Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Istanbul, tonight

I haven't seen you but I heard

the screams when the fire
hit the trail

the Bosphorus is a story
tonight red with friends wailing

the news arrived on my phone
when I was dancing to reject life's misery

I turned a blind eye to a black screen
shut my phone without screaming

without failing to feel at my heart
a hospitable character marred by a scar;

a failed system of safety
this is our world now
a cry in the lap of a mother
a city with lost children.

our questions, these days

These days, our questions have become bolder
they seized to reach for our skin, or name

or the way one's eye-color descends from the East
of the mountain-tops, because rain is for other people

our fangs, became sharper with the eating of meat
from the shoulders of animals, of men, of children

we gave right to question the symbols
the adjectives, the hours, how deep does the javelin dig

we lent our voices to one tongue, one language
asked the direction of sunlight, the mood of the moon

gave rise to tides by saying: is that a cross
is that a half-shaded moon, is that your name?
is this a lineage, a time away from home
a ship-wreck that needs justification
once more?

Restarting after a while

love, why don't you know me
I did not take a long absence from you
is it then, my tan?

Geology, you give

You gave me a box of rocks
I didn't know what to do with old fossils

for people who have come and gone
only left their core, a bone in exchange

for sins, for laughs, for kindness
or cheer hatred. this is a revelation

of the things I could not do now
at my age, no longer an explorer

with scraped knees and a clean slate
of rocks, soft by a seaside I never saw

I myself have hardened, with sand
with minutes, with cruel lovers

to that you add a piece of rock
next time, give me a silk-scarf
a shoulder kiss or a hug
that way I will no longer need rocks.

Morning advice

Here is a list of things I want to tell you
I will not detail these in order, you have to figure
where you stand within my words,
it is a choice

Dear darlin', just listen to me
do not be a feminist, a man-hating
young lady does not lend herself
to the making of bread, the sifting of thyme

because feminists lose shape,
their faces full of wrinkles from too much frowning
darlin', they turn upon themselves
like question-marks

a man needs to feel you are a woman
by the sizzling of chicken, crisp, clean shirts
by the way you dance around him with nothing
but a lacy bra, docile, vulnerable

let me tell you another thing darlin'
you are young, beautiful and adequately
tanned by love, merited by markings
made on your skin, scents of other men

drop your anchor into the sea
there are plenty of fish and a multitude for anchoring space
this is what you are, for the time being
a beautiful face that matches and mixes

with other women, with memories of a summer
in Barcelona where Spanish mixed with sweat
lead him to a pleasant ending
those thoughts of yours

keep them for the time you fold laundry
or when you stare out of the car
with Fairuz crying over the loss of her man, for music
this is a short advice, darlin'
take it or just leave it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

scented body

your scent on my clothes, was essential
on my body, the line your scent leaves
is a baptismal

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A cruel sea

The sea never asks about my name
nor does he ask about the inhabitants
of the little shells he took away
that cruel cruel sea.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Is it a knowledge that you have done your best
to receive what life offers you in the form of more hard work?

Is it a family posing for a photograph
they will forget about it under a mound of items thrown in a bedside drawer?

Is it giving a lucky charm
or assuring that your happiness will be tied to another human?

Is it raising a glass
until your hands can no longer hold it, until your eyes can no longer stay open?

it is the kisses, hailing from earth
a stack of years that flash in a blink of an eye
it is the knowledge that you can stand
when a pile of snow suddenly heaps onto you.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

sometimes, illness

The long standing camel,
king of the desert's blowing winds,
even he, can fall, because a mosquito bit his toe.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Where did I love you?

Where did I love you,
let me count the ways, winding into the cities

over a castle's hedge, at the edge of the universe
when I lacked sleep and prayed for insomnia never to reach you

in an old town, we knew by birth
while we looked for a brown leather bag and begged the day not to leave

on the rooftop of a very tall building
where falling means for once, actually breaking a bone

between the metro stations in a busy city
that sent down rain the day you forgot to enter its gates

on a flight homeward
over a war-zone, passing with each breath a prayer

on a swing
that played our destiny by the glasses of wine drunk

this is a small list of insignificant places I loved you
like all women, places don't matter
when its hero lived in a corner
sometimes covered, sometimes uncovered in the heart.

Sunday, June 19, 2016


I present to you a sleepless night
not like a fact, more like a question
of childhood: did I ever sleep as a baby

I have no recollection of those days
when my arms where the size of a spoon
my head, bald yet tender

you can remember well the mixture of foods
I ate, the times I forced you to worry about me
sick with fever, with a buzzing in the ears

today I make applesauce, not jarred
must be the burning sugar that makes me
remember, the smell of tulk powder running

on my stomach, mixed with Arak
foods we ate, happy tummy kisses
and an infinite sense of panic that tells me
you never stopped your worry;
it just grew to fit my tree-log arms.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

A world awaits

Green tea in the garden
tears and rain slashing my face one early morning
now a warmer memory, stirring in my chest

Friday, June 17, 2016

Stranger do not leave a kiss in your texts

Stranger you said
Hi, with a voice hoarse for a blue eye
I handed over a number and a smile

a name not mine belongs
to others; grandmothers, wives, children

when you are unsure of the directions
ask Google, it can better explain the new street names in my city

when you assume I am unaware
of a step of joy you take toward me, remember I also have eyes

do not take my language for an enemy
or the curve of my hip for another countries' dance

do not talk to me of peace elsewhere
when you are confused by my attempt to foster a middle ground

danger lies in the curve of your chest
yet you prefer an old roller-coaster ride

this is no land for lap dances
nor is it one for second chances, generally

you are more than a dress and English swirling
or a necklace unmanned with the Arabic Allah dangling on a chest

do not leave an (x) in your text because I was raised
not to kiss strangers
lest they think I truly mean it.

