Wednesday, 29 December 2010


"you have a tendency towards sadness"
this is what had been said.
and it lingered and echoed in the canals of her mind.
She hated to admit it. She hadn't when it was first said.
(but she didn't deny it either)

Why the melancholic disposition?
Why the want and desire to be happy, and yet so easily shattered into states of sadness and loneliness and, and , and ...

And why were the most drastic of states nearly always linked to sleepless nights. When all is quiet outside, everyone tucked away in their bed, or in a car, or in a bar, or someone else's bed for that matter.

Could it be that the white noise that accompanies reality and her day-to-day is turned off with the lack of street noise and television and people living, that the echoes of the canals become inevitably louder and clearer and unavoidable?

Ok. So assume that is why. Why always the thoughts that mellow her out in some sense, and the ones that plant the doubts and the insecurities and the questions and the looping loopholes? But then again... that's a rhetorical and, it's safe to say, ridiculous question. That's just what the white noise leaves behind.

"Smile baby. Why don't you smile?"

She doesn't know. She wants to!
you must believe her
Perhaps somewhere, sometimes not alway, she tunes into a frequency of her own without being aware of it herself.
And it makes her not smile. She has every reason to. But she doesn't. It's stuck like a frog in a throat.

That frequency frequents the quiet nights quite often

"They should find a cure for insomelancholia..."
she mumbles under her breath, as she turns over onto her other side for the nth time.
"..and a disease that makes you smile."

Friday, 17 December 2010

between this line and that line lies your salvation

- "So, I have a problem. Theres this thing."

- "A "thing"?"

- "Yea. A thing. Theres this thing I'm dealing with..."

- "Ooh. A 'thing'. Those are nasty. "

- ".. And it's making me feel like this..."

- "This! holy shit!"

- "And I hate feeling like this, you know? It just gives way to that, and before you know it, that turns into those, and those are never good 'cos those make me fall into these.. And I hate these and those and feeling like that and it's all because a stupid fucking thing that really shouldn't be anything. "

- "Right, right... "

- "And when I tell them about it, they just tell me what I know about it, about this thing. And how it is. I KNOW what it is. For godsake if I didn't know what it is it wouldn't be a thing and I wouldn't feel like this, you know? They don't get that I know what IT IS. i want to know how it ISN'T. Man fuck this. Seriously. What is this thing that won't let me be that! It can't be so complicated so that this is what it is. Can it be all that? I'm giving myself a goddamn headache... and over what? ..."

-"... Over it?"

- "Yea. yea. That. I should be over it. I should just get fucking over it."

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

I once heard... About the green-eyed monster

I once heard about a green-eyed monster that dwelled on the outskirts of a town somewhere in the plains of a Mediterranean country a long, long time ago.

I heard that it balanced on a the tapering coil of its lower body, that resembled the body of a snake, and when wasn't slithering from one place to another just like one, stood at a height close to that of a large man.
It had a top heavy body that was covered in a thick coat of matted grey-green fur that was anything but inviting to the touch, and had two horns that protruded menacingly out of its spine upwards. A thin scrawny neck held up its lizard like head that was crowned with another bony spike at the forehead. Its mouth was said to house few but fierce teeth that guarded a tongue that was forked not once (as though that wasn't enough), but two fold. And as for its wide nostrils, they fluttered and flittered with every breath emitting a low rasp that rippled and disturbed the space around it.

But these details seldom stuck in those rare sightings. It was the glaring green eye that was paramount.
It's emerald glare was bewitching, so I'd heard, and no one had ever seen such a deep, fascinating colour ever exist, and never would do so ever again.
They say that despite the unsightly appearance of the monster, the eye itself held such a captivating beauty that any fear that would naturally materialise at encountering a beast as repulsive as this dissipated into welcome paralysis.

And it was with this paralysis that the beast cast it's infamous poison. It was not a poison that ran through its fangs. Nor one that it spat out of its gruesome mouth. It didn't run through your veins, or seep into your skin. It was far, far worse.
It plagued your mind. It planted eggs of doubt, envy and madness. It fleshed out detailed visions that shook its victim to the core, riddled with lies and falsity so calculated and devious there was not much hope of turning a blind eye.

It didn't matter what age, race, or sex you were. You could've been a young boy pining over your friend's marbles, or a young girl who envied her sister's happy relationship, or a mother who is jealous of her neighbours fine linens. It didn't matter. You were all prey to the same green-eyed demon and its blight.

