acquaintance

we made acquaintance
in this remembering, and forgetting,
and unforgiving
of the unjust treatment of the heart,
its irregular beats, to a rhythm that did not exist
until you walked into my life – i took you in
but you got afraid –
of our mutual vulnerability, so you ran –
and for what? an ounce of safety? (or, the illusion of),
or the mistaken belief that us splitting apart
would bring forth the peace which we once searched
in one another?
what do you hear
in the concave footsteps you had left,
taking that terrible moment of tenderness
away from me, away from us,
away from when you needed me most?

The Right Side of Humanity

We are of striking similarities
underneath all the differences
in how we look, of remarkable uniqueness
across these things we share in common.

The language you use to access your emotions
speaks to the way I, too, have felt
where we’ve witnessed the beautiful, the unspeakable, the terrible, the sublime,
the realities of others popped up against ours,
and the truth we know to exist, the fundamental truth
of who we are, as a species on Earth, cohabiting, co-creating, co-observing
among others,
yet destroying – all by ourselves –
the very things that make us human
that make this world your world, my world,
a place where we only stay for a time
when we have a lease on life,
from which we will leave with nothing,
not even fame, which only lasts
for as long as history lasts.

And who writes history but the immortal,
those who aren’t always willing to let go,
as the current of time inevitably progresses?

We are all immigrants
from one life to another.
We cannot be banned from time,
from the nature of life, and death.
Nor can anyone resist
the natural order of things
always looking to restore themselves toward balance.

Power, possessions, privilege
are only means to and by-products of anything that is ever worth it.
If you have forgotten that, don’t you remember
the love you might have for your own family,
and friends, and whomever you choose to love,
the happiness you wish upon their hearts and faces,
and the pure joy of a beautiful child
who just learned how to crawl this earth
for the very first time?

We want that too.
We want our families and friends to unite
We want to discover the grand beauty of this world and life
We want to communicate and understand and connect and love our brothers and sisters
regardless of, and given, the many ways we write our words, shape our cultures, embrace our gods,
because the human race is one
and this planet is one
and the universe is one
in our inextricable connectedness, our diversity,
and our desires for life, liberty,
and the pursuit of utmost happiness.

Live with love.
Think with love.
Lead with love.
There is always a path away from hate,
anger, or fear.
It is never too late
to be on the right side of humanity.

I Have Dreamed of You So Much (Robert Desnos)

I Have Dreamed of You So Much
(by Robert Desnos)

I have dreamed of you so much that you are no longer real.
Is there still time for me to reach your breathing body, to kiss your mouth and make your dear voice come alive again?
I have dreamed of you so much that my arms, grown used to being crossed on my chest as I hugged your shadow, would perhaps not bend to the shape of your body.
For faced with the real form of what has haunted me and governed me for so many days and years, I would surely become a shadow.
O scales of feeling.
I have dreamed of you so much that surely there is no more time for me to wake up.
I sleep on my feet prey to all the forms of life and love, and you, the only one who counts for me today,
I can no more touch your face and lips than touch the lips and face of some passerby.
I have dreamed of you so much, have walked so much, talked so much, slept so much with your phantom,
that perhaps the only thing left for me is to become a phantom among phantoms,
a shadow a hundred times more shadow than the shadow that moves
and goes on moving, brightly, over the sundial of your life.

____________________________________

J’ai tant rêvé de toi
(Robert Desnos)

J’ai tant rêvé de toi que tu perds ta réalité.
Est-il encore temps d’atteindre ce corps vivant
Et de baiser sur cette bouche la naissance
De la voix qui m’est chère?
J’ai tant rêvé de toi que mes bras habitués
En étreignant ton ombre
A se croiser sur ma poitrine ne se plieraient pas
Au contour de ton corps, peut-être.
Et que, devant l’apparence réelle de ce qui me hante
Et me gouverne depuis des jours et des années,
Je deviendrais une ombre sans doute.
O balances sentimentales.
J’ai tant rêvé de toi qu’il n’est plus temps
Sans doute que je m’éveille.
Je dors debout, le corps exposé
A toutes les apparences de la vie
Et de l’amour et toi, la seule
qui compte aujourd’hui pour moi,
Je pourrais moins toucher ton front
Et tes lèvres que les premières lèvres
et le premier front venu.
J’ai tant rêvé de toi, tant marché, parlé,
Couché avec ton fantôme
Qu’il ne me reste plus peut-être,
Et pourtant, qu’a être fantôme
Parmi les fantômes et plus ombre
Cent fois que l’ombre qui se promène
Et se promènera allègrement
Sur le cadran solaire de ta vie.
____________________________________

Source

Westward

I keep thinking about the road,
the way it led to that open sky.

