Welcome to My Lebanese Dream
When all is far, and all is empty, I set sail and dock on a familiar shore, somewhere in my imagination
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Saturday, January 09, 2010
"Bra Color Awareness Month" A Poem by Me
Being newly aware
Of your purple brassiere
Fogged my mind and made me almost trip down the stair
How that will help cancer
I know not the answer
But I do know I am very happy you care
And just to be more fair
To those cancers down there
Although it may be more than my weak heart can bear
I wouldn't mind a clue
About your panties' hue
And in order to help willies and prostates too
Who knows maybe we should match up our underwear
Friday, December 25, 2009
Suddenly and Effortlessly Festive Beirut
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Christmas Angus Burger Spirit
San Antonio Airport.
Saturday, October 03, 2009
Myself, my strife, I dedicate to all others, in any way, and all the ways I can.
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Of health, death and disease and bodies breaking piece by piece
Grandma fractured her hip Tuesday at dawn. She is at least 94 years old. I say at least because officially she is 97, but circumstantial dubious evidence (a handwritten note scribbled by her father on the blank first page of an old book) points towards the former. At any rate, she is roughly 20 years past her life expectancy, and it shows. If you'd just seen her 20 years ago, dolled up and sharp as a tack, you wouldn't recognize her today. My grandma, who was once hailed as the most beautiful woman in Damascus, is a dried up, shriveled, shrunken remnant of her former magnificent self. Her brain scan testifies strongly to that effect, as does a two-minute conversation with the woman who once knew five thousand arabic poetry verses by heart. But why is it that things have to turn this bitter while one is still alive and reasonably healthy? Is aging and all the dismemberment it brings a state of physiologic degeneration? a systemic apoptosis of sorts? Nothing I perceive in my grandma's physical and mental faculties seems normal to me. Nothing. And yet, one can seamlessly attribute it all to old age. Senility. A state of generalized deterioration that inevitably leads to death. Much like cancer. Or SLE. Or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Much like a serious, fatal disease. So where does one draw the line? What is normal and what isn't? The medical profession has long treated death as a disease. But is it not as intuitive and as natural as life itself? if that be the case, I can now claim, without much qualm, that cancer, or for that matter any biologic state that leads to death, is nothing but a normal, physiologic variant, with a normal, natural, expected state as outcome. Numbers don't do much to contradict this premise. Consider the following. During any person's lifetime, their chance of developing a malignancy is 20%, a number I consider astonishing. Consider another, similar statistic. A woman's lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is close to 12%. A little bit like being left-handed. But one is considered disease, while the other isn't, solely based on the outcome, an outcome that is natural, expected, and most importantly, normal. Which grants me a reasonable, albeit counterintuitive answer. What is happening to my grandma is not disease. In a sense, there's no such a thing as disease. It is but a natural state whose outcome we so desperately try to postpone, short of dismissing and eliminating it altogether. Our quest, as humans, and especially as medical doctors, does not seem to be one against disease, but one against death. One towards our biggest and most persistent obsession, immortality.
Sunday, September 06, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
You're not a star
Your life is not a stage performance
And if it were, your audience stares with clouded sight
You will be judged, for too much or too little conformance
You will be scorned and hailed and loved and hated, and then forgotten overnight
You have no audience
Forget stage fright
Sunday, August 23, 2009
The leaning tower of Pisa..
.. is far from being the only one in Italy. During my weeklong tour of the infamous land of art and chaos, I saw not one, but three leaning towers. Pisa's slanting campanile, the most famous, and certainly the most ornate, and two others in Bologna. But, as it turns out, there are five other tilted edifices in Italy I did not get to behold, the many scoliotic houses of charming Venice notwithstanding. So all in all, at least eight major lopsided structures in the cradle of glorious art and architecture. You're probably asking yourselves why that is. Bad architects or bad terrain? Neither. I have uncovered the reason. When the fashionable Italian boot was finding its way through the mediterranean puddle, it was too taken by its own beauty and style to notice that mischievous Sicily was in the way.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Perennially (not perineally my dear snickering MD's) yours
I have rarely been this busy, and blogging should be the last thing on my mind, or at least the last item on my disproportionately long and overly (read stupidly) ambitious "to do" list. But hey, if you want something done, give it to a busy man. And a busy man I am. And I do feel like sharing my now infrequent mental wanderings with more friends than I get the opportunity to see or talk to on any given weekday. I don't know if this will sport the same outfit it used to, or if it will turn itself into a project, a comic for example, or a random sketchbook, or some brand of fictional non-fiction. I really don't. But I'm excited to find out. Not too excited -in the interest of shielding myself from likely disappointment- but excited enough to summon a gentle jolt in the direction of so-called success.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Mabrouk lal 3imad Slibnen. Asdi Sleimen. La Libnen.
Compared to the fiery, bombastic, retrospectively worthless speech that tripped over our infamous half-tongued, half-brained, half-principled, former half-president's tongue, what I heard from Michel Sleimen was an almost refreshingly down to earth spiel about a highly complex forthcoming mandate.
