Edition X

October 2018


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Reading My Grandfather - by Jamil Adas  (Photo by Malda Smadi).jpgPhoto credit: Malda Smadi

Reading My Grandfather

By Jamil Adas

Hello reader,
Can you resurrect my grandfather?
I doubt it.

There is no such thing as “speaking with the dead”

That is stupid

There is, however, reading the dead

Yesterday, I read my grandfather

I saw him dead (again)

Saw him kiss and hug my grandmother for the last time (again)

Saw myself sat in the living room staring through the slightly cracked open door into his bedroom (again) as his 4 daughters surrounded him helplessly (again) with his moans and cries ringing in our ears as his soul was getting dragged away (again).

Let me read him to you…

“أُكُلْ تَنْفَعْكَ يومَ الهِوَشْ”
كان جدّي يحكيلنا هالجملة لمّا ما كنّا نخلّص صحنّا
فأتحمّس
فآكل
و أتهاوش

كان يسألني
عندك تفاحة اليوم؟  و يأشر على خدّي
فبيشتري تفاحة ببوسة
و البطّيخ من راسي باثنين
و العنب من دأني بثلاثة
آه … كان يبوس دأني

يا جدّي
يا جدّي … شفتك عبتعجز زيّ ما شفتني عبكبر
شفتك عبتقرأ كلّ الجرايد مدوّر للصحوة العربية
كإنها مخبّاي بشي كلمة أو جملة عبيستنّوك تقرأهم

يا جدّي إنتَ بدايتي
إنتَ بداية كلّ ما أرى و يُرى
إنتَ نفخت فيّي الأدب، و يريتك تشوف عظمت نفختك

It is difficult to say fare’well’ to a man dying in pain.

It is difficult, so this time I said fare’better’

Here is to you سيدو
I hope you are in a fare’better’ place.


Insenate - By Elie Harfouch  (Photo by Vince Fleming).jpgPhoto credit: Vince Fleming

Insensate

By Elie Harfouch

I resonate
smiling down from my room
expectations kill reality
just as reality kills fantasies

Are they my friends?

I see the enemy in front of me,
he is fearful and he is mocking me

Whispers and looks
dishonest insects trying to be the center of attention in the room

I am aware of them
their masks and uniforms
their scent and their many forms

It is easy to be seduced
but not anymore
I will not be used

There are still many shapes for me to become.
Wisdom is the opposite of freedom

I see the enemy in front of me,
he is laughing and he is looking at me

I want to end this but he is not letting me

I see the enemy in front of me
suddenly everything is clearer
I am looking at myself in the mirror

I can’t feel anything

but I resonate


I Won't Remember You - By Malak Halabi  (Photo by John Jason).jpgPhoto credit: John Jason

I Won’t Remember You

By Malak Halabi

As I walk these dead-end streets alone
As the dogs bark and the caravan
goes on…
I won’t
remember you
And I won’t remember your Mediterranean face,
falling asleep between my arms and the arms of
dawn
And I won’t remember your black starry eyes,
gazing at me, like two suspended moons between hell
and heaven
And I won’t remember your heavenly curls
locked night after night between my sleepless fingers
As I walk these dead-end streets alone
As the dogs bark and the caravan
goes on…
I won’t
remember you
And I won’t remember your hands molding my nights
like the sounds of chirping birds contour the face of
morning
And I won’t remember your touch
And I wont’ remember your body carved like a wound between my thighs, like an anchored ship
waiting to be forgotten
As I walk these dead-end streets
alone, my dear,
the dogs will bark but the caravan,
the caravan won’t be moving.


Trade Places with a Sound - By Omar Kayyal  (Photo by Steven Ramon).jpgPhoto credit: Steven Ramon

Trade Places with a Sound

By Omar Kayyal

We are in a room together,
surrounded, by beer-fumed,
hasheeshed, laughter.
We are in audience to each other’s performance.
Each holds a mirror, because we’re told
its manners. Play it genuine,
but only as a reflection
of her or him.