They say its first ever victims were a married couple it had shadowed unnoticed, slithering around their modest house on the outskirts of that Mediterranean town. It had cast the fear of infidelity on the wife after catching her eye as she picked apples from the garden, haunting her with concocted images of her husband's betrayal, of his lust for other women that lived in their town. The monster went as far as to feign strange perfumes that wafted by her nose when her husband passed her, driving her into a rage that bubbled under her skin silently. After that, the slime that had infected her simply fed on itself, snowballing and infecting her senses. Her vision was now distorted, catching inexistent glances between her husband and the inn keeper. She confronted her him time over time, the episodes were long winded and loud, their incessant yells heard throughout the neighborhood, to the pleasure of a low shadow that slithered under the winter logs in the backyard.

They say it wasn't long before the thunder and the roar subsided into a shower of red.
And they were found the next day, murdered by their own hands, but guided by the venom of another. It is rumored that one of the townsfolk, a wood cutter, glimpsed something as it was slithering away leaving a trail of blood, and guided by pure reflex brought down his axe. With a screech that quickly disappeared into the nearby bushes, all that remained was the furry tapered tail of something that was never there.

I've heard that the next time the green-eyed monster was sighted, two golden rings circled its scraggy neck, and although exaggerated in dimension, they say they were the wedding rings of that very same destroyed marriage; a sick token, a bloody keepsake.

I once heard of the one and only green-eyed monster, the one who started all the jealousy-driven woes in the world, all with one long stare of its brilliant green eye.

Monday, 11 October 2010

I once heard... About the girl with the gravity-defiant hair

I once heard about a girl whose hair stood up, while everything else followed the laws of physics. It was not a matter of hair styling, or any sort of prank.

The story I heard tells of a girl that had been falling ever since she could remember. She used to fall into ditches as a child, fall out of trees, fall down flights of stairs. Anything she could fall into or off of, she did. And every time she fell, anyone within a fair distance of her heard the tune of a piano scale tinkling from high notes to deep low notes. They sent her to brain doctors, spine doctors, any doctor, hoping they could find a cure for her clumsiness and her affinity to falling. They could not find a cure, and they could not explain the piano notes either.

Slowly with time, it's said she grew accustomed to falling, and found ways herself to combat it. But it didn't solve more than bruises and broken bones. She fell into arguments, and fell into deep sleeps at obscure and odd times of day. She fell into wrong crowds, always getting herself out of it just in time. They say she was fatigued by the fight against falling, weakened by the weight of her kismet.

They say her hair refused to fall to her shoulders anymore, they had been stretched straight up by the falls over the years, and just stood up, they just stayed that way. If it grew too long, someone had to step up on a chair and snip her dark locks at it's edges. But it never changed its orientation.

All the while, she kept falling. Never mind the years that passed, the places she went, the falls continued. The only thing that changed was the depth and echo of the ethereal piano scale that descended on imaginary ivory keys that no one saw or knew the origin of. She was falling into love, and falling hard. Inevitably falling into depression when those her heart desired left. And with that, her tears also fell. As well as the corners of her mouth. But, still, her hair grew upwards.

I once heard about the girl who spent her life falling, and her hair that did not.
And how, with an orchestra of descending scales that echoed far and wide, she finally fell to pieces.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Get away

Get away. Getaway.
strange word(s)

You need to get away. So getaway.
What from exactly? When you get away because you need a getaway, where do you go? What are you leaving? And why? All valid questions. Can you get away by just staying where you are? Traveling in your head to other places, other times?
What if you need to getaway from yourself? Your life? Your mind? How do you separate those exactly?
Where's the Getaway for that?

I sometimes travel to specific memories. I put my present in pause, and watch the reel run in my mind. I smell the scents, hear the timbres of familiar voices, sometimes even feel the comfort or happiness or relief you had then and there. And then you have to get back.

I was contacted by timeout beirut to draw the piece for their "Photo Finish" segment. They send a photo with a theme, The theme, was, of course, Getaway. You can choose to understand it in many ways. It might possibly depend on your current demeanor. It could be sad, happy, or relieving.

I know that somewhere in this illustration, I am longing to be.

Enjoy your getaways this summer. And take this the best way you can, but I sincerely hope one day you get to a point you don't need a getaway. That really would be something now, wouldn't it.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Birthday Letter 2010

Another year, another one of your birthdays.

I nearly forgot that I promised to write you a letter every year on your birthday, and yet, just like the time that crept up on me last year and tapped me on the shoulder, I got a tap that brought it to my attention that it's time again, and that I should sit down and give you the gift I promised I would give every year. A little time to sit and think.

