Tag Archives: love

Off Again.

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I seem to be always leaving. Never a homecoming for me. Never an everafter. Haven’t managed the till death do us part bit.

Today I was looking at the exquisite photos of the baby girl of my friends. He used to be a love of mine, in another life. His wife is a treasure. A true friend. And their baby girl is an element of dreams, a creature of light and laughter that removes any and every sorrow I ever imagined carying in my curls.

It made me think of permanence, those photos. How she will grow and grow, and I will fade and fade, and the love we will have for her will never diminish. It made me realize I do not have that in my own life.

Love, sure.

Instinct and love beyond the mind? No.

Maybe never?

I am off again, days here and there, films to pursue, books to launch, people to interview, deserts and waters to visit, suitcases to schlep around and curse, strangers on vehicles of movement to befriend and then semi- forget.

At least, I have poetry. And you, anonymous cyberspace dweller.

Here is an old old poem I wrote.

All that may not happen

12/2007,

Beirut.

i may never know who you truly are

or what paths of secret devil

schemes and voodoo magic

brought your face

to my smile

i will not retrace the journey

to this gift of your arms

tonight

and i may never sleep till death

by your laboring flesh

but for the promise of pleasure

uninterrupted

in your cadence by my side

at all the motion

repressed or broken wild

this promise of soft vapor after

is worth a thousand words

of a debt i now

owe

i owe you lines of kisses

and poems of inconceivable wealth

for now

i offer the

sacred nothing i can offer you

fingers to clasp

silence with every morn’s dew

a memory of

my calm breath in the night

skin, dark eyes, laughter, poetry.

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For smiles in the dark, white phantom moments of light, the heat of breath expectant, new hands that were sprung from every memory shaped by desire. Enjoy the following sexy poem.

Lovesong
by Ted Hughes

He loved her and she loved him
His kisses sucked out her whole past and future or tried to
He had no other appetite
She bit him she gnawed him she sucked
She wanted him complete inside her
Safe and Sure forever and ever
Their little cries fluttered into the curtains

Her eyes wanted nothing to get away
Her looks nailed down his hands his wrists his elbows
He gripped her hard so that life
Should not drag her from that moment
He wanted all future to cease
He wanted to topple with his arms round her
Or everlasting or whatever there was
Her embrace was an immense press
To print him into her bones
His smiles were the garrets of a fairy place
Where the real world would never come
Her smiles were spider bites
So he would lie still till she felt hungry
His word were occupying armies
Her laughs were an assasin’s attempts
His looks were bullets daggers of revenge
Her glances were ghosts in the corner with horrible secrets
His whispers were whips and jackboots
Her kisses were lawyers steadily writing
His caresses were the last hooks of a castaway
Her love-tricks were the grinding of locks
And their deep cries crawled over the floors
Like an animal dragging a great trap
His promises were the surgeon’s gag
Her promises took the top off his skull
She would get a brooch made of it
His vows pulled out all her sinews
He showed her how to make a love-knot
At the back of her secret drawer
Their screams stuck in the wall
Their heads fell apart into sleep like the two halves
Of a lopped melon, but love is hard to stop

In their entwined sleep they exchanged arms and legs
In their dreams their brains took each other hostage

In the morning they wore each other’s face.

Poem from Joumana, second poem for April.

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My dear friend, Joumana Seikaly, is sharing a poem with us for the second day of April poetry month. ( I should have posted it yesterday, but I’m a writer, we don’t listen to the normal passing of time, so there), and so here it is. I loved it and am happy she is contributing. She’s a far better writer than she ever gave herself credit for.

Joumana’s Bio:
Joumana is not a poet, but loves words and writing letters. She also compulsively follows the news.

To and about R

You were the little love
That would not grow
You were the little love that said
I love me
so much more
than you.

I loved you less than others,
and you loved me least.

But
If you need one last compliment
If I must say one more thing
It would be
That I hated you best
That I have never been
More cruel
Than I was
To and about you
Funny what love does.
Did.

Giving up.

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I have been hearing so many friends telling me lately that they gave up on love. I guess its hard not to feel that way after going through one unsuccessful affair after the other. They also tell me our world is no longer made for long term commitments. Temptation is too easy and too available and we have been become used to living for our own selfish interests.
Ever since I turned thirty, I have been plagued with the question: is the daily settled life with some partner superior to the wandering frenzied yet possibly lonely one? Should we have a partner even if we start bickering, get bored, the passion dies down, we take each other for granted? Or should we be single creatures, lone sharks in the night, hunting various opportunities and then moving on, having satisfied a certain kind of bloodlust? The quick excitement of new people, new challenges, new places…or the comfort of knowing you have someone to call for any small emergency? How important is it to have someone to hug everyday? I cannot make up my mind on this question. I do not know which kind of woman I am.
Which one are you?

