Hanna Abi Akl

zHannaAbiAkl_Profile

Born on September 16,1993, and hailing from the small village of Bejjeh (North of Lebanon), Hanna Abi Akl is an aspiring young author who devotes his time to writing poetry, fictional short stories and novels.

Raised in a small family, Hanna took an interest in western literature since his early upbringing. His writing is imbued with traits that make his characters stand out and challenge the norms of his society.

Hanna’s prolific works have already been published in literary magazines like the Rain Party Disaster Society, Talking Soup, Centum Press Publishing, Peeking Cat Poetry and Beirut Poetics.

He published his first novel, A Road Away From Home, in 2017.

Hanna is set due to release his first collection of poetry in 2018.


Edition April 2020

The Shave - by Hanna Abi Akl (Photo by Adrian Swancar).jpgPhoto credit: Adrian Swancar

The Shave

By Hanna Abi Akl

At 17 I had a
chin full of hair stubs
that cast a light shade of beard;
I walked; a man among boys
watching me sick with envy

I tried shaving for
the first time at home
took the cream in one hand, the
razor in the other, stood
in front of the mirror, thought:
this should be easy

I cut my lower lip and
watched the blood spout from the scar
to the harrowing cries of
my wailing mother

Poor wailing mama
she cried from knowing
there was nothing she could do
she couldn’t make me a man

and I cried because
I was without a father
I cried because of
illegitimate
fears harassing me
voices telling me
you will never be a man

I knew I had to become
a man to beat them

well, here we are now:
dear papa, I don’t
know where you are but
I’m doing better
with the damn razor.


Edition XVIII

Madmen - by Hanna Abi Akl (Photo by Alex Iby)Photo credit: Alex Iby

Madmen

By Hanna Abi Akl

I am
Half-man
Half-century;
I never really
understood
society;
Paintings
never spoke
to me;
People
don’t affect me
They zero in
zero out
while I prowl
in and out
of the dark;
The jails
The judges
The police
The army
The law
are designs
constructs
boundaries
meant to hold things
together
but they keep me back
they weigh
me down

Bukowski
was slammed
The Beats
were hated
Dante was punished
Hamsun was slated
Hemingway was paraded
in chains on city streets

Why am I choosing
to tell
you this?

All this
to say
the True
never live
until
they go mad.


Edition XVII

Into the Night - by Hanna Abi Akl (Photo by Frank McKenna).jpgPhoto credit: Frank McKenna

Into the Night

By Hanna Abi Akl

Spending
Sleepless
Nights
Exhausting
Lifecycles
Lifetimes
Making up for
All the wasted breaths
All the restless throbs
As the wind bellows and bangs
Against the upper window

We ask ourselves
Where broken things
Have been and gone
Astray
How the things
We spent lifetimes
Losing
Suddenly
Come back.


Edition XVI

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
Speck
Of the human
Suffering
Be it
The bachelor
Banging
His head
Against the
Apartment
Wall
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.


Edition XIV

Oddity - by Hanna Abi Akl (Photo by Wladislaw Peljuchno)Photo credit: Wladislaw Peljuchno

Oddity

By Hanna Abi Akl

The oddity

Is that

I may wake up

One day

Feeling like

A groggy

Little dog

That has not yet

Been fed

And another

Like a

Miracle-god

Bemused

By the

Trials

Of the saints.


Edition XIII

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

Creation

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.

Whatever
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.


Edition XII

Travelers - by Hanna Abi Akl (Photo by Jake Melara)Photo credit: Jake Melara

Travelers

By Hanna Abi Akl 

And she looked at me
Like a believer –
She looked at me
Like a preacher
Infused with the power of god

And she spoke about
Traveling
About the world
About the cultures
And the people
She spoke about expanding horizons
In a shrinking world
She spoke about developing my writing
About creating new experiences
About becoming a forgotten tourist
In some lost city
For a day

And I sat there
Half-looking at her
Half-looking at her green dress

That glimmered in the midday sun
Listening to dialogues about traveling
Only she was the one going away
To new beginnings;
She was the one
Reaching out for greater horizons
Taking deeper breaths into this small world
And I was still here.