I read last year's letter, and it's surprising how much has changed since then. I almost feel like a fraud, a liar. Then again, I wasn't lying so, I'm neither. Nevertheless, I didn't move to Australia, (but I think you know that already. Silly me) I really wanted to, and for the right reasons (ok, so perhaps one or two reasons weren't very 'right', but they were right as well. You know what I mean) but I didn't end up going. I think part of it was fear. That little frog that creeps up from the bottom of your belly and just sits in the most uncomfortable part of your throat that although still allows you to breathe, makes it increasingly claustrophobic. Maybe I got your claustrophobia after all, somehow. The longer it took me to make those determining steps towards that move, the more that frog got comfortable, and the harder the thought of leaving Mama and Musha (who you haven't met, but I'm sure you would love as much as mama and I do) scared me. The more the thought of once again having to start over paralysed me. But I have no regrets. I still have moved in terms of what I want to do. No, I don't want an office job, I still am freelancing, and yes it's difficult sometimes but it's ok. I'm working on my discipline. It's not there yet, but it's getting there. Somewhere is better than nowhere.

It's been a big year for music Baba. I've been eyeball deep in all the wonders and all angles of it. I've built a library I'm proud of, I've become a reference (humbly) of sorts for friends and even acquaintances. I've been DJing for around 8 months, and I love doing it. Yes, long nights, and yes, it can be tiring, but I get paid to do something I love. I get my drinks for free (more or less) and I get to play music I love. If only it was something I could do full time. Come to think of it, it can be, but I don't think that's what I want to do. Not in the long run. I've also met a lot of local talent, and they never cease to impress me. Some of them at least. I work for free sometimes, helping them promote their gigs, and their projects. Yes, I know it's never a good idea to, but part of me feels that the pay off is much greater than the cost of those few hours. I think you know exactly what I mean.

I'm also trying to push the illustration. I think you'd like that. I sometimes try and imagine what you would say when I show you a drawing I finish after 7 hours of not moving and zoning out while I get those lines cleaner, and a specific style pegged. I sometimes really really wish I didn't have to imagine. Sometimes I wish so much the wish goes numb, and I put it in that jar of fireflies on that shelf in my mind that's made just for you. It glows silently at it's own pace among the others, existing but non intrusively. There's nothing much I can do with it really...

Where I am in the scheme of things, I'm not sure. I have a feeling I'm on the right track. Yes, I may get side tracked sometimes. But it's ok. Right? You only live once. I might as well see where that little alley leads as long as I don't lose site of the headlights on the highway.

So I'm still in Beirut. I'm more stable, I'm in a relationship that although can be frustrating sometimes, it's a good exercise in patience and balance. And so far so good. I'm happy on that front. Work is work. I'm fumbling in the dark but it's a warm dark. It's a nice dark. Like closing your eyes when picking a sweet from a bag of pick-and-mix. You may get the jazzie instead of the fizzy cola, but you end up making the best of it. (That made no sense to you. Or complete sense. Either way, I can feel you smiling.)

I visited London recently, and it was great. It was nice to be around those familiar faces, familiar places. But it also reminded me why I left. I felt tired, and felt I wanted to be home. So expensive, and so big. Everything needed to be planned, and the pace was too fast. So I although I enjoyed my time, I looked forward to going back home to those I love, and the streets that are familiar to my gait. And that's a good feeling. I think I know now how one know's where they should be. Or at least where they shouldn't be.

I hope you feel my good thoughts wherever you are. You're sorely missed. And more and more I'm bumping into your friends, sometimes by mistake. Sometimes they don't know you're not here anymore. And I have to see their faces shift, their eyes suddenly react in split seconds of despair. It's never easy but I keep my head up despite the added weight of yet another person feeling your loss burdening my heart.
And I make sure they know that you're alright. We're alright.
Sometimes I feel I'm lying, but it's an ok lie to lie. Because it's a lie that everyone knows the truth it's sugar coating. And then the despair in their gaze that quickly becomes a warmth and comfort at being in the presence of someone who carries your scent makes my heart lighter, and somewhere the apple shining "daddy's girl" part of me scurries around to make you proud, though it is only through someone who is a stranger to me when compared to you.

I have to go now, duty calls. Musical duty yes, but duty nevertheless.

I love you very very much. And I wish you a happy birthday baba.
See you next year. And tomorrow. And every day till then.



