Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Silent Green

We pass through death quietly,
Sight unseen--
Slipping like ghosts at a party,
Unnoticed--
Haunting the spaces that carry
Our smells like second skins...

Sideway glances in a crowd,
The sound of laughter receding,
Entering the cool darkness of the air
Willingly--
On the other side, imagined relief,
A new beginning, or respite
From weathered selves?

The train passes. Let it go.
Another will come. You wait.
You listen into the tunnel:
Fluorescent light on white tiles,
And a faint hum...

The story continues. The world
Never fails a beat. You want it to
Notice the absence. But it churns
Beings like dust, lives like smoke,
And hurtles on...

Someone will notice. Someone will choke.
Someone will face the night alone tonight.
Reaching an arm across an empty bed,
Someone will feel the cold of the sheets.
Absence will resonate somewhere,
Will echo, and rage, and plunder...

Facing the night, with the knowledge
Of life elsewhere, undeterred--
You hold your silence,
You face your absence--
This once you will not look away.
It is here. And you are ready.

(originally posted on May 07, 2017)

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Here's to Beirut

 "...Above the city of losses, the city of Lights
Bouncing back off a starless sky, the city
Where we'll try to save this night from the death of nights."
    - Joe Bolton, "The Name of Desire"


Here's to the glitz of a dying city 
That no longer resembles itself
Because its light has been stolen..
Here’s to the glam of a deranged city
that no longer resembles another
Because its promise has been broken..
Here's to a tired city, a toxic city, a cruel city
A city of thieves, and of charlatans
Of open sewers, and blocked roads
A city of revolt, of anger and despair..
A city that has died a hundred times 
And deserved every single death..
A city that has killed a million times 
And savored every single one..
Here's to Beirut, the Medusa, the Hydra
And the ever burning Phoenix 
The masochist and the sadist 
The victim and the crime..

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

The Smallness of Life

(To Katy)

This,
the smallness of my life, I said,
can you see it?
But she said nothing,
she just wrote
a series of details
and small spaces.
My life used to spread, I said,
over pot-holed streets and easy laughter,
a time when youth was
just another smell in the air.
But she said nothing,
she just sniffed;
from where she stood,
she could smell it still.
But my life has stretched so thin, I said,
it has shrunk into this square mile
between where I sleep and where I yawn.
This corner of the world, I said,
that I call my own;
this bit of the earth
I staked as home.

This piece of life, I said,
that I squander at will;
this circle of friends
I ignore to call.

This head resting on my hip,
this hour of the day when the sky
looks like Mary in front of the cross.

This hollow in my heart
where they used to be;
this cat, this breath, this,
this smallness of my life...
But she said nothing,
she just blinked.
Her life wasn't any bigger.

(Originally post on January 30, 2006)

Monday, August 15, 2022

I Thought We Were

To friends departed too early

I thought we were endless,
raging against the night,
laughing life in the face,
and running...

I thought we were shameless,
masters of our indolence,
wasting time like we owned it,
and yawning...

I thought we were spotless,
dazzling and daring,
dreaming of one day,
and dashing...

I thought we were painless...

I thought we were later:
first grandparents,
then parents,
then us...

I thought we were future,
till the past piled on,
today slipped by,
and now…

I think we are naked,
humbled and defenseless,

standing in the wind, and bowing,
seeing for the first time our culling

what remains of us, scattered
and huddled, and hoping…

Originally posted on Friday, October 05, 2007

Thursday, May 05, 2022

Teta

Today is the 20 year anniversary of my grandma's passing, the event that got me into poetry... I seem to have dried up recently, but here's some of what I'd written for her during the years:


I miss you, Teta...

Monday, April 04, 2022

Comfortably Numb

: Of Grief IV

To those left behind..
Stuff the slices down your throat
And choke on a smile
The end bounces off of a black screen

The line thins between the zenith and the abyss
He tells me my pain is only resistance
"Grieve!" he says, my agony does not suffice
Grieve loss upon loss until you are unaware of losses

Now it's their turn to fall from grace
From the stars, from above
And my turn to put them back up
Where they belong

My laughter sobs
And I become, I hope
comfortably numb

(Originally posted on Aug. 3, 2004; re-posted on July 24, 2006)

Thursday, March 17, 2022

I’ll Be (Nothing)

I’ll be nothing, that’s what I’ll be.
I’ll be the limbs breaking on the ice,
I’ll be desire melting onto itself,
I’ll be the longing that possesses me
That I’ll never possess.

