الأحد، 12 أكتوبر 2014

My hands are dry

My hands are dry
Longing for your touch
When will your hands caress mine?
I hope you don’t keep the longig too long for that we don’t know for how long I’ll be here.
Do you mind the wrinkles on my hands? The colored veins that are paved and queit vivid to the eye?
Do you mind the pale color of my skin? Do you mind the ten other hands the preceded yours? Perhaps it is not my hands that are keeping you away?
Is it the two husbands I once had? Or the many lovers who crossed by my heart and body? Or the children that call  me grand ma?
My hands are now either baking or knitting for the little ones. And sometimes, they are struggling with the tv remote control. But they do more than other time long for your touch. when my hands is with yours, I hold a grip of the woman I once was. And I feel that I can for a little while let go of my grey gown and wear once more my favorite scent. 

Layla & Nadeem

Surrounded with  An archive of 20 years of his work. Nadeem finds himself overwhelmingly sitting amongst his photos, trying to select just 23 of them for his final exhibition. A photo for each year he had held his camera catching some of the hardest moments of the past two decades. Mostly wars and what happens or doesn’t happen after them. Nadeem who is yet to turn 45 was born after the “Naksa” with some years which is why his mother used to jokingly tell him as a child "you're the happiness of the defeated".  It wasn’t quite a joke as nadeem grew. He was indeed the source of healing of many hearts. A playboy one might describe him however a playboy usually leaves the women heartbroken. but Nadem, he is still in touch with his previous lovers. He listens to them as they complain about their current  lovers and they help setting him up with new women. inspite of his hard profession, and the two daughters, and the wife, Nadeem has always found time for love.

Some days before the Egyptian revolution, Nadeem and his journalists friends were aware that Egypt is approaching a definite change.. the subtle news articles calling for protests on 25th of january, , along with the underground mobilization were enough signs for them. They have seen it happening around the world many times. They have it all printed and pictured. It was just hard to believe that its bound to happen in the Arab world.  And for that, Nadeem and his very close friend Murad, decided to stay in Egypt to welcome whatever that is that’s going to happen and maybe even participate. They have been witnessing such events  all their lives, but this one will be different; they will cross the neutrality line and join the side of the people.
It has been almost two years since the revolution started, and Nadeem was already reassured that there were more to revolutions than victory and pride. There was blood.  He has seen blood, he has always valued blood for it sells and boosts the stocks of his photos. but this very last photo he took, it had more than just blood. There were years of companionship, there was the mind than never failed to understand him, and the ears that never bored his talk. There was Murad.
Ever since that last photo, Nadeem swore to never hold the camera again. He decided to let go of the game and like any professional player, he thought of having a grand exhibition as his finale game. 23 photos, a photo for each year he has been in the game will be exhibited in the library of Alexandria this winter.
"How about this one?" says Karem, Nadeem's assistant who is also his nephew.
"No. This one was printed over 10 times! I don’t know what is hard to understand in I don’t want to show the popular photos"
"Well, it’s not hard to understand but its just hard to believe! These photos are like your trademark. People know them and they know you because of them. How come you don’t want to exhibit them in your final exhibition?" Karem asked in a rather pleading tone.
"You know what Karem, the more time I spend with you the more I regret letting go of Amina. She would’ve just read my mind.
"Well, first of all you didn’t let her go. She quit. And second, I wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t hit on her! How come  you hit on your assistant for god sake?!" karem asked with his eyes lost in the photos.
" I haven’t! I never did, its just her jealous fiancé who thought I did even though he never actually seen me before"
Nadeem said the truth. He never hit on Amina. Not that he didn’t want to, but he was just a professional. It was his reputation that angered her new fiancé. Nadeem is known for his habit of collecting tough photos and fine women.
"Omg how come I haven’t seen this photo before. Where was that and who's feet is that?" asked Karem
Nadeem stared for few seconds to the photo. He told karem that it’s a photo of a man and his three daughters trying to escape during the first days of the Gulf war. It was never printed because Murad's feet was mistakenly in the cadre.
He selected this one for the exhibition.
 For the rest of the night, Karem asked many questions and Nadeem fed his curiosity with anecdotes about his photos, the forgotten photos.
Nadeem was a real professional. It took quite time to become one. He always respected the distance between himself and his photos. And Now with his new bitter heart he is trying to let go of his professionalism and to unlearn all what he had learned, he felt an urge to make up stories for his forgotten photos.
What could’ve happened to this man? has he safely made it? Has he lost any of his daughters? Where was his wife?. the 23 photos were in some way or another deformed in  technical way. This was had no enough lighting and this one's focus is not quite focused. He now has 23 photos that will be exhibited for the first time.

