Monthly Archives: June 2010

Dima Matta


An old timer with the Poeticians, I wish Dima Matta would come by more often and keep at her writing.

We have lost her to the theater! ha. But they have gained her. So we musnt complain too much. I share here one of my favorite things I heard her recite at our readings in 2008. Thanks for sharing Dima.

About the Elephant in the Room

I’ve decided to ignore the elephant in the room
Maybe it would go away
I’ve decided to ignore the elephant in the room
But it follows me around
I’ve decided to ignore the elephant in the room
Nobody else can see it
I’ve decided to ignore the elephant in the room
And it’s making an awful muted sound
It sips its coffee in the morning
It browses today’s headlines
Shakes its head in despair and clicks its tongue in disapproval
That is why I’ve decided to ignore the elephant in the room
It watches the news and weeps while wrapping its trunk around a rock
It stomps its foot in anger and lets out a frustrated sigh
I’ve really decided to ignore the elephant in the room
“200 dead in Gaza” it says
Folds the newspaper with a blank expression
And starts carving a casket out of my wooden bed
I’ve therefore decided to ignore the elephant in the room
It doesn’t eat or drink anymore
Its skin is getting pale
I hear it wailing silently at night
What a hushed deafening sound!
I’ve definitely decided to ignore the elephant in the room
It picks up today’s paper
“500 dead in Gaza” it says
It tosses the newspaper aside
And starts making a flag out of my bed sheets
I should really decide to ignore the elephant in my room
It is so thin now, it still won’t eat
It can’t follow me everywhere I go
I feel guilty for putting my guilty conscience at ease
It cradles itself at night
Crawls to the corner and rocks back and forth
Sings the lullaby of a lost nation
When will I decide to ignore the elephant in the room?
It is lying still now
It has shallow breathing
It moans in silence
“800 dead in Gaza” it whispers
And I can smell its decomposing flesh
It’s dead.
I’ve finally decided to ignore the elephant in my room…
Only to realize that it is gone.


Curly Hair


I was feeling cranky in Damascus. Tough day. Tough life people lead here, depending. I had taken a walk yesterday to shop. This is my impression of that walk.

Obviously, it has nothing to do with the actual walk.

Curly Hair

Damascus, 26/6/2010

I leave the home that housed our sorrow for twenty five years

I walk the streets that never gathered any pain

I buy vegetables that never warded off the carcinogens

we inhabit

this culture of death around us, lives remain

cheap like the hummus

and the cherries I devour

and the plastic mop I buy for my father’s house,

who could clean away twenty five years of sadness?

who could bring back a country with polish,

even if you rubbed hands over old wood till antiseptic, raw,

tattered but still writing.

Who could wipe away Falastine?


I walk.

Here is the hairdresser who still runs for business. Weddings, engagements,

girls out to toss curls and fringes at boys that

capture them. Girls that hide the new do under the same veil

their mother inherited. Girls that preen on balconies for

the first suitor to bring life to these

dusty streets.

My feet trudge.

Here is the hairdresser. His name is Omar. He probably has grey hair now where

I remember a black beard.

I remember.  A room.

A bedroom. A kind man with blades that shear.

It’s going to fall off anyway, might as well take it all off in one go.  Brave brave

Palestinian woman who saw beauty beyond eye shadow

and hair curlers, beyond even breasts and

ovaries and a uterus,

whose beauty remains beyond the gnawing of worms at your coffin.

It’s going to fall off anyway, might as well take it all off in one go.

Omar visits us,

my mother’s hair is on the floor, her green pool eyes are dense

and quiet and filled with underwater matter

we could never unearth,

could never clean. My mother’s hair is on the floor,

how kind he was to come to our home and witness, perform, a sacred

rite no one else could see.

I walk past this hairdresser. Inside, women chew gum, discuss the new nail polish

color they must try, how to keep hair supple and soft under dryers,

their grandmother’s secret recipe for whiter skin,

whiter teeth, blonder hair,

bigger breasts, and on and on the beauty pageant rampages, until I am one

day toothless, and wrinkled and worn.

Until the memory of my mother’s wild hair, shorn, is also dust in these streets.

Today I walk. The door of the hairdresser is closed. I do not open it.

Behind it, women

cackle and smoke and drink Turkish coffee as they inhale hair dye and discuss

their husbands.

I walk, and I can see nothing but Omar’s hands, gently clipping off another

layer of my mother happy.

I walk, and buy that mop,

buy some cherries,

but for eternity, a small shop will bear witness to permanent tragedy,

the small things that herald loss looming,

the moments, insignificant,

that usher death in.



No comment on this one.


I suffer from your beauty.

Even the square curve of your knee,

hard and compact like your voice,

is a perfect crevice, shape of sunlight for these desert-frozen fingers, a clasp of

jewel knuckles yearning. I would run hands along solid spaces of

your thigh, soften,

I would harden myself

become turgid with inaction

I would wave undulating fragile insides you see not,

paint stroke the length of you, tall a distance from my seat to yours.

I would then let tongue, raspy cotton, old and unwashed,

blossom languages, speak

words inherent. Move, a

diaspora towards pleasure higher, further up the mountain trail of

your skin,

finger feminine me leads lips to sacrosanct intersections of your edges,

yielding muscles that could heat and

grow a bridge between souls, two laps sitting across a seat from this secret, naked.

Contract and relax, a breath

of nature in every reflex, you breathe, eyes

away, burying tempests could possibly rampage at the core of you.

A universe hidden in this motion, I

can crawl,

I can crawl an empty quarter parched for the map to your waist.

Listen to the hum of stars in your silence.

Listen to my thoughts.

Breathless wind chimes from our bodies to eternity, possible, possible.

I would then lean in on your chest, leave the wetness of primal

swamps behind for merely a plunge into you.

Your arms a canyon to set up camp in, to make a small fire, heat heart and

feet and close the eyes. I would find borders to my refugee

blood. I would

order a citizenship,

make a permanent passport.

Draw a land property owned with my teeth

on the horizon between your nipples.

A home from within and without, a resting swatch of grass with dew, ground for homeless

curls. A purple iridescent valley is

your expanse. A rocky hell.  A jagged wasteland of hope

oppressed. A temple obscure, as a planet rotates between our heartbeats,

one seat apart.

Your smile is the sphere of earth and her orbit.

I would wander upstream . I would plant buds

of kisses like tulips,

fuchsia. Your nape, a soft winged bird can depart in rapture,

flight. Free fall into the universe that carries me, afloat.

I would trudge the geography, soar all the way to

my heart, beating a retreat from this life solitary

we once knew.

I would live there.

I would die there.   Your brow an assigned grave to a past remembered and


I would let our faces discover the distance of nothing, the separation of being one, a unit of skin

that cinders, and I would, I would finally drop anchor on your lips.

I would come home to your lips.

I would be finished.

I would be stone that

speaks poems. Time traveling lips unleash histories straight to your

lungs, alive. I would pour soul honey into your cavity,

into all that is craving sugar words and the insides of me, sweet.

I would kiss you until there was no more you.

I would kiss you until you become the dictionary of anything I ever desired,

in all the letters ever invented-

and abandoned-  for love.

I would kiss you, kiss you till we infuse nothing but moonlight internal.

I could light up your cells.

I could bewitch your future with spells, blazing.

But the angular cruelty of your knee is a razor blade.

Beside me, translucent blood spills over our feet, concrete bricks.

You read, I write.

Desire for you pricks.

And you are my friend,

you are my friend,

you are my friend.

And it is the year two thousand something,

and no one falls in love anymore.