[A quickie]

Consolation comes in many forms, but you must never get caught. Randa opened the newly-purchased novel, one about scissors that talk as they cut through the vital and inanimate. Next to her was a bottle of wine that would last her as long as the first four chapters, one glass for every chapter. The night was still young and she shared a relationship of indifference with the world outside her apartment. She considered herself sagacious and her isolation a sign of prudence – an elderly spirit if ever there was one. She did what she needed to do and never bothered with wants and desires; besides her daily work in the university library, time was available to be organized neatly and precisely into separate and repetitive past-times: a promenade along the coast line, a recipe from a cookbook of joy as she followed the fast hands of a chef on a cooking channel, or a visit to her mother, who, tip-toeing her way to senility, still treated Randa as a young girl, following her every step and remarking with sharp, old eyes the darkness beneath her eyes. She did all that, however, in the solitary confinement of a life trod with careful precision and all the right choices, mistaking freedom for conformity, comfort and safety. So as she gulped down the second glass of wine and closed the second chapter of the sadistic scissors, she felt secure in the empty calmness of her home. She was not in a hurry, but  it would be her mother that would wash her corpse and bury her.

The story of Randa’s death is in part my fault. Yet in the eyes of the law, partly at fault does not give you half an indictment or half an acquittal, and from where I’m writing these words, I feel closer to Randa than ever before; I feel her absence striking me and my hide hardens at this irrational proximity, and over all things tenderness spreads. I face the silence and calmness that she sought from a life trod with fatal inaccuracy and all the wrong choices, mistaking flouting for freedom, rebellion and independence. This apposite description of my life in contrast to hers may be the intentional wit of its author, yet our parallel lives makes it more the work of an undecidable nature sought to be conquered separately by Randa’s self-determining organization and the detrimental die in my fist.

“Now perforce in tears and sadness
Learn a mournful strain to raise.” The Consolation of Philosophy. Boethius 

“The proximity of things is poetry.” Levinas

[To be Continued]


Once Again…For Hatred


No. 9 Ola Hejazi
In the idle situation of smoking a cigarette in the summer sun, memories surface like scenes seen from a scratched and scarred wooden windowpane. The heat radiates from the cement buildings, and from the windowpane the memory of the mountain breeze amplifies my fiery stillness on the flared sidewalk. An army convoy creeps its way across the street, its wheels are steady, a soldier mounts the gun on top of the truck, his eyes scan the panorama in front of the convoy, people indifferent to his presence, beggars following fast maneuvering shoes, cars honking at them from all sides, and in front of him a secret line he knows the convoy must follow stringently even though the gun he rides offers neither solace nor threat.

…But to go back to the mountain where my aunt would take me for indefinite weeks away from the blaze of Beirut; I take another drag from the cigarette and through the mind’s windowpane I see a cloud of dust in the distance approaching me, the pebbled road beneath me shaking. I am strange on this road, my aunt’s house is still unfamiliar to me and it’s just across the street, yet the cloud of dust entraps me within it from far away, and soon it is as if I am the one who is approaching it, even though its inevitable danger, this ominous taupe billow, freezes me in place. In the moment of immanent peril my legs respond again, but it’s too late, already midway on the road, I’m cloaked in a rough taupe mist…

They call me inside to the sound check. It’s midday, the chairs are still neatly arranged, ashtrays are clean and the smell of the detergent still fills the air with its thin sharpness. I pick up my violin as Hazem starts playing, waiting for my queue to start. Hazem’s oud picking syncopates between western rock and eastern melodies, my violin keeps to the eastern, alternating between different maqams depending on Hazem’s use of scale.

I started my violin playing as a child with a private teacher, a friend of my mother. She was a hoarder who lived alone; her house smelled like mold, and dust particles would mushroom after every step. My mother thought of it as a perfect arrangement: I’d learn the violin, and her friend would have someone to talk to, but I came to hate her after I joined the conservatoire. Her left hand had a nervous disorder forcing her to perch up the wrist  of her fretting hand more than usual, a condition I needlessly emulated because it was the only way I was taught to play. As long as my left hand fretted awkwardly, the teachers at the conservatoire separated me from the rest of the students.

“The person who looks at you playing will think this is a circus show,” Hazem says sternly, still giving me shit about my perched up left hand.

“If you were born after me and I before you, it would be you on the violin now”

“Me, unlike you, would have adapted.”

“What can I say, see what only one year of learning can do? Less, eight months. But no matter, I play as if I can’t wave my hand to saw hello in real life, I play for myself. You’d play with your hand extended, for others.”

“So existentially deep, as always. Next thing you’ll tell me is that some people pray with their hands on their sides, other with the right hand over the left.”

“Well, yes, they do. And they play the same game equally as good. The difference is I don’t play God and judge who is better. You do.”

Hazem, my older brother; he is playing football behind the house in the mountains. A stampede of bicycles, young kids, thinking whatever lay in their way on the road is a necessary victim; an unmerciful army sparing no reserves seeing no defeat in site marches to a steady rhythm. They ride together and form the taupe cloud; metal bodies collide with mine, one after the other they trip over me, scrubbing my body on the mountainous pebbles. But I feel nothing, floating, as if this moment is eternity, painless. I’m motionless on the ground, lying like a lie waiting to be found out, the blue sky slowly recovering from the taupe invasion. Then the discovery, hands over me, carrying me frantically, my body almost slipping from their hands, my blood spilling on the ground, and the bolts of pain…I think, the only way out of this is death.

I go back home after a long night of noise, music and smoke. I open the door of the garden full of mint roots that spread as other roots died of neglect. Brown and yellow roots rest wilted on the ground, begging for a modicum of water to remain motionless, but I decide to uproot them all. Mint roots spread crazily wherever you plant them, and uprooting them is as hard as forcibly forgetting what binds you. What’s left of them reforms them, as embers are promises of fire.

I dig in with my hands, insects crawl on me and I feel the tingle of necessary human transgression. Every root is a memory that I pluck for a momentary period of clarity.


My aunt sits me on the porch, my elbows patched and a faint red slowly seeping through the most elemental form of a patch. She tells me to show the bikers what they have done to me, as if my lacerations are to be a source of my pride and a wellspring of their shame. I tell her to bring my violin, but my request is refused. This is not a time to flaunt my talent, but my soon-to-be scars. Don’t read. Don’t play. Simply be as if in the hoped-for state of perfect. A charade that I’ve been adopting ever since, even when in play.

One of the basest feelings you can ever feel is hatred for someone or something unknown to you. But to hate them exactly because you don’t know them, because you want to know them, that is to love them, these phantom foes and their phantasmal plans.

A wreath of paranoia adorned my mother’s head ever since, one that translated itself into a mortal hatred of my absence. She’d threaten and curse whenever I gave myself to the umbra of her sight. “Be late once again, and I’m never letting you back in,” she’d say, “I’ll never speak to you again,” she’d say, “I’ll close the door on you and forget you,” she’d say. But she’d never uphold them. Late and negligent, I always found the door open. Her threats functioned more as promises of endless acceptance and forgiveness. And I adopted them. I can no longer uphold a threat, neither as a promise to myself nor as a method of negotiation.

