April 11, 2018 § Leave a comment
A year passed its mark. The tune cannot swim in the air’s waves.
The melody finds itself on a book: it’s dusty, cold, and alone. It dissolves in the letters and touches everyone that holds it. It feels itself under the spotlight when a highlighter marks its limbs – it feels itself travelling again when someone quotes its name.
The tune travelled from a history of muse. Across speech, overtime, it fell in writing, and made its book a nest for another three hundred and sixty-five days. Now the tune sits in these letters, and every day or two it takes a vacation in your speech.
It whispers to you. It begs you.
“Keep the tune in your conversations. Keep the melody sung for the generations to come. Keep the music in the air prevalent, louder than despair, louder than a child’s cry and a father’s cracking bones. Speak of these letters every day so they continue to travel space, to exist in the rubble of loud, deafening, noise –talk about the muse, I beg you.
Talk about me.”
April 17, 2017 § 2 Comments
I was in a forest. I thought about life that day, and as the sun gushed through the leaves with the air’s current, I felt a breeze all over my jeans, my fingertips, up to my face –– it was cold in the middle of summer.
When the wind wrapped its arms around me, I remembered that there are more important things than success. I walked three more minutes after that realization to find something.
It was a hut – a cave – a little rut in between the woods. I was hungry and ought to let my stomach behave, so I knocked on the door. My parents taught me to be polite.
And an elderly man, who seemed like kind of a bore, looked below to see my small little self stare at his big feet.
“Oh no,” I thought.
This is how it all ends.
And better yet, I die hungry.
So the man with the big feet spoke, as I trembled and shook and my entire body froze. The words raced in my mind and all fell to my tongue. He invited me inside and I thought, “Well, I will die one day anyway.”
He made me food and sat me in a very comfortable chair. I froze once more, because they always make sure you’re comfortable before they eat you. He stirred the soup three times before serving it to my bowl. With every round I could feel my soul swing.
Soon after, I arrived home safely, went back to school and enrolled in university. My mother told me, “Honey, you will find yourself a handsome young man. You will live an honorable life as a housewife.” It sounded good, and what’s better than selflessly cooking and cleaning for a bunch of children, and the even bigger child that ought to support us?
It’s been 30 years since I met the man with the big feet.
The wind that gushes through me no longer does and my fingers are frail at the sight of those who love. The money and the pressure and the work at home –– I do not sleep anymore.
I wish I had stayed with the man with the big feet. At least I would have eaten my last treat.
March 31, 2016 § Leave a comment
Yesterday was the first time I meet an angel.
I was seated with my friend by a table that held a mountain of books, and both of our laptops. After half an hour of discussing equations for our upcoming exam, I saw two women waiting for their order by the counter. One of them had wings, and they were big –so big that it must’ve been extremely inconvenient for her to pass by the café’s entrance door. She carried them gracefully like her smile. They were blue at their core, with feathers white and grey like the sky that cloudy day. Her yellow eyelashes curled up to her forehead, and her hair was white.
To my pleasant surprise, they sat at the table beside us. I could overhear the girl with the magical wings speak over and over, and for two hours, she barely ever stopped. I could not stop looking. I did try, of course. I had to remain subtle or else they’d have considered me a creep. Behind her eyelashes were glittering stars, as though galaxies seen from a painter’s brush. I contemplated walking up and saying anything. I contemplated for a while.
After I mustered all the guts in me, I walked towards them, firmly placed my hand on the table and said, “Excuse me.”
“Yes?” they both answered.
I finally looked towards the winged girl’s friend and said, “I think you look very beautiful.”
July 22, 2014 § 2 Comments
(Found on the streets of Shuja’iyya) 21 July 2013
I am terrified. I am so scared, and as I write this down my hands are shaking, my fingers are trembling and I can barely feel anything anymore. Maybe I feel so much; I feel so much I had to run to paper to try to put these feelings elsewhere. Maybe I cannot take it any longer.
