April 2020

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Louder Than I Thought - by Rayan Sammak (Photo by Lawrson Pinson).jpgPhoto credit: Lawrson Pinson

Louder Than I Thought

By Rayan Sammak

I could’ve never figured it out

Neither could they

I breathe the wind that decays

And speak the language that’s dead

Or dying

And the truth might be lying about itself

And everybody listens to the wrong voices

My loud sound can be spoken in different decibels of silence 

And no there’s no way of telling which path I might choose to attack your soul

Cause that is my main target

Guaranteed that I will harm it

I spar with every single heart that you’ve harmed

And maybe then we’ll decide who’s best at being carved

I starve for this

Believe the hunger not the appetite

I’m glad I fight

Choked by the wire of my mic

I hate it, but it’s fine

The rhymes never make it on time for dinner

So I gotta cook the syllables earlier

They don’t even pay attention anymore 

I might be broken I don’t know

But surely if I am, I’d fix myself instantly with the words I learned

And with the wisdom I’ve earned

Enough of that for now

I did not hide away from my frown

I got it to not appear in the meantime of my growth

I cry a lot, but my tears never needed stitches 

Happiness is heavier than I thought

I met up with happiness many times but each time it would ask me out on a date, Sadness would

jump in and yell out: you’re out of my league

Because sadness became my mother tongue

I never liked hope

Neither did the smile of a clown

The only artifact that will vanish is the crown

Nobody is royalty 

Try and build this thing you call a castle

My house is better with one aspect 

It is home

And you can never beat the heart that is beaten and now only knows how to reply with a beating

My language is street and you can hear the gang wars making peace from the corner store

My life will look at your spirit and attempt to walk on the core of a war

I fell from hell, but the angels are waiting from the bottom floor

I think it’s finally time to draw walls for the evil 

And color it with fruitful shade

The dark might die from the love hate relationship I have with it

But only rotten emotions can be felt

And dirty words can be tasted from clean soil

And to living I am loyal

I used to write about death, now I’m only concerned to live

Only because I handle my failures way better than I ever handle success

And when I choose to cut myself

I’m only letting things off my chest

You bet you can get offended 

Your image is that of a hybrid lie and the act of media rebranding 

So you can take your dead character, see if you still wanna defend it

You never guessed the half of my schemes built by a mind where inside the ideas tick as if

machinery dominated and my elements concentrated on armory charmed by poisonous alchemy

actually innovated the chemistry that was never basic, you couldn’t live in between this wreck of

a matrix because if your vocal chords are silent then we only allow yelling out in these spaces!

Amazement from penmanship formed from intensive hatred 

And even my evil opinions wouldn’t ever be debated

Put your medication to the test and best believe my disease born from this seed is definitely

twice as potent and heavily dedicated 

There will never be a “best”, so I am not the greatest 

But since you only look at the stereotype, I’ll work silently and let my success shine because

what’s better than great is being greater

I reek of influential savagery, smell me now or never but that will forever be my favorite


But I never settled the burnt kettle, I’m still cooking with high fires and the devil in me is gentle 

The weight on my soul is heavier but only because I am no longer an empty vessel

You can hear me quite clearly, I could be saying nothing, and you’d still feel, I am a mixture of

several instrumentals 

My success can rise without your fake thank you, I don’t need a medal

Simply into lyrical bursting, I’m flirting with kind murdering, swerving from light but darkness

to strength is what I’m converting 

Listen well but are you learning

Disturbing stopped becoming concerning

I don’t have a resume

Forget your lousy jobs

I’ve scared fear away

You make me pile up boxes in an office

I’ll make you pile up offices 

My flavor is stronger 

Taste it if bitterness is sweet to your tongue

This is the music that should’ve been sung in my death

But I only heard it when my growth had begun

Belonging - by Cyrille Ammour (Photo by Ahmad Odeh).jpgPhoto credit: Ahmad Odeh


By Cyrille Nammour

The sky surrendered
its spell struck hefty dreams to us
sitting in between
casting frozen glances from afar

This is our city now
silent, awake, hidden
sometimes shifting
inside out
but mostly broken
tossing time around
like coins in a wishing well

Can you remember
the little times it has wished us well?

Coin after coin
gamble on comfort, gamble on the future
bet on hope but double check the odds
as we wait for new tomorrows
moving past yesterdays

It looks like the stars never align in our favor

And our long nights of wishful aspirations never get us anywhere
not in this land
not where the soil reeks of distrust
it’s worn out buildings
holding concrete recollections of the past

Are we too afraid to let go?

of everything we are under this sun
under this light
and its suffocating beams

Reciting the monologues
of too late to save
and too early to let go

Let go

we are the ghosts of this land
floating above this city
this centipede
listening to the rattles of its familiar passivity
it hisses

Let go

with its hollow mouth wide open
quiet and discrete
but loud enough to feel the rumbling of

Let go

pierce through our bones

and its failures
charcoal black
oozing out
of our eye sockets
tumbling down from our window panes


Let go

and we limp on another day
choking on the pesticides
of its drains
binging on parasitic regrets
that flow through us
rushing within us
like the sewers we call home
its bite marks

Let go

staining our blotchy skin
pouring hostility
through the open wounds that were made from
carving the words

Let go

yet we sit here and wait
wait for a new tomorrow
patching up the scrapes
as we mumble

Let go

the injury of today

Let go

waiting for a new tomorrow
despite knowing it won’t arrive before
we finally

Let go

fizz - by Omar Kayyal (Photo by Simon Buchou).jpgPhoto credit: Simon Buchou


By Omar Kayyal

I turn to rest my cheek on yours.
Its warmth reminds me of sharing
songs by the fire, melting
long-forgotten sores.

I think of writing a song- of that

Gooseflesh is a Hurricane Crush-
ed in a Can of Cola

I’d call it.

قطار الزمن - by Aziza Abdelhak (Photo by elCarito).jpgPhoto credit: elCarito

قطار الزمن

بقلم عزيزة عبد الحق

على متن قطار الزمن

بحثت عن الوطن بين الأوهام

و عبرت العالم بالأقدام

كالتائه في الأدغال

 و الباحث في الظلال

عن دوره في الكلام

بين ملايين الانغام

على متن قطار الزمن

فر الظلام عبر الأضواء

و بنيت الآمال في الأنحاء

..والأحلام في الارجاء

على متن قطار الزمن

دقت ساعة المساء

لأعود الى الوراء

و أبحث عن الأمان في بلد الأذان

كالبحث عن الهوية في الأوطان

و الأفكار في الأذهان

للوصول الى الوجدان

و عزف الأنغام و إلقاء السلام

The Shave - by Hanna Abi Akl (Photo by Adrian Swancar).jpgPhoto credit: Adrian Swancar

The Shave

By Hanna Abi Akl

At 17 I had a
chin full of hair stubs
that cast a light shade of beard;
I walked; a man among boys
watching me sick with envy

I tried shaving for
the first time at home
took the cream in one hand, the
razor in the other, stood
in front of the mirror, thought:
this should be easy

I cut my lower lip and
watched the blood spout from the scar
to the harrowing cries of
my wailing mother

Poor wailing mama
she cried from knowing
there was nothing she could do
she couldn’t make me a man

and I cried because
I was without a father
I cried because of
fears harassing me
voices telling me
you will never be a man

I knew I had to become
a man to beat them

well, here we are now:
dear papa, I don’t
know where you are but
I’m doing better
with the damn razor.

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