Gheith Al-Amine: 11

A photograph of a photograph of Bernard Pivot (centre) at a family gathering in the 1980s. Source: Wikipedia

1. Late letter to Bernard Pivot

Back in the day,

three princes of the word

Mohammad Choukri, Charles Bukowski and Marc-Edouard Nabe

graced your show on three separate occasions.

 

Before a live audience, along with mediocrities

you collectively scorned and bullied Choukri,

whose magnificent retaliation framed your pettiness in a flash.

You disdained and pushed Bukowski out of your set

for legendarily being himself: a celestial drunk.

And with the help of half-witted guests you demonized the young and fresh Nabe

for being brilliantly talented, sharp-tongued, with tons of integrity.

 

You cur! as Charlie Parker would’ve put it,

who gave you the nerve to treat prophets like underdogs?

 

I see the mighty Charles Mingus from his chair in the sky

lifting you with one fist and throwing you head first

behind the bandstand, right next to Juan Tizol

who’s been passed out on the floor since 1953.

While you’re there,

wake him up!

 

2. The forthcoming season

Let us say

we’re in the folds of some obsolete labor

holding our lives to ransom

Call it, if you will,

a decisive battle of wills

or a nerve-wracking biting of the bullet

But truth be told I foresee

an unprecedentedly savage chapter

leading us into the eye of the proverbial vortex.

 

3. And then this

Is it the allegorical inferno ad infinitum

or a literally unbearable, protracted pain?

Is it an abstract, unspeakable fear

or the concrete existence of others?

Is it the mythological Abyss of Hades

and the doomed souls in it’s Styx

or is it an actual intolerable crime

permanently plaguing your conscience?

It could very well be that boundless common room

for endlessly contemplating

better known as eternal bliss.

 

4. Palestinian Sunbirds For Eyes

In my native village

as long as the sun shines,

Palestinian sunbirds fly through our gardens:

similar to the nomadic hummingbirds,

for they too come round for the nectar.

The sunbirds of Palestine trust our branches,

take their time kissing the flowers in our trees.

They are the size of my eyes all black and shiny blue-green.

Past them far away over the mountain I see

olive groves glittering in dusty green silver and gray

and across the hill just past the mighty fig tree

precious Palestine stretches before me.

5. Spontaneous Combustion

In the darkness

of the power failure

heart-warming fantasies

leak out the pores

of my freezing skin

What if my forehead overheats?

What if my lungs burn?

 

6.

Your spring allergies

are your sole companions

Your intermittent friends,

O quadragenarian hermit

 

7. Wintry Living room View In The PM

(In memory of the poet Mohammad Al-Abdallah)

– I –

In a rectangular living room

like a fridge on its back,

I try In vain to take refuge

in a gray burlap couch

from the sneaking cold of the street.

– II –

In the shade of dark clouds

with my quadragenarian eyes

wide open,

I try to decipher

the overlapping shadows

of the trees

extending inward.

‐ III –

In the white iron facade to my right

frosty glass trembles up to the ceiling.

Looking down my window,

I catch a glimpse of a large silhouette:

Muhammad Al-Abdullah’s bald head unveils itself

glittering in the light of a fire

sparked by a street bum

marching straight ahead

between two lines

of dormant light poles.

Downward

towards the sea

where the corpses of three dead cafes lie

where spirits of long-gone friends wander.

 

8. An overnight stay

Lying on my side

I open my eyes and I meditate

on the whiteness of the wall facing me.

Then I drop my sight on my cellphone screen.

I modify the luminance of its rays,

and on the virtual keyboard I type these words:

A soul withers in a corner

and a corner is half a house

or half a tomb.

 

9. What goes under a Sparrow’s wing

(To Charles Bukowski)

In my bedroom

that’s on the fourth floor

the glass windows are so thin

I can hear the mite

under the red sparrow’s wing

sing.

 

10. The Three Deaths of So And So

So and So was buried

in his life

in his dreams

and six feet under

 

11.  Thelonious reptilian

I’m a fast moving chameleon

with 360-degrees hearing and vision

that vertically and horizontally scans

the urban landscape and its dwellers plans.

I hibernate on the outskirts of the Capital.

I wake up sometimes to the sounds and smells of the living-dead,

unbothered by pseudo-hipsters

and estranged graffiti con-artists,

whom I occasionally, for amusement, drag and gulp

with my supersonic bolting tongue.

Otherwise I’m a stoic disciple-monk

of the order of Sphere Thelonious

who religiously reads Sargon Boulus.

Three brief facts before I brutally merge with the concrete:

I’m plagued by seeing through humans,

I don’t feed on insects – I just hunt them for practice,

and I never step in dog shit.

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