Mariam Ferjani: “Where did we meet before?”

Selfportraits by Mariam Ferjani

Selfportraits by Mariam Ferjani

“A Kid Came to Me”-عيّل علّموا عليه

A chapter from the novel “Paulo”, Part II of The Crocodiles Trilogy-فصل من رواية “باولو”، الجزء الثاني من حاوية التماسيح

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الأحد ٦ أبريل ٢٠٠٨

عيّل علّموا عليه في قسم قصر النيل جاء يشتكي لي. (هو ذا الذي كان يحصل أيام حركة شباب ٦ أبريل وحركة كفاية وكل هذا الكلام. كان يحصل من قبلها طبعاً لكن بدأت أنتبه له في هذا الوقت. والإخوان أيضاً كانوا شادين حيلهم من تحت لتحت مع أنهم يأخذون على دماغهم أول بأول: القحاب.) عيّل حلو ومخنث لدرجة أن الواحد ممكن ينتصب وهو قاعد جنبه، شغال معي من مدة واسمه أشرف بيومي. علّموا عليه فجاء لي البيت. أنا أول ما شفته بصقت وأعطيته ظهري. يوم ٤ أبريل كنت بعثتُه مظاهرة صغيرة لا يَعرف الغرض منها في ميدان طلعت حرب، كان المفروض يرجع لي في نفس اليوم. وطّى يمسح بصقتي عن العتبة بكم قميصه وحدف نفسه علي يحك فمه في قورتي، قال: اسمعني لو سمحت. ثم دخل ورائي وطلب كباية مياه. قال إنه لما كان في المظاهرة جاء واحد يتكلم معه بطريقة لم تعجبه ففتح عليه المطواة. الواحد هذا كان ضابط مباحث وأشرف لا يعرف. في البوكس قال لهم إنه مخبر أمن دولة لكن زوّدوا الضرب. وصف لي بالتفصيل. كانت الكلبشات في يديه وراء ظهره وكان في البوكس مقبوض عليهم آخرون أكثرهم من غير كلبشات، لا يعرف ما جرى لهم بعد ذلك.

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aBiography: An Exclusive Blog Feature

Sleep-deprivation is like being high. I know because I was high for a long time, then I started sleeping irregularly. It’s supposed to have something to do with lack of sugar in the brain, which is also the theory of what LSD does to consciousness. Things grow fluid and dreamlike, but at the same time there is a paranoid awareness of motion and a heaviness in the heart. Color and sound become a lot sharper, and time feels totally irrelevant. Normal speed is fast but fast can pass for normal. A moment lasts for days, days can fit in a moment. Talking and laughing are far more involving, especially laughing. The grotesque animal implicit in each person comes out, sometimes messing up the conversation. And then it’s as if you have no body. As in the best music, an uncanny lightness balances the overriding melancholy. There is joy in flying when you don’t need to move. All through this, what’s more, every passing emotion turns into an epic experience.

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Spaceship Living: Abu Dhabi Fair Grounds, Four Years On

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Library of Dreams, The National, February, 2009

Just a few short weeks ago, a scene much like the opening of Kafka’s The Trial marked the beginning of the end of my year-long life in Abu Dhabi: Someone must have been telling lies about Youssef R, for without having done anything wrong he was divested of his belongings one fine evening. His Tamil cleaner, who should have been there to oversee the procedure, failed to appear. That was totally unexpected. R was lounging about with two American friends, watching Barack Obama’s inauguration on TV, when two men, having mysteriously arrived at his apartment, found their way straight into the room without knocking or ringing the door bell, which was out of order anyway.

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The Heavenly Jeep

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City of Kismet

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Unconsciously, it seems, I had waited a lifetime for Kismet. This was not my first attempt at a family of my own but, though I never resisted the idea, one way or another, fatherhood had eluded me. And for some reason I never thought I would have a daughter. When the sex of the foetus emerged relatively late in my wife’s pregnancy, I was unaccountably emotional; for the first time since childhood I experienced a desire wholly voided of lust. Life seemed to be coming together, albeit only once its setting had been transformed.

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Blueprints: a mini exhibition

blueprint |ˈblo͞oˌprint|
noun
a design plan or other technical drawing.
• something that acts as a plan, model, or template: a vague blueprint for fundamental land redistribution.
verb [ with obj. ]
draw up (a plan or model): (as adj. blueprinted) : a neatly blueprinted scheme.
ORIGIN late 19th cent.: from the original process in which prints were composed of white lines on a blue ground or of blue lines on a white ground.

