Friday, November 09, 2012

When I attempted to study English Literature many many years ago, it was mainly driven by my love for poetry... But, the exaggerated study of stanzas and hidden meanings and different interpretations became uninspiring. I did not like how something so beautiful and romantic had become such an ordinary affair. It was not for me and so, I dropped it. I always felt that poetry is like a piece of art at a museum that cannot be touched. I observe it from a distance, lost in its beauty, close enough to discern all the details - and then I go away... I go away long enough to never take it for granted, to never lose my desire for it.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I've been wanting to write something here. I have so much on my mind, and too many conflicted emotions that wish to be spilled... But dare I say I haven't had the time? I really haven't. I've either been out and about or working on my thesis at a café.

This is the first time I spend the whole entire day at home - without stepping out. I feel a little down, a little sad or melancholic, but also thankful to be alive and well, to have a home, and a large wide window that invites sunlight... I think of all those who are less fortunate, and those who have very little left, those who have lost loved ones, especially at the hands of ruthless regimes and brutal killing machines. What has the world come to? It is a world gone mad these days, and amidst all the noise, I struggle to find myself. I try to validate my right to happiness over and over again when every day the happiness of many people is being taken away by force...

Anyways, enough rambling. Here is a song I've been listening to the whole day today.

Friday, June 29, 2012

one top especially for you

When I was in Istanbul, I saw these little boys and older men selling the most beautiful tops in different colors and sometimes designs. One day as I alighted from the boat, one of these boys approached me at the dock. I looked into the boy's dark eyes and then stole a view of the Bosphorous behind him, as the yellow of the sun danced on its undulating surface.

There was something romantic about the whole setting. He started to show me how I could twist and spin the top. These tops were everywhere in Istanbul, boys and men selling them in every street, piled up in cartons at bazaars, and even sold at slightly higher prices at little souvenir shops in the modern parts of the city. This was Istanbul, in its tops, and I had to take back home with me a bit of Istanbul. I went back to my hotel room and I carefully hid them in the drawer.

And in that drawer, there was one top especially for you... I wanted you to have something from me, but more than that, something that carried all my little memories of when I was in that city. And that you were there with me. If only for a very few moments.

This is what my cheap one pound top means. That when I walked in Taksim, that when I traveled on the Bosphorus, that when I was at the top of Camlica Hill, that when I marveled at the magnificence of the Dolmabahce, that when I sat in the front garden at Beylerbeyi Palace, that when I watched the city beneath from the balcony of my hotel room, that when I saw mother of pearl inlays in furniture, that when I sat on the carpeted floor and tried to pray (only tried) at Fatih Camii, I thought of you. And I even wondered what you would have thought of such beauty.

In my dream....

You take me to some romantic place.
Where they play songs like BeeGee's How Deep Is Your Love,
Where people slow dance under faint disco lights,
Where it feels like it's back to the 70s,
Just like how you and I love it,
And you look at me with those eyes,
And dance with me,
All night long...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

lest I forget one day

Sitting on the black leather sofa and staring at the television, I was feeling a little harrowed by one thought. I could not remember what happened in the film, although I had seen it many times before. It was as if I were watching Pretty Woman for the very first time.

I have noticed my memory slowly weaken over the past year. Sometimes I cannot remember what my favorite songs are or what books I have read. And I have read many books and listened to many songs.

There was once a few months ago when I got into a black cab and the driver asked me where I wanted to go. But I couldn’t remember my home address. I had to stop for a long moment and think hard before I finally could recall the first line of my address in north central London. I sat there for the rest of the journey in total disbelief...

When I was a little girl, somewhere before my adolescent years, I spent long afternoons copying words from the dictionary. It was my way of making sure the words would be seared into my mind for good. When I read stories, I would go back to my notebook and write a summary. Some years later, I would start to keep diaries and I grew a fascination for the past. I kept a written record of mine - lest I forget one day. I thought I would always know who I am if I were able to remember who I was, to revisit my past in every step that I took.

Then I discovered my memory, that it was the best thing about me. So I started writing less and less. Instead, I would make mental notes of all that mattered to me.

