of the words others say on your behalf

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A powerful weekend earthquake

injured thousands,
survivors were at home, asleep

others exposed to the night cold
we need everything, they cried

help, aid, water,
in all our three tongues

footage of rescue workers
offered only condolences

dispatched to those waiting
to be treated

shelter, they said,
had been provided

this is anarchy, how the world ends;
a lack of water

a lack of light
chaos on the roads

help,aid, water,
we need everything, they cried

mud brick can crumple
these days

 fault lines are not our own
so let's revert to historic dust

footage of digging people out
rescue workers offer condolences
and the cold eats what remains of the sky.

rose in a garden

a rose in a garden of thorn
bleeds red
among death, you rise too

hum-drum

Hum-drum 
an impeding storm 

the sound of war 
rings the doorbell

it will find me sleeping 
these days for winter has already begun

it will find me 
in my own peace, dreaming of walks by the shore 

a hum-drum
the sound of war 

breaks down my door
finds me cowering in a corner 

with a book and a flashlight 
like I was twelve again

running from lava
on a speaking mare 

a hum-drum-hum-drum-drum 
the sound of war 

shoots over my head 
takes down the kites I painted all summer 

takes down three trees that stand 
pregnant with fruit 

takes down the quiet, the child, the budding rose, 
the burnt-out books, the land, the hands, 
the music, the days, the nights, the ways 
the times I counted in reverse 

brings me this fear in my bones, 
the sound of the drum never leaves me alone. 

relation to the ard, the land

You work in negation
the sound of tapping your foot to earth
to aches, this is your tie to the land

that becomes not-
yours but then it is enough
yours when you need it to be

negated
with fury and rage
this land, this ard, yours and not yours.

a good green seed

You see the good green seed,
Knowing
The sun with its burning glory is hiding behind gray clouds 

necks, ropes, hands

Hate is a strong word
to target at those who try to exert power over your space

crowd with doctor-like hands
your throat, your decaying body

the body you are struggling to love
years down the line of being blamed for its genealogy

hate is a strong word
but it gets a stronger grip, over your hand

that tremors to take off
the ropes old lovers and school bullies tied around your neck.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Territorial, this hunger

Soil on my fingers, earth under my nails
this is how dirt arrives at your city-cleaned hands
territorial, this attachment
that hunger

Monday, November 6, 2017

you move

like a wave
breaking
you move from head to toe

After the fact

To the one who rolled over the darkness like dough,
But more importantly to the one who holds the flicker of light

24 hours earlier-O’hare 

Keep it light, the exchange of sugar for smiles
It doesn’t get darker at the stroke of midnight
pacing across black and white floors, a friend holds you up
like a woman giving birth,
you wait for it- take offs and landings
flooding a Windy City-

a headless heated hegemony

14th St, Washington

The curtains were green
Linen lined up against the light that falls on your forehead

bellow 14th features the tipper- tapper
movement and stores opening and shutting,

ripe executive jackets,
opening and shutting

a mild beginning of November-
three women-turned-girls wait by the crackle of a fireplace

but the limbs are heavy with worry
opening and shutting

from the window, an incredible stillness
this nightfall, your voice has already departed

opening and shutting
a height of pitching banshees, unexpected drumming

does the heart have a right to squander?

you feel it-

a gust of northern wind,
darkness’ daughter

mother covers all faults, yours, his, hers
but the lie remains a lie

amid rapid breath
friends-come-couples holding time like a shopping bag

this is what the death of love looks like
too many open bottles and a little left to drink

torn-out letters, river-side runs
time drained into micro-memory

this is what the death of love looks like
an opening and a shutting

three women-turned-girls waiting by the crackle of a fireplace
and a tap on your back, all this warmth

to stop the swan from belting its final song

two days later
44th Street, New York City

you open your eyes to immensity
competing for length

passersby, cars, sirens
light, even the night is different

even the weight placed on your feet
while you strain your neck to look up

light arrives to your hands
kinder this time even with ferocity

opening up a purse she gives you scrapes of her being,
a tale shared is a tale halved

glasses raised, toasts made,
promises to be kept- a shutting

streets navigated
by heart and instinct

three women, you, swallowed in a big city
there will be time to grieve later

8 months later
an open balcony in Jerusalem

The first sunrise after months of rain
is unforgettable

the remaining hours pass,
thick, quick like sand, stretched

ointment rubbed, you stand over your childhood
three crows call for morning

the sighs no longer sound the same
there’s a gentle humming

this is the aftermath of grief
color returning to earth and to your cheecks

you take out of yourself, bits,
old stars, long hair, bridged teeth

offer to the sun what remains behind
why do you offer when you can shut the doors

cower behind an old desk, stand straighter
when you dance?

but the swans’ old song is like morning
a first sunrise after months of rain

unfathomable
to remember is to select

to remember is to choose to forget
watch from an open balcony the sun rise

over the green fields and tracks ran
how time swishes like green curtains

a year after the fact. 


Photograph by author, taken with IPhone 5

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Don't wait

for the hail to apologize
for breaking your windows
for wetting your clothes
for not keeping dry, your most intimate garments
for storms don't apologize
for ruining what falls in their tracks
for all is waste to a storm, all carried along the way

don't wait

for those who left to return
for had they willed a return, departure would have not been a way
for the moment that marks the inauguration
for beginnings
for they don't come presenting themselves
for your eloquence
for  your considerable desires

don't wait

for the sun to shine
for it has its own mood
for it functions regardless of your needs
for it breathes and lives
for those who will it life

don't wait

for a call
for lines are expensive
for words are cheap
for those who have mastered them like second skin

don't wait

for old lies to get straightened
for water doesn't run the same current twice
for it obstructs nothing

for your early sleep or your longing nights
for an end, or a begging begining,

don't wait

for you know better how these games end.

under the eye, black

A swelling under the eye
what kind of lie will I cake
this time to exposure to your hands?

Treatment

Look on where your foot steps
how many flowers you break
standing up, it tells a lot about the way you stand up
the way you treat the most delicate.

back-garden music

Soft grass whiffs, in my name
as if this willingness to draft
sound to answer cries
takes you further away than your back-garden

Inhospitable, this fury

Quiet,
says the flower to the soil
that roots her, no one wills how home becomes
inhospitable to fury.

not like this, love

Love is not supposed to be
like this; the three bruises on your arm
the space of a slap on my neck

the speak softly
that is whispered in my ears
leaves no time to regret

keep your voice low,
demand and I understand like a whisper
less you are heard

like an ancient call
repeating in your head
there's a bridge you burn

when you fall into my shadow
but I allow you use of sunlight
when you only close your eyes

love is not supposed to be like this;
heavy eyes, drooping heads
my body is not yours
as much as it is not mine
but love is not supposed to leave marks
on my heart, like this-
soreness, weakness, sightless.

