Edition II

February 2018


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The Streets Are Unkind - by Hanna Abi Akl (Photo by Tarek Roumie)Photo credit: Tarek Roumie

The Streets Are Unkind

By Hanna Abi Akl

The streets are unkind to me,
they teach me about the tough life
every day.

They teach me about roughing it
in this merciless world
to grab the tree by the vines
and swing to the other side.

Drunkards with their backs against
the wall
holding on to their bottles
or dear life
like some invincible potion
that would keep them sane
and alive.

Lovers making love
in the backseat of an old Mercedes
just to survive
and make it through the night.

Loners were out there
dealing and selling drugs
for a lifeline
or a watchful eye that showed them
care and compassion.

The streets were not for everyone,
yet those who weren’t made for them
felt a sense of belonging there –
Perhaps even more than those
who were shaped by them.

The graffiti on the walls testify
to the growing pain and angst
and loveless fights that took place there.

Now I find myself walking into them
again
like walking for the first time
A man reborn, unburnt,
unhurt by the tribulations
and misfortunes that drove me here
with you in mind
with love in mind
one hand reaching for the filth
and reeking stench of death
the other pulling me back

– slightly, ever so slightly –

The road behind me quickly evaporates
swallowed by darkness
as the road in front of me
opens up to introduce its demons
and your eyes,
your eyes at the center of it all
watching, judging,
waiting for me to make my move
on the battlefield
and I think to myself,

there

is

no

backtracking

now.


In The Face - by Malak El Halabi (Photo by Odette Scapin)Photo credit: Odette Scapin

In The Face

By Malak El Halabi

I always looked Love
in the face
the way a heliophobe
stares
at the sun.
Tipping my head back
and barely looking.
Stealing the light from between
sunburns
and always inflicting
damage to whoever was holding
the staring contest,
regardless of
how damn good he was.

No matter the rhythm,
No matter the melody,
the shades were always calling
my name
and I (almost) never
missed their calls.

The rain always promised
clean pages and seasonal
grass.
A road the back of my feet
can accurately measure
A path I am able to foresee
all of its potholes.

A thorn was simply a price I was
never willing
to pay for a rose…

But tonight,
in the light of this rose
between our opposing bodies
I stare…
directly
into your dark eyes,
and from the shadow of
this gaze,
a thousand suns are born.

I am looking Love
in the face
steadily.

All the sunburns in Hell can finally head my way.


Time - by Myriam Azar (Photo by Myriam Nehmeh)Photo credit: Myriam Nehmeh

Time

By Myriam Azar

I have a hole in my heart
I cannot see it bleeding
even the wound is hidden to the common eye
I am blind but I can feel I am running out of time

Time…
If only I knew love
only it can sew me back together
my broken temple
it is going to be okay

Love or Death?

Time…
Will I ever be whole again?
I have a hole in my heart only I can see now


PoemPhoto credit: Dina Sami

Oil

By Sara Houmani

The Only Supremacy

I will abide by

Is your upper Rim

Atop my own

Biting its way into

My lower

Esteem.

This territory

Is under siege

In the look for

Oil

And all you get

is Moisture

Pin your banner hands

Deeper into this dust

& Squeeze

the Extremities

& Mother Earth

Might just

Grace you

With Some

Honey.


Guitar Riffs - by Daniele Farah (Photo by Felix Russell-Saw)Photo credit: Felix Russell-Saw

Guitar Riffs

By Daniele Farah

Guitar riffs reciting your play’s lines

They ring the neighbor’s ear like crowd cheers

Violins wheezing, portraying the decaying paint running down the oil painting, drown me

Force your heart down my throat

I’m not alive if I am loved

Spirals shot from empty water basins

Spoons of sugar bring hell to the liars

Steady the levels of righteousness that bring feathers to your rusty net

I am not the message for peace

I am barely peaceful with myself

If music will sleep against your chest

I’ll be covering your naked soul during the night


The Revelation - by Zeinab El Darwish (Photo by Odette Scapin)Photo credit: Odette Scapin

The Revelation

By Zeinab El Darwish

I gaze at you now and I see heaven’s work
drowning in hell’s deepest holes
under headlines of agony

The palm of my hand reaches out
to caress your cheek
but you turn your head the other way

Like a snake wrapped tightly around your neck,
you pull on your hair in attempt to escape the vicious words
displayed like banners through the shadows of your open mind

The venom travels through every vein
and your once red fluid turns blue
and it floods onto the portraits of hope that no longer exist

My eyes insist on witnessing the destruction of your empire,
the crumble of your bones
and ultra-violent split of your flesh

Your ribcage slams open like the gates of Babylon
unleashing imprisoned stray hummingbirds deep inside a demolished haunted house
once known as shelter

Those birds you are no longer familiar with the tune of,
similarly to the way colors became old news,
for you could no longer see yellow post-dry up of sunflower petals

Same way the clouds formed an upgraded version of the Great Wall of China over your sun
5 AM sunrises were only another reminder of loneliness
and it didn’t even matter what your first grade art teacher had taught you
the only rainbow you knew involved different shades of black,
each one a little bit darker than the previous

And so your crystals crash onto the firm earth,
despite my mother’s requests not to approach shattered glass barefoot
I hastened to pick up the innumerable pieces endeavoring to stitch you whole
but the puzzle was way too bewildering.

So I paused for a moment to breathe in the sight, it was all too familiar.