I pluck as much mint roots as I can in a performance of forgetting, even if only momentarily in the drunken rage of soiled fingers and bonds. But any act of uprooting is also a commemoration of a tragic event, so that one can always sense the last gasp approaching again and again…

…I know, something must happen now, someone must appear, or at least recognized, so that I can cease to hate and continue again in the state of play…

On Snowflakes



“Occurrence itself – or origin – is ‘communication’, sperm and egg slide into each other in the heart of the sexual storm.” [Bataille. “Games of Chance” – Guilty]

Descartes, in 1635, sketched snowflakes. He observed the Amsterdam snowflakes, sketched them and took notes; to use a pun, he waxed, meditatively. He observes:

These were little plates of ice, very flat, very polished, very transparent, about the thickness of a sheet of rather thick paper…but so perfectly formed in hexagons, and of which the six sides were so straight, and the six angles so equal, that it is impossible for men to make anything so exact.
I only had difficulty to imagine what could have formed and made so exactly symmetrical these six teeth around each grain in the midst of free air and during the agitation of a very strong wind, until I finally considered that this wind had easily been able to carry some of these grains to the bottom or to the top of some cloud, and hold them there, because they were rather small; and that there they were obliged to arrange themselves in such a way that each was surrounded by six others in the same plane, following the ordinary order of nature.

Six years later, Descartes would go on a meditative journey through the inferno of scepticism, questioning that very same order of nature, the perfect form, and the obligation he perceived in the snowflakes. Descartes’ encounter with the snowflakes, however—most probably due to the limited knowledge of the time—, is a missed encounter. Perhaps (and I only say this to compel you to read on) his whole philosophy, his scepticism and his dualism would have been altered if he had noticed the disorder inherent in the formation of every snowflake, the aleotary pregnancy of clouds at freezing points. Perhaps if Descartes “saw” this, he would have renounced God as the soul mediator between him and his fellow man and never penned an ideology of radical doubt. And it is no secret that in secular terms radical doubt becomes hope.

No two snowflakes are alike—Descartes missed this. Humanity’s dire need for explanation often projects purpose on symmetry, an order to disorder, and identity to difference. No two snowflakes are alike, and not because there is a unique order to each one, but precisely the opposite, there is a unique disorder: the temperate disorder of that multiple Mother we call Nature.

Chuck Palahniuk’s Tyler Durden also evades this in Fight Club: “You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.” Palahniuk a la Durden is committed to an adolescent reading of Nietzsche (Nietzsche as the philosopher of angst and teenage nihilism), and his renouncing of the uniqueness of snowflakes-as-identity is only true as a fascist-breeding argument against consumerism (does not Tylder Durden typify the heterogeneous sovereign head of fascism par excellence, commanding a homogeneous army which, through David Fincher’s lens, is follow the neo-Nazi archetype?)

Both René and Chuck miss the point of the snowflake, the former in his assertion that it’s ordered (or intelligently designed), the latter in his belittling of its uniqueness—as if it’s ordered and programmed by the consumer apparatus of late capitalism. “You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else” (star dust?); yet there’s an aleotary element. A snowflake is only a snowflake due its chaotic journey between cold and colder temperatures, between different levels of pressure, between different wind speeds as it falls and between the different surfaces it lands on. Temperate mother, change me with a gust of wind.

…And how different Noor can be the next time, as I am, as you are…we journey from chance to necessity everyday. The condition of existence are contingent – coexistent.


The subway opens its doors.

Noor sits on my lap, he wears a pink wig. The artificial hair reaches his shoulders, his fingers are still stained with paint.

“How do you like my eccentricity, mother?” He laughs. I ignore him. “You wanted me to change didn’t you? Or does this change bother you, father?” He continues.

“How did you art exhibition in Beirut go?” I ask him.

“Well I’m in New York now, so Beirut loved it! They loved me!” He hangs like a monkey on the subways car’s ceiling railing.

“I’m glad to hear that, I’m proud of you.” I have never seen any of his paintings.

“Well of course you are, you created me,” he chuckles, “but Beirut, the people she loves and makes famous, she shits out. We’re the excrement of its society. All our poetry and paintings – we’re the world’s best sewage system. If you’re loved, you’re left. Right out to the Mediterranean…we are not the window, we are the anus and the mouth.”

“Tell me more,” I want to discover.

“About the anus and mouth? Or about my screaming and shitting?”

“About your painting Noor. Try to describe it to me.”

“You always ask for the impossible.”

“And that’s why you should answer!”

“All right then, here’s one I call “Embroiled in Fate””

We reached our destination, and out of the subway station, skidding icy streets, we went. Noor started to speak.

To be continued.
Coming Soon: Embroiled in Fate

“[…] that one necessarily ends up speaking of communication by grasping that communication pulls the rug out from under the object as well as from under the subject (this is what becomes clear at the summit of communication, when there is communication between subject and object of the same type, between two cells, between two individuals).”

“Communication still is, like anguish, to live and to know. The extreme limit of the ‘possible’ assumes laughter, ecstasy, terrified approach towards death; assumes error, nausea, unceasing agitation of the ‘possible’ and the impossible and, to conclude – broken, nevertheless, by degrees, slowly desired – the state of supplication, its absorption into despair. Nothing of what man can know, to this end, could be evaded without degradation, without sin (I think, by taking a more negative view of the situation, the stakes being ultimate, of the worst of disgraces, of desertion: for one who has felt himself to be called once, there is no further reason, further excuse; he can only remain where he is)” (Bataille – “The Torment” from Inner Experience]


Sketch of Snow Crystal by Rene Descartes

Le Temps de la Mère


Christ…He thinks of the abortion he missed, lying wrapped in bloody rags on the floor of a cheap hostelry. He is excited by the thought of his mother in mortal sin, and of a harsher love than he ever knew. How was it possible for her to forgo the delight of hacking God’s fruit from her womb? (That was a chance for religion.) [Nick Land]

Outside. East coast coldness grazes my bare right hand. The sun is setting, switchboard of the night. Darkness begins to highlight 12th street. Key Food, trees, cars, Sweetwolf’s, Red Horse Cafe—all highlighted. I finish my cigarette and fling it over cars. These highlighted streets meet many flings. Inside.

Virtually. Wirelessly. A gust of wind heard from outside which calls. Switchboard of nature. Mother. Be there. Outside. Inside. The stanza, Italian for room. Pieza in Spanish. The piece which is for yourself. The room which is your voice. The womb which is your inner space. And the world of the mother outside. This I learned.

The incidence of lethargy demands a refraction of events, if only to highlight the processes of these events. So this is refraction, not reflection. Naturally, things are skewed. The several agents require some disappointment and some appeasement.

French press, pressing. Neo-liberal policies and the polities of lateness press on my shoulders, stressful pressure. French press, calling; a bit of half-&-half—the tawny tan of coffee, a first sip and the inevitable laxative feel. It is the late afternoon. The sun is setting. This is my first cup of coffee. First hour of my day. It is the last hour of the day. The sun is setting; switchboard a la pineal gland, or it may be a comfortable sinking mattress and my ever-drowning body.

Virtually. Wirelessly. A gust of wind heard outside calls; the voice which enters the stanza, the pieza, the “room of one’s own”. Should I answer and pick up the telephone? I hear and cannot be indifferent. I see and cannot be but subject. Be here. Now. But also, because it’s here now, was there before. Because it’s here now, will be there later. Before. Now. Later. This is chronological. But logically, perhaps cosmologically, it is Now. Before and Later. More coffee-laxative.