Red, red shoes

the color of my shoes
you remark, is like blood
the gloom of winter is ahead 
I answer, let's keep it light

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Halloween, in this country

In other countries, people wait for the departed
to walk earth again,
in my country, the departed walk earth every single day

Saturday, October 28, 2017

strangers help

Extend an arm out for the stranger
who does not turn to you
when you least expect it

you call it sympathy,
this offering
of yourself over strangers altars

filling up with resentment
to the things you do not want
to keep down

extend an arm out for the stranger
who will turn to face you
saying grace

when you least amount for it.

night-waking in winter

Tonight I woke
to the sound of fury

the sky splits open
like women giving birth

to rain, to pebbles
to the things we touch and flinch

tonight I woke
to the sound of fury

tin houses holding
the pitter-patter

ding-dong
of drops, the sky cries again

yet those who are under it
 receive the lashes

those shaken houses
with foundations of sand

built on frowning fathers
drowning mothers

pitter-patter
ding-dong

tonight I woke
to the sound of fury

washing earth
like women giving birth

to the next generation
that rises out of mud

memoriam

Your photo is framed black
the women weep
come back, even for a second

they say when the prayers rise
get across the river

come back the women say
but your photo is framed black

this halloween

Heart of a mouse
you have the skin of a lion
hard to say how much our costumes fool us

among cigarettes, he offers air

drags and drags of cigarettes
he could have offered cleaner air
instead of ash in your lungs

this is what they don't tell you
about love
that it lingers on and it hurts

willingly,
like one walks into a hurricane
with shorts on and a fan at hand

this is how you learn to ward off evil
with little talismans
carved out of smoke and ash

this is what they don't tell you about lust
that it is smaller around your head
but it grows and grows
like deep-rooted trees. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Time of death, a number

I hate this time, between the afternoon and the night
she tells me, leans her head forward
it was with a shower of stone and hail

a shower of hell and fire
I hate this time, she repeats,
between afternoon and the night

the time I lost, the time I recount
in reverse
when he died, untimely, unduly
this destiny

Nostalgia, once more

Like hands gripping on your throat
like night-waking, this flame of days that do not end
the desire to be everywhere and nowhere;
a piece of the past dipped in the present

of your flesh

You speak of sons the way you speak about trees
branches and extensions
out of your own flesh, this chaos
this sweetness, this over-flowing sense of devotion
combined into a walking image
of your biggest failure and your best success

Friday, October 20, 2017

A penny

At the bottom of the fountain,
where the goldfish swim in peace
a penny, for the times you say:
for your thoughts, a penny
for re-visitation of same destination, a coin
for the future, a memory of a penny thrown in an old fountain

The shortest distance

You say, the shortest distance to a woman's affection
is her cellphone
let it ring, then, this mystery box

& all will be right with the world

You speak of death
I speak of the ways you can stand still
when calamity sheds her hair around you
lets fall loose the curls like leaves

you speak of death
but I speak of opportunity to live
maybe the walls have not darkened yet around me
maybe I have not seen enough hospital beds

you speak of a fight
I speak of a road to run, woodlands and birdsong
you tell me that bravery is born with one like wonder
I tell you bravery is gained, like a cape

one minute at a time
you speak of tired bones and aching shoulders
I hold you close and know, no matter the difference
all will be right with the world

Iowa city, in memory

The fall with its colors 
Canada geese flying in the Tom & Jerry patterns, 
The English V the Arabic 7 
Corn-fields and grilled cheese sandwiches 
Red glasses by the river,
Midnight evacuations, hold your passport and run
Words, words, friends and utmost kindness
Iowa city, a year later, in memory

lines that ran away from me

-theft, like other people, escaped me
- when I least expected
- the thought that ran to the edge of the world
- there was a song about a tree
- once was, there once was not
- it is not the end of tales, their beginnings
- you speak a lot like I do, with a borrowed tongue
- city of stone and ash, keep me
- scribbled down diaries that contain the universe
- this fate, these lines, the jumble
- the words that connect, the lines that let go.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

our trees, our names

The trees I carved in my childhood
turn to tell me
they have swallowed the names

Our voice

Look! the amount of minutes you spend
voicing other people's concerns
. but failure to voice, your own

Friday, October 13, 2017

Why?

Why grow roots when wings can lift you up,
but why develop wings when you can just stay rooted in earth
why then, this struggle to be one thing over the other
you are the world but settle in a piece of ground

Fear 101

It is the same touch
of the waves that shake inside of you
when you do not recall you came near water

Sunbird

In my palm, your heart beat
it felt like a fluttering
like the first time I held a baby in my arms

there's something about smaller creatures
a thought of a childhood
lost at sea

sunbird, traveler
you take my honey
to feed the flowers growing in other lands

sunbird, take my song then
away from the walls that choke me
from the stale air and the starless night
to the sun, the master of the day

wild running

Duckling's feet
I cannot spare you the speed
you need to learn that wild running
gets you nowhere, if you don't look
straight ahead

congratulations

says the tyrant who knows
how to leave a blank between the two sides
arguing for the right to breathe

congratulations
say the women who have
severed victory in the name of freedom

the women who nod their heads
with the knowledge that if these heads were raised
the world will shake with vigor

congratulations says the men
who have deprived
women of their womanhood

thinking that only body parts
complete the whole
like a broken up puzzle

match and arrive
at a perfect depiction
congratulations

a boy
a girl
a boy again, maybe both

a boy with a heart of a girl
a girl with the heart of a boy
an identity so like water, lucid

congratulations, they say
those who know nothing of the stories
of murder by gender

on exile by first and last name
they deem a celebration
our pain

congratulations,
says those who hear the news late
say grace for the souls revived
because it is easier to celebrate
than to demonstrate fury.

a waiting game

it does no service
this waiting
for the grass has grown
but your chair remains empty

Brothers n blood

Don't call us brothers
when your sons murdered our sons
one bright afternoon
when the world turned and there was no one watching

how simple was the act of blood
can happen in the name of an idea
that was aborted soon
with the language of threat and danger

don't shake hands with the devils
then ask why you got burns over your arms
because fire knows its ways
to the hand that expects it most

don't say to us, bring this,
take that, ad if we only live to serve
this does not do you service
that those you hurt can erase the pain

with the holding of hands
the waving of flags, marching of bands
bullet proof cars, treated acne scars
these are the ideas left in your head

in mine, in the wounds festering
over a decade of brothers slaugthering one another
bearing words open like knives ends
to bear the weight of the world

don't call the rest of us brothers
when your sons murdered our sons
with the language of threat and danger
splitting us into territory
when we were born from the same mother
that cannot stand her ground, brothers.