It feels as though someone is fishing through my mouth, it is as though my heart is the sea and there has been an ongoing tornado for two weeks. I am terrified. Maybe I should make this worth reading by stating what has happened, although it is obvious. It is obvious.
My cousin was murdered, he was thrown down on the ground; he was forced to kneel down to one of those men- those men with their camouflaged uniforms in green. I never understood why they wore green. Why? Where is the greenery here? They cut down all of our olive trees; they burned our farms, what more do they want? It’s a desert, and any green we had has been flourished with blood. I say flourished because the blood of our people has fallen on our ground, to where it came from, to where it belongs. My cousin knelt down and the figure in the green suit was with his companions, and… and they started humiliating my cousin. He was about to die in shame, they videotaped him and laughed. They said things I did not understand. Why do they know my language, when I can’t speak theirs? What was so comical about the scene? Was there a camera hiding somewhere, was it a prank? Mezhe? I am crying, as I was then. I am so terrified. One of the figures looked at me; he was so tall I couldn’t see his face. I could not see him. I did not want to. He said something to his mate but I couldn’t hear it. All of my senses were sucked by their infected voices, and my emotions as well, except for terror. My heart’s beating was the loudest rhythm I could hear. I think they wanted to do something with me, I didn’t know. Before they got any closer, my cousin jumped up and shouted “Orkody! Run!” I ran. I didn’t even think about it. I couldn’t think twice and I don’t know how I did it. How did I run if I’d forgotten how to pick my feet off the ground? Maybe a malak held me. Maybe an angel saved me. Maybe his soul jumped as quickly as the gun shot pierced his chest, to hold my hand – and we ran.
My cousin didn’t die in shame. He died a hero, batal, but I wish he’d protected someone worthy of protecting. What can I do? I’m only thirteen years old. I’m supposed to be dancing in the field and laughing. I’m supposed to be twirling around in my Eid clothes; everything around me should be colourful but all I see now are red and grey; I think I’ve forgotten what a clear sky looks like anymore. I imagine it was clear, and blue; maybe some white added, painted and scattered all-over. He was only fourteen. This is not supposed to happen to us. I’m not supposed to be writing this; I’m supposed to be wrapped in the arms of my mother, or my sister; I’m supposed to be comforted by them. Someone is supposed to hold me and tell me we will soon wake up from this nightmare. Where is Allah? Where is everyone?
I am exhausted. I miss my mother and I miss my sister. They’re both gone. They were stolen away by them, they kidnapped their souls. They killed my mother in 2008, and the hospital wasn’t equipped enough to save my sister when she was sick. They wouldn’t even let us cross the border, and by the time they accepted our papers it was too late, the angel of death had already come. I still remember it. I remember it all. I hate that my mind only remembers my relatives’ deaths. Will anyone even read this? Do I matter at all? I can’t keep this in me. I can’t. I shouldn’t be bitter. I shouldn’t be bitter. But I am terrified. I haven’t eaten in days and I forgot what it was like to have an appetite.
I hope someone listens. I wish to die, at least I’d go back to my family, at least we’d be reunited in Jannah. Maybe then, I can visit the Palestine my grandmother would tell us stories about. She told us that the nakba, the invasion, occurred when she was eleven. I wish none of this ever happened. Maybe 66 years from now someone will pick this up and read it. Maybe I’ll read it to my grandchildren, and the future would be bright. It would be so bright the sky won’t even be blue, it would be so bright, that when someone looks above they wouldn’t be able to, they’d be blinded. Maybe this is a cycle, it’s only a cycle. Maybe they will leave us as they left Europa. Maybe we will be free.
I feel so desperate. I am so scared. I can only find myself writing that, I can’t write anymore, what is there to say? If no one can hear my screams, my calling, over their bombs, how is anyone going to read this? Nobody cares! All who did went to Jannah! I shouldn’t be bitter. I shouldn’t be bitter. But it’s not fair, it’s not fair.