Pluck. The scenes of murder. Twitter feed mixed with the affects of loss and the twitter litter of the numerous luxurious dulled many. Pluck. Garbage finally found its recycled medium through binary codes. Swoosh. 140 characters of shit. I flush the toilet.

…And the need for communication with an absent other is already a radical affirmation of the loss of the other. The symptom of the telephone.

The room is also cold. The heaters are off. The floors miss the rug and the rug is not to be found or sought. My left knee shivers. I call it Parkinson.

I thought this virtual, wireless connection was a rebellion against patriarchal God; an affirmation of future motherhood. The voice from afar that disturbs the clergymen. But, the loss and the withdrawal of the maternal is something that the telephone maintains as connection. It erases and suspends the loss acting like a pacifier. The telephone as voice of the future mother of one or two children. And the telephone which performs the disconnection that makes this future impossible. It de-simulated the very loss that it marks. A monument to an irreducible disconnection. The telephonic communication doesn’t allow us to mourn the loss we feel by it.

I try to read. But perhaps I’m hungry. I read the twitter litter, the 140 characters of shit:
Dismal news stories of Israeli war crimes and criminals. Desolate news stories of Palestinians dead and the Frustrating Western propaganda [140 characters]. The masturbatory upheaval of the inner spirit of revolution & the pent-up rage followed by the post-coital feeling of complete helplessness [140 characters].

…and here the pressure of distance lies. The distance which highlights the aging of the potential mother. The potential mother which is made impossible by the distance amplified by the telephone. Sons and lovers kept apart from mothers and mothers-to-be. Mother as land, as Palestine and Homs and Beirut. Mother as woman. Mother as the caretaker of the womb, the tomb and the crypt of all hope and anticipation. Mother, the trigger of revolution. And mother, the Pink Floyd song.

Twins play outside this pieza-stanza-room. There are voices which permeate it, but none of which I heed. What kind of a drug is this virtual wireless telephone? How long can you live without the telephone and the voice at the other end of the line.

Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachtani? [Mark XV:34]. There is no answer. Merely the blank violence of the sun.[Nick Land]

The father cannot answer the telephone. His duty is to cut the umbilical cord.


“When reality does not coincide with deeply held beliefs, human beings tend to phrase interpretations that force reality within the scope of these beliefs. They devise formulas to repress the unthinkable and to bring it back within the realm of accepted discourse.” Michel-Rolph Trouillot.

Trouillot outlines succinctly what being a reactionary is: desperately clinging to your ideological beliefs to make them re-act to the ever-more estranged reality around you; dealing “with the impossible only after the impossible had become fact”. On the contrary, being active is allowing your ideologies to think themselves through your actions; to think of yourself politically and philosophically as you are ‘taking place’, without demarcating ideological limits on yourself. To act is to be in a continual state of revolution. Thinking the impossible and making it a fact.

Don’t most (aging) Arab Leftists, who flaunt their nostalgia on twitter and Facebook suffer from this gross reactionism, thus disabling themselves from seeing the reality around them, dare I say, as it is? Perhaps it’s an effect of age to submit to the impossibility of the impossible. “Pessimism of the mind (intellect), optimism of the will.” Even Gramsci rings through their ears in reactionary terms. Their mind is old and their will has metamorphosed to the guilt of their past. Their tactical and strategic bellowing is instrumental for their fundamental mode of stasis. Their names now ring the death sound of their crackling jaws. If even Adonis, the poet of the phoenix and eternal return of the new, receded to a reactionary position…they’ve effected the same fate for the Arabic language; controlled for centuries by reductive fanatic clerics and decadent Arabic departments, who choke it, keep it mute and restrained. Instead of striving for the impossible in and through our language (and its unremitting poetics), it has been made to be subordinate to the utilitarian economy of usefulness, homogeneity and positivism. Free our language from your theatre of superiority; it is no coincidence that the self-same aging ‘left’ are the same people who meditate on the dismal state of our language in trite manners. There is no greater abjection than to submit to their ball-ankle word-vomit they call critique, it swells up and reproduces itself like capital in an infinity coterminous with our own dis-solution. Language debates lead us away from the matters at hand, and toward the idea in the head. All is matter! Never Mind! Open up the Quran, it’s not enough to read it. The words on the page mean much more than the words in your mouth; but essentially they testify to the humanity of the words enclosed in the book. There is nothing divine about the Quran. I hope it is understood how this is not blasphemy but an opportunity to save meaning (and non-meaning!) even as it occurs in a wrong inflection. The fate of a revolution is always with its youthful in spirit. Be young in spirit. Become wild at heart.

Typical Brooklyn Night – Redux:

I listened to discordant jazz music as disconcerting thoughts ran through my head. The trumpets blew loudly and the drummer was guilt heard through the throbbing of the heart in the chest. How should I force the thoughts out of my head? And a Cello rolled through the room-stanza-pieza as fine as mahogany can be. Hands played on it with such style, the body and the neck were dancing, wobbling, roaring with a depth of an ocean-graveyard of de-shipped slaves. The subdued erotic voice of a woman reverberated from its hollow body. This was a woman subdued by age and in lament. Midgets wore bat wings and veiled the light, changing its color from a bright yellow to that of a darkened Brooklyn sky. My thoughts hid behind the deep voice of the double bass. I trembled. The disparate notes assaulted my cognition like Israeli warplanes over Gaza. Life on a global level was troubling, and so are the thoughts that accompany it.

Sirens rang outside the room, overpowering the voice of my mother. Sirens and their temptations, mermaids immobile on the street, trapped on the cement. I look at them, still-life like leaves, the beautiful Brooklyn autumn effaces me. I try to help them, but the winds blow down from the sky, complete verticality. It is the time of the sovereign abortion. Acid rain and hurricanes. A mother shall never thank you; she needs not to. Mother’s weather is always temperate. A mother is also always a mother-to-be, to the hope of her sons and through the anticipation of her daughters.

And I understand why mothers feel this way. The call of the umbilical cord is always an emergency call, and it has come. The call of motherhood by the potential mother is directed not to me, but to the one to-be-born. She aborted me to keep what’s sacred safe.

…And this is self-abortion, my kicking inside the room-tomb-womb; everyday is a chance for it. Everyday I await the subway train, underground—its voice comes howling from the dark tunnel. It comes fast and I’m on the edge, its washes over me like a temperamental wave, holding me prisoner in its undertow as I’m still surprised by its speed. An attractive speed that reminds me that I’m not in Beirut, I’m beneath the sea, sous la mer/mère, winded by the umbilical cord that strangles me; and the subway is the reminder of my daily missed encounter if I were to be in be in Beirut. This missed encounter is death, but also a rebirth. This was my future and for now: “The rest is silence.” Bataille


Everything is political. The above signifies the time and weather of the maternal mother. Le Temps de la Mère. The schism of today enacts this and it seems to be the only way: the mother-to-be’s freedom from patriarchy takes this decision to the heart, nobly, masterly, for not wanting or even risking to live as a disappointed slave. Revolution demands to let go of love and lovers, answering the call of future generations. Revolution is inherently maternal. The uprising of women in the Arab world is part and parcel of any uprising wishing for a radical change in the status quo of patriarchy.

“The radical abortion of tragedy and irredeemable waste is Socratically sublimated into the service of the Idea, becoming a police function of theistic sociality, within a political economy of managed sperm.”

