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five years since I set foot on this land.

six years since I’ve seen the village.

I burned bridges for love.

I demolished blood and howled in the damp valleys full of dark sense and sadness.

but here and back now and

my grandmother is dead.

I stand at the foot of her grave and break, drown in the pink light of a setting sun.

so this is how it goes, huh?

you carve yourself into the souls of others and

and?

and silence. cups become caverns.

warmth becomes monument.

death is survival.

I visit my grandmother’s grave three times.

she is buried next to my grandfather. I never met him.

he has kind eyes in the photographs. he was a kind person they tell me.

I stare at their white rock markers jutting out of the ground.

I pass my eyes over the black Arabic engraving.

this is it huh?

each time and it’s deeper than numb.

it’s the indifferent efficiency of non-existence.

the void lingers beyond the veil: stalking. wet. cold.

sometimes we brush against it. sometimes we embrace it.

sometimes it sends us spiraling into the hells of our memory.

the last time I spoke to her: New Years Day.

I said I was coming in summer.

she couldn’t wait.

the last time I saw her: 2011.

one billion mistakes in a lifetime and very few have the capacity to annihilate our own reflection.

who am I now? another anchor severed.

I don’t want to go home. my brother and I drive around.

night. we pick up my cousins. we put the top down.

we descend into the mountains.

I am detached. distant. full of anxiety.

I stare up at the stars. I

remember laying my head on my grandmother’s lap when we sat on the roof at night. little light in the village then. stars blazed.

‘when was the last time we were all together?’, Maen asks.

I think about it.

he spent three years working in the Congo.

his brother, Mahmoud working in France.

building my family in the US.

my brother studying in Wisconsin.

the four of us spent every summer together.

then we grew up.

‘six? seven years?’

shit.

we stop off in one of the Christian villages to buy alcohol.

we get back on the road. we crawl higher.

we pull over near a cliff.

we keep drinking. I stare into the night.

I feel it. this toxic abyss wrenching my stomach.

what have I done?

I watch the lights of distant villages sparkle across the back of this darkness.

each light a pocket of lives. each life a pocket of thought and feeling not easily understood.

this is too complicated, even for God. for any god.

it’s time to go.

I turn around. my brother turns on the car.

I get in the front seat.

Maen sits up on the back.

I can’t help it, I think about Noctis.

this is the World of Ruin. this is all we’ve ever known.

our existence trapped on the shores of our reintroduction surrounded by manufactured monstrosities.

no steps forward.

nowhere to return to.

we have each other, but also

we don’t.

 

my last night in Beirut. I sit alone on the balcony. 2 AM.

I can’t sleep yet. I am looking for something.

I watch the red lights flow across the rooftops.

I watch a Berserk AMV. Requiem for a Dream music. it ends

a profound emptiness swallows me.

bad luck to talk

I listen

on these rides
mind on the road

who am I now? this year, it’s been hard. I

your dilated eyes
watch the clouds float

I stare at my hands and I

white ferrari
had a good time

want to feel different than this for once. is this self-hate? regret?

16: how was I supposed to know anything?

when does hope walk out of our lives?

I let you out at central
I didn’t care to state the plain

remember when we used to scream through the cities? all the cities, when there was

kept my mouth closed

energy and power in these veins? where are you? or maybe

we’re both so familiar

where did you go?

white ferrari

I put my head between my knees. I am a father now, but

I’m sure we’re taller in another dimension

what does that mean in these shadows? 11 months in and

you say we’re smaller and not worth the mention

I am still terrified and how good of a job could I be doing when

you’re tired of moving, your body’s aching

my grandmother never held my children. they will never understand her touch. what have I done?

we could vacay, there’s places to go
clearly this isn’t all that there is

I slam my fist against the side of my head. again. again. again.

can’t take what’s been given
but we’re so okay here, we’re doing fine

I haven’t done anything, amounted to anything. where have I been?

I’m up and naked
you dream of walls that hold us in prison

I press my head against the cold railing and cry. I have no answer.

it’s just a scar, at least that’s what they call it

I lift my head up. I breathe heavily into my wrist. I stare at the blazing red UNESCO sign on the horizon.

and we’re free to fall

I stand up. I look up. can’t see the stars here.

I look down at my feet. I don’t know what I am anymore.

I exhale.

maybe tomorrow will be better.

is that hope?

I don’t know.

I go back inside.

I lay down next to my wife and children.

I listen to their breathing. the hum of the AC in the dark.

I close my eyes.

let go.

let it go.

no. it’s too soon.

maybe one day. but not now.

I exhale and slip away.

tomorrow though?

 

we’ll see.

 

we will see.

 

 

 

 

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