Saturday, August 28, 2010

Hold The Rain

As I sit waiting,  I close my eyes and let the whishing  sound of leaves paint thoughts within my head similar to those I have at the eerie minutes before sleeping when reality and dreams mingle and you can’t tell if you are awake. I feel the dust beneath me curdling. Seconds later, the train arrives and it starts pouring. I open my eyes to see you smiling, “It’s time to go,” you say. I carry my bag with one hand and with the other, try to hold the rain. It always slips away.

I press my head against the window. The moon is a crescent….it’s smiling  at me. My breath falls on the glass and my eyes dart towards the seat before me where you are sleeping. I can see the air coming out of your nose. I draw a smiley face. With the sleeve of my jacket, I erase it and draw something else.

I hear your keys opening the door and  scurry to it. Panting, you enter. I let my arms circle around you. Noticing  how much weight you have lost I smile and say, “Finally, a diet has worked!” I feel an abrupt shiver running through your body. I look at your face and  see a smile, too wide… too peculiar for it. “Yeah,” you reply and start  whining about the heat. I don’t remember this until later.

The silence of your breaths still my lungs

 I enter the train. Through the window, I see the moon, smiling from last year. I want to change it into a grimace but it won’t go upside down. I sit on the empty seat before me, and it’s still smiling. Tears escape my eyes. I was too stupid, life was never  laughing with me, it was laughing at me. 

Happiness is the seconds you hold  the rain.

There Were Never Any Rats

Trapped behind a window
Strewn on the dirty floor
My heart seeks  blankets
Of the sky’s velvet black

Yearning as they are
Beyond my tiny fingers
Beating underneath
The words unsaid
Their pulse now causes me
A daunting sore throat
That forces me to hold my breath
Halt then talk
And I don’t know  what they are
Nor can I call them a name
Beyond description?
Ambivalent thoughts

And they keep my windows closed
Afraid of the rats’ scratching
Seething as they see me
Breaking their precious laws
I hold my  protests
And then unleash them
Small pebbles
Breaking their mighty glass walls
And I’ll see them screaming
Secretly smiling
Until they come
And close the door

The day is impending
Still not scripted in my plans
When I’ll break my shields of silence
Pulverize their lands
Scatter them on the moon
And sing
“There were never any rats”