Back to the chaos

One word, unleashes
the thousand questions and one
a hurricane in the brain

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Do not save them

You are not born a woman
for one reason, to hatch an egg

to make of someone a human
you are not born a woman for a sole reason

you are not born a woman
to make meets end or to make ends meet

your body is not a bridge
to be trampled upon where they cross but you stay

so you are not born a woman of service
saying yes and no like you would exchange old cans

your words are precious
made from rare gems

you are not born woman to reap
what others have planted in your absence

to make you claim bad crop
worse confusion by the tongue

you were not born woman to be someone's hero
only mother, wife, handing over dreams for your life

you were not born to save someone
don't let him tell you are a savior

First rain

falls gently like it's not seen earth
falls urgently like children's laughter
the first rain that patters over my head

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

recreate yourself

Like an old rye that sheds its outer layer
recreate yourself
after death

prayer

How many times do we have to resort to Orthodox measures
to clear out the air
these unorthodox ways;
the gin in your lap,
the lack of prayer over my lips
this destiny.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

An agreement

Has it occurred to you, she asks
the many times you have said: me too,
in a single conversation with him,
the boy with the dark eyes?

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Son of the Original Sin

You will expect long hours, sleeplessness 
insomnia befriends those who haunt the witching hours 
you do not expect your toes to feel frigid like frozen shrimps
you already cover yourself well with a history

Read the rest here: http://visualverse.org/submissions/son-of-the-original-sin/

Meditation

I look into the olives
that have not yet fallen
even after the leaves of autumn surround the grounds
how strong can you latch on
when the world lets go

Another half

You talk about yourself as whole
when others insist you are fragmented, a half of a lemon
a halved moon, an incomplete dent

because you do not have a trail that runs behind you
like a school of ducks
running with small feet toward the water

as if the things that stand on their own
cannot be compelte
when was the last time you looked at a tree?

full branches, leaves, bird nests
bird song, water
you can stand tall and be whole

you contain more of the universe
when you stand upright
because you know you can bend without breaking

into a million little pieces
that scatter like glitter facing
the wind

you are aware of the effects
of lonesomeness too
the longer nights, the unending realizations

that you can be part of the day
without being an active ingredient
in the making of the every minute

yet you cry
for the days that are wasted since they drag
like long unfiltered cigarettes

leaning over the view of the river
you will note
you can be the current and the overflow

just wait and shut your ears when you hear
talk about someone to complete your life
to be the other side of you, like a flipped coin

a question to the skies

Is it still blue and dull
the sky that receives my open hands
every single day?

my freedom, my cigarette

You said my freedom ends when yours starts
a common misconception
wait then till I finish my cigarette, love

Father to son

like son, like father
like father, like son
like the sun in the sky
this sin, this son who sins
like father, he sins,
like father, like son
like the sky, like the sun
evident, this sin
passed from father to son

Misfortune

You discover late,
the door that closed
was left open for a long time

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

After bravery

So much depends upon your poise
strong and tall over a white white sink
when you pour blood that washes out with water
after bravery

Saturday, September 23, 2017

the other face

Empty tissue boxes,
syringes with caps left open
the prose sleeps in between dosages of medication
this is the other face of illness, no one sees clearly

We talk

I tell you how to fry an egg without burning it 
give you direction to the folding of t-shirts and the saving of old pots 
teach you over distance how to carve a perfect apple 
how to pick your fights
how to assure you never lose your wars
all that you could have learnt had you been a sunshine 
through the family home, brother

the power of three

There is something about the power of three items combined
a reason behind faith and magic:
three stars aligned in the talisman around your eyes
the trinity of holy, sacred and sinful
gathering like a storm that finds its end before it begins
the after thought that by omission
a grand touch of breeze will find you, near the river
with three books near you, with your hunger
gnawing at the power of trinities

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Gone this autumn

This autumn, falls quicker than I can master
the young hairs, fresh like dew
the oldest of friends, all departing for lands with longer winters
the epiphanies of a homeland, that awaits trial by errors and worngdoings
the chants of my lips, the wait in the music
all with the leaves,gone this autumn

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

the evil eye

An eye that winks
with the reverence of a tear
can also sting with envy

Take my eyes, friend

Take my eyes, friend
I will be able to show you how beautiful is broken

into little pieces of light colored scarves, like whispers
floating through the air,

Take my eyes, friend
I will be able to show you fear in different forms

how the house my grandfather lived in was broken into one night
in his eyes, as he departed, the sunshine broke over the grey sea

the sea where we swam
where we swore on our bodies, we shall be back, one day

take my eyes, friend
I will show you what it means to learn to dance for hours straight

yet still be awkward about the thousand ways
a woman is supposed to cross her legs

with decency, with vigor, with pride
without showing too much, or too little skin and stone

take my eyes friend,
I will take you to where a woman stitches pieces of tatreez

together, black background and red thread
one for blood, the other for those dead

take my eyes friend,
for my broken is beautiful
for my fear is accepted
for your love is redeemed with the wave of a hand to beauty.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Teenage love

Your old violins,
a long black overcoat that lines your features

your imaginative ways to make me smile
a turban wrapped to heat your bald head in the winter hours

 your new cigars
smoking breaks between the instruments and the music

always sweet,
the exchange of note to voice, of symbols to music

your hands and fingers
made razor sharp by the incision of strings

Nowadays, your violin weeps
for another woman while all I can do is hold to memory

On my back

We want different things from this life
I don't want your lame limp arm,
the one with the ring on its tips
on my back

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Wakefulness

Hard to be awake these days
when the night-time is a blessing
alcohol, dreams, your soft lips

Pride

To stand up tall, in shoes that you realize
fit perfectly your ankles
the satisfaction is pride in its glory

Sadness in a tragedy

Can we be sad, you question, on tragedies
that happen away from our own?
humans trailing wheat from their burning fields
why do you keep questioning what has rightfully been, a reality?

Slain by nostalgia

An old movie, a new friend
there is a shift between the new and the old
between, we are slain by nostalgia

Sunday, September 10, 2017

A good read

Some things are harder to read:

A book in tiny print
a hand for care
a few coffee grinds, for destiny

Kindness

The orange on my desk
peeled
instead of these chapped lips

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Class II

The notion that I cannot touch your hand, or whisper what I want in your ear
these days with modern technology and old-fashioned brains
makes me worry, for our future

Class

Every time I walk into class
I realize how well educated I am
how little I know

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Practice

Practice what makes you stand still 
the silence 

Practice what makes you shiver 
a dance in the rain 

Practice what scares you
be alone

Practice compassion 
be for others what you are for yourself 

Practice giving
by receiving unexpected patched up desires 

Practice wellness 
to receive good fortune, is it not how the world works? 
I open my palms, and this is what the fortune cookies tell me 
what do they know of this body? 

