Saturday Night, Sunday Morning

I can only offer myself up as a sacrificial lamb but please do not hold that knife too close, let me say my piece and then we shall see who loved her, who left her, and who needed her.

Put away that cold, cold gun, and put your jacket upon the hook.  Please take your time and do not judge me before you have heard my words, my pleas, and my love for her that did burn a thousand older lovers.

We met at the crossroads half eleven at night, the film had finished and I was wandering lonely and lost.  We came across each other on opposite paths, our eyes met across the street.

Nothing needed to be said, nothing needed to be motioned, what we had we had it for that night in my old hotel room, which crowded and small, our bodies stretched across that single bed.

Before I could say no, before I could say go, before I knew what was falling I was in over my head.  Don’t hold that knife too close, my head is heavy and I am tired, I’m not sure that tonight I could put up much of a fight.

If I see you again at the old Chelsea hotel, I’ll do well to hold away, to take my body and to cross the sea, to never bother you again.

But in my breast, against my heart, I shall carry the memories of her forever.

Hold your hand, hold it tight, we only spent the night together that once.  When I look in the mirror so my body does shiver at the thoughts of what could be.  You have it all and I have just my old acoustic guitar.  Cold and worn, broken besides.

My friend you have won without ever raising a weapon against me.  It is true that your wife and I made love, that we reveled in the lust of two bodies conjoined.  It is true we moaned our way through the small hours, but that was just the night, oh it was just the night.

What I did, and what I said, I cannot make it right and I will not put up a fight.  You have my word, you have my promise – I shall never see her again.  The flick of her hair, the arched eyebrow, those are the memories within me.  I shall go, oh I will go, but where my weary feet do take me I have no idea.  I just carry on down this dusty road for one.

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2 Minute Poem

Chairs or spiral stairs, hair stands on end at the thought of them.
Hands grip the sides ever tighter,
As I gasp for breath, feeling ever lighter.
I’ve changed so many times I’m not even sure
where I’m meant to sit, not even sure of my
place in this ever lasting race.
—-
I just want a comfy chair, computer set up
the way it should be, the way it could never
be, as if I were to sit still in silence, the music
still blaring.
Instead I curse the empty air as, once
again, my pattern changes, new dangers arise –
Are they an officer, an assessor?  What can I say or
cannot say in front of them?
Does it matter, are we ever really in one
place forever or are we always racing against the tide of change?
 —

On a Break

Grey December mornings and it is just how I’m feeling.

The bed is empty and my nights are restless, I’m all alone but it’s almost like the blues.

I can hear the patter of the rain gentle against the thin glass, I can hear the low growl of the hungry wolf haunting my dreams.  I can almost feel the distant echo of my childhood – all sunny skies and patient family cries.  Tired arms and tired bodies, water splashing in tall thin arcs.  The green grass of home, paved by history and rolled in love.

The invitation awaits, propped silently against the wooden desk but the envelope is not yet opened.  Fingers cross and uncross, my thoughts wander.  Laughter in the distance from couples walking home from the pub.  The incessant rumble of traffic outside the front door.

I loved you then and I love you now – though I am a step removed from your daily life, hidden by distance and receded by time, clothed in memory, remembered but not firm.

This is how I spend my time, cut in two by present and past.

I still remember the gentle feel of your long auburn hair brushing against my cheeks as our lips met to kiss.  It was a romance for half a year, no more and no less.  It was open, refreshing and beautiful, but hidden behind a veil of confusion at the same time.  I wanted you, you wanted me, but we could not be, not as I had hoped.  The wording was oblique, the semantics confused.  I wanted a definite article, I wanted that anchor in your heart.  There is no doubt what I needed, that I felt that my feet were temporarily passing in your shadow.

You are now but a shadow of love in my romantic history, fondly remembered.

I’d be lying if I said that if I did not think of where you could be now, what sights do your eyes rest upon, what body does your hand caress.  Do you ever think of me?

Love can be fleeting, love can be transient.  It can last as long as a lungful of air quickly evaporating on a pane of glass or it can cross centuries in timeless prose and unhurled passionate throes.  But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still think of you with loving thoughts.  Our time is long past of course, I am settled with that thought.

The envelope sits unopened still though.  I’m not ready for that.

