Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fresh Poetry: Crossing Siberia

This bi-product of consciousness
We never chose to be conscious

This plague of the human race
We had to lose immunity


This artificial silence
Fighting no-noise with white noise
Fighting noise with artificial deafness

This finality
The culmination of each joy
The inescapable bedrock
Reality abstracted to its end

This dot
And territory
Shallow fence
Stiff hips
Short breath


This formless dot
Sometimes point sometimes string


We migrate on ice
Beyond the tips of Siberia there is a lure of sun
We know intuitively it’s going to be warm
A Shangrila of creatures, and we’re one
We love the sun with our instinct
We grow peas and peaches
We cook flesh and eat flesh
And become human, Ha-Ha.

Are we conscious?

We love the sun without instinct
This is no longer the country of the midnight sun
The demons must have eaten it
And they grow our crops
And they cook our flesh

We almost,
Almost become human


Between Siberia and Cyberia there must have been some time
I swallow Vitamin pills for I have no crops
I swallow protein shakes for I almost had enough of dead flesh
I swallow words for I don’t have convictions

I apply something like logic for I know no universals
I apply hydrating creams for I live beyond twenty five

I am conscious therefore I am still human
I am conscious therefore I am bored.


I almost killed it
What a faint gladiator on cheap steroids I am
This transitory death
Boredom re-incarnates.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Eukaryotic Cells

It always rains in the afternoon, I don’t understand why. It rains and I get stuck at the same place, La Tabkha, this cozy bistro in Gemmayzeh that’s almost becoming synonymous with my life. A gigantic proportion of cells in my body must be made out of metabolized nutrients ingested there. A gigantic amount of my indirect relationships with strangers, my mental images of Beirutis also form there.

And when it rains, I stay there, blessed with the kindness of Zouzou, Gaby and Micho entertaining me with free desserts and semi-conversations. It can be kindness, familiarity, reciprocation of my daily investments there, or simply CRM. It definitely is good CRM for they know my name, my food preferences, how slowly I eat, and other little quirks of mine. Like any good enterprise with good CRM, they know much more about their customers than their customers know about them.

I know much more about their other customers, the semi-strangers I bump into with different frequencies. Part of what I know comes from a fluid combination of observation and imagination. How ‘Mrs. Slutty Bimbo With No Taste’ is effectively exploiting ‘Mr. Old Age With Bank Account and a Mercedes’. How ‘Mr. Short And Not So Creative’ is striking poses with his Marlboro Red to compensate for his height and lack of charisma compared to his two colleagues ‘Mr. and Mr. Creative With Stoned Look and Renegade Hair’, who look almost identical and do not seem to be struggling with the same Marlboro Red as they’ve already got attitude. How Mr. Gemmayel Jr. (I don’t know his name), and judging from his care and kindness in greeting people, will definitely have a future in politics. How ‘Ms. Believer in Swiss German Aura Readers’ must be a bitch in bed, and How ‘Ms. Veiled Sunni With 20 Something Daughter’ is plotting to marry her offspring with anyone applicable. In short, I know quite a bit about semi-stranger’s private lives, psychological neuroses, and professional future, and this puts me in direct comparison with them. Empathic or satirical comparison? I don’t really know. But they, the semi-strangers, help me locate myself on the existential map: a comparative, relativist, stratified one.

I know that their mental images get processed with real food, real nutrients. So Ms. Veiled gets processed with Mloukhiyeh, Mr. Short with Curry Chicken, and Ms. Slut with Lazy Cake. I’d like to know if one day in the future, my brain will have concluded neuronal associations between both elements on the accompaniment list. You know, a ‘One Trait One Taste’ kind of slogan.

And finally, metabolites of food, thought and existential compass make up my body cells. So my cell fluids are made of punishment (that’s how much I dislike food), my membranes of curiosity (for its own sake), my mitochondria of guilt, my Golgi apparatus of paranoia, my endoplasmic reticulum of disdain, my RNA of idealism, and my DNA of almost-pure, undiluted optimism.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Fireworks Song

I need fireworks, made of molecules of air
that leave a sillage of oxygen trailing behind.