Anniversary

Do we need a reminder on occasion of the passage of time
a month, a year, a day,
we grow older yet nothing much changes except our skin
the way we spell our names, the way we make for others space in our stead.

You smell like roses

You smell like roses
red red roses
stolen from someone's backyard.

A stranger's hug

In place of a celebration
of self-made misery
you receive a stranger's hug

closing the door

Close the door
there's power in things slammed
said the seer who lost her eyes to an accident

Monday, September 4, 2017

soul search

We are impatient these days
searching for our souls, as if it will be granted, a reserved finding
in speed and haste we wander

the answer we get is computerized to our value
error 404: not found

Laundry hanging at the end of August

Put the linen away from the sun, less it fades
the colors evaporate to their eternal mother
sunshine and terrain

dust particle on your exposed ankles
exposed knees bending over the basket
watching behind you for a glaring eye

a red eye my teta used to say is an eye that wants no good
yet quiet not envious or jealous
a red eye is a difficult eye; clouded by short-sight

lift the blankets over your head
it is fine if you do not see where the line meets with the sky
because your garments are presented to the world now

exposed, sun kissed,
the details of your life as you do your hanging
your hand is soft but you hand with firmness
old t-shits, socks, and crucified lovers never thought of again

the trumpet, your back-garden

The trumpet in your back-garden
a horse neighing
into the night

end of summer, by the shore

The sun takes half of my youth
yet the remainder
is swept over the high tide

To lift the guilt

To lift the guilt of the lazy days
I keep track of the things undone
with the surge of hopeful tomorrow.

Reference check

watch how you refer to your own body
the language you use for the ears
the speed you cater for the tongue
the darts you keep for the eyes
the remainder, flesh on flesh
skin; soft like almonds and sweet like honey
watch for the references you make to your own body
cherished, but like an old dress in the back of a closet
forgotten from day to day

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The scarifies

A ram was sacrificed in the desert
but we say, why do we have to keep this tradition
of killing to live and let live the fury in us not God-sent
not God-granted or given by name or forced in action

relentless is the blood that pours and this anger
that frequents the borders, where no man walks freely
and the women live to serve
to only serve

tadhiya is scarifies, but the weight of the word is different
to average listeners, it can mean anything alive meant for death only
to us it also means a life-line
left following other people's dreams instead of our own

a ram was sacrificed in the desert in the place of a son
but why do we keep killing our sons and daughters in place
of rams in the desert, we are not tribal any more
we claim to be civilized instead in this clear mindness.  

The writer says to me

I enjoy the sound made by your keyboard
typing, there is a strength in clanking
the sound of your voice, the weight of meaning
in your words.

the secret

A secret
is a phrase shared
between the folds of a soul and another

Bow, bow

Bow for he is passing
the one that separates his shadow from the wind

too high for comfort, his laughter
inappropriate for red carpets and high walls

bow, bow
empty the street bellow your balcony

vacate from cars and all animals
divert the traffic too, preferably

for the shadow of those who break us
cannot simply mingle with the shadows of those like us

bow, bow
for he is passing

the wind, his shadow
those who have final say in our voice

a point of light

There is a point of light
that gathers within dark spots
its is called a heart, most of the times

The notion that you are not enough

is strong like a hurricane that tips off
a tree that has been aging like old wine

the notion that you are not enough
finds you on the days you pray most to be seen

like a shadow, it follows you
because it has been born and bread in you

these cells that carry you over
the drag of days that prolong

like the illusive nature of today
that is is part of yesterday and a part of tomorrow

the notion that you are not enough
lifts you like a storm would a tree

from its roots makes you
turn like a fire to a wick

Construction

Like building blocks,
it is made slowly
how one speaks in different voices
yet sounds bluntly the same

Saturday, August 26, 2017

news, cables, doves

What news, can these cables give me
that the dove has not yet whispered
to my lonely ears?

An apathy to shapes

I no longer care how shapes define me
look closely, the earth is round
yet it behaves as if it is a linear arrow

the undercurrent

Like an undercurrent
pulling over a log of wood
change does not wait for oxygen

Basil leaves

Your lips are leaves of basil
when they part
the aroma is all I can take in

Monday, August 21, 2017

Easier to let go

It is easier to let go
if you do not have power to see the dream 
before your eyes like a realized tomorrow

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Immovable

this repetition is immovable
this rendition of words and works is immovable
this speedy act of reassuring the voice gets to you
is immovable

immovable is this repetition
immovable are the works
immovable is the act of voicing
yet it moves you

Estrangement

to walk with a head in a cloud
with feet on the ground
a higher vision and worn out shoes

The last dance

is always longer than expected
with feet turned out toward the final port of goodbye

with emotion, the very minute before breaking
into two different bodies

this is the effect of finality that there is a line
as evasive as the horizon

yet always present, a mad turn
like a fish outside of water

a moment that will run out but is sensory
enough, left skin over hands, hair falling on the shoulders like waterfalls

a move into the direction of sound
a body breaking over another that is departing

there are things we do for pleasure
ones we never speak about when we have a chance to redefine fun

a swan's song in an overstretched winter
is only an attempt to break iced-over waters

I cannot help how my feet greet you
it is the heart I keep worrying about on daily basis

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Discountinued Writing

As if with chains of punishment
the words leave me 
when I try to resume writing years after abandoning the pens

Friday, August 11, 2017

A brief history of genealogy

compact like sand grains in an hourglass
the minutes you spend narrating a story of an origin

like sand grains the voices are now
closer to being characters than people who have once hugged me into life

you say, gently with the peeling of beans:

one came with the eastern wind from where others are now escaping
the land of good food, merry afternoons and Palmyra making space for other civilisations

another came from the land of wine, vowels, warm suns
Roman ruins without retaining the language only short sleep and merriment

a third descends from where the cedars converse with God
on the matters of ordinary men and women between day-light and sun-down

the forth was birthed where I am standing,
surrounded with olives trees, dust, sunshine and struggles

binding is this difference, conflicting is this fear
of letting it go to waste; that beauty, that richness, that spirit

hard to tell, I lean toward the western sun,
teach myself to rewrite my contradiction like an old useless chapter of a long book

all this, then runs in my blood
of this genealogy I inherited the fear and a traveler's will

a bird has no roots
irrespective of its wings, it has, a home.

freedom from the questions

when you do not ask for it
it arrives,
freedom

a midsummer nightmare

Not detailed like an apple spiraling down on me
in various sizes, or a car driving off a cliff into the oblivion
my nightmares are simpler these days;
I dream of dancing with you

with the same intensity after chasing three snakes away
letting one bite out my ankle
with poison in my veins
I dream of dancing with you all night.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Literary canon