But, suddenly, the light that fed my memories began to slowly fade. Darkness settled inside my head and my memories started to stagger. They have now become somewhat quite distant, sometimes unreachable. And what if, one day, I might not be able to remember any of my memories (and past)? And if this day were to ever come, does this mean that I might not remember who I am anymore?

Roxette and It Must Have Been Love from the Pretty Woman soundtrack...

Friday, June 15, 2012

on Sayed Darwish

For the past few months, I have been listening more often to the music of Sayed Darwish in the voice of Fairuz. The more I listened to his compositions, the more I realized how beautiful they are and how unknown Darwish remains to the general public.

He died of a cocaine overdose at the very young age of 31. However, he left behind a wondrous legacy during such a very short life. Some of these songs are still with us until this day and have become part of our collective memories and culture. Songs such as el-Helwa Di (الحلوة دي), Salma Ya Salama (سلمى يا سلامة), Bassareh Barrajeh (بصاره براجه), Ana Haweit (انا هويت), Tel'it Ya Mahla Nourha (طلعت يا محلا نورها), Mahsoubkom Indas (محسوبكم إنداس), and so forth. I sometimes wonder, had he lived any longer, what more greatness would he have bestowed upon us?

Sayed Darwish grew up in an Egypt that was under British colonial rule and laden with unrest, uprisings and struggles. The ethos of that time in Egypt is reflected in the work of Darwish who expressed the wants, needs, and fears of Egyptians and at the grassroots level. His compositions were serious, lively, honest, and simple – what we would call in Arabic السهل الممتنع al-sahl al-momtanaa or deceptively simple. This is how Darwish distinguished himself: not by singing for the ruling class, but by singing for the masses, for everyone.

Much of his work was dedicated for the nationalist struggle and I share below one of my favorite songs, Aho Dalli Sar (اهو داللي صار), which was composed in the events of the 1919 revolution. The more famous one would be the Egyptian national anthem, Bilady, Bilady, Bilady, (بلادي بلادي بلادي) which was inspired from a speech by Mustafa Kamil, an Egyptian nationalist and activist who passed away in 1908.

But, being the hopeless romantic that I am, I want to talk about love. There is one particular song that I reckon many are unaware was composed (and written?) by Sayed Darwish. Zuruni Kulli Sana Marra, (زوروني كل سنة مرة) widely known in the voice of Fairuz, is a song about love. I read a story that this was one of his first songs and he wrote it after a lady, by whom he was enamored, said to him: Visit us oh Sheikh Sayed even once a year. I cannot corroborate this story but it sure does appeal to the romantic in me.


These are the words to the version which Fairuz performs, and I find it to be one of the most beautiful songs ever.

 زوروني كل سنة مرة    Visit me once every year
حرام تنسوني بالمرة    What a shame if you forget me altogether
 يا خوفي و الهوى نظرة    I fear that love is but a glimpse
 تجي و تروح بالمرة    That would come and go altogether
 حبيبي فرقتك مرة    My love your absence is painful
 حرام تنسوني بالمرة    What a shame if you forget me altogether


I conclude with a song dear to my heart and tonight I think of Egypt.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Favorite Passage...

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room.  

"Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"  

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse.  

"It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.  

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 

 "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."  

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"  

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse.  

"You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." 

"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit.

And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive.

But the Skin Horse only smiled.

"The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said.  

 "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."

-- The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

I have recently been reviewing the first chapter in my thesis and in this chapter I discuss my fieldwork. It was three years ago, when I'd gone back home (as opposed to going "out there") for my fieldwork, and I was privileged to meet the persons I had met. They were from the much older generation and had many stories to share with me - stories that hadn't made it into the books of history. 

I remember one night in March. I drove through the unfamiliar winding mountainous roads back to the city... I felt heavy in my heart, like I could never be the same again. I had just met a man who was in his nineties and spent only a few hours with him, yet I felt moved forever. Before I left his home, he made me promise to accept his invitation for lunch. He said he was a great chef and my wish was his command. I promised but I broke it. Then he died...

