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
Sunday, April 30, 2006
Saturday, April 29, 2006
Friday, April 28, 2006
Thursday, April 27, 2006
I Am No Optimist
It is a sad world we live in, and I am no optimist. You would think I am, but you'd be mistaken. Look at me. I am a walking eventual feast for a swarm of maggots and arthropods. And so are you. Find the optimism in that if you can.
But what you can find are eyes looking to see beyond the sadness, beyond the cruelty of God and his creatures, beyond the evil of Man and his kind. Eyes looking to find, naked, strangled, struggling through winter death, the April tree that every living cycle, miraculously sprouts a million leaves, all new, all perfect, all impossibly green.
I am no optimist, my friends. But I have learned what wars to fight, when to let go, and how to look for heaven in the darkest, loneliest corners of hell.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Monday, April 24, 2006
What of Beirut
My fifth trip and it's still impossibly painful to leave. Impossibly painful to tear my heart off this tormented piece of mountain, river and tree we call Libnen. Libnen and its fluttering heart Beirut.
What of Beirut
My thousand loves
My thousand muses
My only muse
The perfect body
The naked body I abuse
What of Beirut
My darkest fear
My death is near
My only living, barely living next of kin
My plunging root
My torn and rotten glitter suit
What of Beirut
My evil god
My devil saint
My drunken whore trying to faint
What of Beirut
My thousand loves
My only love
What of Beirut
Sunday, April 23, 2006
For the second time in two weeks, I get stranded in a city a few hundred miles short of my final destination kfarnashville. Two weeks ago it was Minneapolis, today it's mylady Chicago. Not that I can see anything of my darling metropolis, but the mere thought of the magnificient mile lying in all its glory, just a few magnificient miles away, is enough to gratify my soul.
So between problems with weight distribution on the behemoth 777, a delayed flight, fluctuating consciousness, endless lines at the connection desks, absolute physical exhaustion, but also a free night at a nice hotel in chi-town, a couple of meal vouchers, and probably an extra day of vacation, I can't say I have too much to complain about.
What i'm trying to say is, I'm back but not quite, I can't wait to be really back, and I missed you all very very much.
Friday, April 14, 2006
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Her: you won't be happy next week
Him: why not
Her: well, because there will be a ban on habibi's
Her: there won't be any habibi's. not in front of my parents
Him: how would I call you then?
Her: by my name, silly. And I by yours
Him: nooo.. your name? I can't. It will sound like we're fighting!
Her: I told you you're not gonna like it...
Him: wait. I have an idea. We'll come up with a code language. A simple word that stands for habibi
Her: a word that stands for habibi? like what?
Him: like eh... and maybe ok..
Him: eh will mean habibi, ok will mean hayete. This way no one will notice.
Shou? What do you think?
Him: shou mm.. khalas let's do it!
Her: I don't know.. it's a little weird
Him: eh :) Tayyeb let's at least try it, ok?
Him: khalas? ok?
Her: eh ok!
Him: mm.. wou inti kamen :)
Her: shou fi halla2?
Him: ma shi... b7ebbik :)
Her: mm.. eh, wou ana kamen :)
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Saturday, April 08, 2006
T'is Spring They Say
Friday, April 07, 2006
Relentless Race to the Top
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
When I was eight, and it was time to sleep, I would lay down over the sheets, on my stomach, and look to the right. The wall was.
He was eight.
Eight years old when, in bed, I would imagine the world without me, the world, the whole world, living, my mother, my friends. Without me. My room, the galaxy. Without me.
Did not exist. Never existed. He was not. Not.
He was eight, he saw a world without him, it made him very sad, so he cried, and cried. His mother.
My mother would come in, Fouad, habibi, what's wrong, I'm dead, what's wrong.
Why are you crying habibi. Why. Habibi.
I was eight years old, my mother would come in and find me crying in bed. I cried because I would imagine I was dead, and the world was without me. The world. Without me.
But me, I was gone. Just me. Unbearable. Sad. Empty. Empty. How can the world keep going. How can people keep breathing without me. Disposable? Unnecessary?