Shoot out of the base
those works you tired your eyes
reading at luxury in your bedroom
this is the literary canon you are trapped in;
half of what you are, half of what you read.

embracing freedom

Embracing freedom
with hands instead of worn-out wings
is bear-like, soft and dangerous

you evade me

with music, as if running away needs its own track
what lies you have gifted yourself the chance to trust

with silence, you greet the day
for the lack of noise can clear what remains of the eclipse in you

lunar, a temperamental evening
with art, you evade coming to terms with your smile

they call it survival's guilt
this compelling need to redesign yourself

with all this movement
will there be  stillness? I hear you ask

in the heart of the mountain

Situated in the heart of the mountain,
not quiet the valley,we wait for the glow of the first star

night repaints the evening as your face
tells a story of finding footing

we walked down from the hills 
into the valley without seeking water 

without following a light 
as if water is always our beginning 

men, women, animals searching the hills 
for our dignity to restore the shame of our forefathers 

we looked and found the heart of the mountain 
in a valley

I nod, rest my head on your shoulder
look outside of myself for answers

among friends, among faces, among the rocks
that make most of the hills we call mountains by negation

but the sound of my voice has been lost with the laughter
emitting from the glowing embers and the friends who say goodbye with a smile

goodbyes are a lot easier these days
accompanied by promises of the world getting smaller  as we grow older

between the wine and the kanoon, our bonfire
you sit, back-turned over  knowing that the minute you sought another

the one you left behind stopped respelling your name
with ash and embers on the rocks of the valley.

Reference to shame

You reference shame in the midst of summer
the same way you reference cold
with a shudder, as if cold should always be shy 
of its snow 

Restoring faith

is a long process
the restoration of faith

it means there was a loss somewhere
a tie severed, yet still healing

without glue, plasters or all the stitching needed
for a possible regaining of belief

this is the thing about faith,
the power to believe in invisible wings

shielding your shoulders in big cities in the underground
walking next to you in the small towns,

this is the return of faith
you wear an old jacket that fits just right.

the hair, like a corpse

on the ground
like a dead corpse
is the hair your fingers twirled around

Monday, August 7, 2017

relative sizing

How narrow is this bubble of yours
zone free from dissecting lines
how big in comparison, is the homeland?

The right to strike

with an old bat, a shoulder that is already broken
with a hat, a head that is too stubborn to accept cover from sunlight
with a pillow, enough dreams beating sleep into place
with a group of students, new ways to change the unchangeable
with a force, the action against a reaction that tumbles like a rolling stone
with a gentleness of a hand, colors that make the sky spin into a rainbow

on burning embers

Admire, is a strong verb
one you usually give for those who leave
even if their new start includes walking on burning embers

Repainting the roundabout

Paint drips over the end of the roundabout
fresh, like a surviving ice-cream

the flowers have been tainted too,
a little red on their summer-white petals

this doesn't save you, the face-value of paint
in the morning hours, there were thoughts

about a special occasion, made for the purpose of visitation
but the paint keeps dropping without guard

they said a king was visiting,
let's paint over this city;

repaint our tears
repaint the tank tracks
repaint the lovers night walks
repaint the tainted ugly faces
repaint the lack of air
repaint, let the red paint drip over the flowers.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

a debate

A tone higher than mine, yours 
at a discussion, no party wins
why then, the fury

Friday, August 4, 2017

the leap

Leap, you said
from a high-building onto a ground soft
like cotton

it is easy, for those who are assured to speak
eloquently like you did that day
when you spoke of faith

Alien to the norm

Like a broken record 
alien to the norm
this is how you sound, writing in a language 
you were not born into

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Learning new letters

You ask me to read the letters you learnt once
but failed to retain, presently, with effect

I spell out the words for you to no avail
there is no use making up sound in a language your heart doesn't speak

I ask you once more, for a reason the threading broke
in your voice to no avail

you answer me with reason
say, the guns poured over my notebooks
when I was just in the sixth grade
all I had was holes in my letters

Good in a city

There is nothing good that comes out of a city
when its sons and daughters 
sleep in rags, with empty stomachs 

in a suitcase

it is hard, you tell me
the different ways one has to fold
a homeland and stow it in a suitcase

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Thobe

Left in the closet,
hanging between my grandmother's tale and my rush to greet other faces
is my Thobe, a dress hand-stitched, with loss and love.

Not sorry

that I broke my hand reaching out for you
that I lost my tears for exchangeable gas, I couldn't help it
that I cannot feel the slightest remorse that one day you could have been
that grief does not take me over any longer, I cannot help it.

Shades of blue

What was Azure, you ask me
I point to the sky; it is summer and all clear
tell you this is how it reflects over water
the weather

you ask me further
how it makes me feel, this shadowing of sky and ocean
like a fairy-tale, I answer
a good start of one, at least

this is how we communicate
these days, on the sky, on colors
on a basic shade of the rift that was
where fish once swam between us

carried over-broken food for small finned daughters
how does it feel then, when the sky turns Celeste
another shade of the same blue?
like a gap is closing, a start of a fair-tale, a good one this time.

Beethoven, Havana Style

there's something like a late blessing in music
a tie, as if from a blue silk thread, weaving the heard 

the left behind. How do you play Beethoven, Havana style
Timba first, a flash of a dancer's rhythm in the steps 

you stop counting, falling as it may, 
the effect of the notes dropping in an empty studio 

but you are one blessed with a full heart and an explainable desire 
for listening to the noise of the city 

as it exhales at night, Havana, hub of the imagination 
this is it, then, how adventure gets written 

with a trumpet, with a soft beating of a drum 
no one can hear but an experienced night cat: a dancer 

tiptoeing on a melody, maybe this is all we are doing 
perhaps this is exactly what Beethoven would have sounded like 

having not been born with a pierced eardrum 
with stripped skin and less aptitude to genius

maybe a little drumming called the gods once 
will awake with the trumpets, a jazz at the edge of the night 

like swords clashing, like bodies fusing together 
in response to the late blessing of music.  

Friday, July 21, 2017

Short statements

I do not know, such a short statement
for a woman
who spent her life buried in books.

recycled

if what you give, automatically comes back to you
why then, do the clouds only give us rain?

we have been playing all our cards wrong
but keep receiving good, like packages right on our heads

if you hear someone call you in their distress, and you answer without screaming
why then is it that you receive a harsh conversation with a soft voice

not all of us know how to arrange our words best
for those who cannot take in the noise and our frenzy

if your song is not music to someone else's ears, maybe you have an ill-fitting voice
it is not you who should be held at fault with the misalignment of your notes

yet still, you can control the temper by which your force the notes
out of you, like stars lining the sky

if you go the distance but fail to arrive back on time
because the road was longer than your feet anticipated

allow yourself a break, the body gets worn out
like little rocks eroding with time

if you do it right, things come back to you
full circle

On the news, the streets of your city

On the news
the most familiar streets you've walked
the grocer's, the post-office, the place you fell when the school-girls laughed
the bookshop, its glass doors, it will all look different
with the same intensity, it becomes foreign

on the news, the most familiar streets in your city
become alien, when the tanks start moving in.

