Monday, March 06, 2017

What Remains

When I loved you, stars were brand new still.

I forget the feeling now,
but I remember the side of your face,
wrinkled with a smile,
framing the rest of the world,
dark, blue, radiant,
and paling...

I remember only that I loved you:
the car parked on the side of the road,
sloping, looming over the winding night,
the music that I bend in my memory,
and the rain…

It was the first time it rained.
Leaves were thirsty still, and smiling.
The night glowed like only a sick mind could,
and danced ahead of me all the way.

I forget how I loved you.
I remember only the cobblestone,
the light—yellow and trite—
and your schoolbook of French poetry on the steps.

We always left the sex kit under the seat of your car:
a stolen vial of lube, condoms,
and the rest of my youth.

Some nights I can taste it still:
the humidity in the trees,
the guilt in the parking lot,
the fantasies we spun of our hunger,
and a faint smell of bliss.

Like the steak sizzling on a bed of salt,
there—where you taught me about strawberries,
and champagne, and the other weapons of love—
I was vacant and anticipating,
and prone on the piled plastic chairs,
and you were generous with the pain.

That I remember well.
When even the anger has dissipated,
something like regret lingers.

I call it love, or what comes after,
or what remains.

I call it nothing when I am tired,
and the world rushes in,
and I can barely remember the name.

(Originally posted on February 15, 2007)


laila said...


gitanes legeres said...

intense.. what remains after i read is serenity...
i'm doing well. hope everything's ok on ur end.. keef roula?

katy said...

my ashraf, my dear. this is powerful, and even more so after the long silence.
so powerful that i have nothing else to say... you stole the words, or maybe the breath... entirely.

arch.memory said...

Laila, N & Katy, thank you! Yes, I'm very glad to be writing again after such a long halt, and even happier you like it!

Ghassan said...

amazing.. like calm acquiescence, I guess, to... some sadness?

arch.memory said...

Ghassan, that's the title of a poem in itself: "Calm Acquiescence to Some Sadness"! Thank you!

_z. said...


welcome back! to you and your amazing verses.
you came back with a bang! I loved this poem, very sincere and powerful. thank you.

arch.memory said...

Thanks, Ziad; I'm glad to be back, too (if I am).

Delirious said...