“In Nietzsche’s text abortion—in the loose sense Schopenhauer has opened—is both the possible outcome of procreative anarchy and that which characterizes a eugenic regime.” [Nick Land]

“Heterology is restricted to taking up again, consciously and resolutely, this terminal process which up until now has been seen as the abortion and the shame of human thought.” [Georges Bataille]

“O mother
with a long black shoe
with Communist Party and a broken stocking. .
with your sagging belly
with your fear of Hitler
with your mouth of bad short stories. . . .
with your belly of strikes and smokestacks
with your chin of Trotsky and the Spanish War
with your voice singing for the decaying overbroken workers. .
with your eyes
with your eyes of Russia
with your eyes of no money. . . .
with your eyes of starving India. . . .
with your eyes of Czechoslovakia attacked by robots. .
with your eyes being led away by policemen to an ambulance
with your eyes with the pancreas removed
with your eyes of appendix operation
with your eyes of abortion
with your eyes of ovaries removed
with your eyes of shock
with your eyes of lobotomy
with your eyes of divorce…” [Allen Ginsberg, “Kaddish,” IV]

[post inspired by recent personal events, by the lectures of Avital Ronell at NYU, by the book The Mother in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Elissa Marder, and the ever-inspiring feminists of Lebanon and the Arab world]

Despair or A Secret in Between


A rattle of candy folding disturbed me from the noise coming from the street. She ate a Kellogg’s Special K bar, the aroma of cherry replaced that of the smoke in the room.

There is no need for names. I am me and she is you.

Let’s burn ourselves to see. We need a vision, even if surreal. Call it a fire or the delusional feel of divinity up our anus. Salmon-flow of the body. Shit up the stream. An ego’s love for control.

Let’s burn ourselves to see. Let’s sing in units of vocal range. Let’s fight in units of weight. We will overcome the purposeful myopia with our burning skin…it’ll be easy…it’s all downhill from here towards the bottom. Let us be like Van Gogh’s sun(flowers).

I turned off my cigarette in the face of Marilyn Monroe, an ashtray of plastic. The red light made the room look like a whore house, a Hamra brothel for lonely leftists. Adorned orphan of Palestine; the wrinkle-free map of meek Lebanon engulfed by Syria. She passed by. Slender. Cleopatra’s snake. Poisonous release, ancient medicine. The echo of pharmakon…and the agony of separating one from another.

Only a few days are left before I leave. There will be no electricity. Beirut will be blacked-out as the plane ascends. Even if in daylight. Beirut will be blacked-out without memory or secrets.

I follow her past the orphan of Palestine and the map of Lebanon. My shadow borders off the red light on the wall.

Vicious city. Sitt Al Dunya. Old mother with varicose veins, immobile. Old mother smoking nargileh, watching same-old plots on the newest smart, HD, 3D LED TVs. Old mother resting comfortably inside the empty graves of sons and daughters, sucking the flaccid dick of an impotent father, with or without a beard, sagging bull testicles, sweating – the closest thing we’ll ever see to his tearing eye. Old mother…

The sun shines in its full blaze and the flowers bend down, the rightful surrender to summer – the use of a season comes with no metaphors – summer comes after spring; summer comes before autumn; summer dries us up. Beirut I am leaving you and leaving a lot behind, and this too is my rightful surrender.

Six months ago, in Amsterdam, I got the word. Sub-zero temperatures and lots of tea and herbs – organic natural stuff, as they say. Five friends toasted to New York all night long while laughing uncontrollably at the flickering lights and music videos playing overhead. All the while I kept on thinking, with magnificent detail – it was the only way, to keep on thinking.

Caramel and Chocolate syrup melt over a vanilla sundae. Plastic spoon-full of sugar and a smile sparks on her face and mine. This is not gratitude, but love.

…and I’ll leave – I like to think there is a plan, but…

I’ll leave nothing behind – If I could, I would. And if I could, she would. There should be a plan, but it’s a step into the darkness.

Beirut, you’re uncovered. Everyone can see you naked, without the excitement of adventure. You offer me nothing. Your Zionist Caterpillars have spent all your secrets to rubble, and you opened the gates gladly. This step is one I take into a darkness which asks for proof of life every passing second. Every moment necessitates a pulse. There shall be life away from home.

New York! Another toast in Amsterdam. My arms were heavy, my body was tired, and I was laughing; yet I was thinking – for the first time I was as young as I felt. I read the acceptance letter out loud on an iPhone, the people around me cheering and laughing. I kept on thinking, and I felt. For most, this would have been a retreat; for most, this would be a pseudo-religious calling. Yet the news rang like the final period of immersion in life. There was no retreat in this for me. I laughed, I thought and I felt my body soaking in the tawny colour of this new sun, rising on this new horizon.

I will bring life back with me, but not for you Beirut; but for this new stage of time, new sands in the hourglass and chocolate and caramel syrup on top of a vanilla sundae; for new-old mattresses and books, beautiful writing and morning smiles, coffee and cornflakes, music genealogy and storytelling; for the people I love who have showed me how to live fully, and for whom I’d be Prometheus, Van Gogh, stealing the fire from the sun and handing it in a sunflower.

I lied next to her on the bed. The AC blew cold air on our feet, locked together, gray-blue pants over a white dress. Together, we imagined how my new life would be. Imagination’s stage leaned towards the comic, conjuring up a You’ve Got Mail city life: an affection to the past of books while running along the freight train lights of high speed internet, social networks and cloud systems. And a dog. It is not complicated. Simple, straightforward and made in Hollywood – together we ideated a condition for a peaceful return and a happy ending.

We can’t shut the hour glass. Beirut, time is not a highway. Your burning tires will not light you up, and it is not enough for us to tell you that we love you; it is not enough to be disappointed; it is not enough to be observant. The burden is upon us as much as it is upon you.

She left me in the room and sat alone, hiding in the swoon of red light. Perhaps she does this to tend to my heart, preparing it for the days to come. I followed her and we watched a film in our swoon.

This is definitely not a retreat in which I hide to retrieve what I think I had lost, but a new way of gaining from a profound yet mandatory loss. This is a new path forward in which I experience judgement, heaven and hell without dying. This is not a path paved by a kinetic emotion, such as desire – the need to possess – or loathing – the need to abandon; this is a path paved by despair, and for this I am assured, for I go with no desire – thus I cannot be satisfied – and with no loathing – thus I cannot abandon. My only worry is the consummation of my despair.

…And Beirut, you’ll still have her and many others. They are youthful and many and diverse. They can teach you as they have taught me. They can love you as they have loved me. And they will cry for you, Sit Al Dunya, when you bow down on your knees, close your eyes and surrender. Love them well and correctly. Make of them your secrets, upon which you will shine explosively like a star light-years away; a marvelous glow on the Mediterranean.  Love what I’m losing and you’ll be on my mind. Love what I’m losing and I’ll return as Prometheus, a Van Gogh sun, a perverted dance of sunflowers in the stillness of life; and beautiful Nero, a stirrer of culture and fire.

Before the credits rolled, I headed home, and on that ride, separately, we knew how my new life will be. Imagination’s stage leaned towards the existential-dramatic, conjuring up a No Exit hell of grim gridded-streets and Egyptian hot dog vendors, hearts held in hands and thumbs that forget to grasp; The fog covers the limewater in which she had baptized me. And the heart sinks invisibly into secrecy.

