Saturday, May 20, 2017


You'd think progress is a continuous forward motion, but it apparently meanders, loops on itself, and sometimes feels like it's going nowhere. Such is the case of gay rights in Lebanon apparently. Twelve years ago this poem was included in Helem's From Heart to Soul: A Feast on Poetry. The poem wasn't anything special: it's not anthemic, it's not heroic, but it is at times explicit in a casual manner. And it is this casual explicitness that feels revolutionary now. I repost it here, on the occasion of the first Beirut Pride and its continuing struggle against homophobia and religious intolerance, because it pisses some people off, those that need to be pissed off. #WhenWeRise #وصمة_عار

The clouds floated out the window
above their chatter;
it was the time when happiness was
capturing their radiant edges
in freshly discovered tempera.

The sea was stoic still in those days,
a giant ashtray for sunbeams.
I had just discovered Michelangelo:
David and Adam glowed
with the sheen of first porn.
And it was raining in Beirut.

My dad waited all evening for my call
and I stubbornly waited for his.
In the end, we didn’t speak.
When I spoke to him today
his voice sounded metallic
like the rain in Beirut.

In between spells of poetry
I cleaned my cum off the bathtub floor.
I awaited something to happen that night,
But nothing stirred.
So I taped myself jerking off
and jerked off to it.

Not knowing what to do next,
I poured my values into a large plastic yellow bowl
and popped it into the microwave,
hoping that in the patter
I may divine my answer.
But my values melted
with the smell of Styrofoam.

The hallway was growing longer,
sprouting doors as it went.
I just stood there,
scratching a carpeted post.
And for some reason,
if you came close enough,
you could smell the sadness, too.

(Originally posted on 23 November 2005)


katy said...

i feel as though this may be one of more persoanl matter than others i've read here, arch. it really gets to the heart. most definatly my favorite of the pieces i've read so far. just so natural and determined.

Anonymous said...

I really miss you

Brilliant transformation between paragraphs two and three. Very powerful, but you are too depressed,

Ton frère Ahmad