I was at the dentist when I found out. I always thought I'd cry when I find out about his death - for one my tears come easy. But I smiled - because life is all about those little moments, those words, sometimes unspoken, that never cease to leave us. And how could this night ever leave me? Its large evergreens that skirted the dark roads, the serenity of being in my skin, and the man I'd just left behind. 

He was charming with impeccable English. And he'd lived all around the world, even black Africa and had a fondness for Nelson Mandela. "You don't need books to learn about history; all you need is travel," he advised me as he looked at me through his glasses.

He was an atheist. I found this particularly strange for a man nearing the end of his journey. They all usually turn to religion when what is left is very little... But, he seemed to be at peace.

He had a Kamal Salibi book on the table next to him - Secrets of the Bible People. I suggested he read The Bible Came from Arabia and Who Was Jesus. We agreed that Kamal Salibi is brave for undertaking such research and for arriving at such conclusions. That he may be completely mistaken, "a big old nutter" in the words of my professor in England, or completey spot on. Or that, maybe, there may be some truth in Salibi's postulations. With these things, nothing is definite. It's all probabilities.

He got up and walked to the shelf and pulled out an album, white underneath all the dust. We went through the album and all were old pictures from his past. The album was almost falling into pieces and the pictures were scattered and unorderly. He was a very handsome man in his earlier years. He showed me pictures of his Irish girlfriend back in the 1950s. She, too, was a beauty. Then other pictures followed from his travels and stays in India, Pakistan, Afghanistation, Iran, the Gulf, Ghana, Europe and England. He looked at me and said: "the Britishers are grand. I admire them the most."

He showed me pictures of his daughters and his Australian divorcee, then came a picture of his late wife. "She left 6 years ago..." And he suddenly picked the album and returned it to the dusty shelf where it belonged. "I don't like going through old pictures... I begin to feel sad. I am a man. You know what that means," he said in his husky voice. I didn't and still don't know...

At the end of my visit, he kissed my hand and said "you are wonderful; it was a pleasure". I blushed then nervously said "I am grateful for your kindness and for the kiss too." 

I had no idea that it would be the last time I see him...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Algerian Rose

It was in the 90's. Back in Africa. That was when I was a little girl sitting in the backseat of my father's car as he drove us around in the evenings after work. He would play Warda on cassette and we would listen to Batwannis Bik. "Dad, could you play that again?" I would rest my head on the window, little as I was but my dreams larger than me, and I would watch the trees, the little houses, and the street vendors...

But for me, Warda's most beautiful piece was Fi Yom W Leila - one that evokes in me the deepest kind of feelings, emotions of love lost and found, and hope.

The first time I heard it I was still in Africa, and still a little girl. I was at a house party with my parents - back then, the community of expats was small and their only means of entertainment was limited to either dinners at the same Chinese restaurant or house parties on the weekends. These house parties, or gatherings, included hors d'oeuvres and drinks, a buffet style dinner and then some tarab towards the end of the night. This particular party I remember very well. I was cuddled up to my mother when the host, a blonde with the bluest eyes I'd ever seen, began to sing Fi Yom W Leila accompanied by her husband on the oud. I was smitten and I never forgot that song when we got back home...

It feels like a long time since that night, and it has been indeed: some twenty years maybe. And I went through those years listening to Warda, listening to music of such magnificence, music heartrendingly beautiful, and divine, and magical - remedying an empty, sometimes lonely, heart inside my chest. In some way, I also felt closer to my father, like he wasn't far from us, like he was right there.

Yesterday, I was on the bus somewhere near Marble Arch when I read the news of her passing. The tears began to run down my cheeks and I couldn't help that I was surrounded by strangers. I was overwhelmed... Those of you who grew up listening to ballads by Warda, like me, probably feel her loss the most. That is another great voice gone...

I rested my head on the window and I watched London, the lights, the traffic, and the red double-decker buses... But all I could think of was Beirut, a beautiful evening in early September, when the breeze was light and the night sky was clear, and Warda was there to sing. That was the night I saw Warda for the first (and last) time in person. I close my eyes and I can see my sister and mother to my left and they are smiling as Warda walks out on stage. She is waving and I think she is waving to me. Wahashtiny ya Warda...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

There was this little girl trying to get mommy's attention.

