Friday, June 30, 2006

Don't cry... Lady at the store

I went to the coffee shop on my way back from work today. I got so used to that place that the lady who works there knows exactly what I need based on the time of the day I show up. I go there every morning in the weekdays for my cappuccino. She knows exactly how I like it and she knows that I like to add the cup holder myself. On Friday afternoon, I get my lunch there. I walked in as she got off the phone. As I smile at her, she looked at me and I could see that she was crying. She was getting ready to heat up my sandwich but I asked for a cappuccino instead. She told me that it was fine and that she would heat up the sandwich in a hurry. I said yes. I could not argue with her tears and I felt that I could not take this away from her. This little feeling of control she has over her life knowing that she knows what her customers need. She wrapped it with a lot of care and handed it to me with the best smile she could come up with. I wondered what she was crying about. It could be that she was calling home where she left her children and she was feeling homesick. Either that or her man had left her. I haven’t seen him there for a while now. It could be that the business is not going very well. I tried to be as loyal as I could as a customer and I advertised for the place. It was one of those shops that keep on going out of business. You know them, there’s one on each block. They open as a bakery then a nail salon then a tailor then a coffee shop and finally they always close. Or it could be both. It could be trouble with her man over the way business is going. They came to this country for success not survival and now he’s not adapting to their new life. She might be adapting better and he does not like it. Every night at dinner, she tells him stories about people who come in the store. She tells him about the new friend she made and how she will take her to the hairdresser next Saturday. She will pick up a movie that her neighbor at the drycleaner recommended. He was getting fed up with her stories and with their life. He misses home…
Or maybe she just has allergies.
I called you when I came home and you didn’t pick up.
I wanted to tell you about the lady at the coffee shop.
Maybe you’re fed up with my stories.

(pic: Wilfrid Hoffacker)

Thursday, June 29, 2006


- Since i came back i have been living a state of complete detachment from reality. I knew I had nothing to come back to. It does not help matter that so much has changed. Change scares me. So many people have left and so many new faces around me. You keep me grounded and what a weight on your shoulders that is. I feel at home around you even when you are not around. I wish life was that simple…
- Have you made a decision yet?
- No, I don’t think so
- What’s keeping you
- Sadly nothing
- Is this a bad sign?
- Just a sign
- What else do you need?
- Something I wouldn’t be able to describe. A feeling I would choke before trying to embrace. I need my poetry back but I’m drained of emotions and hollow on the inside. I know I need you by my side but that…
- Is not enough, is it?
- No, never been, not for me. I don’t know how people do it…
- You have made a decision and i suppose that’s your response then
- I suppose it is. Back to square one. I wish life’s decisions would be torra na’she. I wish I could close my eyes and find the answer to what's missing. At least i know something is missing and i know that I owe it to myself to be honest.
- I will see you next summer then.
- We’ll see then.

(pic, Renoir, le dejeuner des canotiers, La fille du propriétaire)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Seeing the Pope was as exciting as...

Ummm... folding my laundry.
Take me back...Now!!
A blast from the past (II)

There he was…
It was nothing like she envisioned it would be but she knew she would never be prepared for this moment. He looked just like she remembered him and just like she hoped he would. He was not a memory anymore and he was not locked a vision in the back of her days. He stood by himself without her to create him and add fantasies around him. And around him… was a crowd. He always had a flock of followers around him which made it the more difficult for her to face him. With a lump in her throat and a knot in her gut, she gathered her courage and walked over to him. It was a walk of eternity. She anticipated a cold encounter and was prepared for the worse.

On the way there
I see you
Disapproving looks
Arms of disappointment
And phrases of disbelief
Scorns and screams
And discarded dreams
And we’re worlds apart
Born again with new hearts

On the way there
I see you
a poem written by a boy
to a girl he learned to love
a never ending coincidence
a pretending existence
a friendship protecting
my false pretenses

On the way there
I see you
I relive you
Every moment of you
I laugh like a child again
My arms surround you with pride
I kiss your beard and you kiss my eyes
I celebrate life through you
And I wait for you

She crossed the never ending steps to get to him. She fixed her hair on the way and pasted a nervous smile on.
Over there…
when she got there…
There was another man taking her in his arms
In his foreign arms
And she was another woman
A woman she did not recognize
She searched in his eyes
For a trace of him
When she found something else
The greatest gift she could ever receive
She found forgiveness
And only then she knew
That with their dying love
Her pain can stop…
A blast from the past (I)

She was waiting by the bar at her spot like she does every night whenever she is in town. Right at the corner, close enough just so he would know she is watching over him and far enough not to catch the eyes. Every now and then she would walk over and chase away any suggestive amply presented goods. To redeem himself, he would tell her that he said he was with her and she would sigh. She had memorized his repertoire and it had become her routine. As she recognized the song next to last, she prepared herself to leave. She made the walk to freshen up passing him by with half a smile and with her signal. When back she spotted a couple of familiar faces from the past. The two men she saw happened to come from an era she needed to summon. It was the time when she lost the love of her life. She tried to seem friendly and reminisced with one of them over the most irrelevant memories and shared current random events. He was brutal though. He insisted on taking her back despite all of her resistance. She tried to paste on the best poker face the years had blessed her with in vain. He was a man on a mission. He wanted to validate an effect he had on her fate through revoking all of her demons. She listened as the other one peaked over his guitar in her direction waiting for another signal.Suddenly she cried over her martini..She could not handle the emotional outburst…He made her relive the pain and she hated him for that…