I guess this following poem came before the confusion set in.

Exit Music

03/2008,
Beirut.

I give up your luminous black eyes
I unleash the serenity of your smile to
hands new strangers plenty
I give up your kindness
I give up your fluidity
and lean edges to softness new strangers plenty
I remain empty
you could not love me
there were moments spent in wonder
at the glint of your face
scruffy hands pained tireless hands of power
inside me
there were moments of moans primal
moments of silence heavy

my bed is now empty

I give up your sadness I’m sorry I couldn’t gather
I give up your harsh laughter, a frenzy
of exit signals pulsing in your haven
in your sanctuary
I give up your skin to new oceans
and long limbed women chanting
hips breasts grinding to beckon you
their mad hair tempting
a virgin princess in distress
a wanton gypsy

I give up your music
that beating heart we shared
that language to use to bare
to show you cared
I give up your beauty, rare
elusive and specific in its secrecy
I give you up
lover
you could not know me
we make love in different planets
the collision of your lips on mine
brutal sexy
infrequent and alight with electricity
is but passing spark
is sheer fantasy
is delicacy
temporary

I want to hold a hand in the rain
I want the shared need of another in our daily agony
I want to explode in short circuit
fires of daily company
I want kinship and respect
and vulnerability,
I want a morning after morning to eternity

I give you up to her
whoever she is

Love will come of its own choosing
love will seek me out
one sunny day
in a whisper
softly

Maria, a love affair.

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Maria is a whirlwind of words that work up a dust storm of language evoking desire, longing, breathlessness and beirut moments we can all relate to. I thank her for joining our little band and for her poems.
And for her love affair with Beirut.

Love Affair

I cannot remember if
it was you who loved
me, or if it was I
who had a dark
love affair with your
city.

I cannot remember what
it was like to take you for
granted, with your alleys smelling like
trampled down
green, tobacco-laced
humidity, like
home, lingering like
the perfect nonchalant
evening.

I remember what it was
like when your only
sound was the voices of
young people wanting to
leave you, always wanting to
get out, to travel over
seas, far, far away from
you, to never come back, to
never have any doubts about the
necessity to turn their
backs on you.

I remember what it
was like to despise you, a
city impossible in its
bullet-holed
buildings, contradictory with its
flower vendors walking about,
throwing cigarette butts on your
ground. I
remember what it was like to
slam my wrists on my steering
wheel in your sun. I remember the
price I paid for
loving your son.

And then I left. We all
did. We assumed you’d always
stand tall under your smog,
we assumed we’d always
have time to live in the
land of Fairouz’s
songs. Having been
under seas seven times till
now, we never thought
twice about how you would
resurface with your narrow
winding roads, caverns haunted
by all your fleeing souls. But
with each despoiling
war, you
could be slipping a
little further away. And
even though we leave
you, we find ourselves
breaking promises to other
lovers, always
coming back for more.

Endings.

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From my new book, from the chapter Lust. Something I wrote a year ago, but I guess endings are all the same. How does one know if a break up is the specific one that’s going to haunt you for the rest of your life?
How sad it is that the hurt one feels at the beginning of a break-up fades after a while…would we survive intense mourning for extended time?
It makes me wonder what kind of love one has to experience in order to emotionally wear black forever.

When my mother died, my grandmother never wore another bright color ever again, not for the ten years she lived after.
How do you mourn?

Endings
04/2009,
Dubai.

2- I thought of you
your body moving in mine
that trail of caresses I wanted never to end
I took that map to lands you knew not
spoken in languages you knew not
with friends, with love, with myself alone
I thought of you
I took this body wasted by absence
by her presence to lands you cared not for
to the weary images to the ancient homes of our people
to my childhood and the loss of mother
to the grinding old age of my father
to the question that is my future
to the harmony of
love I found in lands separate from you, lands distant
lands you cared for no longer, and
I thought of you when the night crawled into
my bed, and I thought of you
when the sun snatched the dream from my hands
and I thought of you when the stars told me stories
of visions that left me in wonder
and I thought of you when my conversations stilted
and when silence provided an escape
for the sadness
that we ingested
into our bodies of heaviness
into our bodies of hunger
I thought of you

I found protection from your glances, from
this love we never protected from
half chances, and the nights were half ablaze
turgid with thunder
the rain kept me wet in the dry heaves of this battle I retched
and I thought of you as the skies opened
to let the sky wash us clean of this
rancid daily grind
of this inner voice that cuts off my breath
every night
that lets me smolder

And against that
against the slow decay of realization
that I shared your dark skin
with strangers
against the sharp brittle lightening punch to the gut
there is no continent wide enough
no land distant enough
no retreat safe enough
no matter how high the fence
no matter how far the border.