Someday
They will write about the existential poet
Who made it in a small world
Not knowing the odes and sonnets and verses
He was made famous for
Were all written
For the traveling girl.


Edition XI

I Walked from Door to Door - by Hanna Abi Akl (Photo by Dmitry Ratushny)Photo credit: Dmitry Ratushny

I Walked from Door to Door

By Hanna Abi Akl

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:
Mad
Loose
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
empty neighborhoods
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
fears
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
to door

with my book
under my arm
trying to find
a decent
buyer
while most of them
were still looking
for a way
out.


Edition X

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.


Edition IX

The Last Time - by Hanna Abi Akl (Photo by Hakim El Haj)Photo credit: Hakim El Haj

The Last Time

By Hanna Abi Akl

The last time I saw her
was when we sat together on the sidewalk
facing an old fixed-up church,
staring at the scratch marks on the wall

She held the universe in her eyes
and I held her in mine

Back then
the lines only came easy
when I was with or around her

Now I write
ground-shattering words
that break the Earth in half
and if I see her again…
if the next time I see her is the last time
I am sure
she will show up with that same smile,
those wandering eyes,
that free-flowing hair
and the little giggles in between

I am sure
I will greet her
like I have the first time;
with the same intrigue
we greet strangers
who unwillingly captivate our hearts

And the weakness that never dies,
the fear that stems from
the last time,
the last goodbye,
the last rotation of the Earth
will only harden and grow
until the next time,
the next giggle,
the next few lines

I write

about her.


Edition VIII

Visions - by Hanna Abi Akl (Photo by Mohammad Gh.)Photo credit: Mohammad Gh

Visions

By Hanna Abi Akl

I have visions
of myself
coming home
late from work
and her
alone

in my apartment
waiting for me
Her flower dress
covering her legs
all the way down
touching the ground

Her silky hair
shining
in the moonlight

If ever there was
a perfect dream
to save us from this world
then this was
the closest thing
to it.


Edition VII

Vitality - by Hanna Abi Akl (Photo by Hakim El Haj)Photo credit: Hakim El Haj

Vitality

By Hanna Abi Akl

The three of us
sat across each other
in the room
each staring into the distance
the evaporating void

I was sitting on an old rusty couch
the springs popping out of its legs
and showing
the fabric bare
destroyed by repetitive stain-cleaning
and Time
I held the bottle firmly in my right hand –
a warm bottle of whiskey that tasted like urine –
and rubbed my month-old beard with the other

The guy sitting across me was my best friend
and he was a clean guy
until this moment
when I watched him light a cigar
and smoke it entirely
effectively burning down

all the care in the world

The girl sitting with us had an ominous look
she bore the look of a prophet
foreseeing the end of the world

All three of us were wrapped
in this thin layer of smoke
Bad alcohol
and bad luck

It was the rut
alright;
The dirty skid
that went on endlessly
in the form of sinuous slopes

And with no end in mind we watched on
waiting for the night to pass
and another day to crack through
our windows…

Almost two-thirds into the bottle

The girl moved in next to me on the couch
and without warning grabbed my hand
and locked it in hers
she snatched away the bottle from me
and placed it gently on the rug
beneath my feet…

It was one of those moments
you can’t fully remember
no matter how hard you try –
the speed with which they happen
overtakes you
but leaves you with some kind of impression
that things were perhaps steering toward a better ending
or at least some kind of ending

The guy facing us was still sitting there
observing the whole thing
and when he saw what the girl had done
to prevent me from walking over the edge
he dispatched the pack of cigars he hid
in his jacket pocket
a breast pocket I never knew existed

Seeing him rise again
from the ashes he worked so hard to create
and bury himself in
made me swallow
for the first time
and the clot that was hanging there
in my chest
blew into a thousand little pieces

It made me see
there was perhaps
a better ending
to this
a better ending waiting
for all of us
or at the very least
some sort of
Ending.


