The Poeticians.

Poets sharing words from the Middle East to haunt the lyrical world.

rainbow

Archive for August, 2010

tired, hungry and alone?

Ok, so am stranded in an airport for a while. I havent been blogging. (Is that what this is? blogging? not sure). Sorry if you missed some poetry! I’ve been moving around different cities, feeling very introverted in many ways, and yet surrounded by so many diverse people. Such great friends. I havent wanted to write poems on paper, or screens. They have been running around my brain cells, little words zinging through every subway ride, every tree I can stare at, the rainbow we saw over the Arizona desert yesterday, the calm really tall palm trees of Venice beach, the hustle and sway and jazz and hip hop of every moving body in Brooklyn, and the urban power that is Manhattan. Poems inside my head.

When I did finally sit down to write something, it was the silliest poem I ever wrote.

So, here you go, officially the silliest most random poem I ever wrote. Ever.

Well, many of my yearning lust-filled poems are silly, but this one takes the prize for silliness. I dont even celebrate xmas, dont really even believe in any religion, and I certainly dont believe in Santa :P

I thought, in my delirious state in this stranded airport, this would be good to get out there.

Christmas wish list

Arizona, 25/8/2010

Dear Santa:

I am a reasonably good girl

-if we could perhaps gloss over the details of that

and get to it-

all I want

all I really want

all I want in this world is a big wooden hard closet

a space to spill over my woman parts

let all the consumer madness loose, a tumbled out feminine

planet of color and occult,

all the entangled belts and lipsticks,

shoes and more shoes and stringy objects he loves to peel off me

the blush and zip and powder of the witch inside

the garlands for elf ears and fairy ankles and

a shimmery waistline that loves to move can then

hang

oh the verb to hang hang

on a solid rack,

the musk and flap and flutter of all the fabric that rustles,

a closet,

a massive oversized giant of a closet to call my own,

shell of being and becoming and exiting

and entering the sleep worlds, draped in silk from shelves I painted,

with eye shadow and sequins and angel dust

and coconut butter

and pomengranate leftover essence,

a lavender dream in the trails I leave this earth behind me,

sleep, breathe, contained in a room, with a closet.

All I want is a closet.

All I want is a closet, because if I have to lug one more fucking

suitcase through another rainy European city

taxi

or American suburban forest,

SUV

from vehicle to vehicle to train to plane to dizzy bee

and back again, up the stairs, over the homeless

and through railway lines, late for

trips and stamps, and money and borderlines

the never finding your bra amongst the tumbleweeds of your possessions,

the losing the one face cream you need at 4 pm,

and the errant shoe found mysteriously under the towel beside the hair wax

and hat and hard whirring drives,

a flip flop chasing another, a little eruption, a rainbow

vomited into my room, through all the endless repetitive tucking, folding, picking, shipping,

the arnica oil you hope wont spill, to the aloe vera which might

just crack, the necessary fishnets (oh those legs, he moaned)

that get hooked onto

anything sharp and pokey in my

entangled little sharp and shiny microcosm of the irreverent world,

that shit is heavy,

heavy,

the three bottles of Korean wine rice you’ve been carrying around,

ginger candy lacing the thong you bought in a Manhattan lit sidewalk in

the rain, handcuffs and love on display through a hazy

lewd afternoon, rolling, shifting, lifting

the never ending lifting lifting lifting

drifting

all I want is a goddamn closet.

All I want is a closet, where shoes are under other clothes,

and bags fit all the way back, and I can hang a photo of my mother

beside the fuschia top, and maybe a picture of you,

tall, brown, topless,

looking at me,

dressed

naked

dancing

speaking and thinking, lipstick in hand, pen in another,

tequila wafting and

sound rhythm music life soul,

and no one else around. I want me a closet of my own.

All I want in this world is a

closet, to capture myself in its folds,

an amber laced mystery,

a jeweled night song from faraway,

an exposed thigh glistening in a hallway,

me and my huge, oversized, exuberant and playful closet.

Ps: I also want a phd, lots more music, green spaces inner and outer, feet that can dance, hands that type, two curly big eyed children and their laughter, a dark tall smiling man to tickle me, a German Shepard warrior who can run with us, half a million dollars at some point in the bank, a house by a small body of silver blue water, with a little flower flame inside, a bigger bust, a smaller waist, longer hair, five poetry books, three films, two novels, seven grandchildren, a motorcycle and the smell of coconut to accompany me all along the way, all the way.

Thank you.

The closet will do for this year.

Why is poetry important?

Ok, so the title is totally misleading. I dont know why poetry is important. But you could be sitting in your bed, in your nerdy glasses, thoughts are whirling with laughter because a cute boy half the world away is sending you messages about nothing and everything. You have ran in the rain and had a great thai curry for dinner.  You drank too many long island iced teas with dinner, too early, and youre too late to drink like this, life warns you.

