Tag Archives: poetry

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.




A very dear, very old friend of mine is on my mind a lot this week. He is going through some difficulties and it makes me realize how important basic communication is. So many people I know do not connect with others. I do not know how they do it. People are important.

This next poem is for my wonderful, brilliant and unique friend. He knows how much I love him.

Do your friends know you love them?




You knew me before i was this woman

poet scrounging for words


witnessing together the triumph

of that journey we took to

become us, in the making, ever and

again, unmade and replaced by

a newer carcass

lost to our youth, how your smile still dazzles

me and sends me letters in silence

across distance we

never paid attention to,

you knew me awkward and afraid

attuned to the tacit agreements we

signed to love beyond the

geography of convenience

beyond the shape of the atlas

beneath the earth that separates, to dwell in the

quickened internal rhapsody

of your fleeting poems, a prayer, an amulet to protect our laughter

burying the days of despair we count over and over

brutal score keepers noting each other’s failure

fingers unclenched to protect you

from yourself

i am bare,

that hideous form i cower from dispelled in the mirror

of your hands, for

to you, i am no shape

i am no matter

but a collection of stars free in your night

a simple sun ray beaming through a window of time

stretching to where you stand solid

that lights the horizon of memory

from here

to there, to you. And now i am tempted to cup my hand

across your face, to lean in and touch

the absence of distance, to mold

my thoughts after the

pattern of our speech, frazzled,

connected through stutter and the singular way

there is no other like you,

none ever. You keep my past safe in renewed breath,

i forage the world to dream close to you

willing this life to break


a tumbleweed of love fragile

to be swept up

in the free wind


Dubai nights, private mornings.


We went to a party on a boat last night. Drove a long time to get there, with fantastic music blaring, and a great friend singing with me and laughing. I often think that going out and meeting people is a great solution to being alone, feeling marginalized, needing human warmth, finding love…all of that.
Then you realize that if you feel that way, you are going to feel that way even amongst dozens of people. Even dancing on a boat. Even in the gorgeous breeze of the waterfront.
I prefer my own company. Sometimes.
At 5 am, bad poetry happens.

5 am, Dubai is a highway.
For me, where ever I am.

Her short ruffled skirt flew in creek breezes of paper cups lounging
vodka is finished and thin is this attendance
people do not converge
on boats we visited after late late hours of
forced laughter
everyone wanted to touch her breasts
curves fake and pointed perfect, she was cigarette tipped in this night
plastered a smile on glossed pouts
where those who are lonely looked for too
many bottles
and we don’t have enough bottles
and we don’t have enough breaths for these cigarettes
and I don’t have enough years to keep my smile on,
to nod at strangers on boats who do not
look past what we cannot offer each other

I remember you on a couch, lean legs stretched, a face to haunt all that comes after
I burn slow with mornings of sheets like maps to eternity
I burn slow with conversation like water, ebbs
and wanes in streams of thoughts you
could slaughter
and be rebirthed in your arms, a habit accepted
a home beyond the rivers of Dubai
with no movement
we dance on a docked boat
stagnant like my curls trembling
the heels slip on cheap spilled red wine I retch
solitude and drink in breath of those stars
we share regardless of
look at her ass we say
I’d like to touch her tits we say
she wants to come home with you, he says
lick his neck in a gesture of plea
accept the rotation of bodies in and out
of momentary rapture
and I burn slow with your eyes dark
your glances heavy
the weight of spoken ruptured flesh we made poetry
the creek ripples to taunt and say
I reflect light
I flow unhampered by desire
and I
I shatter at fleeting aches in regions hidden

and there is no love here
and there is no love here
and I drown slow with the tides of departure.

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.

Blogging from Ajman.


On the road this week. Myself and a whole bunch of cool guys who work with our TV show. Thank the universe for some laughs, lots of laban,sea water all along the horizon, many a sunset shoot, aircon when we need it, a tripod I can carry to exercise a bit, strong muscles moving in the sun, mountains with cold breezes and an oud player whose voice still echoes in spaces of memory I hold with me amongst the skyscrapers. I should start adding pictures to this site. I promise to do so soon.
The guys are setting up shots inside. We are talking to an older photographer who reminds me of the politeness of my father. I am missing poetry, here is one of my favorites, as a lovely young man brings me orange tea steaming and the mosque starts its prayer. Caffeine, poetry, film.
Still waiting on the Poeticians to send me more of their work and bios. Ahh, I have become nazi like in my virtual stalking of them. I’m hanging on to their promises, promises.
And now, a poem.

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.

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

Bassara by Rewa Z.


Rewa Z is one of the favorite writers and indeed, women, I have had the pleasure of meeting and hearing the past couple of years. An unwavering poetician, a rock solid lady, and a strong voice. Enjoy. Her bio is under the page, Poets.


“she who sees”

Comes from the arms of faraway sands

her hands stains of carob trees

she dances her bare feet like jewels, liberated

by the bands of khelkhal around her ankles.

She follows to where I don’t tell her I am going

and the blue crashes against the rocks underneath

the concrete underneath our feet. She wants to read my palms,

hers engraved with maps of henna and I

at home at last, to last.

She draws me in as she massages sadaf

against her fingers as if the lines in my skin

aren’t telling enough. And her hair is henna and her eyes henna

and her skin is henna-hued as she converts the sun into amber

eyelids and the bronze of her palms and the shape

of her mouth as she reads my hand,

only to tell me I have so much leaving.