Sunday, February 26, 2006

My America


Back to back cookie-cutter houses hiding under small patches of snow. Wide open sky lightly veiled with a thin film of mid winter clouds.

It's calm and it's peaceful.

My America.


Back to back copycat houses with nothing but numbers to set them apart. My house is the second one after the naked ficus tree, in front of the dumpster. I took off the number and left a dirty palette, two worn out paintbrushes, and three empty color tubes waiting at the front door. But since I took off the number, I can't find my house in America.


In America, there are back to back people carrying numbers that set them apart. I came without a number, but I brought with me a name, people whose history I carry, whom I left behind, the modest country where I was born, where I was given brown eyes, brown hair, and a bag of memories that's never quite full. Here, they gave me a number and told me to keep it safe because my life was attached to it. I threw away the number, because it wasn't mine. And now, I am no one in America.


Back to back cookie-cutter houses hiding under small patches of snow. Wide open sky lightly veiled with a thin film of mid winter clouds. Stand there and watch. Them number your soul.

312-85-9921. 10000-4114-232-2375. 3103. 4011-5097-3549-4812.

Sowly numb your soul.

All is numb now.

All is numb.

Calm and peaceful America.


Blogger Ramzi said...

What I would give to be just a number right now.
I understand your frustration with uniformity, but bland can be a blessing too.

6:09 AM  
Blogger laila said...

the price we have to pay, sometimes its too high. sometimes it's learning to appreciate what you cant have least not in the innocence you did before.
surely it doesn't compare to my home in leb, which is the second house on the left with a brick roof and a lovely garden.its on the top of the hill, take a right turn if ur entering from fih, a left if from deddeh (dont take the first entrance, keep going till u pass the school), and go up the hill if ur coming from bterram.tell this to an american and he'll think u need sleep.
i saw an art exhibition yesterday for anselm kiefer. the guy was obsessed with numbers (yes he's german), 12 numbers ofcourse, "as in the apostles".

8:09 AM  
Blogger Mia said...

I feel that it is you that define America. At birth we Americans are giving numbers that are ours for our entire life and follow us even in death. However it is up to you to define what you are here and not allow yourself to be homogenized and pasteurized.

I carry with me my culture my heritage I wear it for all to see I never allow myself to be twisted or conformed. Here in New York if I tell someone the name of my street and that my house is the one in the middle of the block past the weeping willows the one with the cherry blossom in the front. They know what I’m talking about and if they don’t I show them sometimes people have to be led by the hand in order to appreciate what is different.

8:33 AM  
Anonymous aisling said...

NPR just discussed the limitations of current address systems. Apparently the helicopters responding in Katrina-affected areas had no landmarks to reference, highways were underwater, etc; and they relied on GPS information to find people.

Maybe I should only put GPS coordinates on my next party invitations? :)

Seriously though, consider the meaning of "The World" card (tarot trump XX)..."define the parameters, and dance around them".

9:48 AM  
Blogger Fouad said...

Bland can be a blessing too? not to you ramzi it can't.

Laila, I think the directions you just gave to your place are nothing short of a poem. I'll check the german artist out.

Yes mia, you're probably right. But it takes a lot of time to reach this level of maturity. Right now, I live in two entirely different worlds, and I am still incapable of integrating any of them into the other.

Yes, aisling, I am dancing alright...

8:46 PM  
Blogger Jamal said...

I left alot of numbers behind, and I've never been happier.

7:10 AM  
Blogger AM said...

Ah! You should have come with Nour and moi to this '18th and 19th century old lebanese houses' exhibition, you would have enjoyed it greatly!
I placed a pic on my blog, why don't you have a look, it may make you feel better :)

1:46 PM  
Blogger jij said...

"America is not a young land. It is old and dirty, evil. Before the settlers, before the Indians, the evil is there, waiting."
William S. Burroughs

5:21 PM  
Blogger Fouad said...

jamal, I am pretty sure I'd feel the same.

thanks am. I'll definitely check it out.

I don't know jij. This may be taking it a little too far.

11:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There will always be the 'Here' and the 'There'. Whenever you're there you get struck by how much of you is here.Whenever you're Here you know that you're going back There one day, hoping it's soon. Home is never where you are but where you're not.


8:18 AM  
Blogger beyondthebeginning said...

Maude: I should like to change into a sunflower most of all. They're so tall and simple. What flower would you like to be?

Harold: I don't know. One of these, maybe.

Maude: Why do you say that?

Harold: Because they're all alike.

Maude: Oooh, but they're *not*. Look. See, some are smaller, some are fatter, some grow to the left, some to the right, some even have lost some petals. All *kinds* of observable differences. You see, Harold, I feel that much of the world's sorrow comes from people who are *this*,
[pointing to a daisy]

Maude: yet allow themselves be treated as *that*
[gestures to a field of daisies]

4:02 AM  
Blogger Fouad said...

Don't think I've seen it, but I'll put it on my movies to watch list. Thanks for the beautiful quote.

8:09 AM  
Blogger beyondthebeginning said...

It is one of the all time greatest movies. And my god how American.
Hope you like it. :)
Harold and Maude

2:48 PM  

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