I can hear bombs a few kilometres away. It is so loud. I am shaking. I can’t feel my heart beating anymore. I should run, but I’m still writing. Maybe this is it. Maybe God is finally answering my prayers. I will not run this time. It’s not like my knees are doing me any favours. There is nowhere to run, even if I escape my mind will never forget. Hathi beladi. This is my home and I should not feel victimized in my own home. I will stand still, ‘ashen bkawem. Ana el mokawameh. We will resist.
May 13, 2014 § Leave a comment
Washing her face with cold water paralleled escaping existence if not for a second –then back, but back a little calmer, less stressed, more relieved; because every water drop streaming down her cheek would hold a minute fraction of her stricken suffering, which though seemingly unapparent, made her wish to wash her face until her arms went numb and muscles sore. She considered drowning herself in blocks of ice, that perhaps if she were to do so, her skin would turn paler than a dead man’s body, which soon she would die, but eventually the ice would melt and she’d be resurrected.
She slowly looked up and gaped at the mirror to see the eyes of a depressive’s with wallowing thoughts, one who walks aimlessly in the streets – though one would argue that such people do not walk aimlessly at all, if anything, they are all but that because they can walk alone without a shudder of loneliness, they can sit for hours in a queue without a thought of boredom; they are content with just being alone in need of none but themselves. She envied such people; they were in a state she’d only dream of reaching, a state of contentment, a state in which their existence was like a garden blooming on a sunny day; a day echoing the sound of joyful children’s laughter. The pupils of her eyes were surrounded by a brown layer stemming red netted lines; it presented a tree’s brown trunk which subtended onto the leaves into its veins, resembling the branches that cracked from her pupil to her eyelids. She glanced down to see the tap water streaming, pressed the tap down to stop it and left the washroom. She felt a little lighter now.
She then thought of how similar shutting the tap water was to people who ‘break down’; they are calm and quiet, then break as a red fire extinguisher in the street, only to be shut again and stop. It seemed a mystery to her, always, the way one would feel sluggish or sleepy after bawling or failing to defy a surge of emotion, as though it wasn’t only running or jogging that would cause drowsiness, as though the release of emotions was a physical act, that it made one exhausted. When one ‘lets go’ of their emotions their senses are all stimulated at once thereby causing them to enter a state of disbelief of their intact emotions, misconceiving themselves as insane.
She recalled a friend who lay by her on the pavement, their heads lay on the grass and feet extended to the street, it seemed a rather uncomfortable sitting though it was uncannily comforting. In a sudden his voice quivered as he found difficulty speaking, as if a task than a voluntary action. She looked at him and saw that his nose turned of rose petals and his eyes grey –grey as eyes in Japanese animation when a character is hypnotized or sad. He wouldn’t look to his left knowing that eye-contact would be inevitable, that if she were to look through his grey eyes his mind would relentlessly hand his thoughts to hers, that she would know all of the ‘truth’ he tried so long to hide. He stopped talking, and she replied with nothing, it was a moment of nothingness, a moment of silence but the sound of the wind gushing through as a breeze that is cold enough to make their skin cool but warm enough to keep them from shivering. She remembered that moment and recalled the puffiness below his eyes, his messy hair and the way his hands fumbled with the grass perhaps to distract him or as a side effect from his medication. All of his senses were stimulated, just as she has always assumed one with weary eyes would be; she remembered this and came back to her senses.
The red lines that flecked the whiteness surrounding her pupil faded, and she walked alone on the street, examining the people and feeling thankful for having washed her face—because now she feels a cooling on her skin and a relief to her eyes when the wind blows opposite her direction. She then realized that she was one of those content people because she didn’t mind walking alone, without an aim, and that even those who are content need an off-switch and sometimes the technician isn’t another person but themselves, and sometimes depending on one’s self is what makes a person aware of their being, making them whole, permitting them with their very own identity.