But as far as I'm concerned, and until words materialize into an altered political reality, a spiel is all it is and all it will be. This "consensus" president, the choosing of whom is a slap in the face of all democratic and constitutional principles, has a largely titular authority. All he can do is obstruct the issuing of decrees, for a mere fifteen days, and then watch them as they gracefully return to the Cabinet to get issued with or without the President's generous approval.
So, in all optimism, the recent resolution is two stitches on a wound over an abscess, and General Sleimen, well-suited and good-intentioned as he may be, is incapable of occasioning any significant change. He may be an arbiter, but a ruler is not what he is allowed, or likely to become.
Brings back Raymond Edde's words in the years following Taef, when asked in an interview whether he would want to be president. "No thank you" he retorted, "I do not want to be an office clerk".
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Obeying Traffic Lights
Oh poo. How utterly disappointing.
Anyway. Check the HK clip and compare. If you haven't yet seen our little pearl of civil advertisement, this is how it goes. A car is at a totally empty crossroad (not an uncommon sight as of recently), waiting for a red light to turn green (an uncommon sight as of, I don't know, the birth of traffic lights). Another car approaches it from behind, and the driver starts honking and yelling at the top of his lungs for the car in front of him to get going. A highly civil and respectful figure/policeman then appears, approaches the honking driver, and explains to him politetly how it is best to obey the lights and respect traffic laws, for his own and everybody else's sake. And the formerly-abusive-suddenly-model-motorist to promptly comply while, of course, nodding in agreement. An inspirational ad if I ever saw one.
The Honk Kong ad, on the other hand, is more like, obey the goddamn traffic light, you cow, or kiss your driver's license and the skin on your butt cheeks goodbye.
To my eyes, here's the bottom line. In Hong Kong, people have to be threatened with pretty hefty fines to obey the law. In Lebanon, there is no need for such disrespectful, inhumane postures. Just tell us, "bel zo2", what we need to do and we'll do it. We, the Lebanonese, as some like to call us, are civilized. We understand. And please, no fines necessary at all! Because for one, we don't believe in the philosophy of punishment, and two, we wouldn't want you to look bad begging for petty cash and not getting any. Walla anything for you ya watan, bass the situation is a bit difficult you know and the doe is not flowing. Yalla maybe next time.
How many eons do those Hongkongers need to reach our level of civility and communication? Many. I say we start counting, and maybe we'll be done by the time our model leaders come back from Doha, to bless us with even more wisdom and sense of civic duty than we already have.
Wou tosba7o 3ala alf kheir.
Friday, May 09, 2008
Definitely back, and maybe for a while
What an incredible time to turn back to blogging. Custom certainly has it that
when clouds turn black ahead and above our naked heads, we seek shelter and comfort
in most usual and unusual places, like bathrooms and corridors, words of prayer and
books of faith, virtual spaces and web pages, underground shelters and geographically remote havens of safety and calm. But no matter where we turn, it seems we always turn to one another, gathering forces, all forces, hopes, fears, bodies and minds, to face
and brave the inevitable, if not alter its course.
So here I am, after an absence of roughly a year and a half, turning my eyes and thoughts to all those marooned, like me, on the isle of uncertain tomorrows and dwindling dreams.
But dreams there are, and there will remain, finding form with the slow and heavy breaths of courage and persistence, and opening the path for new ones, always ready
to materialize of flesh and stone, no matter how idyllic, and foolishly ambitious
they may seem on the day they are conceived.
Yesterday and today, I was thrown head first in the climaxing bitter Lebanese political reality. A reality I had, until then, managed to adorn with positive spins and optimism, relatively effortlessly, despite ongoing political strife and paralysis. As of yesterday, my mission suddenly turned close to impossible. For the first time, I honestly wondered about how sound and sane I was when I decided to return, supposedly for good, on the first of October 2007. Thing is, I rationally cannot even come close to justifying my choice. Not then, not now, even less now, and possibly not in the future, although the future might hold the answer to all such queries. But I came back, and I'll stay, for as long as I humanly can.
And I'll stay, not for the lack of other options. My green card is in my hand and my degree allows me to work and thrive anywhere in the world I choose to be. I'll stay because I believe in the impermanence of juvenile, corrupt, power hungry theocracies and political systems, and the constancy of the communal, solidary human spirit when it is freed of its ill-informed, purblind obedience and allegiances.
Lebanon is an ancient land but a very young state, built on a divisive, falsely unitary constitution. The development and maturation of a political system and a
sense of nationalism that goes beyond the successive small circles of loyalty,
is a painstaking process, and blood has been and will inevitably be shed.
The likes of Nasrallah unwillingly, and unknowingly, contribute to the development of such a national identity, even if at first glance, the result seems strangely out of reach and contrary to reality. We witnessed it two years ago, when all Lebanese stood side by side, true to their country, in the face of brutal military invasion by Israeli forces. The price one has to pay to achieve national unity is often hefty, but it pales in view of what there is to be gained at the level of the nation and the people.