She tugged at mommy's skirt, but mommy didn't look.

She tapped mommy on her leg, but mommy didn't respond.

She cried and cried and cried, but mommy didn't hear.

She sat in a corner and sulked, but mommy wasn't troubled.

She did it all over again, but mommy still didn't move.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Just a thought before I sleep

There is this (famous) black and white footage of Marylin Monroe arriving late to sing for President Kennedy at his birthday gala. Marylin was known to be late almost all the time. She was wearing this shimmering silk dress that fell freely over her slender body. She trotted hurriedly in these fine heels along the stage. The gentleman who presented her helped her out of her fur wrap and left her alone. She tapped the microphone and then adjusted it towards her.

There was a sudden moment of silence. It was Marylin standing there: a goddess from another world, her hair like carved marble, looking like a doll. She had everything a woman could possibly dream of. And then music started playing in the background as Marylin stunned the crowd with her singing, it was like a whisper, trembling, almost breathless. And all that time, she wore that smile of hers. She seemed happy. Only, she was far from it...

I had just happened on this footage of Marylin and her smile confused me. It seemed like she was the happiest woman on earth, but the truth almost always lies beneath the surface. We are all not very different from Marylin. We wear a smile only to hide so much sorrow. Marylin was indeed very unhappy. At least in all that I have read about her. I think it must have been easier for her to be unhappy. If only she had allowed herself to be happier.

This seems all too idealistic, the notion that we could will ourselves to be happier versions of ourselves. To learn to be happy. Or even to unlearn to be unhappy. To a certain level, yes we can. We find livelihood from the beauty that is around us, from the natural world, from a tender touch, from the love of our friends, from the arts, from reading, from music, from solitude, from late afternoon walks, from the mundane.

Such is happiness.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

I felt a Cleaving in my Mind -
As if my Brain had split -
I tried to match it - Seam by Seam -
But could not make them fit.

The thought behind, I strove to join
Unto the thought before -
But Sequence ravelled out of Sound
Like Balls - upon a Floor.  

Emily Dickinson (poem 937, 1864)

Monday, April 23, 2012


I was having dinner tonight at one of the restaurants in the trending Zaitunay Bay. The music in the background was at a comfortable volume - low and just how I like it. This song came up and I remembered one of my favorite sounds ever. There are some things that we love but for some reason they slip into the back of our minds...

There is something about this song (and the video) that arouses this need in me to love, and to love more, the land of my fathers - a little country amongst several countries that form the Levantine region. I love the dabke but there was a time many long years ago when I was more westernized and thought of our culture and traditions as unsophisticated and unrefined. I remember my father would explain to me the beauty of the dabke: this noble act of holding hands together and feet stomping the ground in accord as the ultimate expression of unity and harmony. I never understood what my father was trying to tell me. I continued to listen to rock music.

But then, living as an expatriate in London made all the difference. I studied at a school that encouraged all things Arabic and I saw our world from the perspective of an outside observer. And then I went deeper into the study of our history and that's when the search for my identity took a different turn. Arabic is a beautiful language, Umm Kulthum is a great singer, and the dabke is a magnificent dance...

They say time changes us - sometimes for the worse, sometimes for the better. I still listen to rock. But I am not that person anymore who thought that I was above the dabke (or what it represented)...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Some dreams I had...

I've been having really strange dreams. I want to write about them some time later. But for now I will write about a dream I had last night. Actually two.

I was driving my car through an empty and winding road in what seemed to be somewhere back in Africa. It was in the night and my grandmother and her sister (both had never been outside Lebanon) were in the car with me. I felt terrified because it was absolutely dark and the road was unlit. For a second, I thought I was going to crash into a tree or something due to lack of visibility. But then we all ended up safe and drinking some tea in a kitchen - a kitchen that felt familiar but I don't really recognize it.

Then in another take, I was being chased by a man in his mid twenties. I think I'd seen him in a previous dream and in that dream, I must have done him some harm. I must have really done something bad because in this dream, he was after some revenge. He chased me into a dead end, maybe a cliff. And he got out of his old jeep, and shot at me. He aimed at my left leg and at my right hand. He obviously did not want to kill me. He just wanted to hurt me and have me live through the pain. Maybe I'd be able to understand the kind of pain I'd inflicted on him...