The color of a lie

The color of a lie doesn't matter
if it is white or black
a tint of red always follows, criminalizing,
all thoughts

Orchids, he brought her

Lined up, like fairies in white
the orchids dangle;
exotic and erotic on the bench beside her

half left asleep,
half naked from the core under the orchids
are shy to speak of their origin

she, turns a blind eye to the sources
for she knew orchids, mistakenly
for death

when white is caressed
a color devoid of all others to reflect a finality
an end, of all good things as they do

come crawling on her skin
a sensation of some love
like  a mothers, safe

like a lover, passionate
he had brought her orchids
to thank her for accepting to walk with him
for life when he can barely stand up.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Release the butterfly its burden
it already has hills to view
very soft wings to keep her afloat

Monday, June 13, 2016

The player

There's a note high in the music he plays 
a gradation of tinted motion and melody 
three minutes and I wish 
this music would never end.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

A Ramadan moon

Let the moon dangle on every window
while the pious observe Ramadan

from my window, I note the moon
in the sky, not half a crescent,

just wilted with the effect of the stars
whispering into the soft night

gossip of the morning
this is the status of those who observe

always last to speak, easy to offend
starters of collecting dust

this is the alley I live in
lit by the Ramadan moons

the children laugh as I type these words
tomorrow the wind comes, brings

new clothes, new tales
older fears, too young for their busy heads

the cats are restless, rivaled only by the cars
a buzz of the television, broadcasting the games

this is a life in a middle eastern city
donned now by its Ramadan moons
and young women, washing their children
or their days with a book, just like me.

Little disagreements

You don't listen said my mother 
to the music playing around me 
I know, I said and the music played on.

the importance of the sentence 'love yourself'

Like hail it falls onto me,
this sentence, a need to affirm that I respect myself
even at times when the vase that belongs to the table
finds itself on my back, on my limbs
shedding the water, the dirt made to hold
the flower petals at my feet, where once, you laid
like a little child, stripped out of your clothes
to hold, to embrace, to carry these are all synonyms we make to justify
the warm feeling in our lungs, between our fingers
warmth today licks like blood
 then they say it, spit it out like old
newspaper adds, love yourself,
as if one can harm oneself with reason enough
perhaps what they should say is forgive yourself the wrong choices.

Pride n joy

There was once an instance where you told me
that pride comes in first from a natural ability
to hold one's head high, to have, to hold

I believed you. Pride was a walk with the head
in the clouds,
but this meant missing out on the little things

bottle caps on the ground, worms
the ruff of my boots on the pavement
the hour on my wristwatch

these are things I slowly started to notice
when my head couldn't hold any longer
an upright position

maybe it was you
maybe it was me,
perhaps it was both of us

that caused a look onto the land
not heads in the skies
possibly when I heard you talk about my shadow
your pride and joy, while my flesh remained
a toy for the words that escaped you when you slept.

When the game is on

Write these lines as the commentator
cheers, goal,
my nets shake as does my pen.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Down the aisles

You walk in white
I walk behind you in red

your eyes meet mine
I look up and blink quickly

blink the day away
once more, we know

we tell ourselves:
we were once too young, 
we are never too old
just at an adequate age
 to find happiness and wear its appropriate colors.


Made simple, yet they
stick to no wind,
but in your hands, crumpled they leave
a manual on how to fly

Sunday, June 5, 2016

This is how most summer days begin

With a sensation of a head swirling
with yesterday's dances
with today's heat, that causes a trance-like dream
with the start of a rumble, between two pages
with the tumbling of skin on water
with a smile, a sunset at the eyes,
with a call in the morning, this is how most summer days begin.

What art does and doesn't

This is what they told us art does:
makes you draw butterflies onto a stone wall
because the cement looks dry and dehydrated from last month's earthquake

this is what they told us art doesn't do:
make you explain why, when or where
you wrote a few words then threw them in the river

for no reason this is what they told us art does
gives you a sturdier step, a smile, a thank you
for the music, for the note, for the elation at dance

but this is what art doesn't do to you,
it doesn't replace your old couch for a designer gleam
does not feed your starving children, they said
does not make you return to the girl you love because she couldn't wait
longer for your return

this is what they told us art does;
makes you bear what falls on you, like stone
like grey colored cement walls, that turn into butterflies
that would sometimes fly with your children and feed them
things you could not think of scavenging.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Laundry hanging

The black-eyed neighbor watches me as I hang
old laundry, new stains
but turns a blind eye to the short dress I wear at home
then stares onto bear legs and pieces that need re-washing.

But she's just a woman

Gather the dried rosebuds, make them roast in the sun
but she's just a woman he calls back

clean the slates of yesterday's mistakes, ones you did not commit
like others would say but she's just a woman

grab your desires, like a bag, flail them on your back
because she is just a woman, cannot dream of other men

I wanted her to quit her job, you will hear
he is there to spoil her, because she is just a woman

do not argue who's life is more important when you
are connected to someone else by a thread, she's just a woman

try your best to keep into one mind, onto one head
because she is just a woman, too fragile to handle

the thoughts that descend like paint drops,
a yesterday mingling with other people's bodies
desires, dire days on desks,
she can make of all that a heaven, whilst still covering you
with a blanket, delicate and colorful
because she's just that woman.

Koi, mesmerized

A koi dances in the pond
the water ripples over the surface
I laugh, into the wind

At the wedding

The rice pours over them, like a rain that stops
to start, intermittently, like tears on the mother's dress
happiness takes a road shared sometimes between two
people crossing a line together, hand on a bouquet of flowers
this is a lifelong promise, with a ring on its end.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


The waterfall sends water down
first time, then second time,
it is all new water yet runs the same course
sometimes you repeat what you know
in an attempt to figure out, something new