The reasons I came back and will stay are many, and I can wax sappy and poetic describing them, as I have done in the past. The bottom line remains simple and straightforward. Lebanon is young and beautiful. Its people are good hearted and strong, but they have fallen victims to diversity misjudged and misunderstood, and to the feudal/religious/sectarian legacies that cannot but be eventually forgotten
Many have become cynical and have lost faith, though it is much too early to surrender to grim fortune. I'm here now because I believe that my country and I will grow together, and believe me, the potential for growth is immense, and commensurate to how much we're willing to wait, give and sacrifice.
And to all who used to and will still read, welcome back to my Lebanese dream.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Sunday, January 07, 2007
On my way back- Delta's purgatory
It took me thirty eight hours to get back from Beirut to Nashville. Why I'm writing this now instead of sinking in my warm sheets and soft pillows is beyond me.
It all started in Athens where I discovered, after waiting in line for 45 minutes, that my paper ticket was missing a connection. The problem, they said, could not be fixed from there. I had to check with a Delta agent at JFK, my first stop back in the USA. Fine. I made it to a rather expeditious security line, went through beeplessly, and headed straight to the gate where the passengers were already boarding the behemoth 747 designated to take us to the new world. I, however, quickly found out that immediate boarding was not my immediate destiny. The Delta crew, in conjunction with Athens airport security, was expecting us. It seems they got word that we were coming from Lebanon. Naturally, the level of alert turned redder than a lebanese tomato, and we were lined like cattle, our passports taken from us and stacked on a table with a fancy Dell laptop and a magnetic reader, and we were taken back for more thorough searching. By that time we were already past departure time. Again, fine. I honestly don't mind being searched. Enough bad things have happened to make the world wary, and although some will object, a thirty-some old Arab male fits a certain profile and had better be examined closely. I wasn't though. I, with my bags, was subjected to the exact same lame process I went through the first time around. The eighty-year-old woman in a wheelchair wasn't as lucky though. Her bags were searched so completely you would have sworn they were checking them for lice, and she, the poor lady, was subjected to a full body search. Now if admit to fitting a certain suspicious profile, by god, what profile does an elderly woman in a wheelchair fit into? Lebanese? Paranoia is quite alright when matters are sticky and lives are at stake. But please, have a minimum of respect for the handicapped elders, and a teeny weeny bit of "common" sense, right? Quite the tall order tough, when Athenians seem to have left knowledge and wisdom snuggled cozily in the graves of those who invented them two thousand years ago, and when Americans, especially those of the Delta type, are much better if left altogether undescribed. Anyway. The plane took off with 45 minutes of delay, which isn't too bad in the grand scheme of things, though it was quite unfortunate in the lesser scheme of things where I and the many likes of I belong. On the side, and not to make things any more comfortable than they already were, Delta's 747 in whose bosom we lay, was probably built in the early to mid sixties. Enough leg room for an over-sized toddler at best, one big screen that manages to pick up glare from Polaris on a cloudy winter night, and many small screens that fit better for modern displays of animated abstract art. Plus a long, long, eleven hour flight. Gladly, it was an excuse for me to finish two books I had been dragging through for a few months now... (to be discontinued)
Saturday, December 23, 2006
On my way home
Full flight from Nashville to Atlanta. A family of eight. And Nan.
Nan: This is going to be the best Birthday ever. I can't wait to get to Indiana.
Daughter#1: Nan, it's Christmas. We're going to Florida.
Nan: Are we really? I thought we were going to Nashville! HAHAHAHA!
All the family (and me more discretely): HAHAHAHAHAHA!
Nan: So why are we going to Nashville?
Daughter#2: No Nan, we're going to Florida. For Christmas. Are you excited?
Nan: No I am not!
Grandson (to Daughter#3 in the seat behind him): She asked Nan if she was excited to go to Florida and Nan said no I'm not! Hahahahaha!
Daughter#3: Oh Nan! Hahahahaha!
Nan: I'm glad we're going to Nashville. I miss Nashville (Nan smiles. Everyone around her smiles too)
(Silence. The captain makes an announcement)
Nan: Did you hear that?
Daughter#1: What Nan?
Nan: The captain said I am not on the plane! am I on the plane? because if I am not on the plane you need to go get me.
Daughter#2: Nan you are with us on the plane. And we're going to Florida.
Nan: Okay. Good. Good. (Pause) Because I would hate you to leave me behind.
(Silence. The plane starts moving)
Daughter#1: Nan? Where are we going?
Nan: And how the hell should I know! I'm just going along..
We're all just going along. Beirut tomorrow, and like you, I don't know where I'm going.
The plane takes off, I'm strangely sad, I start reading but I quickly fall asleep. Short flight. I'm woken up by landing.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
On Israel's "Right to Exist"
Smart and insightful article showcasing a small but essential part of the israeli conceptual propaganda machine.
[...] "Recognizing Israel" or any other state is a formal legal/diplomatic act by a state with respect to another state. It is inappropriate -- indeed, nonsensical -- to talk about a political party or movement, even one in a sovereign state, extending diplomatic recognition to a state. To talk of Hamas "recognizing Israel" is simply sloppy, confusing and deceptive shorthand for the real demand being made. [...]Music on deaf ears.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Nothing's gonna change my world..