Layla, 30 years old.  Born and lived most of her life in Cairo,  had just moved to Alexandria with her mother. Her mother is originally from Alexandria a But she lived all her adult life in Cairo with her husband, Layla's father. Now, after 4 years since her husband died, Layla's mother decided to go back to her summerhouse in Alexandria to be closer to her sisters. Layla didn’t want to leave her mother alone for the first months. She wasn’t quite sure if wants to stay in Alex or not and for that reason, she accepted a short term job offer in Alexandria library as seasonal events coordinator. Mariam, her friend who already works at the library, set her up for the job. Short term jobs were her kind of jobs anyway. She knows what she wants to do and she knows that anything else is just temporary. She wants to be a writer. Perhaps that is the one thing she is sure of. She reads a lot and nothing fascinates her more than a well written novel. She is always envious of establish ed writers and wonder what kind of a full life they should be living. Layla knew that she is missing one important element that is why she hasnt started her dream yet.She doesn’t have any stories. She is very eloquent and knows how to express herself so she is aware of her ability to describe. She just has no idea what is it to describe. Last time she wrote a full story was 8 years ago and since then, she had trouble in finishing any other.
"how are you Layla. Whats up. Tell me everything" asked Mariam.
"I am Fine".
"When weren’t you fine. Come on tell me! its been a year since we've seen each others. Any stories?" you’re stuck here with me for a while so you should trust me a little bit. I am fun and I sometimes give good advice.
Layla squeezes her memory in search of any memorable anecdote. Nothing really.
"Its not that I don’t trust you Mariam. You know that. I just was busy with work so nothing much really happened"
So no boyfriends? Grooms?
No. I mean yes. There are the usual grooms that aunts offer. But I just haven’t found the one.
Do you meet them or you just say no to the offer?
Layla was embarrassed to say that she did meet a couple of them since she was always against the idea. However, Nothing new was happening to her life so she thought of being proactive and accepting one of the arranged dinner offers. She shortly regretted that.
"No, I haven’t met any of them" lied Layla.
"Very interesting Layla" Lied Mariam too.
"Ok so here is the deal, Nadeem bakr is holding his final exhibition in Alexandria. And lucky you, you will be working on organizing that.
"Who is Nadeem Bakr?" asked Layla innocently
"Oh God! Nadeem Bakr! The photographer? Ofourse you know him!"
"is this the one who was injured during the revolution?"
"Yes that’s him. Listen, he is a not easy and you are a  bit…well..lets just say innocent. So please please be careful"
"What do you mean be careful? Is he dangerous?"
"hahaha dangerous! Well that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Well actually no. He is charming, decent, and you just can’t help but love him."
"is he a playboy?"
"Well yes. He is a married play boy".
"Oh shame on him!" Married?! Of course married. His wife stood by him and gave away her youth till he made it and now he just fooling around with women behind herback".
"Wow, look at you, you already made up a story and believed it. She actually knows all about her stories. I once met her in a cultural event and she made a couple of jokes about her playful husband. She seemed ok with it".
"Of course she is not ok with it! Poor her she surely just doesn’t want to be labeled as a divorced woman. Or maybe she doesn’t have an alternative source of income"
"Well, not really. She is quiet rich on her own. And she is fairly beautiful as well. She is just really ok with it".
Layla couldn’t sleep that night. Trying to understand what is preventing this woman from leaving her husband. She got her notebook from under the pillow and thoughts just flew into the papers. Her mind is finally free and now she can sleep with a proud smile that she had held a pen once again. The pen that her dear father gave to her. “Papa would’ve never done that” she comforted herself as she closed her eyes.

