Friday, March 19, 2010

My Beirut (Song of Eternal Damnation)

Forgive me
for writing to you in a language foreign to you,
not that I know what language you speak,
you who speaks them all in silence…

Forgive me
for writing from a distance,
for writing reluctantly,
for writing seldom…

I only write because he asked me to,
he who loves you,
he who lives you.
I write because I’m incapable of refusing him such a request,
and because, yes, I miss you…

But I’m not sure I got anything left to say to you.
I feel that I’ve said it all, and I’ve said it often.
Some have heard it, many have not.
But you, I don’t know if you can hear…
I’m not sure anymore if you exist,
for who are you but those who haunt you?
And those who haunt you are mad, and I’m one of them
even if I’ve abandoned you…

Did you mourn me when I left you?
I did, for the both of us.
But sorrow moves on,
like everything, with time it all does,
as the old song goes…
And what remains when the sorrow’s gone?
Is it love? Or is it only a stale bitter anger?
Sometimes they taste the same…

What I fear is what’s left when even that anger passes;
for that, too, shall pass…
I fear because I do not know the reasons for my anger;
but what is anger if not the lack of reason?
It may not be your fault or mine,
but I’m angry at being treated like a second-rate human
solely for being born to you.
I’m angry because I can’t seem to live with you,
as I can’t seem to live without you,
to quote another old song…
I’m angry because your inhabitants are mad,
and your drivers are mad,
and your leaders are both murderous and mad…
I’m angry because your beauty is invisible,
and no one will take my word for it,
for I too, like the rest of them, am mad…

I look to other cities:
they too are ugly and beautiful at once,
and they too are all mad.
I look to other people;
they are all maddening
and stupid and proud.
But your people have made of chaos an art,
and have made you anything but dull…

I still don’t get it, Beirut.
I don’t get why I insist on addressing you as a person;
I don’t know why we all do.
I don’t know if any other people address their city as we address you.
For you are nothing but our very own collective being,
you are what we call us.
And we love ourselves,
and we hate ourselves,
and we, ultimately, do not understand ourselves…

I shall return to you,
forever and again,
you, my song of eternal damnation.
For I still don’t get you, and I don’t get me, and I don’t get them…
And yet I love you, and I love you, and I love you,
and yes, despite all, I love them, too…
For they are you, and you are them,
my Beirut.

1 comment:

BabaGannouj said...

i love it!
thanks for sharing.