..if I carry my world with me wherever I go. Last sunday, a bird died on my porch. In my world, when birds die, it's only a chance for them to fly higher, where the claws of predators and the guns of hunters can't reach. While everything is still going awfully wrong in the world, especially the small world where I come from and the slightly larger world around it, it is sad (though somewhat comforting) to realize that in violence, we only fulfill life's most basic construct. Life feeding on life. Life the Monster. Life the Cannibal. Life's insatiable drive to propagate, and its endless capacity to self-destruct. All human rights and human laws are artifice in this ruthless scheme, the fruit of fear and weakness, of a realization that only us humans have, the tragedy of seeing and comprehending the fragility of our existence, and our inability to do anything about it, except fooling ourselves into establishing safer and more predictable systems of living, and occupying ourselves with the elusive pursuit of happiness. The bird that died on my porch was not the victim of violence, but it might as well have been. It was the victim of life, and where it lies now sure seems like a better place to fly and sing.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Some mistakes are unforgivable, even if you mean well.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
The imbecile has spoken
Who are you, miserable little fuck, to talk about what is constitutional and legitimate, as if there was anything constitutional or legitimate about you or where you are.
Let people on both sides, or on no side of the street say whatever they fancy, and let me say this; any human, animal, or object associated with this creature, and whose plan this creature supports, is an enemy of Lebanon. This excuse of a man represents the lowest of the lowest of Syria's vile servants, Syria you people, SYRIA, the government that exercised continuous, unrelenting control over our internal affairs, impunibly through the cold-blooded killing of countless prominent political figures, and whomever had the balls to publicly denounce it, and point an accusatory finger at its despotic, murderous ways.
Have some of us completely done away with their long-term memory? Since when was Israel our only enemy? Since when were the Lebanese prisoners who lie in Israeli prisons the only ones we have lost? what about the hundreds of young Lebanese men who were abducted, thrown in the cells of Mazzeh, tortured, killed and made disappear off the face of the earth? do these not count? why, because Syria is our sister, and these are internal family affairs?
Listen, I despise and abhor people like Geagea and Jumblatt, murderers who were and still are active participants in the Lebanese conflict, and I would like to see them wiped off the face of the earth, just as much as I love every last true Lebanese of all sects anywhere in Lebanon. Every last Lebanese deserves the same political, social, and economic rights as any other, regardless of their backgrounds and affiliations.
But let it be clear to all, any man who joins troops with the Syrian troll is to me as guilty as anyone who joins hands with the Zionist troll. If the political, social, and economic rights of the shiites are not fulfilled, I would be the first to set up shop and sleep in a tent with them in martyr square. However, as long as Hassan Nasrallah's posture so perfectly coincides with the Syrian archenemy's posture, I will denounce him, his wit, his charisma, his followers and his political plans, just as much as I will denounce Geagea, Jumblatt, Gemayel etc. and any endorser of the American-Israeli regional ambitions and plans.
Let him wash his hands of Syria's filth, let Sanioura wash his hands of America's filth, let there be a (I won't say new) true Lebanese president, who truly represents the people of Lebanon, and only then can there be ANY hope for unity and reconciliation.
maybe a song
it's 9:30 in the morning
the walls are still off-white
it seems i'm still here
it seems i missed my flight
i should have been
cruising somewhere in between
music and cheese steak cities
but the plane
that was to take me
just woke me up instead
and i listened to it leaving
sleeping under my bed
it's 11:30 in the morning
i'm still right where i was
under my bed
my life taking a pause
had i been early
i would be there by now
but i missed my flight this morning
i missed it many mornings
i know i did
but i just don't know how
Thursday, December 07, 2006
The plea that no one will hear
My one and only plea, to all the Marchs and Februaries and Summers and Springs, to all those in power and those aspiring to be, to Nasrallah the charismatic, to Aoun the enigmatic, to Geagea the fanatic, to Jumblatt the lunatic, to those stuck in their serails, their churches, their mosques, their tents, their visions, their rights, their demands, their affiliations, on both sides of the fence, to the Lebanese, THE LEBANESE, on the streets, in martyr square, in houses, in apartments, in palaces, in cities and in villages, down on the coast and up in the mountains, within the borders and abroad, I have things to say to you I wish you could hear.
To all of you who have a sense of belonging to this land and all of its people, those of you who cheer for Lebanese teams when they come back with a trophy or a medal or nothing at all, to those who are proud of Lebanese achievers, artists, scientists, businessmen who, against all odds, reach for the stars, and touch them, not just in Lebanon but all around the world, to all those who feel this is their home, their land, their roots, their tradition, even those who don’t carry a passport but have been part of us for long enough that they feel it is where they belong, to all of you, I have things to say to you I wish you could hear.