My presence
is a spotlight. Its focus is: not that, but this;
It swings from: “Where do you now work at?”
to an eye-contact-held-beer-sip.
It jerks from a pride-clung comment,
to her
flirtatious, tight, ripe
eyelid.
Was that morse code for ‘midnight kiss’?
or simply Almaza’s relentlessness?
Then, for one moment,
it all goes quiet. Everyone playing
‘Not that, but this’, stumbles upon
a musical, silence.

My spotlight takes control now,
and looks for this Sound:

As it slips away,
and they, all turn to play,
‘not that but this’,

Spotlight touches sounds, around:
his, he laughs, voice, low to the ground,
hers, she speaks from a peach-shaped cloud,
his, excitement bubbles from a geyser underneath,
hers, she trembles fear at excitement unsheathed,
I notice a song arise. There! Anger plays with the stomping of feet.
From silence, this song
plays a phenomenal beat.
Its rhythm is the definition of free
and so I couldn’t capture it.
In that defeat,
I was relieved.

When mirrors are set aside
and the play deems no need for lights
shined
in directions otherwise unkind,
there emerges:
an invisible dance.
Carrying a mirror and a light,
is a weight we need not bear.
Gravity was designed for us.
Not that, but this.
We need not miss
a chance.
Dance with feet
bare, in a dark room, without care
and experience-
weightlessness.
Not that, but this.
With a sound, you can trade places.

My light shines on those who perform,
effortless. All reflect on their secret.
My light shines on those whose effort
is all there is.
When their spotlight shines on frustration,
on boredom, they hide it.
A play is both its audience and performers.
To hide your light, you deny the play its hard won intensity.

I shine my light upwards.

There is a raincloud of anxiety –
evaporating confidence.
Reflection caused heat to rise.
Swirls of smoke meet our eyes.
We’re all in the sky, playing ‘not that but this’.

We brew over a man born in 1706;
He is the boy still holding the string of the flailing kite,
the man who risks his life
to catch lightning by its own strike.
He begins to cry. He doesn’t know why, he is alone.
Not even thunder turns his heels
towards home.
Thunder tightens his grip.
He holds the string, firms his hip.
The boy closes his eyes.
The man lets go.

Lightning.

Sound.


Dear October Mornings - By Saja Radi  (Photo by Maxime Amoudruz).jpgPhoto credit: Maxime Amoudruz

Dear October Mornings

By Saja Radi

Dear October Mornings,

Long gowns and black strokes of mascara
Bronze and gold
Flashing against light
Behold the world
where you and I exist
A window to a life unknown
Archaic kind of dreams
You make me dream

Sun beams gleam from the surface
of a deep, pink-tiled pool
Morning coldness transforms into core warmth
as you wrap your arms around me
The aroma of French brewed coffee fills the air
You smile

The day always starts right


I Beat a Man at the Pool Table - By Hanna Abi Akl  (Photo by Neel Raj).jpgPhoto credit: Neel Raj

I Beat a Man at the Pool Table

By Hanna Abi Akl

I beat a man at the pool table
and he sneered and jeered at me

I beat a man at the pool table
and the band was still playing
late 80s songs

I beat a man at the pool table
and the lead singer –
a young gypsy girl in tight overalls –
was giving me the eyes

I beat a man at the pool table
and glared at him
and drank his beer

I beat a man at the pool table
and thought about closing down the bar

I beat a man at the pool table
and shoved another on the way out
just because he couldn’t quote Hemingway

I beat a man at the pool table
and returned to the desk,
returned to the paper,
returned to the words

returned to the calming influence
of the woman that urged me to write

Always standing behind my thoughts
like a shadow or a veil
protecting me

Protecting me from my world
relieving me from all my humane duties

Pushing me through the mud
Pushing me through the sand dunes
Pushing me through the streams
Pushing me through the vines and tombs

Pushing me to write:
‘Write 100 pages’
She said
and I contested her
‘Write 98 pages’
She said
and I contested her

And she kept going down
narrowing the number of pages:

‘Write 1 page’
She said.

Well honey

this

is

the

One.


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

Join us again in our Poetryhood!!


You can check out our earlier editions of 2018 here:

Edition I
Edition II
Edition III
Edition IV
Edition V
Edition VI
Edition VII
Edition VIII
Edition IX