You come home with smiles in your eye and a vague desire to embrace the world. You remember a poem you loved. You cant stop thinking of this poem. You realize you have shared this poem with everyone you admire. Everyone you desire. There is no more social media to welcome it. You think, perhaps the poet wrote other poems just as necessary. Perhaps not. You risk that disappointment.

He always speaks of his son. His son calls him baba, like I do with mine. He speaks of his father, immigrant and dead.  He speaks of his mother, who obviously gave him a universe in her hands. I find myself crying, for all the little boys in the world who love their fathers, and for all the fathers in the world who have to go away, including mine.

Both poems are by the lovely Li-Young Lee. (Check out his Immigrant Blues, best poem.)


The Gift

To pull the metal splinter from my palm
my father recited a story in a low voice.
I watched his lovely face and not the blade.
Before the story ended, he’d removed
the iron sliver I thought I’d die from.

I can’t remember the tale,
but hear his voice still, a well
of dark water, a prayer.
And I recall his hands,
two measures of tenderness
he laid against my face,
the flames of discipline
he raised above my head.

Had you entered that afternoon
you would have thought you saw a man
planting something in a boy’s palm,
a silver tear, a tiny flame.
Had you followed that boy
you would have arrived here,
where I bend over my wife’s right hand.

Look how I shave her thumbnail down
so carefully she feels no pain.
Watch as I lift the splinter out.
I was seven when my father
took my hand like this,
and I did not hold that shard
between my fingers and think,
Metal that will bury me,
christen it Little Assassin,
Ore Going Deep for My Heart.
And I did not lift up my wound and cry,
Death visited here!
I did what a child does
when he’s given something to keep.
I kissed my father.

A Story

Sad is the man who is asked for a story
and can’t come up with one.

His five-year-old son waits in his lap.
Not the same story, Baba. A new one.
The man rubs his chin, scratches his ear.

In a room full of books in a world
of stories, he can recall
not one, and soon, he thinks, the boy
will give up on his father.

Already the man lives far ahead, he sees
the day this boy will go. Don’t go!
Hear the alligator story! The angel story once more!
You love the spider story. You laugh at the spider.
Let me tell it!

But the boy is packing his shirts,
he is looking for his keys. Are you a god,
the man screams, that I sit mute before you?
Am I a god that I should never disappoint?

But the boy is here. Please, Baba, a story?
It is an emotional rather than logical equation,
an earthly rather than heavenly one,
which posits that a boy’s supplications
and a father’s love add up to silence.

I have missed you, blog.

hello anonymous readers and imaginary friends. it has been so long. i am a bad girl. in some fun ways, and in some non-fun ways. my habit of running around cyberspace looking for poetry to share with you has been put aside for a while to accommodate a whole lotta work and some major walks in NYC.
i am happily in the US, running around questioning where i belong in this world. i live in nyc when i visit,
so its not a vacation to me, its another facet of life, and it makes the worlds of beirut and
dubai seem to ethereal and distant and bizarre. and yet when am back in that region, everything is simply,
home. who knows where we are meant to live.
i have not written poems in nyc. i, for some reason, do not write much poetry here. maybe i will write some in arizona or california soon, but poetry seems to be deeply involved with my arab world.
i will be reading poetry at IPS, institute for policy studies in Washington DC on the 11th. should be fun. debate the question of palestine and activism through poetry and film.
i am working on my film.
i am working on my book.
i am working on my ease of flow and heart strength, and open wings and light filled eyes and loose limbed
strides and a smile to counteract everything.
i was having dinner with a friend last week and he gave me the latest issue of Banipal, on Arab-American literature and i found this poem, read to me by my sister, over a dinner with guac and pinto de gallo, and tacos and so on…it was a great little piece, nothing about it remarkable till the last line hit me and
knocked my breath away.
brave poet. brave brave poet. specially being an arab. i will type up the poem for you, reader.
see how nice i am?

Interfaith Conference
by
Assef Al-Jundi

Talking is much better than hostilities,

but ultimately,

what are you here for?

With so many holy turfs to protect,

what meaningful thing

can you hope to achieve?

Most of you proclaim a belief

in an all powerful God-

One who rewards

Worship and obediance.

Punishes

free thinking and sin.

An afterlife dictator

who aims to run a pure society of devotees

in heaven,

and burn all undesirables

in the gas chambers of hell.

A lunatic

by normal human sensibilities.

You differ in your books and rituals.

In how you deify and comply.

Each of you believes

your skin is safe in the next world

because you are on the soft side

of your mad ruler.

The end of the world,

as you know it,

is Love.