We could have been anywhere,
but it could only have been California
where we were so small, surrounded
by the mountain ranges of Malibu
until we reached the Pacific Ocean.
At Point Dume, I thought, if I kept swimming westward
I would eventually reach home.

We could have been anywhere,
but it could only have been California
where stucco homes colors of late morning sun and lanky palm trees and the purple blue jacarandas blooming
took us through every day into evening.
We could have waited for the sunset
but it came and left so quickly
just like we did.

There is no time like LA time,
when the water flows into the sky.
We walked along the waves
washing our steps into the fine sand,
the winds gliding down our backs,
and the world before us opening, blossoming
into a moment.

I could close my eyes and smell that metallic saltwater of Santa Monica –
so much sun, so much life,
so much California
so much you.
Ask anyone and they would say
the kind of memories you make in LA
would always carry that sight of the trees and the lights shining through the leaves
and the scent of the sea
and the way it curves around the mountains.

Days in Cambridge

On most days,
you can find me in the 02138
working away;
taking a walk at lunchtime;
listening to the river flow,
the people come and go,
the city’s wild geese growl.

This land is not my native land,
but I’ve grown enough love
to call it home. Home: a memory
carved and buried deep inside me,
not unlike the aftermath of a surgery
splitting one wide open: examined, explored, and altered,
in one way or another,
before being sewn back altogether.

We are those sewn-back identities
immersed into a society of multi-way split,
taking part and taking apart,
looking for ourselves while looking for love,
calling it by different names,
seeking someone who is unlike us
and yet is exactly us
in the things that we deem matter the most
to the happiness that is meant to last longer
than the time it takes to start everything over.

graduation

them college days
so far away
as if time did no time in memories
leaving behind only yesterdays

you are young, oh, you are young;
the world is in your hands;
you are fierce.
you live as if
you will be back yet again.

what do i tell you but smiles
and wishes upon you the soaring high
of spirit, of passion, of desire,
for we all are only here, like this, once.

every what-if belongs to a time
you have not yet known. i love you,
i wish to see you grow
among your people
where you can be children
and you can become adults.

each of life’s graduations
is but a reminder that you are still riding the current –
sometimes along it, sometimes against it,
and you will fall and you will get up.
and your hearts will survive
being broken a million times.
you’ll feel like it’s all over a million times,
you’ll feel like you’ve found what you’re meant to find a million times.
and one day it will all fall into place –
the puzzle you have been solving
without knowing it even exists.
you’ll look back to this day
and nothing in the world can replace
the smiles and tears under every cap
the way the wind caressing your gowns
as you say goodbye to the moments you will never forget.

so smile, graduates, and remember how you feel today,
because you’ve lived a kind of love that only exists
because everyone else has also been in it,
whether or not you have truly known one another.
the feeling palpitating within your chests
as you walk in lines, as your names are called, as you listen to the last speech, as you throw your caps up in the air –
feel it everywhere, let it stay with you forever,
because one day,
you’ll be where i am now,
and wish nothing else but to be able to be around
my graduating class
all together again at last
before yet another start
of another life.

In Spite (Nizar Qabbani)

In Spite

1961
by Nizar Qabbani 

 

In spite of all our conflicts
and all our resolutions
that we can’t make it work,
in spite of the animosity,
the obstinacy
and inhibitions,
in spite of the absence of our smiles
and the lack of communication,
there must be a mystery
that unifies our destinies –
brings our footsteps closer
and blends you into me,
melting your warm hands with mine.
*
In spite of all our differences,
our unmatched temperaments,
the dark days of detachment
and the retrieval of all the gifts and photographs –
in spite of the dreariness,
I still believe
that destiny insists
on our togetherness
and rejects
all our arguments
*
In spite of the autumn of our relationship
and the bleeding going deep inside us,
in spite of our persistence
to put an end to our drama
at any cost,
in spite of our determination
that I won’t
and you won’t –
I doubt that we can.
In spite of all these conflicts,
we are helpless
in the face of our fate.