To all of you who stand on the edge of the mountain, in the streets of Chtoura overlooking the vast, green and ochre patchwork of the Bekaa valley and see Lebanon, who peek at the sun and the sky from between the columns of Jupiter's temple and in the eyes of an old farmer from Baalbeck and see Lebanon, who grab a fistful of earth and blood from Bint Jbeil, Maroun el Rass, Saida, Sour, Haret Hreik, Zahle, Marje3youn, Ayta el shaaeb, Ghaziyyeh, Bekfayya, Trabloss, Ashrafiyyeh, Qana, Qana, Qana, and feel Lebanon, who drive down the coastline from Nahrel Kabeer to Nakoora, from rocky shores to sandy beaches to establishments of pure concrete, where boys play with the 7askeh and swim like little fish, and middle aged men spend hours holding their sinnara, waiting for that big farrideh but not really, because they will later tell stories about it anyway, to those who stop in Batroun, Shekka, Jounieh, Rawsheh, Khaldeh, Rmaileh, Sour, who wash their faces with the fresh drizzle of the murky sea that cradles the worn out wooden boats of those fishermen looking to feed their families, to those of you who wet their feet and fill their palms with the salty blue waters and smell Lebanon, to all of you who wherever they go, north, south, east, west, take the same bite out of that man2oushet zaatar, eat the same kibbeh, kafta, fattoush, tabbouleh, samak mi2leh, hommos, baba ghannouj, wara2 3areesh, ka3keh bi knefeh, bi2lewah, znood el sett, and taste Lebanon, to all of you who listen to Fayrouz, the mijanah, the 3ateba, the nay, the zajal, the derbakkeh, wadi3, mil7em, salwa, saba7, and hear and sing Lebanon, to all of you who watch the dabkeh and dance Lebanon, I have things to say to you I wish you could hear.
I wish you could hear me telling you that Lebanon has more enemies than you think, from Israel who destroys our land and kills our people, to the Palestinians who want to make us the new Palestine, to Syria who doesn't acknowledge our existence and wants to make everything that is ours its own, to the United States and Iran who use us for their grander schemes of domination and power. None of those are our friends, none of them should be our allies. We are all we have, and we only have each other and this land that brought us together. We are all one, and if we distance ourselves from all external influences, and I think we can, we will unite, and we will see our common history, our common roots, our common future, our common land through the untainted lenses we don't yet have.
And the weak of faith who say that there is no such thing as Lebanon, that it is an artificial French construct, an illusion, a dream fostered by the Rahbani's and carried on by the wishful populace, to those who believe in ascribing Lebanon to some greater geopolitical entity that does not complement it but strips it of its heritage and identity and throws it into the dungeons of memory, they can move along to a land that doesn't have children of its own, but borrows self-made orphans to fill its sinking void. And to those people I say, if you don't believe in Lebanon, it's not because it doesn't exist, it's not because of your historical understanding or political erudition, but because you can't feel nor taste nor smell nor see what the Lebanese feel and taste and smell and see, and because you don't belong except to your own big egos and independent souls.
Let you and people like you freely choose their path. But to all of us who believe in Lebanon, let Lebanon be the only path we choose, and let's choose it together as brothers and sisters, as one people, with one purpose, and one love, let's do only that, and we shall most definitely prevail.
En'at3et Feenal 3arabiyyeh
Sunday, December 03, 2006
The familiarity of silence while in this head plays a poem, and in the background, no not the background, in the foreground plays a song that tells it like it is, silence, a beautiful garden, do you still want to see it if it looks everyday the same, yes, silence, hands bathing in the morning, hands you see and can't let go of, a song, a voice, love, and nothing else.
Friday, December 01, 2006
And I will sleep somewhere close enough to watch you and hear you breathing. On your bed, on the sofa, on the floor, on the floor of another house, of another country, even if by myself, even if ten thousand miles away.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Let there be War
I've entirely had it with the ever so inspiring 'Say No To War' and similar adages, those which magically start popping out every single time sectarian reality strikes, completely out of the blue it seems, pushed forth by tragic mystery assassinations, unresolvable constitutional crises, or a little bit of both with a berry on top. Having so far taken a tad more than I can hold, let me try and put it in plain english to the six or seven lost souls who are unfortunate enough to read this blog.
One. If the people, the lebanese people, want war, then by golly let there be war. If they cannot peacefully resolve whatever differences they have in order to live in peace on the land that brought them together, then a big juicy double-decker war is what they deserve.
Two. If the so-called leaders of this country want war, and their followers and sympathizers don't have the guts, the common sense, or the imagination to dissent and stop them in their tracks, then war is not only what they deserve, but by far the best they can hope for.
Three. If the forces that be, the meddling hands that deal the cards and call the shots, want war, for the fulfillment of a master plan beyond the modest limits of our comprehension, if the so-called leaders of this country play gleefully along to fill their pockets and keep safe their necks, and we, the people, the proud and free people of Lebanon, don't churn the very soil that carries them and bury them alive, whoever they are, then ours is the fate of rats and cockroaches in the sweet and blossoming sewers of Baabda's presidential palace. And even the most abject of wars would not want to have anything to do with us, and we would understand why. We, salt of the earth, would just bathe in our brown glory and watch the wonderfully free world from underneath, through the butt holes of Lahoud, Aoun, Nasrallah, Geagea, Jumblatt, Bush, Assad, and Ahmadinejad.
