Arab Knight

– that beautiful girl born from the blood of knights.
It’s no wonder I say “faris” to mean “warrior” –
look at her, and look at:
battlefields and horses, and firelight swords torn asunder.
It’s no wonder she says:
“Maybe you’re doing too much” –
Baby, my blood runs hot and – generous:
thunder never doubts itself, nor says: “Am I too loud?”
I am allowed – my generosity!
Like Al-Ta’i before me, my horses
Only run on gust and cloud.
People like me love like planets collide:
magnificence is just my crowd
Brilliance dresses my shoulders – my cloth and shroud!
Am I to love like lesser men?
Like cowards drowned – in normality?
My people are selective, darling – I’d be disavowed!
My bloodline runs longer than Styx, I’ve found – I took it,
and with it – your head I crowned.
I made a crown with the very sound –
of the pained sighs of lovers!
People like me don’t love like roaches: modestly,
Nor fuck around. Worthless love is all love,
Unless you love no man – no man
who breathes you in,
and every time, exhales a frothing bloodhound.
Is no man who between his fingers
twirls the momentum – of eternity,
and in his back, guarding him, fate itself stands sentry –
is no man who doesn’t try hard for you, except
he rewrote the dictionary,
so that even “mediocrity” for him means “immensity” –
he doesn’t try anymore – excellence isn’t anything for him
but the mentality – with which he decides, from scarcity,
he will create opulence, forge plenty!
– (see: the blood of Arabs, Moors) –
Is no man he who loves you, he is no man when he –
happens, by your luck alone, to be legendary –
who loves like no other – this man who loves you,
He is no mere man, when he – happens to be – happens
to be me.


Happy New Year

(I wrote this in the first few hours of 2015. For some reason I’m only publishing it now.)

Happy new year!
Year, tear, steer, fear
Far – near
There! That’s all the useless rhymes
Out of way – now maybe I can write
The irregular details and discordant –
Facts, the things that don’t rhyme
But are – most important
I wished we could bike together on the eve –
Of the new year, and with stereos strapped to our bikes, sing:
“Happy new year, you assholes!” –
sing until our hearts bleed a little;
the spittle from our mouths would tell me maybe,
maybe we’re singing loud enough –
baby, I don’t –
I don’t breathe anymore until
My lungs stutter asking after you –
asking my brain if you’re okay at that moment – but even better:
my brain sends back down a letter
signed off and wax-stamped, in which my brain cells utter:
“It’s alright, breathe, take in another,
She’s alive – she dances –
Like a beautiful feather!”

Back to normal now, back to, back to:

I Iove her at length; a length:
like the width of the world, or the approximate distance from
From the hot-blooded South –
to the Nether!
I love her – but to another,
I bet I seem insane; then again, since when do rich stomachs feel those that suffer –
that eat themselves
Because fois gras fucking isn’t on offer?

What does anyone but me know of loving – without measure?
My endeavor is long!
Scars crawl into my skin and slither
Snake-paths into my flesh, and whether –
I carry the map of my battleground on my chest,
or on the walls – of my heart – drawn blood pictograms
and tissue fissure; I don’t forget:
My endeavor is long, sir,
But my end is treasure!

I’ll give you my two-cents – I swear,
it makes sense that she’s – a perfectionist,
because the tide may leave the shore and abandon its home –
but it always comes back to where its roots were sown.
It makes sense –
that she’s a perfectionist – because she – like the tide –
probably just misses her own kind.


Strawberry and Mint

Mr. K was a lovely man – and gay
Soon my love returns from holiday
We’ll spend our time together – alone
And walk about – on Saturday

A suicide note on his lowly bed
Says: “I have chosen Death instead”
I took it home and showed my love
We promised we’d never say what he had said

Now Mr. K’s heart was fire and coals
But life’s too hard for gentle souls
They’ll deny it but they killed him, yes
Turned his white angels to wicked trolls

I love her now and she has known
Since turned my lips from lime & stone
To strawberry jam and minty zest
Told her I loved her to the bone

Everyone says our love is wrong
Like Mr. K’s thin red ruffled thong
My love told me: “Be careful too!”
I said I had been all along

Now Mr. K’s chances didn’t long stay
He bet his life just yesterday
My love wonders: should we bet like him too?
That love like this don’t fly away?