How alike we are
in our spirits,
in our thoughts,
and even in our books and colours.
Isn’t all of this
profound evidence
that we are friends of the same destiny,
traveling the same road
despite all our insanities?

 

Bibliography

Qabbānī, Nizār, Nayef Al-Kalali, and Lisa Kavchak. “In Spite.” Republic of Love: Selected Poems in English and Arabic. London: Kegan Paul International, 2003. 40-45. Print.

Lazy day with a touch of suspense

one day, he woke up,
and the day felt like a thousand others.
he reached for the phone and texted her.
she did not respond.
maybe work was busy, he thought.
the day went by. he put
lots of creamer and sugar
in his coffee. the coffee spilled
over the counter, dripped
onto the floor. he sighed and
wiped it carelessly, so it smeared
into brown patches and lines.
he got a book and started to read.
then he put it down and grabbed the phone again.
still no reply from her. he sent another text, asking
where she was. maybe she was very busy, he thought.
the afternoon arrived. he took a nap.
got into a bad dream. something happened,
he forgot. he almost always forgot why
he had cried hopelessly in such dreams.
she still did not write him back.
he wondered if he should call her.
but maybe not.
she got annoyed when work was busy and he called her and she could not talk right away, for she would not stop wondering what it was that he wanted to talk about. and it would probably lead to a small argument, which would lead to bigger arguments, which would end up with her being in tears and him feeling guilty, which would end up with them trying to make it up with sex, which would end up with him not being able to come, which would end up with her feeling upset because he could not come, and him feeling incompetent because she could not come either, and them being all melancholic and what not, and so on and so forth.
so he decided it was best not to call her.
she did not come home at the usual hour.
he kept glancing at the door, peaking his ears to noises from the street
the way a dog waited for its owner to be home at a certain time.
with every passing minute he grew more and more worried.
he texted her again. then immediately after called her.
and he called and he called and he called.
it kept going into voice mail.
he hated voice mail. he left her a few messages.
no responses.
she got home a few hours after,
looking tired as usual. apologized for being late.
said traffic was bad, then she got too hungry she
stopped at a diner and had a quick bite.
she wanted to call him but there was no reception.
her phone was acting up.
something like that.
he did not really smell food from her
not that he had enough time to take a sniff
for she had gone straight to the bathroom
to take a shower. when she got out,
he was sitting at the table, staring into the air
into nothing. her scent was soft, familiar,
and he could feel her smile and gaze upon him.
she sat down and kissed the side of his forehead,
asked him if he had eaten dinner.
he said he was not hungry. she took his hand,
placed her head on his shoulder, and closed her eyes.
they sat still for a few minutes. then he asked
if she wanted anything from the fridge.
i would have some apple cider, she said.
he got them some apple cider. they drank it.
then she said let’s go to bed.
he followed her. they got into bed,
turned the head lamp off, kissed each other good night,
and closed their eyes.
he wondered what was on her mind.
she wondered what was on his mind.
and they kept wondering
until they both
fell asleep.

written 30 November 2010

unintentions

some lives are god’s intentions gone wrong

executed way beyond kindness:

dreams taken away, dismembered, thoroughly un-remembered
&
smiles dissected to the core, where sadness lies, falling apart in broken nights
&
words scrambled with silenced anger, spoken in tone of non-lovers
&
kisses numbed by a million thoughts dying in the mind, slipping down against low sighs
&
teardrops clogged in eardrums, blowing up the misery of the moment

dark moods today?
no.
this is life, simply.
that is
all.