Civil wars are not born out of boredom, nor are they the work of two duds with guns acting on a whim. If after as many years of suffering and death, we still need to cry foul, and beg for there not to be a war, then we are fooling none but ourselves. Let there be war if there has to be one, let there be war, and let the country again be as crushed and tainted red as it needs to be for all the dust of hatred to settle, and maybe for a new people to be born.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Sunday, November 26, 2006
You wake up one morning, you barely open your eyes, and you see it all drawn in front of you like a Monet, you see where every red poppy stands and stretches its flamboyant petals to the sun, you see every swaying twig of fresh grass and every shadow appeasing with its cool fingers the red-brown brazing summer soil, you see the sky looking over you and all its other children with gentle infinitely blue eyes, you see the road that leads to the proud, solemn oaks, sternly guarding the gates to the infinite unknown, you see the small brick house where you will spend the first few nights before you carry on with your journey, you see the people who will be your friends and those who will be your enemies, you see your love, you see your children, you almost see the traces of your own footsteps before you even take that road, kick the gravel, and lift the dust off your path.
But when the actual journey starts, you find yourself slowly immersed in an entirely unfamiliar landscape, glazed with the uncomfortable feeling of not being, and not belonging to where you ought to belong. But you don't turn back, and you don't stop, because what lies ahead is still what you had envisioned, and you keep moving towards it, realizing with every step, of every day, of every year, that this was going to be it for you. It. No more Monet's on the horizon, but an angry, uncaring sky that mostly looks away, a difficult road with many dark turns and strange footsteps none of them your own, many dead twigs, thorns, and hungry red poppies that feed on flies, a lonely empty house with a broken door and a stone pillow, strange people who are neither friends nor enemies who don't even know you exist, loves lost or never found, loves mistaken, children unborn.
None of this is bad though. None of it is as sad as it sounds. But that's life for you. Expect little and your sorrows will be few. Dream it ahead of time, and you will leave it with nothing but a wrinkled heart, and a big, thirsty tear in your eye.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Today was thanksgiving, I had a delicious dinner with friends, the weather was beautiful, the drive was safe, and now, in my comfortable chair at home, it feels like a good time for me to count my blessings. And yet, everytime I need most to count my blessings, when I'm five times sad, and four times lonely, I forget how to count.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
i just saw this.. i just did... i can't believe it... i really feel sick to my stomach. why did i have to look outside my fucking bubble and see what is really going on in sectarian paradise. every time, every single time i feel the same wave of shock and hopelessness, when none of this is surprising and none of it is new. this time feels so much worse though. this time it was an ambush. a fucking ambush in broad daylight. brings back an awfully uncomfortable feeling of deja vu. i don't know what's gonna happen next, what kind of composure will ex-warlord leaders and their hords of supporters have to maintain in order for this not to degenerate into the all too familiar territory of civil war. i don't know. all i know is i have a pressing need to get back inside my bubble and hide from life and this beautiful world for as long as i can.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
you'll be with me, the traces of you are everywhere here, on my pillow and by my bed, on the shelves and on my desktop, in my bag, in the kitchen, everywhere, the images of you are most of what i remember, most of what i care to remember, so take care of me, i am not all that far away if you think about it, just take care of my memory for a short while, until this song is over, until the wound is closed, until we meet again on a cold, lovely winter day.
powered by ODEO
Saturday, November 18, 2006
- What do you think love is?
- It's staying on the phone for half an hour without any of you saying a word and still not wanting to hang up.
- Have you ever loved?
- What do you think hate is?
- Hate is when you are willing to ruin your life in order to destroy somebody else's.
- Have you ever hated?
- Yes, but not for long.
- What do you think freedom is?
- Freedom is when you can walk away from the thing you cherish most and not look back.
- Are you free?
- What do you think hope is?
- Hope is when you have absolutely nothing left and you still want to wake up to see another morning.
- Do you have hope?
- Our time is up. Will I see you tomorrow?
- Yes. See you tomorrow. For sure.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Monday, November 13, 2006
My name is Addae
Hi. My name is Addae, but you can call me Christopher. I am six and a half. Do you remember me? I died on the day you were born. I was outside, the sky was beautiful, a million little drops of water glistened on the brittle morning grass, but my lips were dry and burning, and one hundred flies were dancing around my eyelids and on my eyes. I did not know what it meant to be hungry, I had not eaten for a hundred days. Behind me the sun was still beautiful, cradled by the eastern hills, casting long, slender shadows on the huts and across the ochre village planes. I looked and held on to my mother's gentle, emaciated arms. She brought me close to her chest. She knew that soon I would be flying. And I was ready to fly.
Hi. My name is Addae, but you can call me Christopher. I am six and a half years old. You don't remember me. You were too young. But I remember you. The room was bright white and yellow. There were people, they were dressed in blue suits and their faces were covered with masks. I saw your mother. She was in pain but her eyes were peaceful. I did not hear her screaming. All I could hear was a soothing melody I thought I'd heard a million times before. Then you came out, and I saw you. You were very small, but you opened your mouth and were ready to breathe. I came close and we breathed together. You cried. She took you to her chest. I left because my friends were waiting.
Hi. My name is Addae. I am still six and a half. You don't remember me but on the day I died, we breathed the same air together, and I became more than a part of you. I became you. I visited you every year ever since, and I still visit you with all the children who died with me that day, who still die every day, sleeping with flies, cradled by their mother's gentle emaciated arms. So please, don't forget me, my name is Addae, my name is Kisha, my name is Femi, my name is Idoko, but you can still call me Christopher, I am six and a half, I am you, I died on the day you were born.
powered by ODEO
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Pictures of Fall (11)
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
a happy birthday
Thank you for turning around what could have been the saddest birthday of my life.