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


A Story From Modern Egypt

In front of the mirror, Safeyya stood putting on the cheap mascara  she bought yesterday from an everything-for-two-and-a-half-pounds shop. Afterwards, she decided to wear her green lenses for she thought they would fit her screaming-yellow outfit she wore for work today. They did not at all match her color of skin, the lenses, and neither do they fit most of the other girls who wear them, but in Egypt, it’s not a common thing to find someone’s eyes having a color other than brown; and  the same  way it always happens in every place in the world, a country’s women yearn to look like another’s, and eventually,  they wind up making billionaires out of cosmetics’ companies. She tied her hair and wore the veil which formed a paradox with the tight clothes that made it easy to know what every part of her body looked like, but as a simple average girl, that was not a thing that had ever entered her mind. She hummed a song she’d heard yesterday on the radio while admiring herself in the mirror. Safeyya was not beautiful, and that was not unusual in her surroundings.
      After saying goodbye to her mother, Safeyya headed for the door and went down the stairs in a dancing movement now singing somewhat loudly the part she managed to memorize from yesterday’s song. She heard a sound of a door being slammed and was abruptly abashed and stopped her singing and dancing until the man who was there went away. She looked up and down checking if some other person was going down but, being put out of mood, she did not resume what she was doing.
   Standing in the street for fifteen minutes still not finding any empty place in a bus, she started to become somewhat worried. She considered getting on a taxi, but the thought of paying twenty pounds was appalling enough to make her totally throw that thought  out of her head; it was what she made in two days. But then, if her boss knew she was late, he would not give her the day’s salary and if she did not go at all without previously telling him so, that would be three days salary. Silently, trying to wind down, she prayed to God until she found a bus.
  Ascending the bus, which was a moving ball of human flesh adhered together, was quite a struggle. And what was harder, was clinging to the bars hung on the top of it without falling  and bearing the heat and the odor, not to mention the pain in her feet. Finally coming out of it to the air, she breathed a sigh of relief and thought to herself that it felt more like a stove than a bus. The ride on it twice everyday was inevitable which made her miss the winter days  in which she was not soaked in her own perspiration, but still, that did not save her from the other stuff. Taxis’ fare is twenty pounds; buses’ fare is one. That was enough reason for her and for millions of Egyptians to tolerate it.
   Safeyya was a salesgirl, and had been for the last three years of her life. She was only twenty and did not go to college having stopped her education as was her father’s wish to help in the expenses of their family, and she did not disagree with him; she had no interest in university and thought it was great she made it as far as high school.
  “Finally,”  Nahed, her colleague and friend  said at the sight of her. “ I was so scared he’d (their boss and the owner of the shop) come and ask why you were late." She was still making clothes for her second child; she was going to give birth in winter and did not have enough time in home to do that, so, she made them instead at work.
  “You mean he didn’t come,” Safeyya said quite relieved with the good news. “Thank God,” she said while slightly closing her eyes and sighing.
She placed her bag on a nearby table and took a seat beside Nahed.
“Aren’t you gonna tell me about yesterday’s suitor?” Nahed said.
  Safeyya sarcitaclly smiled and said, “the same..he sweated like hell, spitted while talking, had a mother who saved him the effort of talking, and who looked like the most unpleasant mother-in-law anyone could ever have.”
   “And how much did he make?”
 Safeyya raised two fingers.
  “Tell me that did not mean two thousand.”
  “You guessed right.”
  “And you refused him!” she now raised her eye browse, “what a fool you are!”
  “ I found it pretty hard to stay with him for half an hour and you want me to marry him?!”
  “Yes,” her friend said without one second of consideration.
   “He went away so whatever.”
   “Still, the shadow of a man is better than that of a wall” It was an Egyptian idiom .
    After one minute of silence, Nahed said, “ What are you thinking of?”
   “Huissen,” she said a dreamy look covering her face.
    “And who is that?”
    “ A guy I used to go out with four years ago.”
    “ You used to go out with a guy, if I did so, my dad would have buried me alive and Abbass wouldn’t have agreed to marry me.”
   “Like it was not the same for me, I just managed to keep it under covers.”
    “And what brought him to your mind now?”
    “ He was sooooo cute!”
     “Why did not you get married then?”
    “Are you kidding, he barely made five hundred pounds.”
    “You could’ve married the one who made four times as much as that and you refused because you just didn’t like him.”
   “ Listen, I absolutely know that love doesn’t pay the rent, but, that guy was unbearable so enough talking about him and tell me, did Abbass buy you anything for valentine’s day?”
  “ You heard that right.”
  “Okay now, I cannot remember the last time I ate meat. What did you want then, a teddy bear?”
  “Flowers would be great you know.”
  “You could go to any garden and smell as much flowers as you want. But now, one kilo of meat costs 50 pounds, so, if you eat it once every week, that would cost you 200 pounds which is two thirds our salary.”
  “ I still wanted the flowers.”
  “And you call me a fool?”
    At the abrupt sound of the door opening, they both stood up.  it was the first customer of their long working day,  which lasted from 9 am till 8 pm. But in fact, their days seemed to last longer than 24 hours, more like a lifetime.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Name ــــ Story