Canary song

Your voice matters
he tells me, this is why canaries are locked
they sing only to the nearest ears, out of the bars
can listen

Pandora's box

held the world's ills in her hands
a young woman without complaint, brushes
the blood out of his torn shirt, give her the name of a thousand
nightingales for she can stand to carry a weight so heavy
there is something about opening
the box, who knew how many demons could pass
through one human heart and leave it intact?

Ask Pandora if she dares answer,
tongue turned inward by fear or what was left unopened.

Breaking bad news

Why does the wait between the pebbles that line the street
seem so important, now that there is a secret in the chest?

insignificant details, it is true,
reasons why we lock secrets in our chest area to begin with 

is it because the heart is already in a cage?
isn't that enough already?

but this is the effect of waiting
it has its moments 

the insignificant details of uncertainty, 
like the number of cola caps found on the street when your head bows

in prayer as it does in fear
for there will be a tug, heavier than you when you sit 

between the certain and the uncertain 
aware that at a minute's request, it will condone, 

the fear of yours into minute pieces of information 
always delayed  at your risk and your order

this is why we delay the break of bad news
out of fear that good news will not be able to turn around the corner

to come find us when we least expect it. 

Mindless repition

How do we avoid mindless repetition?
asks gently
the echo.

the call of the free

Whatever freedom says
I answer her shortly
no one knows of the power left
in the pigeon's wing
after it was released from the knife at their edges

a July sunrise

July, is a tired eye,
wedding bands and reflections of lonesomeness in the mirror
the older you get, the easier it becomes for you to forget
how the steps change from a skip into a slow paced walk
there will always be time to think in the heat of summer
to leave feeling for the change of the season
the weather, the possibility, the end meeting of July

July is a tired eye,
that sleeps less and less in the dog days
but it is watchful eyes that scan the world first
like rays of sunshine hitting the roofs minutes after sunrise

The calendar, a reminder

On the wall
a calendar, besides from its clock sister
does not give mercy
you need reminding that your bones are getting colder.

The truth, saltwater

The truth, he told her
stings like saltwater washing over a wound
cleanses the pain away

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

in times of desolation

Locked are the gates of the city
ones only opened by God

those who pray outside the fortified castle
hear the screams of the sinners inside the walls

those who do not pray will not come to understand
that a revelation only comes if you kneel on hard stone

skin in the night, not glowing
prayers never soft or slow

locked are the dates of the city
ones only opened by God

try as you might, the faithful can hear the sinners
murmur under their breath, that only prayer works
in times of desolation, like these minutes.

refusal, by poetry

I refuse
the poetry by negation
it is what I have not, that keeps the things I have at hand

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Imagine the voices

As you sleep covering with the night
in the old house, stones borrowed, one after another
from the mountains that crumpled by invasive steps
like needles taken in a healthy body, for a double-check up measure
imagine the voices of those who carried, those who built
as you side with those who destroyed
know that my grandmother's back almost broke at eight years old
atop a mule riding to safety, while my grandfather, sixteen
rode the waves to the all-lit city to flee
so you can sleep safely, imagine the voices of those who died standing
were robbed a chance of sleep, where you now lay your head.

A state of mind

you discover it late, in your books
between the trinkets you collect as you go
it was apparent, yet lacking, like your middle name
a new way to smile, a different direction to your feet
a larger expectation of the sunshine on your face
freedom, is a state of mind

a traditional arrangement

Perfectly round, your ring
he places on your hand, 
you still don't know how to react to love 

do you pull away, or do your fingers interlace?

The photograph

On the living room's wall, your photograph, 
the day you graduated, well framed, twice the size of mine 
behind it I'm in pink on my day, 
mine is small and blurry, brother. 

Aphrodite's island, this night

Aphrodite
born on the rock, off a cliff
it was not a dangerous labor to be born over water

to have earth and the cold sea
at your feet, yet still be beautiful
with a piercing heart

divided is this shore
that once belonged to her Aphrodite
cut out with an invisible thread that was once her hair

emulate good women,
this island sinks in olive groove, silence
the sea echoing a siren song that divides
makes whole the seashells.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Grace

This is the state of grace
that things moving backward
find the clock handles ticking forward
a cuckoo bird singing, it is already morning.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Upon returning

you note how your absence is the same as your presence
enough of old fashioned items, same bed, same pillows
nothing changes but you, you breathe a bit wider and smile a bit longer
because in your step forward, it has shifted
all that keeps you standing still.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Fallen over

Fallen to pieces, your favorite mug
these hands, shook at your voice
I apologize, for the ruins

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Calling the other side of the country

we call each other, voices tittering, cyber hugs
before I reach you; I think you are like me,
ordinarily sweet, brown-eyed, olive skinned,
unlike me you'd have sea-salt in your eyelashes
a crush kissing the brown bow you use to wink to men

lower shyly when a friend is around 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Sun-struck

It was called Ra, once
the day the pharaohs discovered
what burns you is sent from above

Ra, a sun upon my head this morning
I do not pray nor believe in the past life
just this present that I can barely handle

handles tied to my waist, like a bicycle
we would march on,
toes-in-sand, like land-crabs

there is a sun over my head today
that burns slowly, responding Ra Ra Ra
like a wave that bounces of the shore
and comes to greet me.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Celebrate

Celebrate,
not with blood nor with old guns
the arrival of a new moon and the fast is now done.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

G, lies softly

between lads, lie, softly,
like a waterfall that is loud to hear yet oddly sensory

like love, be forceful
an indentation before speech

between the dance-moves become
a pain dried up, like a well that hasn't seen rain

like dewy grass, attend to the possibility
of containing little things; laughter and bugs, children and adults smiling

sailor, you are, between the lost lads
waves lapping on tomorrow relying on yesterday

you become tongues unspoken and bottles unbroken
not sealed or sent to perfection but a space

to find possible this leaning forward,
that prancing, that dancing, the friendship that stays.