My mother once warned me to be careful when trying to fix a broken person,
for you may cut yourself on their shattered pieces

But when both are already crippled,
perhaps there is nothing to fear

Perhaps the energy ignited between the touch of our fingers could light up the entire galaxy
with the reflection of our broken glass facing one another

Perhaps the combination of my broken and your broken
could be the best creation of all time


أراكي - by Noor Kabbara (Photo by Aziz Acharki)المصوّر: عزيز أشاركي

أراكي

الشاعرة نور كبّارة

أراكي تأخذين من وجوه المارّة
منزلا
تدفنين معالمك في معالمهم
تستعبدين الغريب لتريحي نفسا لم تعد تعرف كيف تمرر الوقت
أسمع ندائك من أفواها لم تدرك بعد أن أحدا تلّبسها
لأسمع صوتا وسعت به الدنيا حين ترددّ و ضاقت بغيابه
هذه الروح لكِ تشتاق دائما
تمضي و كأنما لا مكانة للمسافة و لا معنى للأماكن

أراكي جالسة بقربي
تتكلمين عن قلبك بصفة الغائب المنسي
و قلبك هو من سمعته يتكلم
شاء الهوى أن يترك رحيق عطرك على ثيابا أخذت منها منزلا
لكي تدوم هذه الزيارات حين يحل اليل
كم رغبنا لو أن البُعد كان مرضا في العقل و ليس واقعا نعد فيه الأيام

سلاما لك يا من أحببتني كما أنا
و أحببتك كما أنت
سلاما لك و عليك و أنت تمشين على سجيتك
تمرّين بالمشاة المستعجلين
تعّدين الوجوه
إلى حين يظهر وجهي متلّبسا أحدا منهم
يبتسم
و يقول سلاما لروحٍ رُبطة روحه بها


Now I See it in Her Eyes - by Flay (Mohamed Cheaib) (Photo by Rachel Chisholm)Photo credit: Rachel Chisholm

Now I see it in her eyes

By Flay

At a dread droll dull day
As boring as all shall past
Covered with mist of gray
Vision of delusion’s cast

With a walk long and flat
As normal of a life before
Nothing exciting with that
Yet my heart pleads for more

So mild the drizzled rain
Yet so pale I was and worn
Angry to my dismay of pain
In a mood of bitter forlorn

The world bent on my chest
As hard to breath and stand
I struggled to meet my best
With a cold and trembling hand

Armless, unprepared to fight
Of a dread day of gloom
In my life of fading light
And the hollow face of doom

But then I heard it slow
From behind a voice so mild
Those whispers I heard in low
Of this world running wild

I stopped and waited to see
Who should emerge of the walk
That dim light caressing me
And like a pelican I stood and stalk

A figure short and pleasant
Briskly came to my sight
Yet I never realized my present
Of her flare shinning bright

As if there was a greater sun
In a gray and sorrowful sky
As if the walk was new and fun
And the flower may never die

She was there, at a single stare
Before me so calm and serene
Of what pain and of what despair?
Of what I know? yet never seen

In the gray with a rosy face
A perfect contrast with the cold air
And I was frozen in my place
My reality was trapped with her

Her eyes so brown and rich
Sparkling like water in the well
Puzzled and couldn’t tell which
And I knew in what hell I fell

And the wind blows her hair
Of a perfume of cheerful taste
And I knew what we would share
Like everything is perfectly placed

She saw me there on the stair
In a glum and fading state
And I wanted to caress her
Yet I realized the irony of fate

Of two battling worlds I saw
Her’s filled with joy and peace
And mine’s with suffers I know
That I long for a life to cease

Yet with a smile she took the flow
And I surrendered to her flare
Inviting and genuine will show
Of a life I could not dare

So pure, so soft, and evergreen
Completely untainted by the day
Bursting with warmth I glean
Of this man from dust and clay

After that it was never the same
As I walk with a spark within me
After that the day was never lame
And my soul forever will be free

One smile that I want mine
One special at my sweet suffocation
Of my life I waited that sign
At a spell of bitter-sweet sensation

She turned at my own dismay
With a smile from heavenly skies
I’ve seen the world in gray
But now I see it in her eyes


Rewind - by Maria Etre (Photo by Aziz Acharki)Photo credit: Aziz Acharki

<| <| Rewind |

By Maria Etre

Fall on my lips
while I fall with
gravity
hitting cotton clouds
of serenity
that you filled
in every cell of me

Take me back
defy physics
hold the hands of time
and turn them back
< <Rewind time

I’d replay drunken dawns
maybe memories
I forgot to remember
moments that fled
when I blinked
Rewind
PRESS PLAY |>
replay
again and again
with you

Walk backwards with me
pulling the lines of our
almost wrinkles
pulling them back
to relive the smooth days of youth
ready to reflect the recklessness
that will stitch itself
in the stories of the future
nestle in the wrinkles
that will vessel our faces
one day

Lay your hand on my chest
let your warmth melt ice
that filled its cracks
and mend it, weld it painfully
let the cracks fall into each
other and glow like iron
when hot
let them melt for each other
the same way I did
for you

Cup my cheek with the other
the surface that witnessed
salty waterfalls over
and over
from the left eye
dense with sadness
and the right
with droplets
of happiness
sometimes wiped by a lover
others soaked with a napkin
closer than any
when none were
around

Whisper to me
things your heart marinated
over the years
for it’s never too late
to start over


What Lead us - by Jamil Adas (Photo by Jessica Andersdotter)Photo credit: Jessica Andersdotter

What Lead us

By Jamil Adas

What lead 7
before 8

What lead the apple
to get plucked

What lead the world to rotate
on a spike

What lead Libon to tessellate
the temple to Zeus

What lead Imhotep’s stone blocks
to mount each other

Curiosity killed the cat
but what lead curiosity to its path?

Care killed us all and satisfaction brought us back.

For the sake of us
let it keep leading.


Thank you to every writer for the thought infusing poems contributed and
thank you to every passerby for reading the art of our talented poets.

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Beirut Poetics edition
send your poem or request to be a “visual artist” to poetry@beirutpoetics.com

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You can check out our previous edition here:

Edition I