A Letter From Your Friend

Dear John,

Forgive the state of this paper that I write on to you now.

There is no sleep in this house now, there is only the ongoing pain at the long and drawn out suicide of humanity, that final desperate cry that is falling on deaf ears the world over.  Our cities, our towns, and our villages are burning in this fever, we are being choked as the very oxygen of life itself is sucked into this unremitting chaos, this rack and ruin of our modern world.  I know you have felt true pain in your life John, as I have mine, but this is unlike anything that we have seen before.  There is no glory in death, no beauty in execution, no mercy in torture.

Man is at the mercy of fellow-man, and that well of mercy has reached its bitter and turgid end.  It is dry, bone dry, and we have resorted to barbarity to replace what we have lost.

Even as I write this letter to you now I can hear the engines of jeeps prowling the street, the siren call for retribution wailing into the night.  I can hear the distant thud of artillery threatening the very capital.  The sands of our land are choking on the blood of its people, spilt time and time again.  I have seen inhumane scenes, of neighbour killing neighbour, of families split by invisible sectarian lines, of death squads rampaging across the city executing those it hates on sight.  I have lost the beauty that I once found in life itself, and it has been replaced by those faces that I see day in and day out.  The faces that are willing to kill and to maim if you do not abide by their rules.

I cannot believe that these people have families that lovingly raised them to be citizens of the world, that were ensconced in the beauty of our religion from birth.

It would be a lie, a certain and death-defying lie, to tell you that I did not fear for my immediate future.  There is no hope in munitions, helped either in its aim by the barrel of a gun or of a bomb held securely in the bay of distant plane.  In that sense, they both share the same problem in that they only kill and main and alienate – they do not heal, they do not bring together the families of those that are at war with each other.

The news is the same the world over, each country fighting its own personal war against the populace.  I pray for you my brother, as I shall pray for your family as you pray for mine.  May we find each other again in a garden of peace.

Yours sincerely,

Abdulrahman M.

Born tl;dr Die

We all die, and we all die alone.

 

    I had no meaning in my life,

                                                      meaning instead was imposed

by the very existence of my life.

 

Not upon the world but in my family,

by the invisible chains of familiar blood

which gave a future to my nearest.

 

So

I carefully stepped

(one at a time) Down the stairs of life

 (with one breath at one step) Knowing that at the end

 

Lay only the untenable truth of my own death.

 

I swallowed hard

And I held the hand of my mother and my father

And took that first step

 

I became a person with(out) meaning.

 

(She held a trembling hand

She spoke with an effort

but what She said…)

The Partisan

That old troubadour is back, with Leonard Cohen releasing his latest album, Popular Problems, this week.  I haven’t gotten my copy of the CD yet but I am looking forward to listening to Cohen’s album in full, knowing that I, as a listener, am in the safe hands of a man who has remained at his artistic peak for many decades now.  The songs I have heard so far have only intensified this feeling.  His voice is certainly deeper, whispering as Cohen has aged, but he is still intensely recognizable in both delivery and tone.  His voice has always been a distinctive feature as he is not your typical singer, with his rich lyrics delivered via a sometimes monotone voice.  This, however, does not detract from his music and actually highlights the inherent poetry of his lyrics.  Female backing singers have also become more of a permanent feature, sometimes helping to echo his own lines or provide the chorus, but always enriching his songs.

As a poet, novelist and song writer Cohen has remained fairly prolific in his musical and literary output, only coming to a slowdown in his 70’s.  On learning that the vast majority of the money had he saved had been swindled, he once again took himself on the road to earn some money.  We, as the audience, must be thankful for humanity’s greed, as Cohen has since toured fairly extensively and has released two new albums (Popular Problems being the second after 2012’s Old Ideas).  It seems as if he has been re-invigorated and is flourishing once again, no doubt surprising his older fans with new ones who are only just discovering his extensive discography.

As I’ve mentioned on this site before The Partisan has to be one of my favourite songs that is covered by Leonard Cohen , exemplifying as it does the close bond of the partisan and the people who help hide them, of the intense love, hope and brutality of a country at war:

An old woman gave us shelter,
kept us hidden in the garret,
then the soldiers came;
she died without a whisper.

There were three of us this morning,
I’m the only one this evening,
but I must go on;
the frontiers are my prison.

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we’ll come from the shadows.