“Good stuff,” he said, not looking at anyone in particular. “All I want is good stuff. Nothing more, nothing less. I want my little bit of sweet, and to have it more than the bitter. Way more.” Jeffrey Mistlethorpe had not yet realized the calamity of the situation he was in. It was the sort of calamity that takes time to dawn on its victim. A calamity of proportions so great that only its shadow was seen by Jeffrey. It loomed over his frazzled head. Poor he. “Will you look at that fellow over there. Poor thing he is if you ask me,” an elderly woman said. “Oh, mother, he’s just the way he wants to be. It’s young folks these days. They do things that you or I would never understand.” *** And so time passed: hours, days, weeks, months; and all that Jeffrey did was walk under the shadow of this great calamity. The mother of all calamities. He looked up. “That’s it. I want sunshine. I really do. I want that damn cloud to dissipate, to melt away, to vaporize out of [...]
Tag Archives: writing
Make believe cover your eyes and count to ten Make believe open your eyes and look at me Show me what you think I’ll show you what I think We’ll see each other in a land of make believe So many happy happenings to find, to have, to be For make believe is what we believe in
They asked what love is I asked what life is We looked at each other like children in a playground asking questions we couldn’t answer We giggled we loved we lived That is all we did that is all we needed that is all That is all
Once, there was a moment that surrendered to eternity. Like all moments before it, this particular moment was not made to last. At least that’s what everyone thought at first. In a medley of love and hate, defeat and triumph, lies and retribution; the moment came about. It looked at the blue sky patched with fluffy white clouds and asked, “what is it that makes me so…so momentous?” The sky of course, being a sky, didn’t answer. The moment looked on elsewhere, it searched for anything that could possibly utter an answer. Perhaps it could be a bird, one that would sing an answer. Or a tree that would flutter its leaves like so and so to reveal a hidden truth. Perhaps. The moment was steadfast in its search for an answer. The moment kept on looking, until it eventually and inadvertently became that which all moments cannot possibly be: eternity. Then another thought-provoking, interesting moment came along and took over. So much for eternity.
It’s funny how when asked about their view of the world, some people will take a rather sardonic and cynical view. “The world is in shambles…mankind’s end is nigh…there’s more trouble than peace…we’ll all kill each other,” and so on, they would say. The truth is, the world is a wonderful place. This is what I believe. This is what I see. This is what I know. There are so many good things in this world; too many to simply reduce to a few examples here. Though I can safely say that the world is not in shambles, mankind’s end is not nigh, there’s more peace than trouble and we will definitely not all kill each other. Sure, there are things wrong with the world, with what’s going on and what has happened. Yet all of these things provide us with an opportunity to put right what went wrong, to seek justice, to help each other, to change something for the better. In short, to turn the bad into good. From replacing our bad habits with good ones, to paying alms and volunteering, to working [...]
Ladby Larabee (which some of you mistakenly read as Lady Larabee) was an ordinary man as far as ordinary men went: he was not dashingly handsome in any sense, nor was he hard to look at; he was not talented in any way, nor was he an idiot. Ladby Larabee was simply average. His outlook on life, though, was not average to say the least. In the morning, Larabee woke up his soul with a prayer and his body with a shower. He would then sit in the balcony thinking of things that were, are and will be. He traversed his own universe of knowledge, scouring for answers from the nether and hither fields of his mind. Most of the time Larabeeâ€™s universe of knowledge was confronted with a considerable number of questions to which answers were not immediate. Such occasions, numerous as they were, prompted Larabee to seek answers from books, people, filmâ€”even music. Thus, Larabeeâ€™s universe expanded. One dayâ€”as with all days referred to with a consequential sounding “one day”â€”Larabeeâ€™s mind expanded more than he ever fathomed. On that one day, Larabee found [...]
I’ve had these thoughts running through my head for some time now. Thought I’d let them out before they got too worked up… What is silence but that moment in which one’s heart beats intently, screaming to be heard? *** While some matters in life make immediate sense, other matters require time to seep into the mind, heart and soul until meaning arises from them. Bearing the passage of that time entails faith. It requires letting go of immediate concerns, predicaments or worries and to consider what lies beyond those trifles of fear and doubt. *** Do things neither for ambition nor for a show of courage nor for a display of your peacock wings. Do things for the Love of God, and the Love of God will be what you do. *** Damn be the day one’s ego reigns supreme, let one be a selfless beggar. Let one deny himself and nourish his soul with Love. Have a good day, everyone.