Dec 1, 2012 

spring

i say hello to the sky, and i say goodbye
to the nights that ended on a morning like this,
with sunlight embracing the brick walls
and the winds around brown trees’ arms,
together laughing and dancing.

here i quietly sing along with the rhythm of spring.
the windows finally open, for it is hard to turn away
from a brisk, beautiful day, from the wishes
of the lover who insists we shall be on our way,
taking passionate laughters towards the beaming park.

it takes longer to walk with arms around shoulders,
but the young does not care about time, does she?
she swirls in rhymes, bringing forth her own tunes of shine.
she has made me once again remember
the liveliness which follows the ache of winter.

for a., my forever spring
Mar 8, 2012

letter to you who cried because i was cold

that day, the world was beautiful because of you,
but i, long before the dawn, knew there would be no hope
in staying, and yes, i think you are my world
when i am with you. but that is not the point,
that is not the point at all. the origin of our feelings
had nothing to do with where we were going,
nothing to do with the saddest of days and nights,
and the tears that we shed at the wrong times,
and the loving words we spoke at the few times
when we thought we were in love. there were moments
and there were others. i could not carry you at all times
in my conscience. do you understand? i do not hate you, no,
it is quite the contrary. much so quite the contrary.
i do not need anybody else in the name of fairness
and common sense. but i do want you. times when i
thought everything was coming to an end i
thought of you, wanting to rush to you and say
“i love you” exactly how i used to wish someone,
just one, only one, would say it to me.
but the current of life and this shameful desire to live
always dragged me back, not letting me leave.

i do not mean to make you wait until the lights go off
to bare my soul to you,
to overwhelm you with undivided attention
(not the kind i have always given you in our presence,
but one that gives you the strongest sense of eternity,
the only time when death loses its charm and power.)
i do not mean to bring those tears upon your eyes.
but grief makes a person whom he is
while happiness makes him whom he thinks he wants to be.
are you whom you want to be? are you when i am holding you tight
in my arms, hearing my breath pacing against your heartbeats?

when i am with you
i am not whom i am or whom i want to be
but exactly what i must be if life is real, and death is also real,
and nothing else matters but the truth of you.

you asked me with tears down at your throat how i felt about you
how i truly felt about you, not how i thought you would want to be perceived. so here it is.
i am sorry that there are and always will be
disappointments. but disappointments, more often than not,
are so much needed for us not to lose touch with our truest feelings,
don’t you think?

 

 

Feb 26, 2011

Our Winter Song

it doesn’t really matter
that one day in the winter
you were mesmerized watching her
lick tiny transparent bubbly flakes of snow
that fell upon her tongue

but ever since, whenever your skin is closest to me,
your eyes turn away from mine.
you can’t bring yourself to look into my soul and see yours,
can you? our love is something you must convince yourself
to be true. you have been through many things like this
even your kisses have worn out. you have no desire of me
except for the madness of my words – encouraged by your
apparent existence in the world and within
my own. you are the worst pretender i have ever met
and the most sincere soul of misery i have
ever loved.  i’m sorry for the pain you have brought
upon yourself because you long for pure love, true love,
and you can’t afford to break my heart the way
someone else broke yours. so you stay, so you smile,
so you do what you think will make my sadness a bit
easier. you think so, you do. you didn’t think i would
be able to hear the silent sigh you left
on the side of my neck as I held on
to your arms during the loneliness of a
cold winter night

this song is for you and me as we walk hand in hand
away from it all
knowing we will from now on go forever
into the breadth of our longest winter
that spreads itself over the course
of a slow white death

That night when we walked lost in the forest

Give me a sky full of stars,
give me you,
then I shall have nothing to lose.

Walk me through the woods
of your true sanity.
Let me take you on our own trail.
You could tell
from the sounds of broken leaves,
dried branches, and sparkling stars,
no one else has ever gone this far
to find love.

Hands in each other’s coat pocket,
we walk toward the
empty center of our hearts,
listen to our favorite music,
the soundtrack of the night
while the stars are dancing to the notes of our voices,
laughters, and the warmth of our fingers
upon each other’s smiles.

Take me home with your eyes,
leave our field of stars behind.
It will be there if we come back.
Even if we never will.

Typical Gossip

did you see her?

oh, dear god, why
did she pull
the trigger?
where did she get
the gun?

she was sweet
and caring
and everything
but now she is
dead
no one thought she was
the kind
who could take her own
life

did you hear
she left a notebook
full of her life secrets?

damn, I wonder
what she wrote
in it

do you think
it would explain
everything?

I wonder
what she was
thinking
that moment
when she was alone,
in her room,
with the ugly gun
staring right into
her heart.