Poetician lust and love!

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It was a super cool event on Tuesday. I missed some people in the audience who ought to have been there, but it was such a lovely presence with familiar great faces and some new spirits who sat and listened to us, apparently happily! There was some lust, there were some tears, some heartbreak, and some anger (mostly me)…but more than anything, there was the notion that poetry read is for everyone, that listening to a writer express thoughts and feelings can be art, that there are ways to communicate beyond networking and drinking in Dubai, that encouraging people to write and read builds confidence and self esteem and a community of shared ideals and issues. I love it. It also is a great excuse to go and buy shiny Indian skirts for me…

I will share a poem I read that day. It was the opening poem for the night and is dedicated to my single amazing girlfriends, to remind them (and me) of the new RULES. Meant to be funny, it turned out a bit more serious, I guess I can’t help it, sigh, but it resonated with various ladies I shared it with. I hope it reminds you of what you deserve.

The Rules.
For all my lovely single girlfriends.
Dubai- 24/2/2010

Never love a man who has not called to
anxiously check whether you did get sick and could possibly be in bed
retching your inner guts while making excuses for
his busy self, traveling,
never love a man who answers your explosive letters with one liners that lead nowhere,
who wants to rip your clothes off only when they are
fishnet stockings and does not
encourage you to hold his hand in public, never let that man be your waking hours,
be your insidious dreams in morning desire,
never ask him how he is seven times in an evening because
he was tired a week earlier, never jump off the tired couch with your tired hands
on your tired feet to give him the ease and comfort of soul with your
magic fingers that heal, never cancel your work, your dates, your coffees, your time
alone for a man who forgets to check his phone
who does not hide in office corners to call you,
never buy him little gifts you see everywhere, because somehow everything
now reminds you of him, even little trinkets he most certainly will
hate become objects of worship you claim he ought to have
in his home
without you,
how he needs a larger mug for the tea you imagine
drinking together, never fret about what to give give give
to a man who will always leave you,
never never look in the mirror and see your curves through his eyes
wondering if he can notice in the dark
the extra hairs you forgot to shave
the blemishes you cant erase
the three pounds you may have gained, the skin stretches, the flesh dimples,
and never let yourself make love in the dark, even if it
feels like the only way,
never wait on him, never wait for him, never hang breathless wondering what
he is going to say, staring at ceilings while he moves in
other worlds ambivalent,
never let yourself be curious as to what he’s thinking, word by word,
action by action,
deciphering minutiae of nothing to the madness in
your analysis, play by play,
while he books tickets
dinners
concerts
to amuse himself,
makes plans that are a schedule for person one,
never tell him you love him
you want him
you miss him
you think of him
in all the languages he can speak
you ache for him
and never let him into your room, to come and go as he pleases,
to flee and then return at midnight to stay, never
ever deny yourself love for him, deny yourself food, music, magic, the
sisterhood that is your ancestry,
books and aloneness and your own inner deity,
never have his children,
never let go of your oceans and the jungles and the deserts to chase his name,
and never,
never ever I say,
never admit that this too is a poem for him.

Loving like an Arab.

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Or a Mexican. I stumbled on the name Sandra Cisneros on one of my favorite blogs today.
The blog is: http://eethelbertmiller1.blogspot.com

The poet Sandra is feisty. In my drained and dampened mood this week, this week of curious sadness and a sense of defeat, she put back a smile in my body with this poem. I can identify. I remember loving.
Have you ever loved like this?
It’s the only way.

You Bring Out the Mexican in Me

You bring out the Mexican in me.
The hunkered thick dark spiral.
The core of a heart howl.
The bitter bile.
The tequila lágrimas on Saturday all
through next weekend Sunday.
You are the one I’d let go the other loves for,
surrender my one-woman house.
Allow you red wine in bed,
even with my vintage lace linens.
Maybe. Maybe.

For you.

You bring out the Dolores del Río in me.
The Mexican spitfire in me.
The raw navajas, glint and passion in me.
The raise Cain and dance with the rooster-footed devil in me.
The spangled sequin in me.
The eagle and serpent in me.
The mariachi trumpets of the blood in me.
The Aztec love of war in me.
The fierce obsidian of the tongue in me.
The berrinchuda, bien-cabrona in me.
The Pandora’s curiosity in me.
The pre-Columbian death and destruction in me.
The rainforest disaster, nuclear threat in me.
The fear of fascists in me.
Yes, you do. Yes, you do.

