Edition XVI

August 2019

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There Will Be Mud - by Leyann Smili (Photo by Chris Yang).jpgPhoto credit: Chris Yang

There Will Be Mud

By Leyann Smili

If you want a good teacher,
Go to where there is soil.
Add water to the soil; have it turn into mud.

Now touch the mud;
Play with the mud;
Dip your toes into the mud.

Get your clothes muddy.
Lie down…
Look at your muddy hands.

I Promised that it was the Last Time I Call Your Name - by Eddy Aziz (Photo by Jaroslav Devia).jpgPhoto credit: Jaroslav Devia

I Promised that it was the Last Time I Call Your Name

By Eddy Aziz

Your name
is like a punch in the throat.
One hard enough to kill my voice,
but my voice is not that easily killed.

My voice will call your name loud enough
You’d see the middle finger it’s raising.

My voice will say your name
and spit your blood after it.
The same blood you used to tattoo your name on my lips.
The same blood I will always taste when I kiss someone else.

My voice will whisper your name.
and follow it with a slow hot breath—
a breath of relief,
a breath that is willing to put a dying man out of his misery,
a breath that would calm a loud crying baby and an even louder silent mother down

My voice will say your name,
and it will never speak of it ever again,                        but

my voice will also call you at night
to tell you to come over,
to tell you I’m sorry,
to tell you that I’ve been lonely,
to tell you that
the whiskey in the freezer is not cold enough.

My voice will call your name and say not again at the same time.
My voice is sad.
Your name is sad.
My voice saying your name is sad.
My voice is breaking.
My neck is sore.
My eyes can barely open.
My fingers have never felt this stiff.
My knees can no longer handle holding the weight of both our voices.
My knees can no longer handle carrying the weight of your heart
fighting with mine

My heart fighting with my brain.
My brain fighting with my mouth.
My mouth fighting with my voice.
My voice fighting with your name.
Your name
fighting with every breath I take,
every decision I make,
every collision I fall into,
every heartbreak that ends up with my bed
full of sweat,
and my heart full of naked bodies, like cigarette butts
residing in the bottom of the ashtray,
finishing up the harming work they’ve done.

My voice
is like second-hand smoke.
You will feel it
entering your body,
leaving beautiful damage to your insides
even when you don’t ask for it.

My Melancholia - by Hanna Abi Akl (Photo by Verne Ho).jpgPhoto credit: Verne Ho

My Melancholia

By Hanna Abi Akl

Each one of us
Carries a
Of the human
Be it
The bachelor
His head
Against the
Or the woman
Waiting in line
At the grocery store
Or the beggar
Holding his cup
Hoping for a penny
Or two
Or the drinker
Trading the madness
For a few moments of scotch
Or the group of girls
Backpacking through
Ancient cities
Of forgotten lore

Each human being
Has it ingrained
In the garden
Of the soul

The human suffering
The eternal strife
That comes with the
Excessive outreach
The waxed wings we use
To elevate ourselves
And touch the bright light
Always striving
Always looking up
Always soaring to the clouds

And even those
Collecting the accolades
Handing out free speeches
To the hopefuls
Never truly bury
That seed.

Until the Holy Water Rinses Bethlehem - Zayyan Sarieddine (Photo by Ahmad Abu Hameeda).jpgPhoto credit: Ahmad Abu Hameeda

Until the Holy Water Rinses Bethlehem

By Zayyan Sarieddine

From the river to the sea,
Lungs so black, I can’t breathe.
Thoughts so dark, I’m diseased.
Mouth too dry, I can’t speak
Put my mind at ease.
Twisting in the sheets,
I can’t sleep.
My eyes white, I can’t see.

In Palestine,
Tear gas in their eyes,
Gunshots muffle their cries,
Zionist Rabbis, with red eyes, spreading lies,
Trying to baptize and authorize,
And I am demonized if I criticize,
How they euthanize our people.

We are not seen as equal.


I’m getting sick of the bloodshed,
They won’t stop till we are all dead,
Blood red,

Like the river Styx,
Casting my mind back 2006,
When my mother held me in her arms,
Protecting me from the bombs,

Covering my eyes and ears,
She was shielding me from her tears.

From the river to the sea,
My lungs are black, I can’t breathe
My thoughts are dark, I’m diseased
My mouth too dry,
Dead Sea.

From the river to the sea,
Palestine will be free.

But for now, they pillage, rape and extort.
My voice is my only support
To make sure they don’t contort
And distort the truth
I’ll see them in court
To make sure they won’t escort
Wait, I mean deport with no passport
My people, in a casket
Or ashes in a basket

And I will fight for Palestine’s freedom
Till the holy water rinses Bethlehem

And I will fight for Palestine’s freedom
As I live, breathe and die
Even if they conquer the last sky.

Beauty - Elia Daaboul (Photo by Elia Daaboul).jpgPhoto credit: Elia Daaboul


By Elia Daaboul

Sitting in the same place again.
The same walls with the same broken patterns you
once said you loved,
listening to the same white background noise while writing the
same line again; I’ve always been afraid of beauty.
Wanting to taste your lips on every breath of smoke I make,
every glass of gin I take,
getting high on every word you say
until your smile turns into a symphony of angels
begging me to fall for you,
to lie for you,
to worship the touch of your skin.

But to be able to love you I must first die.

To be able to love beauty I need to feel the pain lingering inside those cuts on your wrist,
I need to kiss the tears running down your neck,
I need to hear the sad love stories and forgotten nights hidden in your lipstick shade.
I need to spend sleepless nights staring at the ceiling from my bed,
with lighter fluid running through my head, and
sleeping pills in hand,
remembering the way beauty sat,
the way she left,
the way her hair felt;

I’ve always been afraid of beauty,
Always have been scared of the way she dances,
the way she moves her body to the rhythm of every heartbeat she hears,
every heartbreak she heels,
the way she laughs with such freedom,
the same freedom that drunk poets lust over
while imagining what it would feel like to fall in love with beauty,
to drown between her hips.

But still,
every time I look at you I realize that I’m too weak to resist beauty,
too intrigued to let her go.
So I’ll just light my cigarette and close my eyes,
slowly lay my head down on your thigh,
hold your cold hands against my chest to make my whispers shiver and say:
‘for beauty my mind bled,
my spine broke
and the body aches; but beauty lays with

Check out our previous edition from 2019:

Edition XIII
Edition XIV

Edition XV

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