Linking to a piece I wrote for ‘Wordgathering’ awhile back:
Linking to a piece I wrote for ‘Wordgathering’ awhile back:
My latest collection of prose-poems is a collaboration with a young Kuwaiti artist. Here’s the link on Amazon, available as paperback and as an e-book on Kindle.
The book is also in Kuwait bookstores: Muse Cafe Bookstore (symphony mall) and Jarir Bookstore.
It was fun working with this artist as we never actually met! We went back and forth with sketches and words. The book is mainly about loss, death, time, and our emotions as vulnerable beings navigating the world.
Last night, January 16th, 2017 was a beautiful night, at least in my journey. I was invited for a book discussion with a wonderful group, ‘Book Therapy Kuwait.’ They also invited two other groups/associations, ‘The Divan’ and ‘Kuwait Poets Society.’ I am still speechless and unable to find the words to describe the vibrant energy and creativity that exploded yesterday! I will simply post the videos to speak for themselves. After the book discussion, Kuwait Poets Society had three of their brilliant members perform/read their poetry in response to my book Forget the Words. I was left awe-struck and my jaw dropped at the way they were able to react to the work, the way they reshaped it, re-envisioned it, and produced their own poetic contributions. The three women poets each responded in a different way, each her own twist, and yet, they all chose words/lines from my work that resonated with them. It was mind-blowing, to say the least.
Nada Faris is a published writer and for copyright issues I won’t be posting her rendition of the work, but her work is accessible on http://www.nadafaris.com. Nada is a performance poet and an avid writer. She had the entire audience awe-struck once she finished reading her poem. I was not surprised with Nada’s creativity and ease with words! I have followed her work closely throughout the years and respect her professionalism and loyalty to poetry and its various outputs.
Farah Al-Wugayan, “xxmantras” on social media, is also in the process of publishing her own book. Farah wrote and shared two poems. She responded to “Presence” and “Belong.” Farah was brilliant in her ability to feel EXACTLY what I was struggling to express, this idea of belonging/not belonging. I sat there, completely mesmerized. As always, her work is magical and heartfelt, pouring poetic jouissance into her audience.
Rawa Majdi, the founder of Kuwait Poets Society, one of the most productive and supportive women I met, also was on stage. She wrote a heartbreaking poem, a response to “A Room Without Light.” I will post both of her readings, of my work, and then her own depiction of the text. Rawa was able to have us all transfixed on her interpretation of the words. As she spoke, I felt pieces of my heart break, and I was moved by her choice of words, her ability to allude to the “madness” in love.
All in all, there was so much soul, poetry, and magic that night. That is the beauty of words, of language, of connection. Yesterday we were all brought together because of the love for writing, the love for words, and the endless support we have for each other. Strangers, friends, colleagues, students of mine, poets, readers – everyone was radiating. Blessed. Here’s to a wonderful start to 2017!
below: Nada Faris
Last two videos: Rawa
Finally a quick glimpse from the discussion
The past few days have been unusually difficult. Getting out of bed, making it through another day has been sort of a hassle. I don’t mean to dwell on this. But, the point of the post, I was asked to speak about what it feels to love, and to be in love, and to be confined at the same time. To be stuck. To be stuck in a body. To be stuck in space. To be disconnected. This was a very experimental type of performance, no real style, and the audience was very open and receptive. I worked with a wonderful Yoga instructor and dancer, and she felt that the words resonated within her. I did it for fun, mostly. And I chose the words that were mainly about you.
Sometimes, I think the words bring us closer. Sometimes, I think the words can reach you. Do you still believe? I want to know.
You wake up one day and the bed is empty. Love has left. Wait, there is movement. Someone pulls the covers away. You rub your eyes and there she is, but she looks different. Older. Sadder. There are grey hairs. Autonomy stares at you. You shift uncomfortably under her gaze. What to do now?
There are very few beautiful boundaries in the world. But you are by far the strangest definition of a chimera.
box me up, and take me home.
They promised us that after death, the stage would be reset, and I would be reborn.
There would be no more suffering, no more of that that thing we had grown accustomed to: pain.
But first, they handed us a paper:
I, Patient Number 001, I, the undersigned, I, the Body. I hereby declare that I will not come at you, Doctors, with Knives. I will Not Protest. My ghost will not haunt you, under the circumstance of my possible death.
I gambled. I signed. I didn’t believe in Ghosts anyway.
They threw their heads back, laughed in triumph. The Experiment was on its way.
Darkness came, I lost all five senses. Except my sixth –the sense that you were still there.
And with each cry that escaped my lips, you cried louder: your gasps echoed the murder.
They said you shouldn’t be in the OR and shoved you behind glass doors.
And then slowly, precisely, they cut through my flesh, and you bled.
All I heard were muffled screams and you, outside, begging to be let in.
You wake up one day, and suddenly, your feet do not belong to you. They are, most definitely, separated from your body. But no, that can’t be, because you look down, and yup, they’re still there. You touch, and you sniff them. They feel like they have been suffocating under woolen socks for years on end.
Okay, time to wiggle my toes, before I actually attempt the impossible: getting out of bed.
Each toe feels plastered to the other. And, as if they have plotted to work against my brain’s insufficient commands, they decide not to move.
Ugh. Not again.
I reach over, attempting to massage them. Nothing. They refuse to respond. I drag myself out of bed, knowing exactly what this means. Today, my feet won’t be able to touch the ground without feeling like I am wearing an infinite amount of socks. Blood stops rushing to them. And each step towards the door feels as though I am walking through water, and my socks are drenched in mud –my feet are heavy.
I open the door, to call for my mother. I need to tell her that I need help putting on my socks and shoes, because this looks like just another Multiple Sclerosis relapse.
You burn me at night, and in the morning, you tend to me, reminding me that I’d rather be a burn victim than nothing at all.
The Barefoot Review (Winter Issue)
My poem ‘Desire’ in The Barefoot Review, Winter 2012