The winds of change will shift the sands of time but will never, ever blow out the candles of love Sleepless, I lay in bed wishing upon a white ceiling to have you set free and for my heart to capture you Set sail to the stars let your ego drown let your hope surface let your humility take charge Without light a heart is dark and in disarray Let me take you to a far away place to a place of opulence and magic of daydreams and starry nights Let us light a candle for you and I every single day that we sail until we light our hearts until we are free — Image: Candles at a Buddhist temple. Taken during my Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia trip.
Jim Masri decided that today was a good day to die. There was nothing better than having a clear blue sky, or a starry night, on one’s day of death. “It’s better than watching television. I’ll watch the sky. That’s what I’ll do. Might as well get ready for up there,” he said to Melissa, the day nurse. “Enough of such talk, Mr. Masri. This morbidity of yours will not get you any better,” she said. “You’re perfectly well according to Dr. Petersen. In fact, you probably will not be needing me this time next week, Mr. Masri.” “Call me Jim, dammit. And you’re right, I probably won’t be needing you this time next week.” Going on about her daily routine, Nurse Melissa didn’t show much sympathy to the octogenarian’s drivel. Jim didn’t mind though, he knew she was trying to get through another day. *** “No, no, no. Don’t turn on the television. In fact, don’t turn it on anymore.” “Well, suit yourself,” said Jerome, the night nurse. “It’s just a waste, kid.” Jerome didn’t say anything back. Jim didn’t mind; after all, like [...]
Marwan stretched across a couch in the lunchroom of the Al-Wasat daily, pen and notepad in hand. On that day following the Eid holiday, there seemed nothing more serene than the silent rush of traffic as observed from a double-glazed window. The setting sun poured down its golden light in bucket loads across the road to Budaiya. I began writing my column in this daily with the idea that I could say something that might, or might not change the world, he wrote. I then learned that changing the world does not begin with a barrage of ideas. Changing the world is not in the realm of human possibilities. It is an illusion that we chase, one that we fool ourselves into accepting just to give ourselves hope about the future. An uncertain future. Little by little, Marwan slipped into the past, into the memories of a childhood spent running under the summer sun in palm gardens, stepping on rich, moist soil. Into a time when he went to the hafez, learning and memorizing the Quran. “The objects of nature change very slowly. A palm [...]
Cleaning up my bedroom yesterday, I came across something I wrote a couple of years ago, tossed deep down in the under-bed archives… At various points in their lives, some people realize the need to forge ahead new selves, to attempt to claim some identity as if they never had one to begin with. They’re preoccupied with the things they are yet to do, yet to achieve, with the things they must do to be. They try hard to find that place within and outside of themselves which speaks true. Which speaks not to their past, but to their future. They fret about the nature of their past and shun the slowness of the present and live only in a future that is of unknown, untested potential. Then there are those who’d rather lay trapped in the comfort of the past, their minds lingering woefully about days gone by. Desperate, they seek solace with what’s left of the past–snapshots, snippets and nothing else. The past is all that these people seek, they’re preoccupied with a melancholic nostalgia caressing their daily routines. The future to them [...]
“The degradation of an individual does not encompass the certainty by which that individual sees himself. For one to see himself in true light requires both certitude and verity. It is only with a lack of levity in character that one rises above the trifles of day to day life to obtain light. Sometimes–no, most of the time, we need each other to obtain light,” Dr. Emmerich said. His words slightly echoed in the lecture hall. Emmerich was old, frail and had a calm demeanor about him that indicated his total and utter acceptance of his state of being. His tweed jacket seemed to have been surgically stitched to him, for one never saw him with any other jacket. “He’s an idiot,” whispered Laura, “I’m going to Mack’s…you coming?” Laura was young, pretty and–to put it bluntly, hot. She was the type of girl that you’d fool around with even though you had nothing in common apart from unhindered raging hormones. “Sure,” I said. *** Mack’s was a regular hangout for the five of us. We’d spend hours on end wasting time, talking about nothing [...]
