Maya Kaabour

Edition IV

Life of the Party - by Maya Kaabour (Photo by Michael Y)Photo credit: Michael Y

Life of the Party

By Maya Kaabour

You’ve always been the life of the party.

I’ve seen the sun smile at you,
on Saturday mornings.
As your women
hung over and wrecked
with crosses on their necks
waltz through streets
trying to find a ride back home.

Your green wooden window panes,
always left open.
Always left waiting.
A sign of hope.
As if something holy
or someone with a red cape on
would come
and save you.

I see it
I feel it
The pain
The terror
I see the bullets
That have pierced through your walls
Left you with nothing

Your anarchists
Your extremists
Your people
Your children
Are all fighting
Over a hit
of the fix you gave them.
Oh Beirut,
what have they done?

I see the clouds of smoke rising
I see your people left bare
with secrets to strip off
and hang on the laundry ropes
that fill your skies

The writings on your walls say it all.
You’ve lost your soul
You’ve lost your spark

You made the rules and then asked us to break them.
I’m not sure who to blame.
Or you.

You left me high and dry-
Lost in the alleys of your dark streets

I didn’t know who to blame.
So I asked around, Beirut.

I asked the men on motorcycles
who snatch purses from old women.
I asked your nine year old
gypsy beggars.
I asked your officers
and the teenagers in cellars,
who in another world could’ve been heroes or poets.
I asked your university students,
but they were too stoned to comprehend my questions.
High on a drug of complacency
High on a drug of nonchalance
High on a drug of compromise.





I asked your gods.
Your middle-men.
The pictures on the walls
of your many leaders.

I asked your fathers
Your rapists
Your artists
Your lawyers
Your educators

I even asked the old man pushing a cart of oranges in Hamra.

But nothing was to be found…

Not even a tad of sanity…
Not even a sense of security
You couldn’t give me that, could you?

Oh Beirut.
You’ve always been the life of the party.
But I’ve seen them frown at you,
when dawn breaks and you walk out on them
hung over and wrecked
with a cross around your neck
walking over shattered beer bottles…
trying to find a ride back home.

Edition III

More Wholesome Than This - by Maya Kaabour (Photo by Nina Sharabati)Photo credit: Nina Sharabati

More Wholesome Than This

By Maya Kaabour

You are skin and bones –
sticks and stones.
You are blueberry chapstick
and cigarette-infused hair,
cellulite, stretch marks,
and abandoned books on self-care.
You are a woman with a boom-box pulse.

You are lonely (but not really) –
and you talk kind of eerie
and you walk like you’re in search of the moon or
something that can ground you
when the silence surrounds you.

You hip-hop –
and you beat drop
and you go to clubs where no one knows your name.
You dye your hair pink
and you wear lace panties

and you fuck whomever you fancy –
it’s never enough
to calm the hurricane inside you –
or solemnly remind you that
shall pass.

But learn to run as fast as you can
towards the ocean.
It is vast and endless –
Its tides are relentless –
just as you are tonight (that’s alright.)

And learn to hold on tight
to the things that make you special
like the freckle
in your left eye
and the exceptional veggie stir-fry
you learned how to make
at a very young age because you had to
fend for yourself.
Befriend yourself and
don’t bother trying to mend yourself.

Women’s magazines have accumulated millions of
out of the false ideology that if something aches then
it must be broken.
But you are not.

If you must lie in the dark then
light some candles
and feel
what you need to feel.
You’d be surprised by how it may
delight you –
let the introspection invite you
to a new chapter of your own story,
bask in all your glory
and know that right now

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