Layla & Nadeem

We met in a winter and parted in another winter. She was clever and needed no longer than year to write her book. I should've known better than to trust a struggling writer. Layla, my latest piece of work has made a fool of whoever says a picture is worth thousand words.
We met during my final exhibition in Alexandria. she wasn’t quiet my style of women, but she was curious, and back then I admired curious. The questions kept us stimulated. And we knew it is time to part when all that was left were answers.
"So why don’t you write about me?  I can do a great hero of any story" I jokingly offered once. I did believe it though. How ironic it is? How can I blame her for doing so. I offered and she just accepted. If I were her I would've done just the same. I used to watch her writing for hours using just one pen her father got her as a child, and deep inside I was worried that she doesn’t write me. Why wouldn’t she? Am I not inspiring enough? I figured later that to her I was merely inspiring. I was just inspiring.  She had me written, spell-checked and almost published.
I loved her and I answered her questions. She said she loves me too and asked more questions. And when she got all her answers she left. In our last day, she shook my hand and thanked me for granting her her first story. I asked, "what about the ending" and she replied "The ending belongs to the writer. The ending is mine".

Night night lover of the night

Night night lover of the night. My secret fugitive, why don’t you reveal yourself .
You can trust me as long as the moon is awake but don’t blame when the morning comes.
In the night I promise you madness. Sweet madness that shakes your soul.
I won’t think of you in the morning but at night, oh at night, I will paint you and write and dance with you.
You can call me baby and I will use your first name. Yes your first name that you no longer recall.
My secret fugitive of the night, how come you are at once the reason of the fire, the fire alarm and fireman.

الجمعة، 29 أغسطس 2014

عن البارحة اعتذر لك

ابنتي العزيزة
اكتب لك خطاب اعتذار ..لعل الحروف تعبر عن مرارتي وحسرتي بعدما تهشمت كلماتي تحت ارجل عفنة
يوم ولدتي اعدتك بأن احميكي من أي شر... دعيت ربي ليلا ونهارا بأن يبتليني ويحميك وان يمرضني  ويشفيك ولم يخطر ببالي ان ادعي يوما ما بأن يعريني ويسترك
البارحة تعرينا سويا واغتصبتنا رمال الأرض وعفن الطريق
لم استطع مواجهة  هجمات جميع شياطين الكون وحدي
شياطين تبرأ منها خالقها
حبيبتي...البارحة كنا فريسة كل الأشرار
تلك الأشرار المعلومة وتلك التي لم يبوح عنها الرحمن
يا ليتني ما ولدتك ويا ليتني ما وعدتك
اليوم اطلب من بارئي  ان يمنحني عمر فوق عمري افنيه في الاعتذار لك نيابة عن انجاس عالمنا
وشياطينها الخرس
كائنات دفعتني لخرق وعدي معك...مثلما خرقت الإنسانية وعدها معي
ابنتي الغالية
لن استطيع ان الملم ما تبقى مني قريبا وربما ابدا...ولكن قلبي المهان  يعتذر لك
 لأني كنت انا سبب مجيئك الى هذا العالم
غدا ستتطاير تغريداتهم من فوق غيمتنا لتحلق في سماء مصيبة اخرى
وتمل أفواه المدينة من حديثنا
وتكف القلوب عن مواستنا
ونظل انا وانت وحدنا
نترنح بين اليأس الأبدي والخذلان التام

The Gemini Love

If only you can love me less
Share less and care less
If only you no longer expect
From me to be that cute princess
That waits for you in a colorful dress
You told me once "my hearts a mess"
I felt relieved I have to confess
that you have mastered my heart like you do with chess
I do love you but I don't want you all the time
I do want you but contracts I wont sign
I wish that you from time to time
Turn off your lights then suddenly shine
then turn them off again and just mess around
believe me love, thats fine yes fine
If only you let go a bit
and play once in a while the hard to get
and join along in my see saw
of love and hate and shades of yellow
and green and blue and the rest of my pallet
Dont worry love its not about you
its just how I choose to love
why let straight arrows to tie our hearts
if they can fly to marvelous parts
and express our love with music and arts
I wont promise you eternity but I'll grant you a dazzling Now