You saw me standing alone and asked if you could stay with me for a while. You never were considerate and the word “gentle” was an antonym to your name. It surprised me. We talked like there was never a thing between us and on parting, you didn’t remember my name.  It has been years, many of them and you conquered the rules of time in my mind to be always in the present so no second passes  without you sealing it. But you don’t remember my name. How come when you were the one who taught me how to talk? After years of silence, you granted me the words and I started writing, everything imaginable and maybe unimaginable and like a baby who has just learnt how to speak, your name was in every page, every line, every word, every dot even when it was not present, it was there, your shadow was there and when I had not the least intention to write you, your ghosts haunted my pen.
   You don’t remember my name…but you remember my face. Your eyes devoured it… you stole it and rendered me prisoner to yours. You held a rope at one end, and at the other, you  tied a knot around my finger. And you started walking around me, the way wolves do before attacking their preys, you were too stupid to see I had already a thief who saw no use in running, and gave up because it was easier. I wasn’t the were. Every time you moved, the rope circled around my hands, my arms, my legs, my body, me , all of me….remember me?
    You once admired a red dress I had. you don’t remember it, do you? I do. Red became my favorite color because of you, and it was your favorite color because it seeped out of the hearts you ruthlessly murdered and did not bother to know a name for.  They were all your victims, we were all your victims.
    Once, I dreamt of were weak, vulnerable; everything you were not in real life and then, you started crying in my arms. I told you this dream and you laughed saying I must be feeling very sorry for you now. I smiled and said I did, but I was lying. I didn’t want to wake up from this dream where you happened to need someone, an imperfection you hated, and I was that someone you needed. I loved the feeling of your head spreading all over my chest and me holding you asking you to cry more, let it all out, but in truth, I feared that when you’d be strong enough, you’d leave.
  I bet my story  is too clichéd for you, you’ve heard it before and became weary of it …your ears created a shield blocking it away from entering your mind and being interpreted as a voice of someone who held a memory in your subconscious….that’s why you can’t remember, because unlike everyone else you knew a name of, you did love me.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Within Me

I once heard that when you are writing, you are getting into deep with yourself, that self you know, or think you do; then start talking in symbols, unfathomable to everyone but you. So I’ll try, I’ll try to break that boundary, try to decrypt my words for you to understand, making some room for you to enter me, be...within me.
  The fading strings of night circle around my heart, it never tries to escape them, they are its cords to play with the beating that keeps me alive; so that the night never really departs…today is tonight, and tonight is my ephemeral form of eternity where my imagination fires up and bits and pieces of my soul clamber for you to see. And when I imagine, nothing can be more real, or at least that’s what I dupe myself into believing. So many faces are mine but no eye gets to see them but that  of my mind. Remember that girl with shrill voice who uses her hand a lot while talking and has an awkward pronunciation of the  “r”? I hate her, and hate that she’s all they get to see of me. Me…..I always make you in my fancies the only one who knows her. We’d meet up and talk for hours about me, but you never reply. You know why? Because within me, you are not you, you are my reflection who can’t split into half and have a voice of its own to speak. And till  now, I still wonder if I loved you or merely  another version of myself. But you never got to see me, that’s why we talk a lot about her. Sometimes, I'd see you in my room, checking up the stacks of books on my shelves, and sometimes, you'd be reading my journals. I never managed to get over the fact that when you left, I was a person that makes me embarrassed when some fleeting memories stream in my head.
   Last time I saw you in real life, all I’d wished to do was saying goodbye, even though nobody knew it would be the last, not even you, and not me, just my heart. But you know, it wasn’t really worth it, it came up too awkwardly. Years later, I learnt that ends are overrated, the final chapter in a novel is not the best; it’s the one that comes  before it. When I learnt that I’d never see you again, I cried,  I pushed myself into it, it was inadequate not to cry. I knew You never left, you were there. Always there. Hidden between those strings of night, breathing within the folds of my brain.
  I never knew how diluted is the effect my memory holds on the sight of you. But today I knew that;  I saw you again. The chance represented itself to me to finally have a mutual conversation with you. But we didn’t talk because you never knew I was there. I was stoned in my place. I couldn’t move, not a step and couldn’t breathe. But when I did move, it was the other way….I feared you wouldn’t be like the you I’d created. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Metallic Paints

Hours giving way to timelessness
Dreadful present  swallows me
Tomorrow and yesterday
A shadow and reflection
Never to be felt again
With darkness suffused
And now they fade        

You threw a stone
Broke the window
Almost stealing my heartbeat
Towing me to underlying existence
Beneath their metallic paints

Those dreams our dreams
They hide and breathe
Offsprings of their prohibited
Our never to be real screams

Let’s seek alternative shelter
Beyond what they can reach
Listen! Their sirens
Have come here too
Where else to go Where else to go?