The weather was cool and she observed a passerby after having decided to sit back on a bench and read by a street lamp as her father would claim he did as a youngster: “Back in my day, I would go sit under a street lamp and study all night!” – a saying every parent has once told their sons and daughters, as though the streets would be packed with students fighting for the light rather than Yu-Gi-Oh! game cards. She glanced up at a man walking along the track and questioned his thoughts. Curiosity seemed to be a trait glued to her since she first asked her mother why the sea was blue, despite it being clear in reality ; if one believes it so, it will be so, until faced with an opinion other than their own, and it is then when they decide to take a decision and in sometimes, change their opinion. Just as people, you’d imagine they be someone, when in reality, if you near them and peel off the layers that covered their being as an onion you’d experience a tickling by your eyelids and a flowing of tears until you reach their core, and only then, will you know a larger share of a person – still not their entirety. She did not mind that everyone molded a persona of their own, that only a few were sincere, and even the genuine found their way of using that in their favour. She looked back down after the man passed to continue reading more of E.E. Cummings’s poetry, in hopes to clear her thoughts for space to analyze his;
since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;
wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world
my blood approves
and kisses are a better fate
lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry
—the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids’ flutter which says
we are for each other: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life’s not a paragraph
and death i think is no parenthesis
It was then that her cheeks gradated towards the colour of wine as she longed to wash her face again.
March 18, 2014 § Leave a comment
13th of October 2013
His eyes fixated on the ceiling as he lay on his bed with thoughts unraveling in his murmuring speech. A soliloquy, it seemed, since he was alone, and his back rose as his shoulders bent and he sat hunchbacked, with his feet touching one another, mimicking a frog, as he held them and bent towards them as a child. It was his way of spilling the thoughts after he spoke to himself, like a tea pot. After a minute, he rose again with his back upright and stretched his arms to the furthest it can reach as his hands and fingers moved slowly forming a fist which further unknotted into a welcoming form of a hug.
He held his head very firmly, as though imprisoning all of the thoughts he set free into his head once more, and let his hands go. It has begun, another day, another morning, the long routine: once more. All he could think about was what she told him the other day, “I thank you, for your kind gesture. You are why I am the way I am today, I don’t know what I would’ve done without you. Thank you.”, he gave in a comforting grin as his eyes shut for a split second and thought, “You don’t know how wrong you are”.
He recalls the way her eyes glow when she speaks of her love for painting, the way she brushes the colours on the canvas, ever so smoothly, making it seem like the lightest act any one could master. Yet, when he tries, he doesn’t but struggle with holding the brush just as his heart pounds and body trembles when he holds her hand. He can write, he wrote her a poem once, but he was eleven, and back then, “I hate you, you’re a girl” was his form of expressing his appreciation towards her, which was far too untrue and naive. Now, he’s thinking of writing her another one, it has been six years since then, and he only deems it appropriate to do so.
He struggles, once more, “Should I write about her laugh, that I am blessed to listen to, every time I make a fool of myself? Or her hair?” -the red strands which flow from her skull up to her hip, curled as the rides in a water themed park, auburn and brown, some strands are orange and others are a shade darker. He knew why it was her favourite colour, and why she loved the fire; it was like her hair, that which covered her skull, layering her thoughts, her mind, and it was her hair which protected her, or at least, that is what he would assume. She would cover it most of the time, but let it flow below her hat, or cap, or scarf, or beanie, or whatever it was she wore that day, to imprison her thoughts, as he did with his.
They would meet behind open doors, she would skip school and he would take another day off work. Once, her father was about to find out. Alarmed, she broke down crying, “My friend was at the hospital! She was at a mental hospital! I had to go! She was going to kill herself!” when in reality, none of that had happened, and if anyone were to go to a Mental Hospital, it would be her. She got away with the lie, as usual. Only he knew her state of dismay, the pills she had taken, and the amount of times she had slit her wrist; the only person blessed with the ability to calm her while her vision blurred and monsters constantly reappeared vividly beside her, and he would hold her tightly, “Don’t worry, it’s me, I’m here, I’ll never let go. Don’t worry, Habeebty. I am by your side.” She found comfort in his words, despite never believing him, she never believed anyone for that matter, including her own self.