Friday, June 23, 2017

excuse my absence

excuse my absence, for it will be
lacking words, chasing a silver cloud
that has gone too near, yet too far this summer
a shooting star that fleets by unknowing of its own end

I write in backward letters yet think straightforward
why do the sounds take longer to leave me?

excuse my absence, for I will be riding a wave
thinking of land, whispering a bohemian dream
to those who can sleep while listening
to fury the same way they do music

excuse my absence,for I will be looking into a magnifying glass
at the grains of sand.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

this fear of the past

like an ant, is the fear of the past
quiet and persistent, like an ant
climbing a chain-saw reel

your bike

In dirt and half paved roads
it spins quicker than my heartbeat
your ridiculous blue bike.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Seen, with others

Do to others the same that is done to you
like help, remove dirt from their eyes
to make clearer, their vision

Monday, June 19, 2017

like salt

Like salt, dissolved into everything
went missing,
three children and a man who cause so much laughter

Foam memory

What's better than a sleep
a restful bliss in the night
deprived, are the insomniacs

what's better than this body
your one own true house
to take you in, to let you be?

slowly, it descends onto you
the night, masterful player
of what you are and what you will be

I know myself by keeping time

I keep time, the way a farmer looks after grains
with a serene knowledge that there will be blossom
in the spring. I keep time like grains

I keep grains like I do memory
some fresh with today's hope
some other laden with the grief that finds me when I least expect it

like watching you sleep

like seeing your body rise and fall in breath
in some other person's dream
there is a memory to where my hands reach for you

foam memory, the indentation that is left
when your body rises, that the bed remembers you
the way my knuckles fill softly the spots where your fingers should have been

this memory wraps us both
like a foam that reverts to be
not the surface of the sea

but what's better than sleep, for us, those who think before closing their eyes.

a return

 your absence
my presence, like old fashioned items
borrow, never returned
.

incomplete poetry

the words, all incomplete, half-rhymes
half lines, how do you imagine them to be whole
when the letters do not speak to one another?

Why this will not matter

Because I said to you, I will stay and lied
this will not matter

because I see myself, in a frigid city
scavenger of Za'tar to make you happy, this will not matter

because it is only secondary, to want and burn the bread
while you day-dream of the past, this will not matter

because I still write in cursive while most other type letters
to you, to them, to the universe but mostly for myself, this will not matter

because the trees have blossomed, then lost shape, then regained leaves
while I was just watching, this will not matter

because there are more dead people than one could count on ten fingers
and our death is faster than life here, this will not matter

because each time I wear my thobe, I forget how long it takes
to stitch together one life, one thread at a time, this will not matter

because I was never a freedom fighter,
even if I believed I could never live  in a cage, this will not matter

because the longer I write, the easier it is for me to reach myself
this will not matter,

because of all the times I wrote I was using the wrong pronouns,
writing to you, to he, to she, instead to the "I" the eye ignored
this will not matter

The lonesome

This is what the lonesome does
craves a hand to walk with to the end of the road
but sits firmly to watch the others run in good time

Visiting Darwish, once more

Under the willow, is his grave,
I point to the butterfly effect that the shadow drops over 
where the tree meets the top of the stone

sleep. sleep here, eternally
for how many women have lain braids of their hair and peace 
onto your body? 

sleep and rest, poet 
with you words and old poetry, 
a smell of a woman with braids of wheat onto your body

under the willow is his grave 
but in the room is his passport, old and torn 
letters of love and letters of disappointment line the walls 

what lines line our day with words 
all known, that lead into nothing
everything real will go too

the record plays his voice when he had left 
somewhere between death and live, he has walked 
how slow are these other walkers!

in life he lives simply;
ate at the same restaurants 
made love to the anise strong Arak, loved the night 

sat beneath willows, they do not grow here
but out of the roots of exile 
alien, too foreign, these leaves

treat it like a shawl poet
let the braids of the trees cover you 
head to toe where no woman could now 

under the willow is his grave
beneath the butterfly effect 
I stand, pray, to return once more.

your voice

A wind sweeps past you,
this is your voice, someone says
why do you have to howl and scream
isn't music also, a voice?

Rejection, like a ring

You treat rejection like you would a fallen stone
at the bottom of the lake, taking down a precious ring with it
you know it lives outside of you, while you cannot see it
it is still there, in the deep, for the fish to swim around
scoop or glare at the glistening shine and your misery.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

a strangeness in the city

This city, holy and unscrambling
is small enough to contain us both
big enough for us not to cross paths

wishes, she said

like glue, she said, wishes are stuck to your lashes
the minute one falls, make a wish and close your eyes
I keep counting lashes, without waste

Saturday, June 10, 2017

a sense of wonder

Lifting the night, is the dawn
as I watch the city sleep 
I tie together my life, 
how long since the colors made me realize I miss wonder
the amazement at everything beyond my arm's reach. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

instead of a wall, a grey wall

Eyes shut, I can tell there were once flowers here
where there was once a street
now is just a pile of grey concrete

I used to remember
pink flowers swooshing past the islands
in the middle of the world
as if between the world and me

were those pink flowers 

it didn't change, who said so?
Don't let my tenses confuse you

there were once pink flowers, that still are, living
as if frozen, piled over with concrete
as in, a way to forgetfulness is to cement
make a base and go on from there

between the world and me
there were once pink flowers
that were, that still are, cemented 
into a wall- instead. 

this shadow of yours

With a switch of a light-bulb
it disappears, like love
this shadow of yours

Monday, June 5, 2017

call onto yesterday's light

The thrill of a slumber continued in you
like a long wait about to be broken
into two, a present minute and a past hour
this is what waiting has done to us,
the ones desolate enough to call onto yesterday's light to cure the blames.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

the city's waters

The city hasn't fallen and its bridges stand still
I recall, lost, as in unable to find myself
a straw in a old bag of beans

someone said walk the river trail
where there is water, there are others
as in, you will never get lost if you know
the source is always your northern compass

so I walked over to find myself again
a small whiteness over my skin
eyes, brown, like my grandfather
tortured three times to let you rule

and conquer, a kingdom fallen
princes belittled, but in the city I had found myself
we grew up singing to its bridge
off it, the fallen, had found the water

we were never silent
because we knew how to swim
if you follow the trail of the river
you will never get lost.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

destitution forms the night

Destitution comes in the form of the night
knocking on a closed door, a thought,
thrown around like an old song worn into vanity
contending to your shadow as a means of reflection

desire comes in the form of the night
this is a destitute attempt at shaking away
the dust that clamped its way into my ears
I cannot hear a song and this is a song for you

death too comes in the form of the night
quiet slumber and pained turning over in bed
like the sheets have the ability to swallow over
dreams painted grey with slow breathing

destitution comes in the form of the night
running onto your shadow, like an old reflection
like assuring bearable, a shade in hell
I cannot hear a song and this is a song for you

what's wrong?
have the music stopped or am I too deaf to the same old tunes?