Monday, 28 June 2010


It's been a long day,
you get home,

the burdens of the days seem to have fused into your skin, with all the grime and the dust of the city you live in.

Your eyes are tired, your black eyeliner is smudged at the corners, and your shoulder hurts from carrying the bag that you carry everyday, all day.

You take off your flip flops, you hear the neighbour's tv blaring some show that you tune out slowly, and slowly in the dark you peel off your clothes, take a look in the mirror, (if you're able, it's the bathroom mirror and you manage to brush your teeth like the dentist told you you should) and sink into your mattress, probably on top of the book you were reading, the top you tried on in the morning before deciding to change it, your deoderant bottle, and some crumbs from the cookie you had last night while watching a movie on your laptop in bed.

Your dog (or cat, or dragon, or whatever pet you may have) curls up by your side, and you feel the heat escalate, but you're too tired to move her or complain, after all signs of affection are scarce these days so who are you to complain?

Your face cools down on the pillow case, and slowly all the weight of the day seems to crumble away and seep through between the mattress springs.

And you dream.

But what language do you dream in? Your native tongue? The language you learnt at school?

I can't remember what I dream in. I think it's English. But I don't know.

I've come to the conclusion that I dream in my own language, a mix of everything. A language that is familiar like English is familiar to me, but not quite.

I dream in dream language.

Friday, 11 June 2010


Sometimes you never leave where you grew up, even if you do.

Sometimes you wake up on the day you're heading back to your neighbourhood, and the first thing that comes to mind is a number.
And you realise that it's the number of the bus that takes you from the station to the street you grew up on. It just appears in your head, and you just know.

Just like you know when to press the button on the bus to get off. You see the park you played in, the library you went to religiously, the corner with the white wrought iron railing, and your finger pushes the button without needing the command from your brain.

Sometimes you don't know why this happens. You've been here before, you've visited many times over even as an adult, but this time you don't scan the street signs and concentrate on figuring out when you should tell the bus to let you off. You don't need to wait to get to the bus stop across your home tube station to remember the number of the bus route that takes you there.

Sometimes you turn your head to the left knowing you'll see the office building your father spent his days in while you were growing up. You see the office in your mind, smell the corporate carpet, see the ivory letter opener with the crocodile handle on his desk. You see the Cuppa Noodle machine in the entrance, and remember how you thought it would be the yummiest snack to have while waiting for your father to finish. And you remember the disappointment when it tasted like card.

You'll stand under your street sign, and you'll look up at it like it was what you were looking for all along. Like it's normal to do that, to cross the street, and instead of walking towards your neighbour's house to see them after so long, you stand under that street sign. And you look up at it. Like it's something everyone does. And you look at it from every angle, like you're looking at the face of a long lost friend, a sibling, a mirror after ages without a mirror.

Sometimes you'll look down the road where your house used to be, and you're not tempted to go see the doorstep you sat at on sunny days, the doorstep you bound over rushing to get to the ice cream man in time for gumballs and a 99 flake.

Sometimes you know these things, you're not tempted, and it's like any other day, because sometimes, just sometimes, you never leave where you grew up.
Even when you do.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Smoking demons

Every time I light my cigarette with a match, I think of the Devil.

It's the smell of sulfur. They say that when a demon or something equally macabre leaves a place, a sulfuric scent lingers in its stead.

So, I think of the devil. In some way I banish him when I light a cigarette with a match, let him dissolve with the first puff of smoke I exhale, and as if my body acknowledges this victory over evil, I feel a rush, albeit a short, small one. But a rush nonetheless.

My cigarette becomes one of celebratory triumph, a well deserved one. Karma the Deadly Devil Banisher. The bane of all demons. A heroine in shining armor, sword dripping with the rancid blood of fiends. Ok, so it's a little bit of an ego trip. Sue me.

A silly thought perhaps for a person with a bad habit. I guess sometimes it's thoughts like these that help us get through the day, sometimes it's excuses like these that make bad habits excusable. Who knows.

So next time you see me fumbling for matches, don't take the pleasure demon banishing away from me. Don't offer me a lighter. If anything, offer me matches.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Bats and Blogs

Dear Blog,

I think you're sick of my excuses when it comes to why I've broken my own promise to myself to post at least one thing a week.

You're right to be.
I'm ashamed.
I really am.

Nothing can really take back the pain and anguish I've caused (myself) at the breaking of this promise.