These images are all metaphors for situations that happen in our lives when we are in a state of wakefulness. Do we always know where we're headed? And do we not sometimes find ourselves in the dark and challenged to search for the light? Do we not hurt some people when we don't mean to? And do we really understand what we've done to them? And is this not part of this human life that we live? - to do wrong and be wronged, to hurt and be hurt, to lose and be lost. We are never always winners, but we are also never always losers. We eventually have to find a way back, there is no other way...

Monday, April 16, 2012

I love black. It's me. But, at the same time, my eyes are tired of the black background and white text. However, this doesn't feel quite right yet. So, this is only tentative for now.

I'm also having my eyes checked. For me to be getting tired of the black background on my blog after five years, then something must be wrong.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Almost twenty years ago, when we were still living in Africa, we would often visit Lebanon in the summer - usually leaving my father behind because he had work. My mother, brother and myself would stay at my grandparents'. I would often sleep with my grandmother in the same room. Every night before I fell asleep, she would tell me a bedtime story. Then she would draw the peach and beige quilt over to my chin. She would turn the lights off and leave the room to finish her chores.

In the morning I would wake up to an empty room. My grandmother was a teacher and she would remain at school until the early afternoon. I would spend the early morning in bed and then leisurely rise and rush into the kitchen. I would find hard-boiled eggs, white cheese, labneh, olives, zaatar, bread and a glass of orange juice that my grandmother had carefully arranged on the rectangular table. My mother would be running around after my toddler brother. Or she would be reclining on the red and white striped sofa watching television with baby boy on her lap.

I spent some of my time playing with my grandmother's cat. He was a German Rex and his name was Minouche. He would usually repose on top of the wooden chiffonier in the dinning room. I would call out for him, "Minouche." And with an air of arrogance, he would emerge. Foolish as a little girl, I would sometimes pull on his tail or wash him with soap and lukewarm water. I am sure he did not take pleasure in my ways. Little did I know. In my defense, I petted him more than I did my baby brother and he always followed me around - me and my white stuffed cat that I often carried under my arm. He passed away not many years later.

I remember one afternoon he was nowhere to be seen and I started crying. I wanted to see Minouche. I loved him too much and he had become my one dear friend. In the late afternoons, I would curl up on my grandmother's bed and watch cartoons with the cat resting in the space between my bent knees and chest. But that very afternoon, he was gone. I asked everyone about him but they all told me the same story: he had traveled. I believed them. And with time, I got used to his absence... And I lost my white stuffed cat. But I never forgot what they both looked like.

How time flies...

Monday, April 09, 2012

"عندمـــــــــا تعجـــــــــز النفـــــــــس عـــــــن رؤيـــــــــة  الأحبـــــــــة

فإنــــــــها تشتـــــــــاق لهـــــــــم بصمـــــــــت مؤلم ..

إيـــــــــــاك أن تظــــــــــن أن الصــــــــمــــــــــت نســــــيــــــــــان ..

فــــــــــاالأرض صامتـــــــــــــة ولــــــــــــــــــــكــــن

فـــــــــــي جوفهــــــــــا ألــــــــــف بركـــــــــــان .."

Friday, April 06, 2012


وعينا أبي.. ملجأ للنجومِ

Tonight at one of my favorite restaurants in Jbeil (and probably all of Lebanon), I was telling my friend about this sad but beautiful poem...

I love this performance by Taim Hasan.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

And it's been four years...

April 5, 2008.

I had my last cigarette. Then I threw away an expensive Marlboro Lights cigarette pack.

April 5, 2012.

It has been FOUR YEARS or half a decade minus a year since I had that last drag. I cannot believe it. It has become part of who I am to not be a smoker that I almost forgot this date. But, I had made a mental note and it only took the Posh inside my head to give me a little nudge to look at my watch.