A week later, another scene.
Over Amaretto and peach shnapps.
Between a laughter and a drag
She felt a presence
As she turned and looked over her shoulder
Across the room
Like it was destined for them not to meet
All these years
Like her eyes did not deserve to see him
Before today
But there he was…

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Happy birthday Mia
A Manhattanite in Heidelberg...

Woody Allen comes across Nietzsche’s diet book in Heidelberg and you can almost expect a deliciously crisp extra light scoop of cynicism.
"- Among the pre-Socratics, it was Zeno who held that weight was an illusion and that no matter how much a man ate he would always be only half as fat as the man who never does push-ups.
- The quest for an ideal body obsessed the Athenians, and in a lost play by Aeschylus Clytemnestra breaks her vow never to snack between meals and tears out her eyes when she realizes she no longer fits into her bathing suit.
- Dining out was frowned upon by the Church and valet parking was a sin.
- Fourteenth-century religious paintings first depicted scenes of damnation in which the overweight wandered hell, condemned to salads and yogurt.
- Descartes divided mind and body in two, so that the body could gorge itself while the mind thought, who cares, it’s not me. The great question of philosophy remains: If life is meaningless, what can be done about alphabet soup?
- Not only is our time on earth limited but most kitchens close at ten.
- Once munching, Schopenhauer held, the human will cannot resist further munching, and the result is a universe with crumbs over everything.
- Order like you are ordering for every human being on earth, Kant advises, but what if the man next to you doesn’t eat guacamole?
- In the end, of course, there are no moral foods, unless we count soft-boiled eggs".

Nietzsche’s meals were meals for the Superman, with the death of God anything is permitted.

(Pic, Heidelberg by the Neckar river)
Même si je sais que tout s’efface

This stays...
10 years had passed and the time has come
and G. (not you Gus), I still am convinced
of the choices we made
4 boys and 2 girls stayed in my memory
and my heart
our days that made us who we are
I would not give it back for the world.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Forbidden Picture...

Only according to the Vatican but standing there is so majestic i had to capture it myself with a camera hidden in my purse.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

We will not stand for it...
Not this time...

"I came to think of Beirut as a huge abyss, the darkest corner of human behavior, an urban jungle where not even the law of the jungle applied. Experiencing such an abyss not only left scars but also new muscles. Life can no longer deal you many surprises or shocks after you’ve lived in Beirut. The experience leaves you wearing an emotional bullet-proof vest" (Friedman T.)

Our beloved city still wears the scars...
reminding us of what we did
not so long ago..
The traces of our brutality
Are everywhere we go
And the hidden bullet holes
Found a way to be exposed
As the shear layer of deceit
A land based on turmoil
And hearts that boil
With hidden resentment
A word will release
Years, but decades of non belonging
A post card image of lies
A voice of hope muffled with guns
A revolving fate
Of a nation
A revolting artist
Washed down
Reduced to a song
With a new beat
A generation with no voice

Drained of the necessary impatience
with the unchanging situation
Far from making a change
even when given a choice
Drugged men and trophy women
An oasis of fast loves
Fast trends and fast causes
Serving in disbelief
The highest bidder
Unholy alliances
Changing faster
Than the eyes can believe
A forgotten land
But did we forget?
Did we have the time to heal?
Do you not still look behind your back?
Do you not still hear the deafening sounds?

Do you not still shed tears?
Did you ever find a home?
Do you not still bear scars?
If not
Look around
She does…

Saturday, June 24, 2006

- But it has not been summer all the time
- I do not live for the sun rays when my heart is warm
- What would happen to us?
- Your life is not mine to live
- How could you be so certain?
- I am most uncertain, yet…
- Is there another choice?
- No other man… no other world…

My darling
Do not cry
You know as I do
It is time
Now it is the time
For me to leave you
You will always be my heaven
My secret place
My stare in the midst of life
My flare and longing
My past is no longer alive
I have listened and seen
And now, finally, understood
I know your pain
And I emerge again
Not from it
Not for you…this time
For me
Allow me
To leave
I cried this afternoon
Wearing a new perfume
Go on
Well on your way
Fly away
And when you see a glimpse of me
When you think you smelled me
Once more
Look away
Close your eyes and smile
And keep going
Like you taught me
Do not cry my darling
do not stop

and keep writing…
Just Move It...
Mon Petit...

Bâtir c’a veut dire construire. De bâtiment alors, c’est débile!!..
Tu peux remplacer le et la par un et une, c’est plus facile…
Et les sciences...