And that will be my secret. My secret held from New York and Beirut, from the living and the dead. Between the poison and the medicine, between two echoes, it sleeps comfortably impossibly.

Beirut,     Now is the winter of [y]our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of [New] York  

[Opening lines of Richard III, obviously modified]

‘My reason to write is to reach B./

‘That which would consummate despair [Le plus désespérant]: that B. loses in the end the thread of Ariadne which is—in the maze of her life—my love for her’ [Bataille Oeuvres Completes III 13-14]

Despair cannot be defined as a claim, hesitation, denial, or uncertainty. It is an abandonment, and a plea without conceivable destination; a desertification resulting from the catastrophic disappearance of the value of being. Despair is not humble, but hubristic, and it is not pious in the least, but tragic. [Nick Land. The Thirst for Annihilation.58]

وداعًا، وداعًا اخوتي الصغار
أنا راحلٌ وقلبي راجع مع دخان القطار [محمد الماغوط – “القتل”]

Thank you.

Isaac Israels “Woman before ‘Sunflowers’ by van Gogh” 1917

From The Crack


If Hegel contends that only that which is simple constitutes a beginning, then I’m already doomed to be starting with a conditional followed by the proper noun: Hegel.

Hegel has never made it simple to face anything; but  he’s made death simpler.

It has been seven years since I immersed myself in the sea. And now, for lack of a suitable animal, I kill time beneath the storm, swimming.

Mammoth waves wash over me before hitting the shore sucking in and displacing smack needles. “A year’s end”; a phrase marks the self-reflexiveness of a text as it consciously probes its temporal mortal immortal letters. Hang me up as you hung up poems on the black stone, immortalize me with the spoken violence of lacerating lips.

It has been seven years since I swam. And tonight amidst the storm, I couldn’t have wished for a better moment to reunite with the Mediterranean.

From a distance, the vast shoreline appears like a spectrum of edifying monuments, a lit up architectonic system organizing all the movement under and within it. But even from a distance, a vile hue strikes—club lightning or an explosion—cracking the sky and shattering the architectural structures which give this country in front of me an illusion of cohesion.

I feel like a stranger in my boyfriend’s parent’s bedroom, sneaking through a crack in their closet door, coolly observing their secrets, trying to avoid their eyes. I’m not ready for the guilt. They watch a warm coloured Lebanese film, shot like a long video clip.

Religious allusion is spewed like mercury as the film starts, and constantly throughout, the mercurial allusion jumps around, leaps, resisting fixity and stasis, until the final scenes, in which the allusion is aborted. A group of women trod the arid earth clad in black; they are mourning and do so with charming, choreographed movement, almost distancing the sorrow from the event through an aesthetic appeal, and confirming Nietzsche, “As aesthetic phenomenon existence is still bearable for us.”

The theatre-of-a-room is silent. My boyfriend sneaks a hand across my crotch and I almost let out a sigh ending my dissatisfaction, but then someone dies.

I longed to swim tonight because it had been becoming more and more apparent to me that I am immanently part of a world, and what is a better way of celebration than to be like water among water.

I am a monkey eating a banana while looking you in the face and laughing.

The film is set in a village trying to be isolated from the world. If isolation eclipses the socio-historical and political “real” of the war, it nevertheless allows for a greater representation of the social (and gendered) dynamics of the society depicted. On the forefront of this village-society is the league of women; the village is comprised of wives/mothers, men, and teenage boys. Ergo, the women’s alliance is an imperative if they are to successfully guard against the dangers of the war.

Strict academic writing bores me. I have no patience for convoluted arguments. Why race away from the abyss? From vertigo? The vertiginous abyss is the finish line.

I think back on the dry ambivalence which tints me. This ambivalence made me tacitly answer antithetically to the same question, without synthesis.

Something nibbles at my feet. I’m being swayed by these moments under heavy rain and the joy of being stung and eaten.

My boyfriend has his hands inside my pants; he is watching the film with his parents through the crack in the closet. At the same time, I’m looking at the city, at the village, at the whole country. It doesn’t matter. There is no beauty in the dissonance of the metropolis or in the arid rural landscape. And to our surprise, chaos and disorder are furthered by Maldoror making “a pact with prostitution in order to sow disorder among families”. Even the world’s mythical oldest profession, however, fails to disorient. His parents laugh but then gasp in horror.

The ambivalence of love between sexuality and neurotic behaviour; between the desire for terror and the desire to defile beauty. What speechless wonderment washes away the ambivalence as I release myself in the closeted sea, amongst dirty clothes and waste, my boyfriend rubbing himself on my back, passion serving as a prelude to physical union; or who knows, physical fusion serving as a prelude to passion, the fervour of love, the violence of a storm, of lips moving apart and closing in, tightening in on each other to prevent the slaughtering laughter which would expose us—pause—silence—contemplation—and so what if we’re exposed? Beware of the (s)laughter.

Mahmoud Darwish starts a poem by saying, “I want from love only the beginning.” I never could understand his masochistic desire. As I stepped in the water after taking my clothes off, rekindling my love for the sea, the yellow road lights reflected on my legs, the hairs like those of a cat in alerting fright. Although the road to love is a path to blissful happiness, before I can enjoy happiness, I walk towards the water, my toes touching its chilled surface, and I suffer from its frigid agitation.

My boyfriend’s mother vocalizes sounds of disapproval at the film’s abrupt change from comedy to tragedy. The world’s oldest profession fails to distract, and the terror of War pays a nonchalant visit in the form of a bullet in the back of a mother’s son. She decides to hide her son’s death like an abortion long in the making. The mother becomes the reciprocal of the Virgin Mary. The aborted body is invisibly put in a room, protected from the world, as if in a womb. The room, however, is empty, cloistered from the world; the windows are shut, the door is locked: The room is an empty womb, figuring abortion. And I reach climax.

The sky becomes calm. I swim now below a huge, pure sky and I laugh, water enters my mouth and chokes me with saline reality. Something stings me next to the knee and I feel frail. We stumble out of the wooden doors of the closet, welcomed by shock and gaping dry mouths. My boyfriend’s parents are so startled by my (s)laughter, they disregard my gaiety and look straight at their poor helpless son, his hand covered with my semen.

And is it worth an abortion? To come out of the closet? To swim back to the shore? Nothing is more religious than abortion: the wastage of ultimate excess in a formless formation. Freedom from form, from the prison-tomb of architectonic systems, from the police function of sperm management, from the cosmo-illogical shoddy bunk-hole of binary patriarchy.

The metropolis will crumble if we feel a gist of freedom. It is no wonder that parks are few: “The workers must stay away from these too clean groves…they could easily become seriously angry and question why they earn so little when these rascals steal so much”. The words of Emilé Zola ring true.

I am not in the tradition of giving out answers, not even to the questions that I ask. But there is a force which propels me to be without ambivalence, compels me to utter a scant revelation: given the space of a shoreline and the sea, I see nothing stopping us from aborting on behalf of mothers the progenies of phallic architectonic monuments. The crack can be seen from a distance, widened through the (s)laughter of beautiful, violent Medusa.