Yester me yester you

Yester me yester you

Yesterday’s no longer due

We are today..fresh and new

I did love you, but that was yesterday

I do recall all our moments

I keep them safe in my memory

I sing along when I listen to our song

I still laugh at your jokes, I still find them funny

And my heart still aches when you are not fine

But you remain in yesterday

And darling now, we are today

I already grabbed my umbrella and heavy coat

Because its raining and almost snowing

Like it usually does in winter

While you are still counting the yellow leaves

That are abandoning their trees

Autumn is over and so are we

When you join me in the new season

smile back at me when we meet

and be kind like you have been

because we might meet again

In another day that is not today

الأربعاء، 6 نوفمبر 2013

Yours Helena

Dear Paul,
I write to you from a land that I can’t pronounce its name. I am incapable of describing it as well. All I can say about it is that it's yellow. My brother chose a spot in the middle of the desert to be our home; they call it Egypt. He claims that it carries a hidden rich future which no one else sees; like when he claimed that you and I have no future.  I sincerely wish that time swallows this land and forgets all about it just to prove him wrong; maybe then he would know that we are inseparable.
We arrived 15 days ago but we were staying at the mayor’s house until the servants clean the palace. The palace that my brother, Baron Edward Empain, had been building for the past five years. Merriam, my niece, is telling me that it looks similar to the one we used to live in back in Belgium, however it seems absolutely unfamiliar to me. All the details are different; I can barely relate to anything except to my pen.
Darling, can you imagine that my brother had chosen the farthest chamber in the palace to be mine? As if the thousand miles that already separate me from you are not enough for him. But again, he does not know that I have got my pen. We have been busy all week long in preparing ourselves and the palace for the grand reception that Edward is holding tonight to introduce us to the city’s most prominent figures; and of course by prominent I mean the city’s most untrue and lame figures.
 Edward invited them all; the ambassadors, ministers, mayor, and others. In fact, as I am writing to you now darling I hear Merriam echoing my name against the walls of the palace to help her with the preparations. Excuse me love, I’ll leave you for a while and come back to you with all the boring stories from the party.

                                                                                                             Yours Helena,

Helena lays down her pen on the desk with a heavy sigh and walks away towards the door with her eye focused on the letter. She gets out of her chamber and locks the door behind her. “I am coming!” she echoed back. The sound of her echo actually scared her a little which made her walk faster towards the staircase. Oh the staircase! Perhaps it’s what she most fears in this palace. It is twisted in a way that makes it seem endless, which reminds her with the possibility that her stay in this palace may be infinite. She finally reaches the final step of the staircase with a little relief that she landed safely. “The pink rose or white rose?” rushed Merriam towards her holding a set of different flowers. “Pink” answers Helena without even looking at the options.  “From where did you get the flowers any way?” asks Helena after realizing that she had never seen a plant since she had arrived to this bald land. “I thought you’d never ask.” replied Merriam with a cunning smile “Come, I have a surprise for you” She grabs Helena from her wrist and runs towards the Palace’s garden. “Look Helena! The gardeners have been working since dawn in beautifying the garden. They had brought with them the most famous and rare plants and flowers from around the world! Papa had ordered them especially for tonight!” Helena was confused and had mixed feelings of pitying her brother for faking a garden and of feeling glad to have finally seen her most favorite flowers. Her happiness shortly vanished after she remembered that in less than few hours these flowers will be dead. “I too shall die soon flowers. I left my roots in Belgium” Helena whispers to the flowers. What kind of a challenge is Edward having? And what point is he trying to prove? The flowers look extra-ordinary contradictory among all the sand that surrounds the palace, Helena desperately thought to herself. Suddenly, a very loud sound came out from the palace so Helena and Merriam rushed back inside to see what happened. It was the clock that had never worked since they had arrived. The clock that stood with pride and refused to let time pass just for Helena, now, it breaks its promise and loses to time. Now, the clock will remind her in the most disturbing way with every hour, day and month that she spends away from Paul. She stands still in front of the clock for a  while silently confronting it with its betrayal.