Those dreams our dreams
Are but forged fancies
To soothe ourselves by lies
They caught us long ago
Behind their metallic-painted bars

Sunday, August 15, 2010


“Yes dear”
“I think I started hearing the violins in my head again”

   I am in my old living room, I realize as I glance around the place. For some reason, everything is in black in white. My vision is hazy and I remember that when it happened, I had just woken up from sleep. Mom is standing, all dressed, and holding the door knob. I say something I cannot now recollect, then she closes the door behind her saying she is going to the market. She never came back.
  Me and Marcus are on the airplane. Everything is going down in ruins. Our hands are clasped tightly until I get this numbness in it that makes me think it broke into his. Amidst the screams, I recognize my grandpa’s voice singing to me “Come Josephine in My Flying Machine” with his usual enthusiasm. A wide smile is all I can see out of his face. Years later, I come to the conclusion that me and Marcus survived, just like that. I remember the crash and I look at us, we are here, which means we are not dead.
  I keep on searching for that shoes under the bed. There are stacks of shoes there but not the one I want. I am in hurry, Tim Perrson asked me out; only I can’t remember where that pair of shoes is. He is standing outside with his olive-green jacket. I can’t find it. I can’t find it. Beads of perspiration cover my forehead and fall on my eyes. They are blinding me and I can’t see through them. Tim left and went away.
   On the deck of that ship, I stand before a creased version of me. It’s stormy and everyone is panicking, but I’m not. I search for me and she’s too frightened. When I approach, I find out she’s my mother. I want to talk but then I step on something and I realize it’s the pair of shoes.
   I hear the violins again. My head rests against a brick wall. Beside me, is someone. I can’t see his face but the comfort he radiates is enough for me to stay. I am in love with that person, only I don’t know who he might be. I am drowning in the stormy sea. He is with me.
  Years ago, when I was five and mom left, I said in a voice low as a whisper for I had just woken up, “ How can you tell when you are not dreaming.”
She stood for a second and looked my way. “You can’t,” she said

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Tick Tock
My present is passing
As I stand here alone
Watching from a distance
Reruns of the past
Break my shields
And you slip through the holes
Making me sink in you
Drowning my soul
The scars are fading
Only me and you remain
The pains are  aching
Only me and you remain.

Check Out G-Man

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

One Beautiful Thing

The street lights bounced up and down before my eyes as they entangled with darkness of the night. Within my hands I carried you silently as we melted together into the streets.
I wondered what time it was? Was it today, or yesterday. Was it a year ago? It was just One day, I woke up with my watch broken down; I never got to fix it though, it was that one day when I discovered you grew within me to forever invade my alones. I hated you then, hated you with all the hatred my heart had been capable of. Then, I was too weak to hate you, so helplessly felt you in my body. That was the day I forever lost sense of time.
I sat on the sidewalk. Where to go? I had already shuffled through the places but a stinging pain within my chest told me all the doors were closed. I thought of many names; every name I’d known and beyond each face, there was a memory that bloomed within my heart and somehow the feeling of those past days brushed upon me. I smiled. Once, I smiled. My eyes fell on you and that smile froze, like the very fact of you in here killed away all my happiness, like you drew  a barrier between now and whoever I was before you came.
That night they got you out of me, you almost killed me. But I didn’t give a damn, you’d kill me anyway, I thought. Maybe when I decided to  hate you, it was me that I should’ve hated. None of that would make any difference…which left me wondering, is it soothing that feeling of letting go, or did it only hurt to know you’ve left something behind. You were that point of gravity standing at the heart of my life, and no matter how many years separated our departure, you always attracted regret to engulf the memory of you.
I sat on a sidewalk. Your eyes slowly opened for me to look at them and see they were mine. You even stole the only thing beautiful about my face. You saw me and went on crying. I rocked you but then you started a strain of screams. I rocked you again and you wouldn’t stop.
“Shut up,” I yelled, “just shut up!”
You screamed.
“Oh please  stop”
I too cried.
“Stop. Stop. Stop!”
But you wouldn’t stop.
You wouldn’t stop.
I then threw you on the sidewalk and ran away from your taunting voice not giving myself a second chance to see your face again. It might’ve changed everything.
I never had any babies again. And every time I pressed my hands against my tummy, I felt  the emptiness of my womb creating a shield around my life rendering it too empty. I loved you now. I missed you and hung on you every hope that my life should once again have a hint of a meaning. Maybe it was because you were unattainable.
Few days later, I came back asking for you. It wasn’t hard to inquire about the poor newborn baby who was left alone crying by a heartless mother. I learnt that someone picked you up and drove you to an orphanage and few weeks later, you were picked up by a family.
I saw you again. You were all theirs.
But you still had my eyes,
The only beautiful thing about me.
Would you forgive me?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Waiting Hours