I need fireworks, made of volcanic lava
that rejuvenates the soil it burns and leaves stretch marks for future generations.

I need fireworks, because the night sky can use them for show, and because the day leaves behind a trail of silence, I get sleepy, and my eyelids flap by default.

I need them self-propagating and incandescent. I need them to defy determinism, transcend free will, and rejoice in quantum uncertainty.

I want them to travel the night sky downwards and fall onto my laps. I want to carry their burnt powders, take them to the Ganga, make dust castles out of them, perform ceremonial rituals of death, splash them among bathing Babas, shrug my shoulders to their thought I’m crazy, and celebrate birth.

I want to run after them as they travel the river, jump into the sea where they merge, and pretend I’m catching them one after the other. Until the sea waters laugh at me, until they too think I’m crazy. I will laugh along. In delirium.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Super Reality

If this terrain of light could all condense into a single particle
radiating beyond the borders of the senses
and every photon is an event, a loved one, a physical fragment, a missed opportunity, or an insignificant place that you appropriate
then there will be no distance, no missing
and every event will be rubbing shoulders with your destiny, so there will be no regrets
anything possible, so there will be no dreams and no guilt
and all the loved ones fused together, so love diffuses to the point of annihilation
and the past is skin close to the future, so there will be no memory, and no anticipation

and without missing, without regrets, without love and without memory
there will be no passion, and sex will no longer exist

if this wet and hazy terrain of matter condenses into a single, suffocatingly beautiful grain
just short of being a black hole
then the split fragments of consciousness will collapse back into each other
like a middle-aged man migrating back into his mother’s womb
and the mother suddenly turning younger, in white gown, horny and shy
only then
the supernatural will disappear, and the logical becomes funny,
the metaphysical becomes boring
curiosity and meditation become pointless
thoughts a waste of time
and words become, well, Ha-Ha

In this bliss of continuity and desensitization
there only exists a super-reality,
a very well informed numbness
Like ageless photons, we never age
and live a new set of non-emotions
addicted to fusion
our sole aim is becoming one-er and one-er
denser and denser
until the limits of infinity
until it all becomes white background noise.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Birthday Poem 08

I practiced solitude
befriended boredom
perfected the art of being aloof, even among people
and the science of being on my own
I came to no conclusion
It’s too early..

I observed affection
tried to understand love
and gained the great skill of indifference
to being in or out of it
it seemed like an enemy at times
or at best an impossibility
But then again I came to no conclusion
and until then,
I'll live with universal love
the love of oneself
solitude or alienation
They all seem interchangeable..

I co-existed with constant doubt
incessant skepticism
We match beautifully
and have a convenient affair..
Like a very efficient osmosis, or an elegant dance
Our love and hate affair transcends geography, time, air and soil..

And beyond that, there are the usual tools of the trade
a pungent Masala of near-madness, fully-fledged nostalgia, and bleached future
I came to a conclusion
I will dump all those friends, enemies and lovers
and it will be a beautiful year…

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


The train proceeded slowly, against a background of brick and white buildings and neons on stand-by. I held my mind somewhere between vanishing in my daydreams and observing the reality in front of me. It seems that vanishing and observing are complementary, your mind needs both. It's part of constructing a personalized version of reality, some form of osmosis between your consciousness and the stimulants in the world around it. Thus, I really do not know whether the buildings were -actually- brick and white; it could be true, but it could also be locational confusion. I also do not know if the attached sensory memory -fresh air- is actually fresh spring air (from a heavily polluted city), or fresh air-conditioning. I did juxtapose the imagery of Neons and mini-LCD displays with voice-over onto the picture. These things existed for sure, so I feel no remorse implanting them. It gives me a sense of concreteness, some form of evidence.

I cannot remember the purpose of my journey, or the names of specific train stations. It's all blank. I can only remember, vividly, my impressions on human beings. The air inside the cubicle was saturated with urban train staples: self-conscious abandon,hollow gazes that still register, wary curiosity,and all the oxymorons one would expect from a species whose strict evolutionary economics have turned irremediably dualistic.