How, God. How. How. How. How. How.
Habibi! What's wrong! Fouad!
Eight years old. Now thrity one.
mama mama mama mama mama mama.
I don't want to die.
Sunday, April 02, 2006
Farzhad's Tree House
His name was Farzhad. He left his home, and in the palm of the grey forest, he went looking for wooden sticks to build a tree house. Many did he find. Some tiny and week, some as thick as his right arm, and standing twice as tall as his did. He kept going back for more, getting almost as eager about culling his elementary building materials, as he was about assembling them into the ligneous castle he beheld in his mind. When the palm of the grey forest was full, and his arms and legs were sore with lifts and strides, he stopped. He sat down and started grouping the small and the large branches, the stiff and the supple, the crooked and the straight, and the graceful lianas that he hoped would hug them all together. One branch next to the other, one above the other, he started building. He started when he was seven, Farzhad.
When I saw him for the first time, sixty-nine were his years, and the tree house was finished only in his imagination.
Sitting with his family and mine around lunch in the mansion he built on the same piece of land that cradled his still unfinished childhood hideout, he told us his story. He told and I listened. He asked if I wanted to see the tree house. Yes, I said. I want to. He held my then soft fingers, took me to the tree, showed me where he put the first stick, how it slowly came and was still coming together, how he felt then like the king of the world, how every year he came back to work on it a little more, how every last piece of its frail skeleton was more him than any of his four children. Then there was this and that to be done on the rail and the roof, with this much wood, that much paint, and so much effort...
He kept chanting his litany for a passionately long hour. Yet there was one thing I did not understand. Why was it taking this long, I asked, and why of all the things he had done later on as an engineer, that was the only one he hadn't finished.
Why, he repeated after me, smiling. Because it was not supposed to be finished. The deadline on this one was not on paper. It was sculpted in the languorous spring clouds that kept coming back year after year. But why, I asked. Because, he said, the day he would be done working on it will be the end of his childhood. His unfinished tree house was what kept him young, and kept him going. Without it, he would quickly turn into an old and tired man, straddling through the last throes of his life. And that was the one thing he could not afford.
Young as I was, I did not understand what he meant. Yet somehow, with the same lianas that tied its sticks together, he managed to wrap his tree house around my juvenile memory for good.
I hadn't seen him or his family for a few years when, two calendars ago, on the 10th of February, Farzhad died. The last few years of his life were struck by an unrelenting illness. The one thing that kept him alive, Samira his wife said, was looking out his bedroom window onto the tree. Yet, of all fights, this one was too long and too arduous for him to win.
Towards the end, the tree house had also become the shadow of its imaginary self. The wood was cracked and rotting, slowly devoured by thick moss and weeds. Even the tree that held it was bending under its own weight. But it wasn't all gone. At least not yet. Many birds still found shelter on the decaying wooden platform, birds that were always chirping, even on the day Farzhad disappeared.
If you were to believe his family, Farzhad was not dead. He was very much alive. To them, his soul now resided in one of the birds hiding in the tree house, and was going to travel on from bird, to flower, to tree, to bird, to maybe another young Farzhad, until eternity...
Last summer, I took a trip up to the shouf village where Farzhad's family still lives. We spent the day together. We talked for hours, told jokes, stories, smiled. And then we cried. They were right. Farzhad was with us, right there, all the time. When I left them an hour before sunset and passed by the old tree house, a bird, one bird, was chirping to me. Fouad, he said, it's me, come look, this is what I've done with the tree house since I last saw you, you'll like it, and don't you forget about me, come back and visit, there's still so much we can talk about...
Saturday, April 01, 2006
Open for Interpretation (and Mental Masturbation)
1- A geometric series where two elements are seperated by a variable distance sequentially decreasing to zero.
2- A paradigm of modern day relationships. Strangers. Then they meet. Then they're together. Then one is left behind.
3- A small group of birds clinging to each other while they live through the end of another day, for it takes strength and determination to witness the passage of time, and the prospects of inevitable darkness.
4- Seven birds on a power cable at sunset. Nice colors. Get a life.