Yes, it has been this long. I am a very passionate woman and I go by my whims and desires, by what my heart wants, so to speak. Not to say that that's good or bad... But quitting cigarettes is probably the only thing that I have done wholeheartedly from a place of forethought and logic and prudence and will and strength of character. I say this because I am still tempted to smoke. To light up a little one whenever the going gets tough. And the going has been tough, I feel depleted. I want to be saved, but I know that a cigarette cannot do that...

There's this little secret. I actually tried quitting in January 2006 following a very serious ENT illness that had me in a hospital for a week. I managed to quit for a few weeks after that and then I went and bought a pack in secret and I hid it in the drawer. I was living in London and on my own so I think I was hiding it from myself, mostly. I would steal a cigarette or two every day and it felt great. But then I felt silly for lying to myself, and so I gave it all up. I went on to smoke for another two years until I left it in 2008.

I can never say for certain that this is final. We, and life, are unpredictable. But I know that this is a decision that I choose to honor this time around. I guess I'll eat a cake or have a chocolate bar whenever the going gets tough. That'll do for now...

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

This evening I stood in front of the mirror - a mirror that I have looked into for over a decade. I looked into eyes that seemed empty. I could not see myself in them... And I listened to a voice that seemed hollow... I could not hear myself in it. I feel like someone who had a life and then left it. And it is this feeling of imminent loss that humbles me, to a point where everything becomes blurred in my mind.

But I have also just been on a plane and I am short on sleep. And you know what they say: "there is nothing that a bit of sleep can't fix". I am going to do just that. I should be fine.

Warda is with me tonight... Habibti ya Warda, how I love this song Fi Yom We Leila.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A spider lives inside my head
Who weaves a strange and wondrous web
Of silken threads and silver strings
To catch all sorts of flying things,
Like crumbs of thought and bits of smiles
And specks of dried-up tears,
And dust of dreams that catch and cling
For years and years and years . . .

Every Thing On It
by Shel Silverstein.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Alice asked the Chesire Cat, who was sitting in a tree, "What road do I take?"
The cat asked, "Where do you want to go?"
"I don't know", Alice answered.
"Then," said the cat, "it really doesn't matter, does it?"

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I am going to sleep as I listen to this beautiful song by Umm Kulthum.

I just had a conversation with my good friend, with whom I used to share a flat along with 4 other girls back in 2006. It was at a time when I had started my second Masters degree and this degree was very important to me because I mainly did it in order to qualify for a PhD degree. I was not sure I'd get accepted into the PhD program but I sure as hell was passionate about my Masters degree and I made sure I worked hard for it.

Tonight I was telling my friend how I have been feeling recently. I have not been very happy and I have been feeling sad over a few things. There's always this lump in my throat... And tonight I've just realized that I lost my gloves that I adore and paid so much for. I've been losing many material (and expensive) things. I don't know how the hell I am doing that... I am angry at myself. And I'm angry at everyone. And I'm angry at the world.

It is much easier to give up. And I don't believe in giving up. But sometimes I feel tempted. What she said to me in response touched me deeply. She told me that I should remain strong and hold on as I submit in less than 6 months.

"Do you remember how you used to write your essays? Do you remember how you used to get excited about being the best? You used to have the drive. You were such an inspiration to all of us girls. I came to study with you in your room just for that. Do you remember how much it meant to you to do a PhD? You worked hard for it. Don't forget that."

I didn't know she thought that way about me... I was moved by her words.

Monday, March 12, 2012

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
- William Wordsworth

Last night, I acquiesced to this desire, to dream yet again. I closed my eyes and it was some day in June. I began on the balcony of our chalet, on an early morning, looking over to the sea, as the sun had just come over my face, and the breeze fluttered through my hair. The light outside was bright and golden and the beach was made of sand, rocks and pebbles - they were small and big, in all shades from gray to brown, stretching in all directions. There were people walking, some swimming and some sat smoking and talking in the sun, and children played around the sprinkler. I stood there waiting for my little friend. We got on our bicycles and rode down on the concrete. That day, I saw beauty.

So nostalgia has her way with me. That's life, I tell myself.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

 " فمن خلالِ الدمعِ يا حبيبي

أريدُ أن تراني

ومن خلالِ النارِ والدُخانِ

أريدُ أن تراني ..