I don’t know what to say to her
Don’t want us ending like Mr. K
Guess only the man himself would know
So, Mr. K, what do you say?

Carpets and Anarchy

It hung around us like the smell of newly – washed carpet
And we know a lot about those – don’t we?
Is there a bigger fool than me?
For thinking maybe – maybe she didn’t feel the same way –
as I did, when I saw her distantly clutching
Her purse – subtly showcasing
The slender artist’s fingers –
forgive me, and forgive – my insanity
I am like a wary pigeon now saying,
To itself: “Hopefully, it’s her there,
Or here” – looking cautiously
Is she around me? I see –
passers-by and lesser souls and
Hearts never so soft and velvety
She’s not around me, but when she was
It hung around us like the breath of God – this newborn baby love
Kicking loudly – like the soul of the world screaming anarchy,
saying: “Notice me!”
I am, I am, I am –
I am constantly!
But I ignored it because I was – afraid
afraid that we weren’t
In parity, equality, balance – I thought –
only I could love so dearly; and I wonder:
Is there a bigger fool than me?

But does it matter?
Fools are the luckiest folk anyway.
The fruit of heaven’s tree lay
In my way – maybe the Devil is just
Heartbroken, and once
Was like me: in love – and madly still
And jealous of Adam and Eve and
the trill of the first wedding bell – in history
Maybe the Devil’s revenge on the world of lovers –
is Hell.

Thank God it Was, Thank God it Wasn’t

Thank God – you know,
I didn’t thank god so much as when
I thanked him for the first time – when I thought:
“God is beautiful and loves beauty”;
well then: that explains it.
Thank God it was you who dresses to kill – and not me
I couldn’t pull off a leather jacket
half as well as you; see –
when I wear one, I get compliments –
but you do it and the planet forgets its own… gravity –
does that mean things start floating about uncontrollably?
Not necessarily – it just means you are opium,
and the world wants to get high – on beauty.
It upsets me – to have to share a joint with the world because yes,
I’ll say it – I act selfishly!
Because He – sent you, and He
Doesn’t play with dice and doesn’t –
Act randomly – Will you excuse me?
If I paint your name on the insides of my veins;
like shop signs in vulgar gold lettering saying proudly:
“Welcome!” and admitting – quite openly – who the shop owner is.
Thank God the names
Of the prince of Arab poets, and the prince of Persian verse –
rhyme comfortably: Al Mutanabbi makes poetic love –
to Ferdawsi.

—side note: the first one means
“One Who Claims to be a Prophet”
and the second means:
“Arising from paradise”—

Thank God, honestly – because I get to claim prophethood and you
as my own miracle – from Divinity!
In school they told me: God sent the Arabs his word
because they were people of poetry;
Then I must be the people of love, Lovely;
they believed instantly – Those people
Of pen and word and book
My God is in your eyes, darling
And like them –
One look was all it took.

Mother, I’m a Thief

I needed a wooden box to store all
my leftover love; so I
stole one from my mother’s cabinets
which, incidentally, store her dresses from back when
her hair met her thighs
on every Cairo street
And fought with her shoulders
in cursed bedroom heat
My mother was the kind of pretty on the faces of assassins –
growing to life,
I stole her complexion;
and growing to walk,
I stole her black polka dot heels,
which extended me higher, up to her chest,
but never to her dreams –
because the second she first saw me,
I was already there:
I have “My Mother’s Greatest Dream” written
on my forehead
in the eyes of God.

This wooden box here I stole from my mother
is not the first thing I steal
a quick peak at my record would reveal –
a litany of crimes; I should be hanged.
But up there, hanging by the split skin of my neck,
I would not be able
To wipe my mother’s tears
should I have to, from her eyes
(which are mine – I have her eyes too)
And I know Death is an hardheaded fellow
who cares nothing for pleas; but please
not today, Death, not tonight
while her breaths still increase –

A mother from Egypt is a queen bee
who still does all the building work;
that’s why her cabinets are full
of kitchen utensils,
and clothes she bought – for my sisters and me;
That they will never use,
and neither will he!
But a mother worries, believes – and yet
Cares nothing for thieves; how else
Have I stolen so much from her
– from all the different cabinets of her life –
And never been punished?