“Learn to swim…” [Ænema.Tool]

“Every animal is in the world like water in water.” [Georges Bataille]

“And why don’t you write? Write! Writing is for you, you are for you; your body is yours, take it. I know why you haven’t written…Because writing is at once too high, too great for you, it’s reserved for the great –that is for ‘great men’; and it’s ‘silly’. Besides, you’ve written a little, but in secret. And it wasn’t good, because it was in secret, and because you punished yourself for writing, because you didn’t go all the way, or because you wrote, irresistibly, as when we would masturbate in secret, not to go further, but to attenuate the tension a bit, just enough to take the edge off. And then as soon as we come, we go and make ourselves feel guilty –so as to be forgiven; or to forget, to bury it until the next time….” [Hélène Cixous.The Laugh of the Medusa]

“Humanism (capitalist patriarchy) is the same thing as our imprisonment. Trapped in the maze, treading the same weary round. Round and round in the garbage. Round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round (God is a scratched record), even when we think we are progressing, knowing more. Round and round, missing the sacred, until it drives you completely into your mind. But at least we die. Personalism is a trap because to believe that some of what one was holding onto will be taken care of by another being is irreligion. It is not our devotion that matters, but surrender. There is no end to the loss that lies down river. If only we can give up. ‘Life will dissolve itself in death, rivers in the sea, and the known in the unknown’ [V 119].” [Nick Land]

[P.S. A subtle interpretation of Where Do We Go Now is passed on here. My own.But you can share it.]

For Absent Friends


I sense rupture.

His mother came to him in the morning, dressed in black and sat on the edge of his bed. She put her hand on his shoulder and shook his sweating body. The touch of his sweat enticed her and her grey eyes widened with a look of ravishing lust.

“What did you dream about?”

It was morning, but the sun glared with noon-might. The air scorched through the glass door, burning whatever portion of my eye it hit. And then I saw you and you were telling me that there’s no water anymore; that the tanks were as dry as our skin. Then you smiled. And I woke up.

She stood up and licked her sweat-clad finger. She shivered from the saline taste as she gave her son her back. He looked at her with a disgust usually directed towards beggars. Her few strands of hair failingly hanged from her decaying, pealing scalp; the veins on her head appearing like electrical wires mechanically networked with a Terry Gilliam-like obtrusiveness.

What’s wrong?

“Tala died today.”

The news came as no shock.

“There was no water left.”

There is no water left. We are dried up. Did she say anything?

She said nothing. She died in her wake. Daniel was watching her. She didn’t even close her eyes.”

It had to happen. And it will happen again.

There was a silence, but not for mourning. There was stillness, but not for lack of action.

I can see her when I think about her. Her ridiculous big eyeglasses which she found while we were coming here. Is there no water left?

Everything is dry                                               as our skin.

“Tell me more about your dream.”


“Consider it a favour for absent friends.”

He stretched his arms and looked around him, as if trying to recollect traces of the dream that burst out of his cognition when he woke up.

We were on a plateau and nothingness extended all around us. And we were like insects. It was dry and bleak. It was this, all around us. It was this.

He pointed to the sepia environment.

You told me that there’s no water anymore. And I didn’t feel dismayed. All my friends have gone and there was no dismay in that either. And you liked it. You smiled at me. Your thin-black teeth made me feel comfortable. But your hair was different. It was bright orange and thin yet strong, like nicely cooked curry noodles. They looked greasy and yummy. They looked like the way the letter V sounds. Spaghetti hair. And then you asked me right before I woke up, if I remembered Eve. But I do not. Who is Eve?

“She was with us, long ago. You were little companions, as kids, you always stuck together, inseparable and synchronised like the movement of two healthy eyes.”

Yes. Eve. I remember her now. Faintly. She had beautiful skin.

“She had beautiful skin.”

What happened to her?

“She absented herself when you attacked her. We never knew why you did that. But she fled. She never came back again.”

I remember Eve.

“What happened next?”

Nothing. I woke up. I found you here. Nothing is happening.

“And that’s that?”

And this is this. If I can only see Eve again.

“Hours of wealth, my son, they’re not for us.”

Hours of wealth, mother, are rarely noticeable. Eve promised us this.

Promised what?”


And they could do nothing. They were trapped and alone. Mother and son. When there was a background they sunk into it and waited. But background and foreground merge, depth is eliminated and they will soon be absented.

I sensed wrong. I believe in an upcoming plateau of nothingness. There is no rupture, there is only an apocalyptic levelling.

But I would by strany



“Is not hospitality an interruption of the self?” Jacques Derrida, Adieu, p. 51.

ruben ireland sleep

April 5, 2009 – Beirut

The dreamy eyes had widened with ferocious excitement at the news of being accepted as a future student in the École Normale Supérieure de Paris. The family enjoyed a frenzy of jubilation. The daughter of a handicapped father and struggling mother had carved her way to one of the most prestigious universities in Europe.

“Derrida; Balibar; Foucault; Sartre; Bourdieu; Weil.” Kanz, the star daughter, screamed, her family around her in a wobbly circle, the unity of a promise fulfilled and a new promise being made bringing them together. Her mother cried; the news too strong for her to process with the same re-stricted attitude of her normal days.

“You’ll go there, you’ll be free. You be who you want to be and make us proud.”

There was no mention of what she wanted to major in. Nothing mattered except the departure with a promise; the commitment to a decision of being greater than her predecessors, of being as great as her potential allowed her to be.

April 11, 2011 – Beirut.

Kanz’s brother woke up and immediately called his sister in France. But no one answered. He woke his mother, who grudgingly told him to leave her alone. But he insisted that she should wake, so he bellowed.

“Mama! You have to wake up. It’s April 11! Mama. Kanz is in France and today is April 11.”

His mother’s eyes widened as if an ocular nerve had been pricked. Panicking, she got out of bed, at a loss and tried to call Kanz. But to no avail. No one answered.

“What do you want me to do now? Just worry? What do you want me to do?” she screamed at her young son who responded with a blank face and a shrug.

She turned on the television. There was no mention of anything happening in France, but a hysterical maternal hunch was laid heavy on her heart; Kanz is going to be in trouble. Kanz needs her. Kanz wants to be held tight.

April 11, 2011 – Paris

Dusk. Kanz, twenty-two, locked herself in the bathroom and sat in the water-full bathtub. She sat there, on her naked bottom, her feet close to her chest and hugging her knees with her thin white arms. The water submerged half her body, her breasts half floating atop the still water. This stillness permeated throughout the whole apartment. She made herself an enactment of a still-born foetus because she knew that the day would mark her as a stranger, born anew, demanding her, forcing her to obtain a new identity.

Three years ago, she had left Beirut with a baggage full of promises. The promise of a glorious and strong return.

She opened her legs and let her hair sink in the shallow depth of the bathtub. It started spreading, hair by hair, widening, opening up like a mushroom explosion under slow motion. She passed her fingers through it to see if it’s still strong, still thick, still solid enough to hide her if she needed it to do so.

The sun rose and the smell of bread emanated from the many bakeries surrounding her apartment. She gazed haplessly on the covers of the bed. The French sound of civilization slowly entered the room. The passing cars, the rapid French ranting, the high heels, the clatter of shopping carts, the music from street performers; and then the phone rang. She stared at the red light going on and off rapidly as the ringing echoed throughout the still room: another French sound which she did not want to respond to. She stared at the ceiling and imagined the course of her day: people staring at her, people thinking that she’s a criminal by birth, by indoctrination, by force, by root and stem. On the arm-chair next to the phone, she saw how the world outside finally found its way to the core of her private life.

The phone rang. Again, she did not answer.