لنحترق .. لنبكِ يا حبيبي

 فقد نسينا

نعمةَ البكاءِ من زمانِ "

من شعر نزار قباني

Friday, March 09, 2012

يا حبيبي تعالى إلحقني شوف إللي جرالي

This is a beautiful rendition of the original song "Ya Habibi Ta'ala" by Asmahan. I dare say it is better than the original. At least for me.

And now I shall close my eyes and drift into a faraway place of dreams.

Monday, March 05, 2012

It is four in the afternoon. I sit in near-silence at my desk. I open the curtains, and look out, straight ahead, at a soft, gray day. The naked, dried branches of trees blanket the layers of red-brick buildings against a leaden sky. This day reminds me of a day six months ago when I had returned to London, on a September, and it was yet another gloomy afternoon. But there was a bit of sun behind a veil of clouds. I could see it. Today, not so much.

And on the windowsill is a pot of fresh coriander, a dried rose and scented candles. I close my eyes and smell this bouquet of scents. And all that comes to me is the tender promise of something beautiful...

Last night, I stood by the window and observed an empty street. It was still raining lightly, falling against a background of still, white houses... What was I looking for? I don't know. Maybe it was merely trying to find something new in a street I had come to know very well. I thought about how it would feel to be on the other side. There, standing outside in the rain, and looking at this very window, and wondering what stories it hides.

I thought of my own mistakes, weaknesses, fears - and my intermittent feelings of sorrow. I thought of how I could make right the wrongs that I have committed again, towards myself, towards others. But mostly, towards myself. I thought about how much we, humans, expect from each other and how much we fall short. I thought of that afternoon in September, the air so magnificent, the breeze so delicate, and later that night, the sky ablaze with stars. This is too much. I return to the sofa overwhelmed...

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

I feel that I want to pour my heart out here on my blog but the words fail to come out. I wish I could. All I know is that... Tonight I feel very alone. I just want a friend. I want someone to talk to. And I have many but not tonight. They are all busy; and those who are not, already have a heap of problems to deal with that my own little woes pale in comparison. I am even ashamed to present myself to them as someone with problems. And maybe they are right to consider me and my problems silly. I have everything so what's my problem? That kinda thing...

One insignificant thing I can mention here... This morning (most likely) I lost this little caramel-colored pouch I carried around in my handbag that contained my vitamins, my anti-histamine, some other meds and cotton buds. I don't know where I left it or if it fell from my bag. But I find it very odd. Only because it's something I'd usually notice. Anyways, this is not at all important.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

It is one past midnight and I can see through my window that most of the city has gone to bed by now. And I am here cleaning up my studio. The lights are dim and my music list is playing randomly. This song comes up and I don't even think I like it that much but it makes me smile. Tonight, it makes me smile.

Fields of Gold in the voice of Eva Cassidy.

I am tired. And when I say I am tired, it is not the kind you can fix with a few nights of sleep. It is the tired that comes from the horror of knowing that you can not go back and change anything in yesterday. It is the tired that comes from the agony of not knowing what tomorrow has for you. It is the tired that comes from the pain of knowing that I did nothing when I could have done everything. It is the tired that comes from the fear of not knowing the difference between fantasy and reality...

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Nizar Qabbani is one of my favorite poets. He was the first poet I ever read of my own volition. I would go with my neighbor L to the library at the end of the street. It was quite an old library, built in 1946 and its interior had this rustic feel about it. The floor was wooden and the chairs were quite old, old enough to squeak at the slightest move or adjustment in one's seating. And on most afternoons, a few rays of sunlight would escape through the windows and line the floor. And we would sit there, L with whatever book she'd chosen, and I with my Nizar Qabbani book of poetry. It was the year before he passed away... And I would wonder to myself, where is my Nizar?

This is a song (of the poem) I enjoy listening to. It is not the full song and it features the voice of Taim al-Hasan (and a tacky video mix from some Egyptian film) as he recites Nizar Qabbani's poem لماذا from the Syrian series on the life of the poet himself.

What happened to you again, O my heart?
What trickery are you engaged in this time?
Yesterday, you were soaring into the sky like the prayer of the pious;
Like the light of the stars, you are falling down again.