unnecessary

this apology that does not arrive
with limited vocabulary, like habibti,
loved one, folded twice, like a kitchen towel
left on the counter to gather dust.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

a month's opener

If the new month opens itself
with better manifestation of the sunshine
does it eradicate the clouds that still float, timelessly.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Heavy

Heavy on the mind
a man left without much to eat
while I throw old apples in the back-garden's bin

The dance of war is a beautiful thing

 Dance- to move your body in a way that goes with the rhythm and style of music that is being played. The Webster Dictionary


on the floor, you move
under your steps I hear, a thousand child scream
as the bomb drops

and I remember how the longer I shivered-
I thought- the sooner I would learn to enjoy
music and fireworks as an adult

growing old is different than growing to heal
or heed to the sound of danger, a dancer

you lift your hand with the softer set of arms
without rhythm, a confused anger,
glide a blade in the hands of those who lost humans

gained power, to stand and speak
with the voices borrowed from those who were refused
the right to words or to moving lips

flaming hips, chant a mantra that is incomprehensible
to the back-drop of a celebration
kill to live and let live

isn't it the first rule of survival
those who are fit decide on those who are not?

the dance of war, you comment, is a beautiful thing
it only takes awareness and the right amount of appreciation
to the making of music from the clash of two swords

or the clash of two bodies, created from the same material
bone and skin,
breath and brain

rattle like hollow wood, tries to beat optimistic music
from lonely flutes

the dance of war, beautiful feeds on the same ground
where we stand
counting how many shoes can we donate to one-legged children

this is a result of movement,
eastern or western to the beat of music

your body shakes, it is beautiful you say,
to dance on flattened earth, you cannot tell
that there will be music, coming from the shaking ground
careful where you set your dance of war, for there were people
 there will always be, in flattened lands, old-hidden music.

The letter I wrote

Folded, in your breast-pocket
a letter I gave you, like another wrapper
left between your heart and the rest of us
who do not sleep, lay waiting for answers

Giving way...

'Or being hated, don’t give way to hating'- Rudyard Kipling

Run from the nearest place on the hills into the desert
but do not ask for Tiresias to predict rain
force an oracle when he is half-made of a snake

snakes make of the desert a home,
it is always like that, the cure is in the belly
of monsters

the monsters decide who lives
who dies, it is not up to God
anymore, decision-making is entirely human

made plausible before the first moon of the new month
a month left to God where all the devils are locked
but a few had gone astray, like normal angels would

in El-Manya you would hold a gun in your right hand
a flyer in your left, at arm's length,
pray before you act, not act and pray for forgiveness

in El-Manya, you would hold a gun in your right hand,
a flyer in the left, does not ask for forgiveness
the precision of a shot on a six year old's neck

heroic, the act of blood over bravery
made to receive
payment in ripe blood

Go tell the mothers of the children
who receive coffins instead of flowers
to grieve silently

between the afternoon meal and the dawn's call for prayer
sorrow has to wait until the word of God
settles among us

run from fear and contain another
that you are slotted 'interesting' in airports
at the sidelines of conversations, slaughtered for following

an ideal, a difference, a belief
but this is not how I was raised
not how I would expect;

a bullet from a stranger whose mother fed from my mother's
orchard, who with prayer I had showered
with love I had practiced, turning both my cheeks

where my lips caught the blow
where a son of mine died because he obtained my last name
because our names are kofor, blasphemy

blasphemy is the other side of love
where I put you down, in the name of the one who reigns
the skies, where I break your back and wish you a speedy recovery

blasphemy is when my prayer is without direction
but with aim, blasphemy is when in El-Manya
going to God means a death

of little flowers left, untended to,
where children are not sent to play or arrive at church
but later in the day, the blasphemous
stiff, yet white, like angels
fallen in the wide deserts of the pharaohs.

a tenderness

Three sets of novels sit on the windowsill
three books of poetry on my lap
your voice, in between the pages, is tender

Sunday, May 28, 2017

in this East

In the back-yard, you take the children to plant flowers
digging up spaces for the little pink and red petals
trust you are fine,
in between the shots, other children dig spaces for the bodies.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

De-colonizing my kitchen

Colonize my tongue
cut the words of my language into several pieces
but leave the kitchen counters clean of your cutlery
calming chamomile, charred fish, Falfel with chick-peas
you cannot claim the way I calm down my anger;
I chop the vegetables and the world goes still around me
better cut-out vegetables than colonized cookery.

What the eight year old said

I want my mother, she cried
the eight year old who knew that the light was coming
yet all she wanted was comfort of darkness on a familiar shoulder
close your eyes little one, let us hold you
in our minds, in your innocence, in our collective shame.

trust the weight

Trust
if I put my weight forward, on a high roof
would you let me fall?

Do not drink with a sore throat

The milk left from the Santa Claus days
do not drink with a sore throat
your imagination will be contaminated by soreness

Before the banging sounds

Before the banging sounds there was song
a dance between the screens, the stars and the singing teens

before the banging sounds was music
an escalation of notes, joyous around the packed rooms

before the banging sounds was breath
from which we all became, to which we all return

before the noise was silence
a break in the middle of the sentences and a cheer

before the noise there were claps
a wave of enthusiasm and a feeling of achievement

like a world full of chances for dreams to become real

that was before the banging sound
where the city lay by sea

where the children never needed to rearrange their names

before the war was the peace
we had imagined to be, a young boy waiving a flag

before  the banging sounds
was a belief that the breath that made us, assured we are one

before it crowds my head, I will speak
I am not made silent yet.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

subject

Three bruises on the jaw,
a burning sensation behind the eyes,
I am subjected to your muscles

Dreams, caught

Do not hang me loose, above your sleeping head
catching your old dreams, sifting in me
exposing my back to the bare wind while you rest carelessly
I am not responsible for your nightmares.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Fresh blood

Where does it generate from?
this fresh blood, not the youth, nor the old
does it, then, grow on trees?

Using the letter P too many times

This is your country
she said to me, before the map was clear

paves with poppies
because poppies are red, like blood, no

these are your people
confusing their letters

there are too many peas in the pod
but not enough to make dinner for the mother with three starving children

you use the word slanting too many times
but the ground under you doesn't slant, it shakes

there is a difference in the two verbs
she insists with a sense of wonder, as if one can predict the ends of earth

this is your bird,
it pointed its beak towards me, not a peacock but a phoenix

to rise from the fire you built with your bare hands
who told you phoenixes where mythological?

the proteas burn and they are as real as the back of your hand
touch it, I will never lie

this is your country,
where the letter P is used so many times
the softer it is on people's palettes makes it melt like ice-cream
to erase the taste of thistle on their tongues.

the poet wonders

She ponders if the natives are the color of the sky
or if the have fled the earth or become it-
I think of my grandfather, hunched over the land
watering the sky