I'm looking at the LCD screen, following the trajectory of stations. I don't really care about the destination or else I would have remembered it. I'm sensing time, with an internal clock, counting time intervals between stations. I don't think I care about time itself, I just care about minimizing its unbearable weight. It feels like it's enriched with nitrogen, nitroxides, mercury, multi-carbon, and other heavy chemicals that assault my organism. I'm sensing a certain joy combined with void: the joy and lightness of being in density, in the monotony of changing stimulants, and the void of their intensity. The joy of being a complete stranger, a gaijin, an outsider, an extrinsic entity, an alien, all these words suddenly seem nice. I came back home to belong and suddenly all I daydream about is detachment...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fresh Poetry: Shepherd

It was the early hours of morning
A lonely shepherd and a herd of docile beasts

He could hear the yawns of the grass
and the travel of semi-ice molecules in air
He could inhale transitory ice,
Grab it from its trajectory,
Through his lips and onto his canines
It’s fine
It’s pure, docile entertainment

On that specific morning
Well really in any other morning
Silence was an excuse
A kind of way of doing
Of herding
A well preserved and transmitted craft

Forget the herd
There was this fleeting molecule of air
Transparent, but still he knew it was mischievous
It traveled in its own nonsensical dance
And he followed it
Partially, attentively, with resignation
A recent sense of non-being
Without being annihilated

Anyway there will always be molecules of air
And they will swirl, along with detached grass in the winds
That carry them altogether
In one significant batch…

Friday, March 14, 2008

Fresh Poetry: Alien Registration

It couldn't bother me to wait in neon-lit rooms
with aliens waiting for alien registration
a mini-Babylon of non-compulsory silence

I could just traverse this opacity, for it's all already been seen

They could disappear
and the fade white lights could amalgam with fade white grounds
and everything fades with the murmurs of the little policemen
murmuring exotic passport names

I am barely desensitized, but it is the habit
We lose the habit of being home,
the courage of abandon
and the possibility of irrational joy

Still I can see all these aliens leave one after the other
and in the gaps between the empty blue chairs
see valleys I can wander in
For in the valleys of your hands lies my true country
and in the strata of your skin
lies my real home

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Mobile Credit Scores and Essential Facts

During my short stay in Riyadh, I consumed a minimum of 2340 Saudi Riyals of ‘Mobily’ credit. I have no way of quantifying the exact amount, for the deck of cards I have (3 of SAR90 denomination, 27 of SAR60 denomination, and 15 of SAR30 denomination), this deck only includes cards I bought at the grocer by our office. It excludes machine recharges at the airport, the all-in-one supermarket cum laundry cum I don’t know what in my compound, and the miscellaneous cards I bought from miscellaneous grocers and non-grocers here and there. Several essential facts can be drawn out of this simple maths.

Essential fact #1: I spent too much time at grocers in this city. For someone who doesn’t have a grocery store fetish, that’s a lot of emotional connection with stacks of everyday consumables. Usually I swing for other consumables: some concrete like music and movies, others intangible like memory for example. I also spend enough time exploring other people’s fetishes on Web2.0 to be certain, so damn certain, that ‘grocery store fetishism’ is not a observable global phenomenon (unlike teen underwear, warm piss, latex, chicks with dicks, gore or gun fetishes). I can thus assume, with a reasonable margin of confidence, that I spent so much time at grocery stores because I have nowhere else to go, to take my legs to, to mobilize my blood circulation, or my need for changing scenes, in its direction.