After a hot shower, his mind fixated on what to write about. He dried his hair and wore his glasses and began typing, until he noticed a red light on the side of his screen. It read, “I cannot do this anymore. I hate them. I am going to kill myself.” He felt the diaphragm that defined his chest sink closer to his lungs, and quickly scrolled down to read the following messages, “Fahad. I cannot do this. I am sorry. I am so sorry. I am so so sorry. It is either I kill them or kill myself, and I’d much rather die and get out of this hellhole as soon as possible. They are not letting me go. I hate them. I am so sorry. Tell my little sister that I am sorry. Tell her I traveled. Make up something. You know how to lie. You’ve lied to me many times. Good bye. Good bye. Do not miss me. Hate me. I am horrible. Bye.”
He found his fingers typing away, “ARE YOU THERE!? REPLY TO ME. PLEASE. DON’T DO THIS PLEASE. REPLY TO ME. DON’T LEAVE I BEG YOU PLEASE”, he has never begged anyone for anything before, let alone beg them to reply. Tears were streaming down and flickering below his chin, on to his thighs and neck, it was either he could not feel anything, or that he felt too much. It felt as though he had woken up without staring at the ceiling first, as though all of his thoughts were escaping the prison bars he had confined them in, and others were entering. Chaos. His legs shook up and his fingertips pressed her name on his phone to call her more times than he can recall, he called, and called, and his feet ran, out of the apartment, drove his father’s car, despite not having a license yet, with the target of reaching her.
Thoughts flooded his mind as a tsunami, slow at first, then all at once, fueling the blood in his fuming veins with escalating temperature and open sweat glands.
It was sudden.
He was too late.
18th of March 2014
I am that boy. I have loved you since my eyes glanced at yours, a blink, you looked away, but my glance lasted longer, a stare, until you approached me. I remember the golden ribbon tying your hair, and the black dress you wore, with the red shoes. As beautiful as always. I write this now, certain that your eyes will not see the word which follows this one and the one preceding it. It has been a hundred and fifty six days since you left, and I love you, as I always have, and I will continue loving you, the thought of you is enough for me, it is an ineffable feeling. A lady confessed her love for me a few weeks ago, and she said she was envious towards you because you are all I speak about, just as I would when your body was moving above the soil. She insulted you and I never spoke to her again, and I never will. I cry everyday now, I remember when that used to be your ‘thing’. Maybe we switched places, I don’t know why I haven’t ended my life yet, I want to meet you again, as soon as possible, and that seems to be the only way. But, I feel your presence, beside me, within me, deep inside my chest, where my heart lies. I love you. I write this and I do not think of editing it, you always liked things to be ‘true’, you would always read my drafts, before my final draft, and you’d always praise the drafts. I never understood that, but maybe now I do. I do not feel the need to use any ‘pretty’ words, the very topic that is you is more than enough; your beauty is evident even in your absence. You told me to hate you, but I wonder if you meant to love you, as I did, when I was eleven and wrote you that poem.
I am not going to ask you why you did it, because I know how your father treated you. I only wish you had come to me, and we could have run off with each other, as we would from your teachers and my employers.
I miss lying on the green grass beside you, staring at your eyes as your pupils widen when you speak of what you love, with your hands unraveling as mine do when I wake, and your hair spread carelessly as a pillow for your head to rest on. I remember forcing you to taste my favourite pizza topping, you spit it out and we laughed wholeheartedly. These moments seemed insignificant back then, I would think that the nights when we would open up to each other mattered the most, but it took me twenty seven days after that Sunday to realize that every moment with you was of significance. I write this now and it is as though I am conversing with you, and I dream about you every night. I wrote the poem, and I buried it by the window in your bedroom because I worried that if I placed it by your grave it may fly away before you read it, and if I were to dig it where your grave stone lies It may touch your skeleton, and you have always seemed too delicate for me to touch, unless you would ask me to, and I wish to see you one last time, so I visit you every day. And I wish that you could hear me now, but I know you do when I tell you about my day every time I visit, except now you don’t reply with your voice. I know this all, and maybe if I end my life, I’ll be certain.