You bring out the colonizer in me.
The holocaust of desire in me.
The Mexico City ‘85 earthquake in me.
The Popocatepetl/Ixtacchiuatl in me.
The tidal wave of recession in me.
The Agustín Lara hopeless romantic in me.
The barbacoa taquitos on Sunday in me.
The cover the mirrors with cloth in me.

Sweet twin. My wicked other,
I am the memory that circles your bed nights,
that tugs you taut as moon tugs ocean.
I claim you all mine,
arrogant as Manifest Destiny.
I want to rattle and rent you in two.
I want to defile you and raise hell.
I want to pull out the kitchen knives,
dull and sharp, and whisk the air with crosses.
Me sacas lo mexicana en mi,
like it or not, honey.

You bring out the Uled-Nayl in me.
The stand-back-white-bitch-in me.
The switchblade in the boot in me.
The Acapulco cliff diver in me.
The Flecha Roja mountain disaster in me.
The dengue fever in me.
The ¡Alarma! murderess in me.
I could kill in the name of you and think
it worth it. Brandish a fork and terrorize rivals,
female and male, who loiter and look at you,
languid in your light. Oh,

I am evil. I am the filth goddess Tlazoltéotl.
I am the swallower of sins.
The lust goddess without guilt.
The delicious debauchery. You bring out
the primordial exquisiteness in me.
The nasty obsession in me.
The corporal and venial sin in me.
The original transgression in me.

Red ocher. Yellow ocher. Indigo. Cochineal.
Piñon. Copal. Sweetgrass. Myrrh.
All you saints, blessed and terrible,
Virgen de Guadalupe, diosa Coatlicue,
I invoke you.

Quiero ser tuya. Only yours. Only you.
Quiero amarte. Aarte. Amarrarte.
Love the way a Mexican woman loves. Let
me show you. Love the only way I know how.

—Sandra Cisneros, 1994

Fouad Boulos.

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Fouad was kind enough to send me one of his contributions to the Poeticians in Beirut. I hope he will continue to send us Arabic poetry. Thank you.

حبيبتي

من في حقول القمح بين الأقحوان

حبيبتي

من في تراتيل الرياح، حبيبتي

من في الصباح، حبيبتي

و حبيبتي…

من في كروم الشمس،

في خمر الضياء، حبيبتي

من في صلاة مؤذنٍ عند العشاء…

حبيبتي

من في نسيمات المساء.. حبيبتي

و حبيبتي..

من في سحابات الربيع الحالمات

حبيبتي

من في سلامات الطيور النازحات

حبيبتي

من في ظلال الياسمين، حبيبتي

من في دموع الراحلين، حبيبتي

وحبيبتي..

من ضحكة الأولاد

من قيثارة الأعياد غير حبيبتي

وحبيبتي..

وحبيبتي

في كل زاوية من الدنيا

على كل الدروب

في كل لؤلؤة تزور

شباك صياد المغيب

وأنا الغريب بوحدتي

وأنا الغريب

وحبيبتي في الأرض

شاردةٌ

تفتش عن..

حبيب

Sarah Snowneil Ali- Anthem

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Sarah is one of our beautiful regular Poetician readers. She joined in Beirut and started the Dubai chapter with me. Her support and tireless interest in all things poetry is inspiring. Her own project, Atelier Poetica, has just taken off and I look forward to seeing it grow. Like a shiny purple flower!

Anthem

We walked
stepped over garbage
avoided spit smudged on the sidewalk
and cars intent on making
metal bend to squeeze
through the tight chaos
of streets uneven
resembling women annoyed
their pouts silicon glossy
ageless.
Young,
we walked in Beirut
loud adamantly flailing our hands in disgust
rebels with pretty words on paper
we throw aside
coffee stained and sleepless
to swear like men
and laugh with no shame
at our vulgar tongues
releasing primeval groans
from our fed up mouths
that speak of societies
we wish to revolt
we know we will leave
that we curse with as much love
as we know for anything that doesn’t breathe
finding ourselves somewhere between
the cracked paint, the cigarette filter
and our expression.
She says I don’t deserve this and
my nod is pained as I retrace nostalgia
of that which I didn’t deserve and don’t still.
So we walk,
martyred at our chest
legs we drag scrapping asphalt with annoyance
willing sparks from the ground
we stomp
lifting slender necks to the sky
to try to find the stars
above the concrete,
beyond the wires draped like bandages
we sigh and say
to hell with that musky scent
and anything that makes you cry.