Edition XIII

February 2019

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Empathy is a Lie - by Elie Harfouch (Photo by Alannah Bowes)Photo credit: Alannah Bowes

Empathy is a Lie

By Elie Harfouch

You can feel it as i speak
By the way i write when you read
That it is weird to be in your shoes
To infiltrate your mind, to see the truth
To experience the unique existence of being you.

But it is sort of sad
That with each visit i get mad
And repulsed
By the lack of trust
And the hate we take to tolerate love.

And we love ,but not ourselves
And we explore the void in search for help.

But i say Empathy is a lie
We must depend on each other
For the future to be bright
Fellowship won’t be experienced until you unite with the other.

Some Way - by Omar Kayyal (Photo by Omar Kayyal)Photo credit: Omar Kayyal

Some Way

By Omar Kayyal

We sit in a circle.
These faces I know,
but behind them are fields,
fields of snow,
and I have yet to leave a footprint,
for the unnamable wind to blow away.
Is the film reel on a loop?
Stealing time from me,
to regret in excess,
on frets yielded in my weight in gold?
Again with that, there I go.
I’ll continue to imagine trudging through the white.
In a sit, we circle

around a mantra-
a chant with the aim of dissociating meaning from sound.

We draw these invisible smoke rings,
one after the other,
with a melody that is playing,
and so,
this one- ship of smoke,
sails along,
even in the silences and the in-betweens,
as long as the cigarette is…
Again and again,
we begin to create a rhythm.
Hare krishna hare krishna
Krishna krishna hare hare
Hare rama hare rama
Rama rama hare hare

Where it goes,
traversing the unknown fields of snow,
behind faces familiar, for so long,
we don’t know. Not crucial.
Where it goes,
Behind sleep-deprived blue eyes,
through beards trimmed for the right smile,

alongside chubbiness-
donut deposits of misappropriated love,

there is a vastness in which songs with no words,
can create- villages, rivers, wells and roads.
Today they’re hanging a villain,
who stole donuts from the baker’s home.

The villain is the rain;
he broke the window pane,
and soaked himself all over steam,
and the theft of donut smells
extinguished the baker’s flame.
Where the rain falls,
and where the clouds form,
become one,
and we’re painting it all in one go.
Brush strokes
rope together
dot spectrums of our egos:
the hunger for donuts,
the desire to be together,
the need to be alone,
the want to win,
the dream to be thin.
We paint a portal.
It’s to a world.
It’s mortal.
Its lifetime, vitality, its spirit,
rides on our chant. We are the heartbeat.

In the alleyways, and on the roads of our sounds,
Hare krishna hare krishna
Corner discount shop, banana grocer, cardboard beggar, hungry street dog,
krishna krishna hare hare
aimless officer, breast-less mother, blind student, school day,
Hare rama hare rama
church mass obliged,
love at first sight,
hidden porno mags,
afternoon nap mosquito bite,
Rama rama hare hare
blurry stare into nothing,
flavorless cigarette,
whiskey trailing to a street sleeper,

red balloon held by young you-
i recall, hurrying to buy paint

to color in underground wells.
You used to tell us tales, of these rock beasts who snored through brick blowholes.
You felt color in a frame, would tell their story.
Sing, ring, bring it all, let it fall.
It’s okay, to let it fall.
It’s okay.
You’ll still be there.
When it’s all gone.
As it weeps through you,
deaths, sorrows, unnamed chaos,

And regular, whiskey-covered mosquito donuts,
it paints you a new color.
You wouldn’t speak its name.
You wouldn’t know it.
But with it you would paint.
You’d start with this circle.
All together you’d make a mural
around the portal,
to color the outlines of that song,
for wind to take to the train tracks,
you have laid.
You’re life.
At least in some way.

حصار الياسمين - by Ayham Kazoun (Photo by Hakim El Haj)الفنان حكيم الحج

حصار الياسمين

 بقلم أيهم قزون

أنا من هذا الشرق وسأبقى
سأبقى تحت الحصار الأزلي
فأنا أجلس مرتاحاً تحت الياسمين

،وإن أتى الموت متوجساً من حصارنا فسأبتسم
.لا تخش حبال الغسيل المنسية ولا أشلاء الغاردينيا
لا تخش الخوف المستشري في أحلامنا
ولا صدى دموع الأمهات
ولا الثورة
.ولا حتى الأسماء المنحوتة على جدران السجون تحت الأقبية
..ثم سوف أعدل مجلسي بعد أن أحك رأسي على عجل
خذ بيدي فأنا مت وتبعثرتُ منذ أن ابتسمت لي حبيبتي
.من بين الوجوه المتزاحمة

،لا تخجل
،خذ مني ما شئت
،خذ ظلي الممل وخطواتي المترامية
،خذ ما شئت واترك لي ذاكرتي وأحرف أسمها الأربعة
..أترك لي قلم وقطعة ورق سرمدية
.فأنا قد أحببت

Creation - by Hanna Abi Akl (Photo by Anton Darius)Photo credit: Anton Darius


By Hanna Abi Akl

I examine the digital
clock beside me,
it is 7:00 pm.

The girl next door
is laughing with her boyfriend
while I am situated
on this floor
trying to come up
with a few lines.

did inspire me
to take this road?

And while life is brimming downstairs
in the hallways
in the streets
in the sewers
I sit here
and try to relate it
all on paper.

And to deal
with this curse
this melancholy
of existence
is nothing new;
it is a sickness
that develops
that comes and goes
with every writer
at various stages
where he is alive
and not alive
where he is caught
between life
and an impression
of life.

As the hand steadily weaves
on sheets of paper
sheets that get thicker
and thicker
denser and denser
I wonder
for how long
I should keep drinking
from this cup.

In a Life I Did Not Choose - by Mohammad Rashid (Photo by Reza Hasannia)Photo credit: Reza Hasannia

In a Life I Did Not Choose

By Mohammad Rashid

Oceans they leave marks
a journey up the hill
a fresh new start

a life I did not choose

But a soul I did not lose
a heart & mind set loose
from all your judgmental tools
I grew
I knew
a long journey ended
the scars, I still carry few
from those I thought I knew

in a life I did not choose

So thank you,
from heart breaks to damage
I resurrected through the carnage
from got your back
to stab your back
easy twist from back bone
to back stabber

in a life I did not choose

Bits and bits I gathered
kissed lips of yaggers
no sober nights meant more laughter
how can I win a war
when I keep getting my ass whopped every battle

in a life I did not choose

You were all in my head
when oceans drifted fast
left marks of a war
I thought we had
until u loosened up some screws
which Drove you mad
so screw you!
And that other one too
I never had a clue

in a life I did not choose

Look at me when I talk to you
I know you are me
and I am you!

Give Me Truth - by Reem Waleed (Photo by Abdulla Al Nuaimi)Photo credit: Abdulla Al Nuaimi

Give Me Truth

By Reem Waleed

Tell the man who is blind
He don’t wanna see
Pain and loss and heartbreak
Sights this world has come to be

Paint a picture for the man with no ears
He don’t wanna hear
Lies and curses and half truths
Spoken words that should disappear

Build a chair for the man who is broken
He don’t wanna move
Walls and mazes and barricades
Discrimination nobody should approve

Leave the man who is lost
He don’t wanna go back
Selfishness and envy and bitterness
A broken home long ago gone black

Run away young soul
You don’t wanna become
Heartless and cold and taken over
By this world turned so painstakingly numb

Here is a list of all our editions of 2018:

Edition I
Edition II
Edition III
Edition IV
Edition V
Edition VI
Edition VII
Edition VIII
Edition IX
Edition X
Edition XI
Edition XII