I’ll meet you in a few hours.
February 25, 2014 § Leave a comment
“Why me?” she sighed, “Why is it always me? What did I do to deserve this?” She would blame herself for what has happened a decade ago, and fed her mind with negative thoughts until it overloaded, as sugar would saturate in a cup of hot tea. She loved the sight of makeup, and would run outside of her house, into her comfort zone, into a shop that sells makeup. She would never apply it, only buy it, perhaps she would do that to pressure her parents financially, but that was not the case. She was in love with the way it would cover people, hide their so-called “flaws”; she was in love with the idea of applying a line above the eye, making one look a whole lot ‘prettier’. She loved how it represented another person, another form of a person, a form which people would relish the site of. Despite that, she would not apply it, she would only keep it and apply it on others. She would see makeup stores as a place of a second-chance, because she could buy the eyeliner and mascara, and place it in her purse and walk anywhere in the city. Her comfort zone would be an arm’s reach away, and whenever she would feel afraid, or alone, she would take it out, apply it on others and watch their features change into someone else.
It fascinated her how people could change mentally after the applying of makeup, how they appeared confident and enthusiastic, how it is as though they had unlocked a boost in a video game ; “Confident level : 2 points bonus”. She is an observer, and kept her thoughts for herself, because she did not want anyone to know what she has done.
She remembered reading “You are not special. You were simply there when it happened, life did not look at you and say “Yes, you, I choose you. I choose despair upon you.” No. It is not like that”. It took her three days and nights to assimilate that into her mind. “You are not special”, a phrase that replayed in her head as she would repeat the thought of what happened that night, over and over and over. Her conclusion was, that really, we are not special, we are but species wandering on earth, around the universe, trying to make ourselves seem of any significance ; trying to understand the plants that do not speak loud enough for us to hear, the amphibians who we only watch crawl, the stars and the entirety of the world we live in.
She started to look at her surroundings, no, not look at them, but see them. She would see the people complain “Why me?” and she would think “It’s not you”, although she never admit that to herself. The thought of it started to crawl back from the depths of her mind, down to her throat, and lungs, into her heart. The thought clutched her heart, so tightly, that she could no longer speak, and found it difficult to breathe. So she ran to her comfort zone, she bought the lipstick, applied it this time. People told her that she looked like Rose from the ’97 movie, because her lips would turn red as the blood, her favourite colour, and her eyebrows bold, as her confidence would boost a +2.
She crossed the street to the beach, her second comfort zone, with the lipstick in her bag, and abruptly fell to the sand. She fell backwards, as though trusting that the shore will hold her and build a bed for her comfort; yet when people tell her to fall for them, she cannot. She trusts the grains of the sand as they are affixed to her wet feet, and the sound of the waves as they speak to her, and wind that kisses her neck. She trusts the nature, and not the people, because they can hug, but not so tightly, and they can speak, but not so sincerely, and they can kiss with wide eyes. The thought of humans startled her, so she would shut her eyes and trust the ocean, trust that which is the most true it can ever appear to be.
This is the entity of people, they clench onto objects, like makeup, and find comfort in them. They cling on to other people and depend on them for their own well-being, they do not trust themselves, yet they trust the ants, the people, and the streets. Although when they sit alone, with the company of their thoughts, they remember, and they do not find comfort in painting these memories, or writing or singing about them, or speaking of them. They keep them confined behind the bars in the jail cell that is their mind. She said she loved history yet did not read about it, and loved writing but did not pursue it. She did, however, appreciate old buildings. She loved absolutely everything about them, the faint colour of the paint, the cracks, the dust on the side track and the authenticity in them. She saw the history embodied in their very form, and wondered about the people who moved in and out, the date, how obsolete, and, merely everything. It was the nearest to the past she could reach, making her wonder if she could ever go back, and fix everything she has done a decade ago.