And this, my last offense, a wooden box to steal;
And hide in all the greatest
I’ve ever owned to feel
I have a lot of love that needs to live longer
Than my loves have ever lived! – stowed away,
preserved whole, until the day
I unpack it; the only prayer I make
is that our life – ours, you and me –
is only starting;
timing is a bitch, darling
I know that better now –
and now isn’t the when my love needs
That, I’ll allow – but hey
I’m going for checkmate anyway
And my back never to bow
Today, with this wooden box with all my love-things inside
I figured out – how.


أبلغوها رجاءً، رجاءً تصمدُ
ففي عميق نومتي بسلامتها أحلمُ

أبلغوها أنا وهي نجومٌ دُرَرُ
نلزم مدارنا أبداً، يرعانا القمرُ

أبلغوها جداولنا ماؤها لا ينضبُ، يزدادُ
أبلغوها همُ المغولُ و نحن بغدادُ

أبلغوها نحنُ الكتبُ و هم الحرقُ
لا حيلهم تُجدي ولا الأفكارُ تُقتلُ

أبلغوها تعوزني يدها و المسكةُ
و الجبينُ قبّلته رغم العرقِ، يلسعنا الحررُ

أبلغوها الليل حلكُ، ولا أعرفُ
كيف هو لذكرياتي ضيئُ

أبلغوها أبصرتها يوم الوجهُ وَجِمُ
لقاؤها غداة يومها على الصدر بَرَدُ

أبلغوها كلماتها أقرؤها
فتبدلني ألماً عن ألميْ

أبلغوها أحسدُ الوكلاء بيننا
يرونها، لا أحد يرنيْ

ْبلغوها كلامي
وأحزانيْ و انقساميْ

أبلغوها الحياةُ من حولي عريضةٌ
أنظرُ، لا أراها أماميْ

أبلغوها الوترُ انقطع و سَرَحَ
ما عدتُ أشدو الأغانيْ

بلغوها كلاماً عن اشتياقي
بلغوها آياتً عن الحب و التوقِ
بلغوها عني أفضل اللسانِ
فلساني اليومَ عاجزُ عن اللوكِ

أبلغوها عقلي بين فكّين
الحالُ مخلبٌ داميٌ، والشجنُ يدٌ حانية
بلغوها لو كان صمتي صوتيَ
لوقعت هذي الجُدران في ثانيةْ

بلغوها البال تفتّقَ
وتشظت أفكارهُ باكيةْ

ْبلغوها الأحزانُ الماكرة
لَجّت بسعادتي العاريةْ

ْبلغوها صوتها بجانبي
أنيسيَ و محاوريْ

بلغوها وجهها يجلسُ هنا
طالما خَرَقَ حذاتي الأبعادْ

أبلغوها عَلِقَت في فلكي
لم تحتج السماءُ يوماً للأوتادْ

بلغوها، بلغوا عمري
دونها العيشةُ رمادْ

بلغوها عني دَيناً
لا أستطيعُ السدادْ


دم حامي

“مينفعش. إحنا رجّالة شرقيين. دمنا حامي.”

قالوا شرقيٌ و عنوا حجرةْ
المقصود كوم قشٍ يتنفس
فيحسبُ رَجُلا
نحن شرقيونٓ، فُحشكم ليس عندنا
يُذكرُ الحبُّ على أعظمهم
و كأن ظلَّ الموتِ قد دنا
يقولون حارٌ دمنا
أحرُّ الدمِ أفطنه
يعلمُ متى ينطفئُ
و يعلمُ الاشتعالُ متى
دمي إن كان شرقياً فإذا لَزِمَ برد و هدى
عالمٌ أن طولَ لهيب الدمِ
غفلٌ ثم عورٌ… ثم عمى
لكنَّ عِنْدَ العشق إذا شققتَ رسغي و أفرغته في كأسٍ
طاف إلى السطح جمرٌ يطيرُ عنه القذى
ربما كان دمكم حاراً يوماً
للأسف أعلنُ
لقد جفَّ و انتهى
مات ميتة الموؤودِ
لا من بكيَّ
ولا من نعى
تصلبتم يا بني عُربَ
جزيلُ الغزَلِ سُبِكٓ هاهنا
ومرَّ عصرٌ طويلٌ
هنيهةٌ في دهرها
صحراءُ العربِ بصهدها
وأشواقٌ صاغت مجدها
باتت تسألُ وُرثاءها
أنسيتم أساطيري ودواوين عشقي…
هل العهدُ انمحى؟
أنسيتموني… أنا؟



