Tag Archives: love

Chris Chamoun- The problem of other minds.


I had the pleasure of listening to Chris only once so far at a Poeticians event in Beirut. He was charming, surprising, thoughtful, funny and a delight. I am so glad he joined us and sent me this poem to share with you. More on him under the poets section and as for the last statement of his bio, I totally agree.

Thanks Chris.

The Problem of Other Minds

by Chris Chamoun.

I – A spark.
Then a million more and
gone is the peaceful surrender
to the ebb and flow of my
breath – I exhale with some
final soft strokes of the
tongue and these sounds fly
into the universe and thus
the others are meant to
know what I am feeling
If only the whole story were
so short, or so sweet, or …
I know it is not so.
The word “you” is a flexible
word; you are only you if I,
the speaker, am looking at you (or you).
This is dedicated to an everchanging you.

II – You are an image without a
memory – only light has
been kind enough to touch
you, then touch my eyes.
Somehow I notice you and
a spark then a million more are
painting a new picture
of conclusions, of capricious truths
that are glowing fire for a moment
then swept away like the last drop
of the painfully red sun at dusk.
Do not speak; do not glance at me.
Let me keep you for a moment,
fleeting nameless. Something about you
is beautiful, somehow. Just for a second
my breath stopped.

III – To get my feelings to you,
I must burn them once and
a million times more and with
their ashes command my
lungs and tongue to say
a sequence of sounds that
are no longer my feelings.
Show me what you’re
hearing… but of course,
you cannot. You are in my
eyesight. Yes, that close and still
worlds away.

IV – When I cannot see you,
you are a memory without an image,
frozen until a spark
wakes you up, in a moment’s
chance, and a million more
paint a picture alive with
color and with feelings that are
glowing fire, white hot metal
that sweeps away coldness like
the last drop of ice upon your
tongue when you sip your Manhattan.

V – What is the word for the
million and one more sparks
that fly around in some
breathtaking pattern when
you are there, somewhere…
could be anywhere?
If someone dies in a room,
unaccompanied but by
silence, and their last
sentence, heartfelt, unheard,
begins with a “you” or
ends with a “you”,
don’t you wonder who that
you might have been?
It is worth wondering.
I’ve seen an aura in a
bath of red and I still
have not forgotten.

VI – “Let me explain why I’m right…”
Every conversation secretly starts
with some whisper of intention.
Every word is a smear of ashes.
Once, a spark and a million more ago
it was a capricious desire hiding its
face behind the present moment.
And after every word, in the
imperceptible space before the next,
when you’re not really thinking,
there is a tiny drop of what
might have been and isn’t…
what was real when it was nameless.
It moves down the back of your neck
and along your spine, where you
can’t see it.

There are many things that make life
worth living. None of them involve talking.

Tina Fish- Panda Wisdom.


Tina Fish is one of the original Poeticians who came to that first meeting in my living room in Beirut in 2007 and recited her work in a room filled with wine, candles, listening faces, a guitar, cameras, food, smiles and the birth of something much bigger than all of us. And friendship.
Three years later, she is still a Poetician, reciting lanky long sexy poems about cities and bodies that make us laugh and desire. I thank her.

1-20908: Panda Wisdom

You’re filled with perfumes and bright colors,
Even your secrets smell sweet.
Faces start to mix
And I’m transfixed by the glow
was it the setting sun?
bronze, gold, and green meadows,
purple, indigo, pale pearl,
and an orange fuchsia orb.
white clouds?
or freckles?—
Or was it you in a tree branch?

Swinging like you got it right
Fighting with an ego that we called your own
With secrets that smell like home.
Ten years from now we’ll call
These sweet stoned memories
And laugh,
Confuse haze with hash
And taste the red–
acrylic smoothing surface for a minute
we looked in the mirror
and the Devil smiled back.
grinning, licking, vampire chops,
white teeth contrast with red paint
or blood drops?–
And we laugh because we forgot.

True to form though I looked quite hot,
True to your eyes I was in animation
A stellar Beiruti manga sensation
Trembling lips and everything.
Snap, snap, and shot after shot
I saw, I conquered, and I came to life,
The Devil named me his Wife
And you named me Desire
And caught the playful fire that danced
Across my lips–
with all these images still not one kiss.
except for the one in the past.
except for the one in the future?–
And I smiled because the present is a gift.

Morning Poetry.


I wonder if all the people in the world who start to blog ponder who reads their blog, if anyone. Sometimes, I think its fine to write for yourself and just let it go out into the world and live its own path and not be concerned with results, enjoying creating sentences that could serve as a diary, a memory for collective introspection sung out through one voice, a history of words that’s not personal.
I will continue to blog, whether anyone reads it or not.
Coffee, friends, the open door of the terrace bringing in Dubai birds chirping, sunshine that is gentle, and many a work to-do item on the agenda for today as I sit in my room and music washes out the urgency.
But for now here is a poem. Good morning cyberspace.


I would like to stalk you in lands distant
Gouge out your address from numbers jumbled
Buy plane tickets in secret
I would like to wear heavy winter coats from my desert heat
to your cold winter and hot food
I would like to beat down your walls with Arabic wrists
Etch poems in English on your building walls
Embarrass you in front of all the disapproving neighbours
Shatter bottles of concentrated musk I sweat thinking of us
Wail out love to you as if we were on sand dunes before Islam
As if we were Greek tragedies before we knew of heaven
I would like to sing Abdul Halim to your sleep
Tell you of Um Kulthoum and her ocean
all night long in voices hoarse and wanton
I would like to rattle your shoulders and shake you into love
Slam my body against your refusal
I would like to lock my thighs around your flight
Harness you to all my softness
Imprison you in warm water like silk
I would like to stamp kisses in ink permanent on every vein of you
Burn marks of all my stories into retinas unable to blink
I would like to whisper to you in dreams
I am a thousand years old
and can cast spells eternal which you would not seek to unbind
I would like to touch you
I would like to touch you
I would like to battle you into love
I would like to
I would like to love you

On a Bus, traveling.


Working a lot this week, in production, moving constantly and dealing with events and deadlines and battling sunsets and light. Not much time to update our poets section and start introducing you to the fantastic group of writers who have joined Poetician events. I promise to get to that next week.

For now, I leave you with an exhausted poem I wrote on the way home from filming in the desert yesterday.

It is inspired by a colleague and is very simple.


Written on a bus

UAE, 26/1/2010

A man I worked with

for twelve hours in heat rising

in the deserts and big cars of our gulf


takes out his homework on the endless road home

to beds and ginger tea and sanctified sleep

and studies, quiet.

Why are you learning Spanish we ask,

watching him pour his last few drops of power into curling lines

new words

new meanings

new language life rhythm music and spirit

my wife is from Argentina he says

simply, answer enough

I am silent, envision a faceless woman he

will hope to hold forever.

I had a lover once who learnt Arabic for me.

He asked for coffee and spelled it kahwa

never wanted sukkar

he learnt to put the correct h in habibti

he learnt to say help me, ana mareed

he chose to call my eyes small almonds

to make love

dirty words in Arabic breathless new found intimacy and patience

I call him lover because he loved me

repeating words from countries alien to embrace closer the woman he pronounced

out of millions of bright eyed strangers in New York city

he took on a language a life music rhythm and spirit

and today

a gulf


we travel

and I cannot get you to even take on our possibility.