I love you forever.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Hijo de la Luna
Hijo de la Luna
(son of the moon, Ana Jose Nacho, Mecano, 1998)
Saturday, November 04, 2006
I-40 to home
... Caution CAUTION if you can't see my mirrors I can't see you please STAY BACK stay back please if you can't see my mirrors I CAN'T SEE YOU please stay back please please STAY BACK caution please stay back caution CAUTION CAUTION I can't see you PLEASE STAY BACK please PLEASE stay back... stay back... CAUTION PLEASE... if you can't see my mirrors please stay back... caution... caution... I can't see you... I can't see you... please... stay back... please... please... PLEASE stay back... ... ... stay back... ... ... stay back... ... ... ...
Pictures of Fall (9)- themes from a fall moon
Lonely, one fall, one evening, I wanted to play ball
Found no ball, but above me, I found Moon of the fall
Moon was making a lantern, a bird's eye, with the trees
Bouncing on branches, resting, dancing with autumn breeze
I said Moon, please play with me, I'm but a lonely boy
We'll have much fun together, you'll be my favorite toy
Moon said kid, come and get me, I'd love to play with you
All life's a toy, and it's early, look, the sky is still blue
I reached up, grabbed it gently, and we started to play
I played with Moon for hours, maybe for the whole day
I said Moon, you have saved me, but it's time you went back
The stars are feeling lonely, and sky is turning black
Moon said, it's been so lovely, I hate to say goodbye
We will do this together, next time, up in the sky
I sent Moon up, and watched him, climbing back to his tree
Hoping that he will turn and quickly come back to me
He did not, I just stood there, and now I'm standing still
We haven't played since then but, I know, just like he told me
Up in the sky, we will
Moon is the eye of a crested bird
Moon is resting on a branch
Moon is making a lantern with the tree
Moon is coming back to me
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Pictures of Fall (8)
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
I'm sitting in the backseat of my father's metallic grey 1972 Simca Chrysler, we're slowly going uphill and my parents are talking, but I can't understand a single word of what they say. Where are we going? we're going to Sannine habibeh. Are we still in Libnen? yes mama, alllll of this is Libnen.
All of it.
They smile. I squish my nose against the window, and I lick the glass. It tastes like vanilla ice cream. I lick it again, it tastes like ketchup. I take a deep breath, fog the glass, and quickly write my name with the tip of my nose. Look I wrote my name. Yes mama, wonderful. I know she can't read it, but I can. The fog slowly disappears and I watch the letters slowly fade into nothing. The mountain is very far behind the window, on the other side of the valley, and it's covered with snow.
I've never seen snow before. Will the snow still be there when we get there? yes mama it will. I don't believe her. I pray to the virgin mary that we will get there before it's dark, and before the snow is gone. I don't remember how long it took us to get there. I don't remember seeing the snow or touching it. I do remember that on our way back, the mountain was on my left, the window was cold, my parents were talking, and that was the happiest day of my life.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Monday, October 30, 2006
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
This year's love
Sunday, October 22, 2006
He's waiting with her in the security check line. He pulls her hard against his chest to leave a piece of her inside. She goes through security, he steps out of the line and watches her, she waves at him, he can hardly control himself, she calls him, he loves her, he turns around and leaves.
She walks out of the room wearing a sleeveless faintly glittering black soiree top, loosely fitting straight black pants, smooth, soft, shoulder length dark brown hair, and she looks more beautiful than he'd ever seen her before. He takes her to the restaurant, she stays close to him, he looks around searching for envious eyes, she says hello to the couple sitting at the nearby table, they sit down, her eyes are smiling, he's as happy as he's ever been.
She's craving a hamburger, he's not hungry but he says he is so that she wouldn't eat alone, drive through at the local fast food restaurant, she says she can feed him while he's driving, he opens his mouth and takes a bite, the trees are changing color, the trucks are rushing past them, he's like a kid and she's wiping the corner of his mouth, he glances at her, how could he possibly be driving her away.
He parks his car and walks across the driveway to get the mail, she is now boarding, he is always with her at the gate, she told him to smile before she left, he wants to smile, he finds the new yorker, he tries to turn the page, it's cold, his fingers are dry, he moves his hand towards his face and wets his finger with whatever keeps coming out of his eyes, he turns a page, now he can look for the little cartoon with a funny caption, now he can look for some fiction, now he can look at beautiful pictures of things that never were, and remember the wonderful days he will never have.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Dream a little dream
I found this object on the stairs, by the back gate of medical center north where everyday, around noon, I step out and take a relatively clean air break. At first glance, I thought it was some insect's wing. But as I ventured closer, the pouch at the narrow end of the "wing" thing revealed itself as the house of a little seed. I looked and found a few more of that peculiarity lying around. As it turns out, this wing-like object was the fruit of a small decorative pine tree kept at the back gate of the building for the viewing pleasure of visitors and employees, and had nothing to do with the flying critters I suspected at first. The utility of such an appendage to spread the seeds and perpetuate the species became all of sudden clear.