Essential fact #2: I did not spend that much on ‘communication costs’. Not as much as I’d presumed at least, given the fact that ‘calling’ was one of my most tried-and-tested forms of escapism. So I’d call my mom, or I’d call Moody or Raed, or a combination of the three, to complain and whine. I should be grateful to the universe (by default of gratefulness to God), that my mom and my two best friends exist in my life. I’d also call Boudi, my flatmate, to talk ‘everyday business'. And hey, everyday business like ‘what Labneh brand to get’, or ‘whether the occasional maid dusted the place properly’, is the most universally practiced, yet the most often overlooked form of escapism. I would also call my boss and co-workers to apologize for running late, or to thank them for a meeting where a lot was discussed and nothing was resolved, of course. I would finally call other Riyadh sufferers to organize exciting events like the ‘Great Friday Sunbathing Bash’. And Oh My, Arabian Homes (my compound) has 16 outdoor swimming pools, perfectly clean, with controlled temperature. In other words, we have access to 16 venues for Bashes like these.

Essential fact #3: not sure whether this is a fact or a conclusion really, but I will not increase my Mobily credit score and right for rewards much further. Same applies to Aljawal or even Zain (MTC’s new brand name in response to increased competition in the Telecom market). In short, I will not return to Saudi Arabia as a resident. Assalamu Alaykom.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Fresh Poetry I: Show (Birthday Poem 07)

At the tip of the leaves
droplets of dew dripping onto a pond
static, welcoming and indifferent..

In the evening comes a troupe from another town
with clowns throwing goblets of fire into the air
and 31 mosquitoes riding them for an intergalactic trip
all the way from Shangrila to Phantasmogoria
Man in the middle of frozen space at intersections
watches fire, starlight and projections onto screens of cosmic dust

An audience of 31 men still stuck to their chairs
The bell is ringing and they have it all ready
Pop Corn and Coke and Cream
Child acrobats juggling bottles of home made wine
Light brainless fun, but Ha-Ha nevermind it’s a pass-time
One day they will be in Cirque du Soleil
You know what I mean, you got me the tickets, but I’m barely talking to you
We’re all muted by anticipation
of the upcoming highlight of the show, the ultimate Vedette
a funny little green alien
captured by coincidence
and nicknamed Time…

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Fringe 4: Absence and Impossibility

Will these slender monsters bend to meet me?
and these never endings stretches, will they contract to greet me?
and the birds, almost non-existing because of too many cranes competing for space, they will not be here to sing the last song for me..

There were birds at the window of the house that didn't turn out to be home
and birds have made home in the ducts of the 'window AC' that didn't turn out to be mine..
even though I had bought it myself at a place that smelled the grocery stores I'm familiar with
and the Ramadan ceremonies that mean folklore to me
and these couple of friends that, well, just like the misleading home and window AC, didn't turn out to be friends..

They left, and left Vodka and Cognac at my door
One of them transubstantiated into a bottle of 'Absolute Vodka' and the other into 'Courvoisier Cognac'. Both bottles are still intact because I do not drink alone, and because I do not want the two girls to evaporate like the 50% and 40% Vol. alcohol(respectively). It's too disturbing for my sanity to accept the fact they have evaporated, like everything that comes and goes, gracefully tiptoeing at these marble and asphalt floors, ignoring the noises..

and what will I leave at whose door?
and will the footage I will take with my (not yet mine) Handycam serve any purpose?
will it be more than a futile exercise in zooming in an out,
when the textures and details, and for the first time, do not really matter?

This time it's trickier to bid farewell to things I love
to winds I barely felt, a sun that tired more than inspired
or to creatures, or places I have appropriated
I can only say 'assalamou alaykom' to supernatural phenomena, to abstract things like hopes and dreams
and yes indeed, all these towers and cranes do inspire hope
for things that compete with Godot in absence and impossibility..