I bet this has been written a thousand times
in a thousand different rhymes
but her love is like a village I walk through
and thoughts of her
church bells and chimes
alerting the old blacksmith
that God isn’t dead
and waking the napping child
still lazy in bed; in the morning sky, she is…
the purple-and-red, wake-from-the-dead – light!
there instead of some instant fulfillment:
the sky could’ve just had an on-off switch
but where’s the romance in that?
She is like that: more than the adequate,
the necessary,
if my life were a hurricane
– and it is –
she’d be the aftermath
because as roaring as the hurricane wind is
the destroyed silence afterwards
hits harder
She is the top crust of the orange fire
in a small gas-lit flame
so maybe the best things in life do rise to the top after all
– or maybe the most beautiful of the glow
naturally separates from the rest
the subtle orange grace
separating from ugly blue base –
She is the impeccable silence when you shake your head – unable
to describe something
but for every moment I spent mute
with everything to admire and nothing to say,
I’ve spent ten moments making sure everyone around me
would want to fall in love with her too
She is the worst and greatest of everything
broken in two
so that sometimes she shares it with me…
you know – she doesn’t usually share
and if I were her I wouldn’t share myself either
but then that’s why I’m ultimately grateful
she is not me
and if silence is everything, I’ll say:
she is not me,
only my –

قصيدة بلا اسم رقم 19

حذارٍ حذارِ
يا من ظنِّ السوء بالجميعِ
ما الكل خُبثٌ
و ما كل من مثلي…أمثالي

حذارِ…من ظنّي كسائرهمْ
إن كنتَ أوتيت من الأقرباءِ الخائنَ منهمْ
ومن المعارفَ الغشاشَ و الباغِ
فالحماقة ظنُ أن الجميعَ مثلهمْ…ومنهمْ

إن بعض الظن إثمٌ
و البعضُ الآخرُ شرفٌ…وعقلٌ
و بين حذاقةٍ و حماقةٍ – يا طيب الأصلِ – يكونُ
جزاءُ فاعل الخير إما جزاءٌ…أو قبورٌ

لا يتركون للخير المجالَ و إن أرادْ
كأنما هم له محاربونَ بالمرصادْ
إذا بدّل قومٌ يوماً طيب النية بالشكِّ
لا تستغرب انتفاء الخير فيهم كالوردِ بين الجرادْ

أبسط البادرة لا تردُ منكم
دعوا الناس شأنها ربما اختلفوا عنكم
التفاؤل لا تُسقطه عباءةُ البخيلِ أبداً
و الشحُّ يمشى على أقدام و اسمهُ…أنتم

أقولُ…يا من ظلمه باردٌ مستبقُ
لو بذلتَ ذات الطاقة في الحبِ ما أدركنا الفشلُ
ما تعفننا كناسٍ و لا الضمائرَ أرديتْ
ما ذكرونا عندما يجيئ على الخيانة الذكرُ

إياكَ – يا من ساقَهُ خوفَهْ
و افترض أن أمراض الناس مرضهْ
شرُّك ملكُكَ – يا من رأى شروره على وجهي رأي العينْ
و من يفترضُ الشرَّ في الناس…وجدهْ

يقولونَ الشرورُ وباءٌ يسري في الأرض اكتساحا
فتقولُ لست منهُ… ويغطون الآذانَ…ويأبونَ السماعا
فتذعنُ… و تقول ربما هو حقاً وباءٌ – إنما فيكمْ
و هل الوباءُ وباءٌ دون جرذان بهم يترامى؟