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
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.
help the soul
clear its eyes,
as the heart
thought it was
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.
On most days,
you can find me in the 02138
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.
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.
I fall under a day of blue, calling me by your name
I wrote these words a long time ago, and never truly understood them. Sometimes you need time to understand your own thoughts, and even more time to recognize your own emotions.
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,
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
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
that we are friends of the same destiny,
traveling the same road
despite all our insanities?
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.
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.
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
written 30 November 2010
at the junction
of the past and the present
they closed their eyes
and kissed each other
written 11 January 2011
I simplify things
that are hard
they all fade; and I,
among a billion things I create,
turn into nothing