Doll Love-من رواية التماسيح

لم تكن صفعة بالضبط، مع أن الذراع مرفوعة واليد مشدودة والكتفين قُطر دائرة. كأنها تهديد بصفعة كانت مون لتردها فوراً لو لم يختل توازنها تحت ثقل الصافع الواقف فوق رأسها الآن. بينما يستدير ليواجهها، تخبطت واهتزت حتى استقرت مقرفصة على ركبتيها فوق الكنبة؛ وانحسر فستانها الصيفي الطويل عن فخذ نحيف وأسمر. حينها نظرت إليه في عينيه من جديد. هي نفسها لا تدري إن كان شيء في النظرة قد اختلف، لكنه لم يعد مشدوهاً من أنها تفعل. فخذ نحيف وأسمر لكنه متورد ومغبش، وشعرها الطويل الكثيف كعدد لا نهائي من الضفائر الكستنائية المنمنمة  ملموم في ذيل حصان وهي تنظر إليه. هل تذكّر نايف الأسد؟ هل أثرّت الذكرى على طاقة دافقة في جسده كأنها الشهوة وهي ليست شهوة؟ فخذ متورد وشعر كثيف ورائحة ريحان أخضر من النوع الذي يوضع في الطعام، مع طاقة دافقة وشعرها وفخذ نحيف وأسمر. لم تجفل مون والكف تحوّط قفاها بحيث يستقر الإبهام على تفاحة آدم، ولا يبدو أنها انتبهت على الفور إلى يد نايف الأخرى تشد ذيل الحصان إلى أسفل وهو يعود يجلس بمحاذاتها، مفرود الصدر هذه المرة. فقط، مع ضغط الإبهام وميل رأسها إلى الوراء، تحشرج صوتها إلى أن كفت عن الكلام ثم سُمع أنين خافت تبعه لهاث – وشفتاها مزمومتان – كأنه لا يخرج منها.

من رواية التماسيح

Eternal Sunshine of the Hipstamatic Mind

15 New Instagrams, Me Talking about Maps, and 2 Quotes

 

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Whenever the intensity of looking reaches a certain degree, one becomes aware of an equally intense energy coming towards one through the appearance of whatever it is one is scrutinizing.

*

I can’t tell you what art does and how it does it, but I know that art has often judged the judges, pleaded revenge to the innocent and shown to the future what the past has suffered, so that it has never been forgotten.
I know too that the powerful fear art, whatever its form, when it does this, and that amongst the people such art sometimes runs like a rumour and a legend because it makes sense of what life’s brutalities cannot, a sense that unites us, for it is inseparable from a justice at last. Art, when it functions like this, becomes a meeting-place of the invisible, the irreducible, the enduring, guts and honour.

- John Berger

 

THE NIGHT SKY IS A WOMAN IN LOVE

LIPS-قصيدة

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ذات يوم نطق أحدهم بتوصيف دقيق
لذلك الذي نعرفه ما إن نراه
وفيما تشخلل كلماتنا المعقودة كالخرز
في سلاسل ضيقة حول أعناقنا
ونحن نرود الحظائر نفسها
لم ننتبه إلى ما قاله
كان الذئب السعران ينبح تحت الكوبري
و”الونش” يفترس السيارات
وقبل أن يخطر لنا أن نستزيده
سقط الناطق بالتوصيف فجأة
من شباك المؤسسة
فتاة أخرى أو امرأة بدأت تهذي
وهي تخترع العجلة على رصيف “قهوة”
يرن على طاولاتها “قشاط” الرجال.

*
أكاذيب مَن يسعى إلى صدق
ومَن يسعى
إلى كذب
يمكن أن يشبه الصدق
بشرط أن يبقى
على مسافة من الأشياء
وكلما غاص في الوهم أكثر
كلما حلّق أبعد في مداراته
بدا أنه أصدق
لأنه ساعتها فقط
وبينما صاحب الصدق نائم
يمكنه أن يسرّب كليشيهات
تروق للمافيا الصغيرة
المافيا التي تحكم سموات
كأنها أسقف واطئة
ونجومها المبالغ في حجمها تشهق
كجروح المعذَّبين في المعتقلات.

Four poems by Ahmad Yamani

The Two Houses
I wake in the same room to find my hand splashing the lake that lurks under the bed, to find the thick wall of my old house with its dusty window where a main wall of this apartment should be. I opened the window and the evening was still there. And my father was in the kitchen, his hand on the light switch and his leg which is missing five centimetres looking longer than the other, I called to him and he did not reply, he only smiled and invited me with gestures of his hand to go on sleeping. ‘The universe is a handkerchief’, they say here. Over there we say ‘Small world’. At night I go to my parents’ house, through the opening I made behind my new house. I stay there an hour or two to check on the family’s medicine, on my parents’ sleep and their breakfast. At dawn I set up my vehicle and go back again.

The Big Escape
They had sentenced me to execution with two of my friends and it was by what they called euthanasia which had already killed a fourth friend of ours. We did not understand very well what they meant by these statements and so they left us free without guards or cells and sentenced us instead to a kind of death they called a mercy killing which is carried out by a middle aged lady who has a benign face and which is painless but is death anyway. I consulted with my mother and my friends a little while before the execution and I decided to escape. They all agreed I should go while my two friends remained to wait for the lady. As soon as I went out after they gave me all the money they had I met with the merciful lady face to face next to my home. Neither of us looked at the other. She avoided me and went off and I went past her and started to run looking over my shoulder in other countries.

Tobacco Seller
Her hand is on the box, my foot outside the house. Suddenly it grows dark, while she continues rubbing the tobacco on her shiny thigh.
She stops a little to move half the tobacco to her other thigh, while I enter the tunnel and start smoking.”

The Book
How can she not
read what I write
How come she waits by the door
until someone passing
gives her a few words
those strange obscure words
Yet she listens and smiles
as if she was there with me
at five in the morning
as if her hand
relocated some of the words
moved them from the wrong places
moved them and went to sleep
But how can she not
read what her own hands inscribed only yesterday
How come she cannot open the balcony
in the morning
to receive the sun
with a copy of the book in her left hand
that she reads slowly
winking at the neighbours
pointing to her son the wordsmith
waving the book in their faces
five times
while she mutters
strange and obscure words.

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