“Papa is here!” screams Merriam in excitement. She ran towards him while hiding the flowers behind her back to surprise him too that they are finally here. Just before she shows him the flowers, he precedes and places a flower in her hair with a genuine smile. “You didn’t believe me Merriam when I promised you the flowers”. Merriam responded with a tender hug to hide her embarrassment. Edward then headed towards Helena who was standing still in front of the clock. He gently placed a white flower in her hair as he stared at the clock in admiration. “Amazing huh! It’s the only clock in the world that counts not only the hours, but also the days and months. The only similar clock is found in Buckingham Palace”. Helena pays attention to his presence, and to the flower that is now in her hair. She gets it off and slowly walks away.

She hasn’t spoken to her brother since the day he decided she is never to see Paul again. Back in Belgium, Paul and Edward were business partners and good friends for many years, which was an enough reason, or excuse, for Paul to visit Edward's family every now and then. Helena and Paul’s love story had a typical start of first encounter attraction that soon developed to stolen gazes at dinner parties and secret meetings.  Helena believes that Edward knew about their secret love story all along but he just found it inappropriate to speak about it and chose to remain silent until the time is right. She also never doubted that her brother may not approve of their love. In fact, she thought that this would be delightful news to him. Series of events such as the death of Paul’s mother followed by his sudden travel to his sister in Paris that lasted for a year in order to settle inheritance issues had stopped Paul from directly approaching Edward and revealing his hidden love for Helena. Aside from Paul’s mother’s death, everything else seemed peaceful and serene. Until one day, Paul and Edward had a huge dispute over how to use a large piece of land that they both owned; Paul wanted to keep it for future investments, while Edward wanted to sell it because he sought a more prosperous opportunity in Egypt.  The dispute shortly extended till it reached Paul and Helena’s story when Edward decided to break his silence and accused Paul for betraying their honorable friendship. Paul, then, had to sacrifice the land in order to prove to Edward, and to Helena, that he never intended to misuse his love for her for business purposes. For that reason she detested her brother. It was very clear for her that he was the one who used her for business purposes. At once, she lost the love of her life as well as her respect to her older brother. As for Edward, he, very easily and without demonstrating the least signs of shame or guilt, had sentenced her with lifetime suffering and now he’s trying to make it up for her with that miserable flower that will die soon!

She decided to withdraw herself from all the madness happening in the palace and went upstairs to get dressed; it was about time to get ready for the night anyway. As she climbed the stairs, she contemplated the statues surrounding the staircase. She once heard her brother telling the mayor about his trip to India and his passion about Hinduism culture which made him hire two Indian architects to design and build for him Indian statues all over the palace. Despite her overall resentment of the palace, Helena could not hide her admiration of the statues; she sensed special holy aura around them.
Two hours later, the clock stormed again announcing its eight o’clock. This time, Helena was relieved that the clock broke its promise with her as she wanted time to rapidly pass tonight. Shortly, Merriam, Helena and Edward met in the hall and were all dressed elegantly. Guests slowly flooded to the palace and soon the palace was crowded with strangers who do not even speak her language. The few who could communicate with her only spoke about how magnificent the palace is. She only found company with the mayor’s daughters since she had spent with them her first days in Egypt; and since she had told them about Paul. She needed to speak about Paul since she was incapable of speaking to him.  However, the mayor’s daughters were also drunk on the palace’s radiance and found no interest at all in trading the repetitive tours around the palace with a talk about someone they do not know. Helena tried to discretely excuse herself and to disappear for a while but her brother’s arm gently grabbed her to join one of the ongoing conversations. “You know, Mayor, if you honor my family with a visit during the morning, you will enjoy the sun from every angle of the palace. As a matter of fact, the sun is the reason that brought me and my family to Egypt or to Heliopolis as I prefer to call it, which means the city of sun”.  Food, music, tours around the palace and finally the night was over. Helena impatiently saluted the last guests as they leave and flew to her room. She fell into Paul's arms as her hands hugged the pen tightly and drowned him with kisses as the ink flooded on the papers...