The hour of departure had neared and she knew that she had to get dressed. Facing it will only make it go away, that monster of reality. She saw pictures which contained her now lost object of safety. A flux of memories rushed confusingly in her head, mixing with each other, all of them containing this object which she thought would be with her until the end.

The first days in university; the night-time walking and stares; the fear of losing it all. And fear made flesh. She lost her source of confidence.

April 5, 2009 – Beirut

After a lengthy time of celebration, cake eaten and pastries served, the father called his daughter from his room. He lay in bed like an old sage. Kanz sat on the tip of his bed, still smiling, and he looked at her, her big black eyes glaring at him.

“I’ve raised you the best way I could,” he began talking, his voice struggling to articulate his thoughts. “And I’ve never forced you to do anything.”

She nodded.

“And I do not want to start forcing you to do anything now. But I want you to know that if the time comes when you have to part with what you think constitutes you, you feel free to do it.”

She nodded.

“Open up and experience everything. Never hold back. The phoenix burns itself so that it’s born anew. And we should do the same. You’re going there to shine. And no doubt you’ll say a lot of goodbyes along the way, to people with lovely faces and strangers with curious gazes.”

She nodded again. He coughed.

“But the seasonal road ahead is only lit by our sight, and even though at some moments we might be blind, there’s always insight to find. The best thing I can tell you to do is to never look back. Be young and willing. Burn every bridge and don’t write back. Freedom is having nothing to lose. Don’t get attached to something that can be easily taken away from you.”

She got up and went outside.

Four months later, she packed her bags and travelled to Paris with everything to lose, the burden of a promise and the weight of a decision pushing her down to earth in a humility felt only by a slave in front of a master. But her father’s words echoed in the back of her head. Somehow, she felt safe.

And she could not, would not fail them.

April 11, 2011 – Paris

The phone rang for a third time, and this time she got up. Her dry body trotted heavily to the phone.


“Hi Kanz. Are you alright?” Her mom breathed heavily.

“Yes. I’m alright. I haven’t went outside anymore.”

“How does it feel?”

“It feels like freedom.”

“Freedom?” a strong tone of confusion with a spice of betrayal marked her mother’s surprised question. “You feel free?”

“I have nothing to lose anymore.”

“What? Don’t say that. You still have everything to live for. Don’t forget what you want to do.”

“But. I can’t do it anymore.”

“It’s not the end of the world. You can do it. You can cope it.”

“I have no one here, not anymore. As of today I’m alone.” A pause, a silence fuelling an ominous feeling of suspension. “I have to go.”

“Just do what you have to do Kanz. Remain calm.”

“Ok. Bye.”

She hung up. Three years ago, it was an easy decision to go out, full of the confidence to be what she wanted to be. Now, the life outside made it impossible to do so. It has been explained to her as the price of independence.

And she looked at her burqa and found all the independence she wanted ghostly written on it.

It had been explained to her as the price of equality.

And she looked at her burqa and found all the equality she wanted emanating from it.

It had been explained to her as the price of freedom.

And she looked deep inside and knew that the freedom the world outside promised her is one that conditions her to be unaware of her origins. And she rejected freedom if it asked to be unaware of her origins, like being born from an egg thrown in the woods.

So she got up, wore the burqa and stepped out of the house. She walked down the street knowing that rapid French words are going to target her; that police whistles are going to sound at her sight. And she walked until that which was meant to happen occurred, the noose of French hospitality tightened on her neck, suffocating the spirit that had promised a family that she’ll do well; that she’ll do her best.

French words, and police whistles. Eyes glaring. She didn’t like the noose that she was hanging from. She went back to her apartment with a fine for wearing what she wanted to wear. She could not, would not accept the way she was accepted. She called her mother and told her that she’s coming back home.

Sergei Bizyaev defects

Musing on The Wall and Beyond–Part One


I stood at the landing, my heart beating viciously in my chest. This was it. I knocked on his door. The door opened ghostly and a humid stench welcomed me before he appeared from behind the door, standing arrogantly, wearing sun glasses and lowering his head to look at me without tinting my image with the shades. Vanity

“She abides,” he says, as if talking to someone hidden inside the house.

“Does the dude abide?” I respond with a Lebowski reference which he does not recognize, but he laughs and that is all that matters. He’s not as much an asshole as he first appears to be.

It’s only midday, but in this time of the year, every second of the day counts as much as every second of the night counts for nocturnal vampires. He motions to me to follow him and I do so. I walk behind him into his room which flaunts a window revealing a view of the big wide sea. Music plays from two speakers, each at opposite ends of the room. A cloistering ambience of musical instruments traps me and I realize immediately that I’m already swept away, as people would phrase it.

I sit on his bed as he decides to change the music from the drum-dominant metal to the guitar oriented folk music. The atmosphere becomes much more soothing. He sits next to me and brings me closer to him. We spend half an hour on the bed, being lovey dovey, but we only do this so that what comes after it seems necessary and belonging to a continuous flow. We kiss and events follow: A tumultuous experience in which the sound of our bodies and the heaviness of our breaths become the ambience; after we’re done, it seems as though the sun shining on the bed, on us, didn’t exist prior to us. We face the dread of our existence in the moment of climax, and slowly the sun starts to set, and it’s time for me to head back home.

It is time. We sit around the dining table; Father, Mother, my two sisters and my brother. I’m the last one to sit down. We all drink a cup of water before having some soup. A family of six sitting around a dining table, eating together; serves as a pretty picture, a generic one nonetheless. A lie.

Almost three minutes after we sit down, the mosque’s amplified prayer ends, allowing the Islamic nasheed on the TV to stand out as the only coherent sound alongside the amusical clatter of the silver cutlery on porcelain plates. The best for the favourite month of Ramadan. I look out the window. Through the little crack between the cramped buildings I imagine that I can see the sea, extending as far as possible, and I travel with it, and I can almost join the setting sun, but my imagination hits a wall, engrossed in the deepest levels of the sea. This vision that fled through the window, through the crack between the closely knit buildings, and across kilometres of land and sea, hits a wall which cloisters imagination and traps me in a living room turned to a dining room.

I can still feel my cunt pulsate as I swallow each gulp of lentil soup.

A light bulb pops above the table, and that is all it takes. It’s dimmer now and suitable for what’s to follow. Father crashes his silver spoon on the porcelain plate, looks at all of us, disappointment on his face, silently blaming us for the current dim light. I keep on sipping lentil soup from the side of the spoon, looking at its brown hue and trying hard not to slurp. Father bangs the table with his two hands, a bit of soup drips from the small bowl onto the under-plate.

“What are you waiting for? Go get a bulb. Now!” Father shouts across the table at Shadi, my brother, who is sitting next to me. I keep on eating. I look at my two twin sisters, sitting across the table from me. They are both frightened, too young to understand what’s going on, why Father is angry. They look at him with eyes not knowing how to hide trepidation, waiting for their undue punishment. And I know that it will come. It will come for all of us.

Shadi comes back. He looks at Father, waiting for his next order.

“What are you looking at me for?” Father speaks, “Go on, climb on your chair and fix it.”