Monday, April 16, 2007

Fringe 3: Insomnia

Had I remained a human rat in a research laboratory, I would have surely developed a keen interest in the relationship between the density of memory (or alternatively the magnitude of 'adulthood') and the propensity for Insomnia. In fact, I do not need Erlenmeyer flasks, ELISA blots, GROMACS simulations or dead mice to come to my pseudo-scientific conclusion: the more you live, the more frequently you encounter that strange disconnect from the (basic?) human need of sleep. It does not matter what the causing agent is, most of them are related to hurt or uncertainty anyway: a lover has dumped you, the fear of losing your claim to social prestige thanks to some absurd occurrence, or why Carotene pastes are not tanning you well enough. On second thought, hurt makes you sleep sometimes, so let's just say uncertainty. It really doesn't matter. What matters is how potent this agent becomes with time. While your body develops immunity to biological viruses, psychological ones only seem to get more devastating with time. They rely on a machiavellic survival technique where they simulate dormancy, giving the body of the victim the illusion that she has become immune and thick-skinned, shielded by the neutrality and indifference of adulthood. In reality, 'indifference of adulthood' is an oxymoron. In fact, the more we mature, the more we perfect our art of being someone else, and the science of denying our vulnerabilities. My alteration of the opening sentence from the French version of 'Der Himmel uber Berlin' that still haunts me would be 'Lorsque l'enfant etait enfant (when the child was a child) he could meet his promised cloud of dreams in 3 minutes'. That child who 'agonized' over his chewing gum which was ruthlessly devoured by the maid, or faced the 'disturbing disappointment' of seeing his TV idol of innocence drunk and happy, or experienced the 'immense trauma' of the paint colour in the Pediatric's clinic, that child did not need more than gentle light and a kiss on the cheek to surrender to peace. His adult version, who barely agonizes over the loss of a massive amount of friends, and who does not get disturbingly disappointed by the sight of his adult idol of innocence doped with religious dogma, and who does not experience any significant trauma from the ugly white walls of corporate offices, that neutral, evolved adult needs less than a minute to surrender to the vengeance of everything he negated...

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Recycled Poetry: The Principle of Things (July 03)

Sometimes I remember to forget
and think not to think
I think that when I do not think
the holy whole thinks for me
The world becomes bigger and life rosier
and I, become satisfied
and on the borders of Shanti....

When I block my limiting thoughts
innate and cosmic intelligence radiates in me
and lights the integrity of it all
When I hide in passivity
Things happen and I change things
In silence blossom the lights
In stillness move the wheels
That I shall never forget
That is the way of evolution
and the principle of things

Annex from April 07: I think I have forgotten that. I do not think that the 'holy whole' thinks. I do not think there's anything 'holy'. I do not beleive in cosmic intelligence anymore. I beleive in cosmic illusions. Thus, I am not on the borders of Shanti anymore. Let me find a more pragmatic Port-O-Shanti.

Defining Moments: Spanda

The Ganga was definitely beautiful at that particular point. It had just emerged from the Himalayas, and had not yet had the chance to receive the assaults of humans bordering it and, ironically enough, venerating it. It was still transparant and playing music on stones. I on the other hand was dense with baggage. Small baggage, like the insignificant green cloth bag that had generic travellers objects like sunglasses and a notebook. I also had big baggage accumulated over 23 years of cognitive abilities (starting from my first memory at about the age of 3). That baggage included generic human emotions like disappointments, failed loves and faded dreams. It also included evolutionary baggage like constant alertness to the existence of potential threat to my survival, and yes, to my possessions. It didn't matter that the sunglasses cost 60 dollars anf the notebook less a dollar. They were just posessions, period. Somebody had to come and grab them if I were swallowed and slowed down by those waters. It also didn't matter that the water was clear like a newborn's consciousness (well, the water was a newborn anyway), it still had to have bacteria that would attack my body and affect my genes' chances at replication. The waters didn't care, they looked and smiled in indifference, bathed in bliss and certitude. The German tree-hugger didn't care either 'Tont woghy, chump! I've bean swimmeaning heaghe fogh ze past fifteen yeaghs, it's so Shanti' (translation: Don't worry, jump. I've been swimming here for the past 15 years, it's very Shanti). Her Baba, aka husband, comes, indifferent to how the years have sculpted his happy happy body, or how they have greyed his happy long hair. He also seemeed indifferent to baggage. 'Don't think, JUMP'. I jumped. It was 'Enchanting'. Is it a coincidence that the word 'Enchanting' has the sound 'Shanti' in it? 'Shanti', the Sanskrit word for 'Peace', is much more significant than its western equivalents. Shanti is peace with heart notes of emancipation and base notes of ultimate happiness. Shanti is repeated three times after Om in the ultimate prayer. Whatever it meant, that plunge in the Ganga was en-Shanti-ng. Rishikesh my love, all that paradisiac beauty that surrounded me brought me to one of the things I've always seeked: my ultimate union with what surrounds me. It was a very rare moment. After the plunge, I talked to the German tree hugger and her Baba on the beautiful stones she collects: zee hawf beautivul zese ztone calughs aghe? (translation: see how beautiful these stone colors are?). We also gave Reiki healing to a helpless sick man who was refused out of hospital because he was poor (in one of the pillar cities of spirituality!). It was also Shanti. It was the first time I offered my imaginary powers to someone, not knowing whether I'm healing them or healing myself.

