Monday, October 24, 2016

42 by Tarek Joseph Chemaly

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly

By Tarek Joseph Chemaly

These are the days before,
These are the days of hair in the wind,
Days of flea market bridal gowns and licorice,
Days blurred from love,
When chaos was pattern,
And clues were inbuilt,
Never on purpose, on purpose,
Back when there was a central authority of goodness,
Choices mattered as much as sun signs did,
Ah! The certainty,
The folly of youth,
And to know for sure, an unwavering belief,
And to know, to know,
In an instinct, a gut feeling,
Until self-combustion, on purpose,
All four walls imploding at once,
What do you call someone who lives in a house,
Witness and subject all at once,
Can't you see I am reading Kafka?
Olga, Masha, Irinia my housemates,
Rent-free in my head,
Life jacket under my seat,
Glimpses of privacy on a digital track,
Herr Keuner do not pale,
You have changed,
Maybe not on purpose, but you have,
to choice or not to choice that is no longer a question,
Stop the words, hold them in,
They do nothing but harm,
Their rhythm is skewed, their beat rings evil,
Their scales buy a stairway to hell,
Rituals are now the faith,
Obsessive devotion to soothe the angst,
To justify the rage,
Project the answers and they echo back,
Pre-packaged in prayers,
Dipped in the sauce of - he whose name cannot be mentioned,
These are the days of being wild,
The days of intending to,
The devil did come to Moscow,
Booked a window seat,
Argued a sixth Kantian proof,
The wandering soul of Pounce Pilate roams,
Roams in various circles of the longing immortal,
Time in spaghetti loops under late night/early morning neons flickers,
Nichts ist wahr, nicht alles ist erlaubt,
Everything is true - not everything is permitted,
Stamps of approval lost in hierarchy,
Would you still love me if I do?
Heaven-smuggler let me pay my dues,
Refugee on a far-off shore,
Promised lands are no-man's lands,
Border, within border, across border,
Build a wall! Build the wall! Build that wall!
Buried people from Lazarus pasts,
Lazarus people from buried pasts,
Different people, not the same pasts,
Different pasts, not the same people,
The pasts, the people, the people, the pasts,
Bridges of San Luis Rey crumbling,
(Insert names of dead people here)
Oh! The lost petty loves,
The last pretty lives,
Sad are the born and unwanted,
With their hearts on their sleeves,
Selling to the lowest bidder,
Pour un peu de tendresse,
Boiled rosewater to put them out of their misery,
Mornings come and bring no solace,
It is darkest after dawn,
And I begin baby where I end,
Like Belinda circles in the sand,
Your religion is like sports he said,
(insert caned laughter here)
Bit-tawbiz w bit'oum, bit-tawbiz w bit'oum,
People you may know! Belinda is in Atlanta,
Not in Dearborn, Michigan,
Where Datsun-driving television hunk Akram Al Ahmar is,
Liman toughanni al touyour? For whom the birds sing?
For whom the bells toll, they toll for me,
As he grows younger every year,
Stuck in a Dorian Gray image,
Fixed in the national collective memory,
A triple Rockwell portrait with view of bedroom with Picasso's shadow,
A shadow at five, in a Lorca afternoon,
So close, yet so far,
Pretentious name-droppings, but these are the friends,
No, not friends, the lovers who never leave,
Tell me, has it ever happened to you?
Heartbreak always comes in singular,
Everyone of them a lone experience,
At five in the dawn moon,
Mourning for hope,
And hope is sold as beauty creams,
Sitting on edges of beds, on edges of an abyss,
In silences with a local accent,
With barren wombs that await no Messiah,
That brought forth no Christ,
Breasts that nursed no nabi Issa,
Banished, outcast,
The the outside under the scorching sun of faithlessness,
Ana kafart! Kafart! Said Tamima Nassour,
How can we sing a lordless song in even stranger lands,
Disney and Saddam cross paths in Babylon,
By the rivers of
By the rivers that soaked hanging gardens,
By the rivers that got soaked with hanging men,
Nevermind Babylon, just take me to Porto Cruz,
Pays ou le noir est couleur,
Always separate from the arid landscape,
Right after the five stages,
When acceptance still has a built-in denial,
While bargaining chips of anger give depression,
"You light up my life" stuck like a broken record,
Sorrowful notes that rhyme with "no",
Nostos Algos to mayonnaise and fries,
Three forgotten lines before the nap,
To trust in the untrustables as candles drip wax on the floor,
Suspend logic and nose dive,
Coconut oil as candles drip wax on the floor,
Ana fetet men el beb w Coco nut min el chebbek,
Atrahasis trojan horse in Noah's arch,
Eleventh tablet that's two stories of a kind,
Stretch of land that has seen the sun once,
Bedtime stories codes to live by,
Hansel and Gretel absolve my sins,
Papa bear open the pearly gates for me,
Repeat after me,
Repeat after me and call it prayer,
Make it till you fake it,
Till lullabies ring empty,
And campfire stories become revealed,
Immutable, unchangeable, and excluding,
From hollow to halo,
Here's the truth that shall set you free:
Tomatoes are fruits,
Light does always travel at the speed of light,
And that's the truth,
So is the realness of the pain,
And that too is truth,
And the happen will answer,
Some days are not meant for writings,
And some writings can wait for another day,
It is all right, we both are,
No need to brag or even lament,
Some things are better withheld,
Some zero-sum games unplayed,
These are the licorice flavored days,
No more miracles, no more wonder,
Let Paul Simon live in his bubble,
Yes, yes, the silver lining and all that,
My dreams suffer from bigorexia,
And I too, have been Mahmoud Darwiche defeated,
Lakad houzimt, ana aydan,
But Hemingway was very very poor and very very happy,
Money is no object and I not longer believe in happiness,
Enough of the hurt, too much caused numbness,
Let that be before,
Let that be the ABBA day before you came,
But these are the days before,
Before and Robert Frost middles,
Before and back to cherry blossoms,
Before and hair in the wind,
Before and the after is the before,
Before and these are the days after.