Must be the last words i said to you before seeing you again..
The student is now the teacher
I see you a man before my eyes
A late train from Milan to San Remo
And Ventimiglia froze for hours in the still night breeze
Crossing the cities of the Cote d’azure porte maritime
with few bags and lots of dreams
and a deep breath
so much to tell you
so much has happened…

The British cousin joins,
Through the smell of beer mixed with sun tan oil
playing Gad ElMaleh toute la nuit
In a loft by the sea,
whipping you a salade nicoise
better than the one you get at place Massena during the carnival
according to me.

De Nice au Saint Lauran du Var a Cannes
De la Promenade des Anglais a la Croisette de Cannes
You sing Garou, Lavoie et Fiori’s Belle
And you take me back
To the most beautiful times
Je me melange sous la mer
Au baie des anges a l’Antibes
And at Milk au Juan les Pins
Je veux faire des actes terribles

Going east to Monaco, le grand prix en effet
VilleFranche-de-mer, Paradis d’azur
on a peche des oursins bleus
Et depuis
St jean Cap Ferrat
Au plage des passants
Au plage de beaulieu
I was a child again…

Et aux trois diables au vieux Nice
De la glace italienne
Et tu chantes
Tu chantes et je reve
Tu chantes Marc Lavoine et Jean-Jacques Lafon

Quand je la regarde, moi l'homme loup au coeur d'acier
Devant son corps de femme, je suis un géant de papier
Quand je la caresse et que j'ai peur de l'éveiller
De toute ma tendresse, je suis un géant de papier

I can’t forget the way you looked at me
When you knew I had to leave
And you promised Corsica, l’ile de beaute
et St Tropez
a bientôt cheri
je suis fiere d’un garcon
qui se croit blond
mais qui a le cœur d’or
et il me semble bien
qu’on a le cœur francophone
et qu'on doit se revoir
mon petit.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Where do you live and who lives in you?

You always stood, back straight and shoulders square with oval eyes that sweep through calmly and assuredly and an indefinable presence that pierces the soul and tingles the heart with perfect fluidity. You met my explosive gestures and whimsical expressions with harmonious descending warmth. As you wished to whip my rambunctious existence into shape you slipped to my side, and here is why.

When faced with admiration, you cannot always expect to be followed. In the world of love and sharing, you cannot be autocratic in your emotions and your ruling. As women, nonetheless, we do not operate that way. We were not made for that. That is how it was for years. When he threw an emotional tantrum, I went in, mirrored his actions albeit more lyrically and brought him back. I shifted, very carefully, the weight of my dreams in his direction. To love him, i had to fulfill everything about him.

I knew that a strong personality and presence in love wouldn’t necessarily sweep him away in my own personal whirlwind. I had to play a different tune each time and a very balanced game and never could I turn my back and expect him to follow. Every step I made towards him was dictated by him but designed by myself. To have presence, you have to have a smart presence that is also reactive and effective. You do not command affection; you solicit love through a reaction. And so throughout the years, I played along, went in and brought him back.

Years went by…
We are not separated by cities and dreams…
We are separated by a man and a woman…
A decision was silently made
How well do you think you'll play
this time?
I live in you and you know it…

As societies get older and age faster but live forever, you don’t live if you live on the other side of silence. The exuberance of youth is wasted on young people and if life never blinded you, how will you gain sight as you develop? As you shed your passion and gain maturity that lays down the fabric of trust and respect in your life, nature rewards you with the best gift of all, the gift of empathy. If you are not this person, you never will be and my pages might as well be blank to your eyes.

(pictures from, Paris, Nice, Cannes, Monaco, St Tropez, Larnaca, Alania, Beirut, Rome, Barcelona, Ibiza, Heidelberg, Milan, San Remo, Los Angeles, San Fransisco, Las Vegas, New York, San Juan, Cape Cod)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Yalla bkhatrik mama...
...Too close

Les nuits blanches a Nicely cramming a semester of physics in a night with coffee and petit prince and Marlboro from imm naji
Only you make me this happy..

- we lbalad?
- la wara
- we l3alam?
- ta3baneen
- we lsheghel?
- meshe
- we 3younak?
- mishtaeen
- we 7abeebtak?
- saret 3ande.. ta3e la7adde
- ma badde
- 7ayate inte
- inta 7ayate
Yes cars.. like in the sketch..

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

hayda jawwna... hayda ne7na...

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I hope it stops..
sitting here again
a week ahead and another to follow
only here do they tell you not to bring weapons to the shore, only the shore
only here do you hear the news and not care, you leave the burden to them
only here do you sit and wait and you want to savor the city and you crave every moment in the sun not knowing why or how
only here and now i leave the sadness behind to embrace it another time
i think of laila's boxes and 4 white walls awaiting me
and i squeeze the child in me
and i am afraid once more
another start, another place
and i look at your direction
here we go again
you're sound asleep again
and i can't remember how i loved you
i can't remember how i loved this place
and what haunted me all these years
is now gone..
i saw it coming
once again...
i'm staying till june 19
couldn't leave yet.. things are crazy here..
see you all soon