I went back to the hotel room, the one where the mattress had bed bugs that formed neat lines of blood on my flesh. That chapter from 'Radical Healing' on detox was boring. In an unusual act I skipped it and moved to the next one. Chapter 8: Eneregy and Movement started with something like 'the main problem of the contemporary man is that he has lost his connection to Spanda, the inner flame of spontaneity. This is why modern man is so depressed'. That was the meaning. I'm not sure if those were the exact words. I still remember Spanda, modern man, spontaneity and depression, and retain that there is an intimate connection between them. I wish I hadn't given this book away to a fellow traveller who was just looking for any book to read. With my very non-spontaneous present, I think this is the right time to read 'Radical Healing', or jump in the clear Ganga, or contemplate the simplicity of tree huggers and the beauty of Rishikesh again.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Recycled Poetry: Amnesia (Sep 06)

The weight of the fleeting dreams pushed me
To the fleeting realm of a virtual amnesia
I deal with the past as if it does not exist
I watch the time elapsed all neutral
And I know, my jubilee
That it won’t get back to me

Green or panoramic, silent or dynamic
I’m not sure how this densely populated terrain of matter
Turned into the hazing dryland that surrounds me and materializes everything
That passed, and became a tram note
Or a phone number
Or a buried scar
Or a boarding pass
Or a thin magazine
But almost never
A member of the undisputable certainty of true matter

I think life is interesting
Like the headlines on the first page of newspaper
Like the crosswords on the page before the last
I think it’s also entertaining sometimes
Like the news on the last page
In all cases it is very much read
And thrown away on a table
Much like a newspaper
Before you move on to matters that matter more
One difference though
You are the news
And it is you..

Fringe 2: Postscript to Memory

...I am not even bored or lonely. Like a lotus flower springing from a pool of dirt, I have risen above those strange sentiments that often accompany the human species. Supposedly, boredom and loneliness are linked to certain environments, or circumstances. Practically though, these sentiments, along with their more positive counterparts (like joy, fulfillement, and other nonsense) seem like intermediates in the process of constructing the 'adult' person: the perfectly neutral, indifferent, non-reactive evolved creature. Thus, I am an evolved creature who doesn't have anything to do (in the meaningful sense), and has no one around (again, in the meaningful sense), yet is neither bored nor lonely. My 'adult' moments of happiness seem to spring more from the victory of fetching Aramani Jeans on a limited, single day discount from Harvey Nichols, rather than from meeting someone, another 'evolved' human being, who has the potential to enter the repertoire of that fleeting 'present tense'.

Fringe 1: Consumable Memory

Accumulation of memory saves the day when things become a bit too bland. Luckily the past exists, and so does the capacity to daydream, and to be able to freely transform memories into a more consumable present moment.One serious blow to the value of memory is that it can be replaced with Polo mints, a walk down a corridor with rain pouring (not necessarily, a walk would suffice), or futile searches in insignificant magazines stacked on a desk begging for sympathy and thus advertising space. I sometimes do justice to the value of memory by replacing it with significant magazines: Forbes Arabia, Arabian Business, any combination of money and Arabia will do. In reality, Mondanite or black coffee are as entertaining, and as effective as their more 'mission vision' distraction tool counterparts in replacing the memory regurgitation game.