Shadi does as he’s told. He adjusts the chair and ascends. I look at his feet and I push my chair away from the table. This has happened before. The table cloth moves with an instant powerful pull from Father. The tureens, the plates, the forks, the spoons, the glass cups, the bowls and the pans all go sliding towards Father as if he’s a newly formed Sun. They crash on the floor, exploding with a high pitched bang, food spilling and glasses shattering. My sisters let out helpless cries as Father, indifferent to the mess he has done, shouts his way to Shadi, who’s standing on the chair now, not daring to move, trembling, fear running through his veins like a stupefying narcotic. I stand up, my back to Father and motion to Shadi, telling him to get down. Father gets by me and by the time Shadi’s left foot is on the ground, Father manages to grab him and drag him to the room. In the background, the anasheed are still being sung, the daff now giving it rhythm as it bangs bangs bangs.

I go to my sisters and lead them to the balcony, the farthest place possible. I hold them close and tight, both young and feeble, and I try to sing, tightening my whimpering voice as hard as I can. The sky gets darker by the second and the little girls between my arms cling tighter and tighter, as if afraid to fall. Their cries have faded but their hearts still beat very fast. I can hear the distant cry of my brother, his screeching nasal voice being forced to bellow in the room, behind a closed door.

My sisters calm down and I allow myself to go to the living room again. The door of the room is still closed, but no sounds emanate from behind it. I pick up the shards of porcelain on the ground, worrying about the stains later. Moments after, my sisters come and help me. I tell them to be careful as they pick broken glass and porcelain.

I am in the living room, picking up the last of the pans and tureens from the floor when the door opens. Father emerges like a rapist who knows no wrong nor right. He walks towards the living room, but doesn’t speak. I avoid his face and ignore his ginormous presence. He sits on the couch and I feel him watch me and form the tip of my eye I see red eyes that would crave nothing more than for me to falter. But I do not. I clean everything up, and when all is clean, when the table is back in its place and the living becomes a living room again, I go to Mother unawares and snatch the empty plate from her oblivious zombie-like hand, and as if that was its cue, the mosque begins the evening prayer.

I crash on the bed. The taste of the lentil still on my tongue; it dominates my mouth and makes me crave for more food. I stuff my head in the pillow to try to stop myself from crying, but there’s no use. I let go and submit to the tears in my eyes and my imminent fall.




I have weights on my bed. I can’t sleep without weights on my legs. A simple condition.

I’m holding on to every thread of sanity as you sway in front of me without proclaiming a purpose. I want to know you for who you are. I want to know why you’re here. I want to know what is making you sway in front of me with your smiling face, your wavy hair and your moving hands.

The tail that passes by the edge of the door does not alarm me. Everything I see, I see through Nyx, and her profession is erasure. I turn my head moments too late so as to make my vision dubious, was what I saw real? Was it reality under erasure?

Your meaning is elusive and I cannot help but torment myself with all the possibilities which your presence manifests. That is all I can do, torment myself with the passivity of inaction. An action would make me a transparent fool. I am not afraid of humility. I am just afraid of your reaction.

Everything starts with a promise. Being born starts with the promise of eventually dying. Meeting someone, starting a friendship seals the promise of future mourning. All acquaintances have a trace of a farewell. One must always go before the other.

You come closer and then you recede. You write me letters, but then erase. You move your lips without making a sound. You teaser of princes.

When I met her, she told me that her son is in a coma. That’s the first thing she said.

You move like the shadow of smoke. You touch me with your formless invisible hand.

“My son is in a coma.”

You fiery daemon, iridescent like an aurora. Look at yourself melt like a weak piece of wax, only to defy the laws which command me and reformulate your body, straighter than before, more dazzling, more perfect.

“Since when?” The place was brightly lit by an opening in the ceiling, and slowly, as dusk neared, the hall became dimmer and dimmer.

“Since as far as I can remember.” She seemed worried about the departure of the sun.

“It must be hard,” I said, stopping for a moment, hesitating before I asked the question, “where is the father?”

You unnatural virgin, your legs spread wide like the red sea, yet redness is all I see; there is no shore, I need no shore. I want to camp between your legs so that they’ll engulf me, choke me and kill me, mercilessly.

“There is no father, one of those things that just happen without you knowing how. One of those things that you just know will happen to you, as if destined, and there is nothing you can do about it.” She looked through her bag, took out a phone and checked the time. “What do you do for a living?”

You vile temptress. Look at my shaking hands. I clench my fists as if to threaten you, but I’m losing control. I must seize you before the morning, for the dew will destroy you and the light will sear your waxed columns.

“I’m an impresario.” I said, trying to impress her, hoping that I pronounced it right, praying that she didn’t know what it means.

“What’s that?”

But no. You are not to be had. You must remain a distant temptation, a boundary which my arousal shan’t cross. Fierce tyrant, know of what I withhold by this promise.

“I manage plays, help produce them. I’m the person who realizes dramaturgy.”

I arise and you stop moving. Your eyes don’t look at my trembling body anymore. You heard turns and looks abaft to the other end, where my father and his wife sit, judging my movement, entertained by the magnificent spectacle you are performing. He would sacrifice his own son for a night of enjoyment. He would sacrifice me to uphold his sovereignty.

She looks through the opening in the ceiling. “In the distance, I can hear the stars sing to me like sirens, telling me to come and enfold them with the black hue of my existence.” She walks to the centre of the hall, directly beneath the opening. “Do you want to see how I do it? Do you want to see things my way? Impresario?” I nodded.

But I refuse to be sacrificed you wretched servile soul. Stop dancing and come to me, let me put my hands around your neck and choke you. Let me feel the veins of your neck protrude, fighting my grip. Let me sense your pulse plead for a trace of mercy with its irregular beat. You are mine, even at a distance. You are mine. Become the vessel with which I sail away from my father’s kingdom. I will mount you and he will immediately be absent. We can make this happen.

I was immediately pulled towards the opening, and before I could catch a breath to scream, we were both floating weightlessly, so close to distant stars, seeing nebulas in the distance and Earth, lit by rampant civilizations, looking like an ember amidst the darkness which surrounds it.

“You can never sleep here,” she says, “my son would never sleep here. You can never sleep without weight. You need to be pushed down to sleep. But my son is lulled. My son sustains the subsistence.”

Stop erasing and write me unto you. Approach me and with your coming, bring a symbol of commitment. A ring, a piece of cloth, or just your integument. I will shear your hair and change your appearance.

But then I find myself awake, weighed down by heavy pillows and a heavy duvet. Everything starts with a promise, and I was her son, the impresario of dreams. I awoke and killed her with my awakening.

I will hold your tongue with my hand and stroke it with a sharp dagger. It’ll bleed and you will utter the words I want to hear stained with blood. I will never send you back to his highness, the tyrant sultan.

A promise fulfilled: one must always go before the other. A promise broken: never wake up.

"I am Disappointed. Disillusioned. Disenchanted. Dis-enthralled. Dis-entranced," says the asinine impresario before he absconds. And they all hear me, but they don’t know me. They all know it. Nyx is dead.

So I approach you. I come towards you with intent. I get a hold of your wavering wrist and pull you towards me. But I was naïve to think that I could. Your dancing body vanishes and I hold nothing but a perplexed clenched fist.

The alacrity, the emulous spirit departs. The subsistence is no longer sustained. An abeyance awakes the audience, but it’s too late, there is no chance for amelioration or superficial decoration; there is nothing to ameliorate, there is nothing to decorate. Surviving is the other name of mourning. I am awake and Nyx is dead. The subsistence is no longer sustained. One must always go before the other.