Mr. Crippin had a deservedly wicked name. He walked into class with calculated, military-precision steps that he himself never faltered to observe every morning. He’d focus on his own brown leather shoes as he walked in front of the whiteboard. “Children,” he said, raising his head, “the homework tray seems to be filled up nicely today. I expect each and everyone of you to have done a job that would not have me furious this time tomorrow.” He was barely taller than us, yet his extra two inches made all the difference to third graders. Add to that blondish side-combed hair, a weighty mustache that spelled nothing short of strict, and gleaming gray marbles for eyes. We never could tell were Mr. Crippin was from. His unaccented English deluded all of us. At one point, he did say he was Welsh. Then he said he was British. By year end, he was either American or Canadian. I could never recall what the reason was for his ambiguous origins. All sorts of theories were put up about Mr. Crippin. He murdered his neighbor and fled the [...]
See and be seen know and be known It’s the game of society we play Run like a champ avoid the chimps A few tips for sounding intelligent When someone says something, nod ever so slightly, as if you’re agreeing, then stop as if you’re disagreeing. A subtle frown might add to the effect. When someone mentions the “government,” look distressed and say “1984.” Quote Oscar Wilde whenever someone talks about literature. Refer to everyone that serves you as “sir.” You’re smart enough to appreciate that everyone is a human being. Listen more. Talk less. At the end of a night out, ask if anybody would be interested in a game of name that tune, then hum Symphony No. 6 in F Major by Beethoven. See and be seen know and be known For it’s a game of society we play Run like a champ avoid the chimps Be a chum Smart one, that is
Traffic, Part I Rise and shine, everyone. This is Mental Melvin on 96.9, the sunshine station, with another brand new day of utter and total annoyance from yours truly. If you’ve got your own music, I’d suggest you play it instead of listening to not so funny me! Mental Melvin didn’t say that exactly. But I think he should’ve. Why would I want to listen to a two bit DJ that’s pretending to be funny? Give me the news. Give me the weather, traffic report–anything but Mental Melvin. Give me silence. I turn off the radio. Consolidated Flour Mills, reads the sign in glorious neon. Hello work. Morning Coffee “Philosophy melosophy.” Yousif picks up his teacup, “I don’t care what you make of life, as long as you make something out,” “of it,” I interject. “No, out of yourself. I don’t care what you think about all of this,” Yousif says, sweeping his hand. “Philosophies are a dime a dozen. In fact, how about this one right here,” he says, holding an Oreo, “life’s a cookie,” and takes a bite. He looks at it with [...]
There once was a little boy with a very big heart. “I’m afraid your son has a rare congenital heart defect called Vendler’s Cavity. It’s an extreme case of malformed semilunar valves and a larger-than-normal heart size,” said the doctor. “I’m sorry, but your son is not expected to live long.” The little boy was taken from doctor to doctor, his parents trying in vain to have someone say to them he will live forever. All they heard was that he will die sooner than later. *** Alas, the years passed and the little boy was no longer little nor a boy, for he was a man. With whatever time he had, the man decided that he would help people and commit to charitable causes rather than to worry about his future. He traveled the world, saw places and met people from cultures far and apart. He also met a girl. She was a charity worker that pulled the strings of his large heart in ways never before known to him.
He ran as fast as he could. He took a new jogging route. Instead of the usual coastal front, he decided to head towards the village center. The sun poured down its light like melted gold, silhouetting the vehicles, lampposts, trees and structures. The air was still–there was no humidity nor breeze. He made a trail of dust on the unpaved roadside as his cross trainers struck ground. The village was smaller than he had originally anticipated. Approaching its end, he ran back to the Spartan traffic of a Friday afternoon on Budaiya Road. *** The sun took final majestic grandeur as it set in a frenzy of reds, oranges and yellows. The first call to sunset prayer was followed by another, and another. Allah u Akbar, God is the greatest, was repeated four times by the muezzins of each mosque. Having run for exactly an hour, he paced himself, eventually standing still next to a dying palm tree. A limping dog passed nearby. Crows cawed in the distance. He listened to the prayer calls as they came to an end, one by one, until [...]