I’ll be nothing, that’s what I’ll be.
I’ll be the vicious hope that rides me to death,
I’ll be just another breath, another step
To nowhere...

(originally posted on December 06, 2004)

Monday, February 07, 2022

D(e)ad

When I get back you may be gone 

But I don't want to see you before I go 

I don't want to see you like this 

I don't want to remember you like this 

I don't want to remember you 

I don't want

I don't care

I don't care to forgive you 

I don't care to forgive me

I don't 

Friday, January 07, 2022

Parts of You

Parts of you stay with me

Stay in me

Stay as me


Parts of you stay

When you're gone

When I'm gone


Parts of you--

Stay!

Gone..

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Insistence of Being

And if I disappear, where would I go?
The silence left behind will not be heard
Amidst the noise. How long would it take
For anyone to notice the absence? And
Would it matter? Would any of it matter?

A church bell tolls, water gurgles,
A bird chimes another, as if in peace.
Life thrust upon us, an insistence of being,
An echoless voice in a chamber too full,
Is there any choice besides its negation?

I do not reject you, fellow prisoners,
I reject this, the sentence, the ruthlessness 
Of being, of time, of life, 
Of that essential loneliness that envelops us, 
That wraps us all like a shroud since birth.

(originally posted on May 24, 2017)

Monday, September 06, 2021

A Time Before

A time before you and me

A time before the past was past 

A time before the present got past

And then the future, too--

The future went past

And you and I

Lost in the past

In this forgotten city

Blown up by the sea 

At the edge of an old dusty world...


A time before my mom, and her mom 

A time before my dad forgot the world 

And remembered only his sadness 

Curled it up like a kitten 

Hurled up into his lap

And licked it clean...


(inspired by:

https://www.the961.com/photos-lebanon-1900s-1920s)


Wednesday, September 01, 2021

The Worst of It

My first Covid symptoms appeared on Wednesday, August 4th, 2021. After 2 negative PCR tests, I got officially diagnosed, through a chest scan, the following Tuesday. That day the virus had attacked 10% of the lung. By Sunday, it was 70%; an ambulance took to the ER. I stayed 12 days in the ICU, 15 in the hospital in total. My lungs burst; I have 80% damage in one, 20% in the other. The air got trapped under the skin, causing swelling in the neck and face. Recovery is estimated to take between weeks and months. But it's good to be back home, even if on oxygen.

Living without perfume,
That wasn't the worst of it.
It wasn't coughing while your nose splattered blood,
Nor having to eliminate in a bed as someone watched.
It wasn't the tubes sticking out of you as you tried to sleep,
Nor was it the moving bruise of the ever-shifting IV.
It wasn't the isolation of the gray walls, the viewless window, and sleepless nights,
Nor was it trying to assure your mother as you wanted to cry.
It wasn't the bloated face that greeted you with a scare in the mirror,
Nor the burst lungs, and the air trapped under the skin.
It wasn't the exorbitant bills of a country falling apart,
Nor was it getting out to a room without AC in the midst of collapse.
It wasn't realizing that your father cared more about his suffering than yours,
Nor was it realizing that you cared about yours more than his...
It was realizing that you still had your foot, and your brother, and somewhat your breath,
And you still didn't know what to make of them...

Friday, July 23, 2021

Someday

: Of Hope III
Someday
when it’s all done
and the white foam pours forth
you’ll be telling me
that song we drew when
the grass was freshly mown
was embroidered into
your mother’s skirt.

I will turn
and absorb your face
like it was the last kite of summer
and together we will drip
like old wounds
at the back of the throat.
There will be nothing that night
but the bees that circled our heads
and a sigh that congealed
with a dream.

(Originally posted on February 25, 2005)