So I won't say anything, or write anything. I'll show you why I have not been posting as often as I promised. Ironically,
what I'm about to show you, in itself, is another reason.. But only a fleeting one. It is the result of a 5 day workshop I participated in that took up most of my day.

So, without further delay, I present a bat in the city:

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Heart Junkyard

I walk to my car at 3 a.m. on February the 14th, and the intoxicated masses of flesh and bones that are supposedly my generational peers walk the streets in zig zag bee-lines of desperation and misguided emotions.

Their slurred street sonnets and serenades spew sordidly onto the cold cement of Beirut city's streets, as some of them find false comfort in the embracing arms made easier to open with every beer top that's popped, every wine glass thats poured, every shot that's downed.

They surround me, the many that are like this.
I walk in a straight line towards my car, imagining the amount of meaning and clarity that could be worth something or anything, imagining the many flushing toilets that will drag the latter into the guts of the city, leaving it to dissipate and thin out in the rivers of waste. Becoming waste.

Those who are alone are finding each other and losing themselves simultaneously, and those who are in pairs are falling over each other and tripping over their dribbling tongues and cackles and those who are in control are slowly hovering away from the madding crowd, the forlorn masses, stumbling into their cars, or their friends' cars to be claimed by the distant vanishing points of the streets.

A guy leans with one arm against the wall, staring at the ground or his converse all star peeping out of his tattered-ended jeans. His head swaying slightly, body following the sway at a variance. I approach him, grab him by his shirt and yell into his inebriated face to go home and stop looking so pathetic, but only in my head.

I walk among these writhing beings. And wonder how such a scene so far from the simplicity of affection and love can unfold on the day chosen to celebrate that very same thing.
But then again, it's Valentine's.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

I once heard... About black cats and their reputation

Black cats weren't always bad luck, or so I once heard.
How long ago their reputation changed differs from one person to the next. Some say it was only last century that this superstition manifested. Some say it was much, much earlier than that. And some say it happened with the first ever black cat. But one detail never falters. The cat that started it all had 3 eyes. I cannot say if all cats at the time had 3 eyes, this, I do not know, and never bothered to ask. I was taken aback by the mere fact that a three eyed cat existed that nothing else would have surprised me more.

It is said that this cat was slender, slinky and svelte with long legs that ended in neat dainty paws that could easily be expected to pat around a ball of yarn, as well as scratch out the eye of unwelcome company. Her tail was of an abnormal length, wrapping around her body, and slithering between her legs and rising above her crown, swirling and swishing continuously with a life of its own, and how ≈ much of the latter depiction is metaphorical, I'd rather not ask, know, or think of.

But of course, the most notable feature was its tri-ocular nature.
It wasn't that the third eye was different, or alien or acted any differently. Other than the occasional dis-synchronised blinking, it passed as a simple mutation. But of course, I wouldn't have heard of this feline, or the events that occurred around her if a simple mutation was the case.

I've been told that each of these fabulously clear and piercing eyes, coloured an amber gold with a glint of green when the sun shone on them at certain angles, had a supernatural power.
When this cat stopped in her tracks and looked at someone, the right eye delved into their heart, and saw what they desired, their dreams, their wishes. The left eye delved into the dark crevices of their mind, tracking their fears and nightmares. And the third eye, searched their soul for their nature and intentions.

It was this eye on which everything depended. Once she saw you for what you were, it was then that your fate was sealed. It was then that what the two other eyes saw would matter.
If the person had a wicked soul, an ill-intentioned mind, a cruel heart, the cat would arch its back making the hairs on it stand on end, and its tail would whip around violently. And then it would be only a matter of days, if not hours that one of the fears she had learnt of would materialise. Whether it was the loss of wealth, a horrible accident, or an opportunity that went down the drain, it would happen. If, on the other hand, the person her gaze fell upon had an untainted soul, a clear mind, and a pure heart, the cat would purr quietly before scampering off into the shadows. And that person would deservedly be blessed with one of their heart-felt desires.

This, of course sounds quite even-handed (perhaps even-eyed?) and just. But why was it then that the black cat gained this infamous and ominous name for itself? The answer is in the question itself... Mankind in its majority did not have the qualities that would allow the right eye to make use of its knowledge. Not to say that no human was pure enough to avoid the wrath of the left eye, but that they were few and far between, and the ill-fated are far more spoken of and vocal. After all, it is the unfortunate things that are mostly remembered.

I once heard about the first black cat and her three eyes, and how her unbiased and virtuous nature brought about the bad omens and superstitions that marked her kind in our eyes.

I once heard how we never deserved anything less.