Photo credit: Rhett Wesley
By Maria Etre
What is it about humans
and their love for mistakes?
Raise your glasses to broken hearts
they mended bigger than ever
Toast to tears, endless fountains
of salty diamonds, brushing against
cheeks that have been kissed and slapped
by reality … and other things…
Clink to carelessness, disorganization
it taught you well,
quite the opposite
straighter lines under your words
wider tables to fit your “to do’s”
and most of all filled daily calendar reminders..
if you remember, to say the least
Stand in ovation to lightness
taking things at face value
reading faces, mistaking judgements
that took you to lands you never thought you’d venture
and back … a pendulum journey
Over charcoals of regret
and ice rings of first snow
clap, summoning the guilt
squish it between 2 hands
that guided you, felt for you
wiped tears for you, longed for you
wrote for you…
“clap” the guilt away
dance to the tune of newness
The rhythm of your own fuck ups
Curtsy to curiosity
That held hands with mistakes
Over and over and over
Multiple ones, different ones
that took different forms
Beautiful, ugly, harsh, heartless … handsome
And this time… don’t worry
they did judge you, yes they did,
you were the talk that sparked
their tongues with new taste buds
you were the flame to the
smoke they saw
Now come with me, lovely
light a cigarette
Photo credit: Dmitry Ratushny
I Walked from Door to Door
As I walked
from door to door
with my book under my arm
trying to find a decent buyer
I realized most of them
were just looking for a way
to stay alive…
and I could hear the coffee pots brewing
in angry morning kitchens
The prayers in the bathroom stalls
The screaming graffiti on the public walls
The little infant cries marring hospital halls…
They were everywhere:
people of the streets
aching for a way out
and as I filled the pages
so did their screams
fill my head
and I walked with a heavy heart
The book trailing behind me
in empty streets
to the sound of melancholy birds
chirping away at another sunset
that would lay waste to the day
and all its bearings
and so came another night
Filled with sorrow
Filled with music
Filled with broken hearts
and broken dreams
crushed under metal palettes
and reinforced steel
Container trucks parked in front of art studios
while beer bottles chimed at the other end of the street
I walked from door
with my book
under my arm
trying to find
while most of them
were still looking
for a way
Photo credit: Alice Jones
By Omar Kayyal
Home is mama’s goodbye smile,
shining through tears uncried.
I have never seen teeth so white;
My eyes were pricked,
by careful, cemented bricks of Sensodyne.
They formed a tower you see,
reflected in the apple in your eye.
Although for me,
It was but a shed,
in the garden of your mind.
For I know your Tree,
is rooted deep;
Its fruits I have yet to find.
Maybe mama, to its heights I can climb,
in one of our talks,
into the night.
Home is sous’s laugh,
cackled at comments her brother makes,
pointing out what it takes,
to tolerate her. Even that sounds
spoken through gritted teeth, when really, it is a token
of her personality.
Home is sous’s chuckle,
at my casual, shriek of horror,
sung upon passing her room:
a hurricane of outfit attempts,
and unfit shoes.
Home is sous’s hoot,
at my attempt to play,
“Sous’s Uber is Late”,
a one-man show,
of me screaming through the phone,
“Hey driver, I’m angry at you!”
Home is sous and I preparing dinner:
escalope, wedges, honey musts.
Home is me doing the dishes,
while she does not.
Home is baba’s sob of joy,
shared to a room of strangers:
Honest, a book read by its cover:
My Dad’s Happiness, at being,
one with another.
Home is discomfort,
to have to make space for more.
Home is finding there is always another door.
Home is where the hearth is –
the fire that grows when you add more.
Home is the roughness of baba’s beard.
Home is baba red-faced, in fits of laughter,
nearly falling, over a game of leekha.
Home is the creation of a tear.
Its ingredients are a smile, a laugh, a cry.
Seen as a sequence of frames, a spinning zoetrope,
memories come alive.
Although as a fruit born of a tree of memories,
a tear is filled only with salt water,
its synthesis is photos,
seen through a sunlit eye:
sous’s carefree laugh,
baba’s joyous sob.
Home is moments. Home is flowers.
Home is seconds turned to hours.
Photo credit: Ayah Ballout
I Found Love
I found love
looked it in the eye
but it ran away
I found love three years ago
we played on sandy beaches
we laid in the sun
it stirred my blood
and shook my being
I flew but then I fell
back down the ladder
now I lay helplessly
endless questions running through my head
with no answer
I found love
looked it in the eye
but it ran away
Photo credit: Ruba Badwan
In the quantum realm of my reality
I designed a mathematically beautiful fantasy
An illusory of science and dark alliances
a mystical act of a forgotten godlessness
I was deprived from my own health
I geniusly fabricated my own death
But before I enter the hole
I have two wishes, in it you will take a role
A candle for me when I go
A requiem for my dreams and my soul
As I summon the lord,
To the sound of your strings I fade and disintegrate
To the touch of your keys I dissolve and evaporate
I merge into the wild tone of my incarnation
liberating myself from the lost echo of my incarceration
Your dark notes nurture my sole existence
light corrupt the night in the realm of my subsistence
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