Edition VI

Sometimes - By Hanna Abi Akl (Photo by Hakim El Haj)Photo credit: Hakim El Haj

Sometimes

By Hanna Abi Akl

Sometimes
that’s just the way
words worked –

They aligned themselves
in perfect symmetry
or perfect
asymmetry
and exposed all the fears
of the human race:

The things we whisper
to ourselves
while we lie awake
late at night

The things we don’t dare think of
and relegate to the farthest recesses
of our minds

The things we do to each other
but never
speak of.


Edition V

Different Universes - By Hanna Abi Akl (Photo by Felix Russel Saw)Photo credit: Felix Russell-Saw

Different Universes

By Hanna Abi Akl

I have seen the eye of the raven
and it tells me stories
about different universes
Places where the poor
govern the rich
and drunken men
beat down their helpless sons
A place where You and I
meet again for the first time
A place where you have traveled the world
and come back to the starting point
and I have met all the women
and drowned them in my torrent of waves
A place where I don’t know your past
and you don’t know my present
A place where I am certain of a future
that grounds me to you;
That is the place
I want to get to
That is the dream
I do not want to awaken
from.


Edition III

Coffee Lady - by Hanna Abi Akl (Photo by Rene Böhmer)Photo credit: Rene Böhmer

Coffee Lady

By Hanna Abi Akl

My first mistake was
asking her out for coffee.
After that
I only remember sipping the dark liquid
from a mug off the bed stand
while we lay in bed together.

She was a good woman – 
A good woman who didn’t believe she could make it
like all the good ones did –
She knew her poetry;
She handled her alcohol
decently.
She was always sharp,
far sharper than me
and I could feel her
scrutinizing me
every time
we sat together.

She didn’t want to be held,
she didn’t want anyone
to have to walk her anywhere
or take her to places;
The world was hers
and every time she sipped her black coffee
she owned another piece of it.

I go back to my books

I go back to my writings

I go back to pictures

of old
to try and understand
why good things
always evade us
so narrowly;
Why the things that seem to bring us joy
are the ones that ultimately cause our downfall
and why we cling on to them so dearly
like weak tree branches
moments before being ripped off
by the heavy storm.

Now a black line of coffee
is all that separates us;
And she is still a ball of fire
untamed, uncontrolled, unfiltered
cruising alone
riding the high tide
and I wait for her by the corner
of the coffee shop
that tails a small bookstore
in a forgotten back-alley

and the next time I see her
I will ask her:

Do you want

to go

out

for

coffee?


Edition II

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.


Edition I

Heartbeats - by Hanna Abi Akl (Photo by Myriam Nehmeh)Photo credit: Myriam Nehmeh

Heartbeats

By Hanna Abi Akl

I crawl inside your breast
Reside on your warm chest
And listen to the soft sound
Of your heartbeat

Liquefy me with your naked soul
And show me the burning truth
About what it means to love
With passion
Ardently, furiously
Write on my back
And stitch your words on my skin
If you have to

Because today I am a lost man
A wanderer roaming in the name of the truth
When really I haven’t been pure in a long while
I haven’t washed my body in water and incense
For some time

I bathe in sin, love,
And if I may keep calling you that,
Let me also address you with the following words:

Save
Me
From
The
Lonely
Trenches

I’ve dug a hole so deep
I no longer see the surface
And every day I sink
A little lower
Like two ice cubes
Positioned at the bottom of a whiskey drink
I sip from
Continuously
While thinking about you
And other women

I think about you
And other women
And I think of myself
And the one person
If any
Who will save me
From the demons
I’ve patiently created
Over the years

And now these demons
Are out of the chest;
They’re out to get me
Love.

Tell me love,
Can’t you hear my cries
Tonight?
Can’t you hear my soft whispers
Over the noise of the tree branches
Swaying in the wind
Outside your window?

Think of me lying
Next to you
In your bed
Think of me when you drink
Your warm coffee
Think of me
When you read kind
Romantic words
Think of me in every love scene
You watch in a movie
Think of me when you cry
And think of me
When you write
When you light a flame
And you’re all alone
And the power’s out
Think of me
When you’re afraid
And reaching out
Of the darkness

Because I’ll be holding out my hand
And reaching back
To you.


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