If the page does not display correctly, click here. I stood on the edge of a road bustling with people and cars. “Awas!” read a sign in Malay. The roads in Kuala Lumpur were, as in most cities, littered with signs that cautioned drivers of impending doom should they heed no warning as they zipped past roadworks and construction sites. “Awas,” was for all intents and purposes, attention, hazard, achtung–call it what you will, in Malay. From the Petronas Towers to Chinatown and from the Butterfly Park to a shady shop in lower Kuala Lumpur that sold concoctions of a most dubious nature and effect, Malaysia offered a good opportunity to grab my photography gear and run wild with it. Armed with my brand new and first ever SLR camera, a Sony Alpha 100, I took on the task of documenting my recent trip to Kuala Lumpur. To digress slightly, my advent into photography goes back to when my father gifted me a book on the subject back in fifth or sixth grade. Though my interest has only recently taken the form it has following [...]
â€œHope can make you lose sight, kid,â€ Rutherford said, â€œit can blind you from the truth, it can take your mettle and turn it into that which is worse than nothingness. You can falter and fall far quicker than you thought possible.â€ The frail, old man said those words as though he lived them, as though his being felt every nuance of hopeâ€™s danger during his eighty-odd years of living. I couldnâ€™t tell what had happened to make Rutherford utter such melancholic drivel. Perhaps a love long lost, or perhaps something that had to do with matters of a pecuniary nature. â€œHope,â€ he told me once, â€œis one side of the same coin, that of expectation, the other being disappointment.â€ *** Rutherford had hope once, I thought. He had it and it let go of him. To the old man, hope could be perilous. It could take a manâ€™s soul and raise it to the stars, only to let it fall back to earth. Broken, shattered, Rutherford found a home not in hope, but in despair. He found a home in melancholic sputters of a [...]
A song, untitled about a star goes like this A fallen angel her wings of fame were now of shame Cocooned by her wings she wept her worry with no hurry A corpse of fame past lifeless, like roadkill A life, untitled carried away by carrion crows
The doors open the seats are soiled the faces are sullen I touch the cold, steel bar I hold on to it The doors close the train moves every shudder travels up my arm Faces unknown to me or to one another show nothing hide everything The train stops the doors open Faces move some towards the light far above others to another train deep down below
Scribbles on a McDonald’s napkin thoughts so far and so near from McArabia to McGreek and Big Macamericana as well Carbs proteins fats minerals and vitamins These things of life will not be so if not for water So here’s a Coke for it’s got water Have a nice day, now Note: I haven’t sold out to corporates. In fact, if anything, I’d encourage a healthy, balanced diet of coffee and chocolate. Besides, a 400 fils cheeseburger should raise a lot of questions. For one, its low price is not exactly a miracle of economics (otherwise we’d probably end world famine and malnutrition.) It probably has more to do with McDonald’s definition of a cheeseburger than it has to do with economics.
Happiness he sought into a dream he slipped A dream so fanciful and all like clouds so high up Skies upon skies A trance of faith and hope and courage embraced his being By divine mirth his ego was no more for he was one with all Higher, he rose ergo, he saw further below The good amongst the scum, he saw the strong amongst the weary the saints amongst the sinners And then he saw himself in the quagmire of all there was Left alone to find his own way with only faith to find his truth all truth Alone with faith his calamity perished his world settled his merriment was found And so he awoke high above the highest of clouds happy to be
Last night I, along with bloggers Ayesha Saldanha and Deonna Kelli Sayed, was invited to participate in a special Elham event regarding the role of blogging in cultural development, with particular emphasis on the literary aspect of online writing. I read several of my posts and answered some very interesting questions from the attendees. This was my second Elham participation (I participated in the first Elham gathering in November of last year.) As usual, Deonna Kelli Sayed, Phoebe Boswell, Al Riwaq Gallery and of course Ali Al Saeed (who unfortunately couldn’t make it as he was abroad,) did a wonderful job of organizing it. Thanks to all who attended, including one venerable blogfather. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Continuing tonight, Al Riwaq will host a discussion on language, translation, and expression. The event will feature poet Ali al Jallawi and translations read by Ayesha Saldanha. Hameed al Qaed will moderate. For the record, here’s a transcript of what I started off with last night before my post readings: Culture is not created by governments, kings, queens or presidents. It’s not [...]
In her mortal cage she scurried from one end to another She read it all left none well alone trying, hoping to find a raison d’Ãªtre I am to be, she said as I am forever perhaps for a day perhaps Until one day the bars of her cage were no more Until one day she was on the other side