So, lots of babble to make the obvious point that nature remains fascinating in its incredible diversity, its reproducible repetitive patterns and self-mimicry, and the definitive purpose of its most rudimentary and unnoticeable elements and forms.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Monday, October 16, 2006
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Friday, October 13, 2006
This is where I like to run, trip on small clouds, fall, and stand up with little pieces of cloud in my mouth and stuck on the rugged short hairs of my three-day-old beard. This is the skyscape through which I flew to see you one very early saturday morning in september. This is where I wish I were right now. This is maybe where I will be, someday after too many suns without you have passed.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Monday, October 09, 2006
All the demons
The pain of not knowing who you are.
The anguish of never belonging.
The gripe of facing the sandstorm of your emotions as it rises through the horizon, riddles your eyes and your soul, and leaves you aching for a drop of poisoned water, for a knife to dig a path through your heart.
The malaise of being chosen by what you choose.
The agony of living.
The agony of dying.
The fear of dying before becoming what you were never meant to become.
The rage at you and all the demons you will one day overcome.
powered by ODEO
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Me courbent le dos
Ils arrivent, le ventre alourdi de fruits,
Ils viennent du bout du monde
Apportant avec eux des idées vagabondes
Aux reflets de ciel bleu, de mirages
Traînant un parfum poivré
De pays inconnus
Et d'éternels étés,
Où l'on vit presque nu,
Sur les plages
Moi qui n'ai connu, toute ma vie,
Que le ciel du nord
J'aimerais débarbouiller ce gris
En virant de bord
Emmenez-moi au bout de la terre
Emmenez-moi au pays des merveilles
Il me semble que la misère
Serait moins pénible au soleil
Dans les bars, à la tombée du jour,
Avec les marins
Quand on parle de filles et d'amour,
Un verre à la main
Je perds la notion des choses
Et soudain ma pensée m'enlève et me dépose
Un merveilleux été, sur la grève
Où je vois, tendant les bras,
L'amour qui, comme un fou, court au devant de moi
Et je me pends au cou de mon rêve
Quand les bars ferment, et que les marins
Rejoignent leurs bords
Moi je rêve encore jusqu'au matin,
Debout sur le port
Emmenez-moi au bout de la terre
Emmenez-moi au pays des merveilles
Il me semble que la misère
Serait moins pénible au soleil
Un beau jour, sur un raffiot craquant
De la coque au pont
Pour partir, je travaillerai dans
La soute à charbon
Prenant la route qui mène
A mes rêves d'enfant, sur des îles lointaines,
Où rien n'est important que de vivre
Où les filles alanguies
Vous ravissent le coeur en tressant, m'a-t-on dit
De ces colliers de fleurs qui enivrent
Je fuirai, laissant là mon passé,
Sans aucun remords
Sans bagage et le coeur libéré,
En chantant très fort
Emmenez-moi au bout de la terre
Emmenez-moi au pays des merveilles
Il me semble que la misère
Serait moins pénible au soleil
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Stuck on you
Sunday, October 01, 2006
- tsu tsu? (what do you think?)
- tsy tsu tsu. tsi tsi (a little crowded and steep. but i love the view)
- tse tsi (yeah. i do too)
- tse tsy tsutsu (and it feels like home)
- tsu tse (it does)
- tsy? (let's take it, yes?)
- tsy (let's take it)
- tsutsutsetsitsetsitsutsu (i love you)
- tsutsitsutsetsytsytsetsutsy (i love you too)
Saturday, September 30, 2006
The Last Moon in September
Her name was the night. She knew I was born to be lonely, and she came to be lonely with me. I built a small sand castle and let her in. I cried as I was leaving. But it was written that I would never leave.
She said I was beautiful. But she's the night and everything is beautiful in her eyes. When she throws her black cape over the desolate city, the spiders and the monsters hide between old bricks and under sidewalk trees, and all you see are shining apartment windows, sleepless cars, shaded lamps on old porches, and flickering red and green neon lights. She said we were all beautiful. I crawled out and fell asleep on a bed of her eyelashes.
It's the last moon in September. They say nothing ever changes. But I will sharpen my pencil and scribble a new story on a dirty wall. Maybe then I will forget all my ugly faces. Maybe I will remember who I am.
Friday, September 29, 2006
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
A wall of bricks of brown and red
A pillow on a cozy bed
A door unlocked for guests of night
A light to read, a stove to light
A chair that rocks you back and forth
A window always facing north
A tight wood roof above your head
Or one that won't leak much instead
A plant to water and to hold
A blanket when god's breath is cold
A glass to pour some wine and drink
A tub, a faucet, and a sink
A dull knife and a copper spoon
A lucarne winking at the moon
An easel, two brushes and paint
Faint background songs, but not too faint
Three drawings on an empty wall
Colors for spring, colors for fall
An osier throne weaved just for you
A queen there sitting, a queen for two
An old door with an engraved plaque
With letters gold on matted black
"My life is you. My home is you
A kingdom, or a little shack"