Beyond me
Beholding me
Three walls
And a  single door
Never shall be but closed
A brain
Your breaths
Your fidgets
Slowly time flows
As you are
And I am
Dissolving into air
The thoughts
Of words
Quickening your heart alone
As you sit
And I stand
From your heart
In mine
I hold the secret of it all
Oh , love now
Wind down
For nothing can hurt us
Not  anymore

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hard Velvet

The skin hung down your bony fingers, making them look big if compared to the re rest of your arm. You shook those hands with me and all I could notice then was my soul creeping from the rest of my body and hanging at my fingertips extending that one second in the time of my senses. For a moment, all that could be heard was that pesky noise as three of us settled ourselves into the chairs. It was just the way I liked it, the restaurant, with the huge walls painted beige and decorated with the life of the 18h century hanging on them into the frames of drawings not quite capable of restraining them from spreading the feeling of those old times to fly in the air  as we, a young wife who three years ago only saw this place in her dreams, a husband who  owned enough money to pave his street in gold and a bachelor who had no plans in life other than staying as a bachelor.
      We talked. The two of you discussing things I could only understand few words in, still, I attentively heard and smiled quite foolishly every time you made a smart comment. Once, you looked at me and caught me looking at you and the only I thing I could do was looking at my golden watch; it had become a reflex reaction to your eyes, running away from them as they had eerie effects on every beat of my heart. I stole a glance again and your eyes had still maintained their position. Chagrinned, I fidgeted in my seat and tapped with my fingers on the table, then, rushed to the bathroom fighting that intoxicating impulse to look back at you.
   When I came back, a glass of wine was between your hands as you raised them quite eloquently rendering it weightless while suggesting to ask me about a matter you two had disagreed about. Every part of me burnt to know it and abruptly, all the intelligent stuff I managed to read in newspapers while imagining I was discussing them with you jumbled in my mind and then, I could feel cold sweat breaking into my forehead. I never r got  o know the matter. His sarcastic smile that had killed every beautiful thing in my life stretched upon his ugly lips censoring you for asking me, about such a clever thing. He laughed. His laughter was caught up between the atoms of air as every shade of it kept on echoing back and forth. I wanted to silence it. I wanted to fling one of those stained silver forks into his throat. I wanted dig his heart out so that he would never be again. But I stood, helpless. After he  stopped, a tear escaped my eyes. But no glance of you went my way. I went again to the bathroom and looking back, you apparently did not notice my absence. With a heavy heart and light, quick steps, I entered and looked at that shiny reflection of a doll who had sold her soul. I cried. I remembered you and a glimpse of hope lightened within my dim entity to be put off again; you didn’t even notice me in there. I cried even harder. And seeing how that made me cry, like  the whole of my being was only weighted by a move from your eyes, a twitch from your fingers, a word from your tongue, I realized how pathetic I was. But I couldn’t but love you.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Dancing on Spider Webs ـــ Poem

The untrodden places in the mind
Where dreams flourish still
Imprisoned birds in cages
Of crude reality
Freed by the hour’s fantasies
Where I rule and cannot be ruled
World as fragile as
Spider webs

Wounded is the soul
From yesterday’s slap
In anguish she ruminates
Of retaliation and striking back
But no power left in her
To even sigh
Away, she runs away
In denial of
The irrefutable past