The Last Two Souls

I named both of his eyes: “Forever” and “Please Don’t Go” ’cause I know this kind of love; I’ve been here before. It’s good for a while, ’til he walks out the door. 

But I can’t change, even if I tried; even if I wanted to. My love, my love, my love, my love.

He keeps me warm, he keeps me warm.

Same Love – Mary Lambert

In the wilderness, we travel, you and I. We don’t know each other, we never met. We are the opposite sides of a magnet, we’re on the other sides of the globe. You’re my ice, and I’m your flame. We walk, unknowingly heading towards each other, yet pushing away from one another; and our roads stretch ahead so darkening, so puzzling, but we keep moving. 

I climb the towers of Babylon, and I call your name. I didn’t know at the time that that was your name; deep within, I just screamed it; and it became your name. 

You came through oceans; as if you’re a mystical creature; you heard my calling and you came, the last two souls on planet earth were about to collide, you didn’t know your own name, but I named you, and you answered. 

As we reach each others; and on arms length; we reach to each others with a kiss, lip on lip, hand on hand, and you drawn in my arms; and I melt in yours. We smash into each others like two shadows that merge to become one. We fall deeper into the cursed kiss; and we, so hungry for love, so thirsty for belonging, tight our arms around each others, in a deep cold corner in this world. Around us, circles of green grass is growing, trees are scratching the face of the earth again. The ruins are rebuilding; a stone jumps on top of a stone, the stones rubs each other, as our bodies rubs each others. My hand, firmly grabbing your back, squeeze water from within the mountains and it explodes like a heaven of sparkles; from within the womb of the mountains, fish jump alive and beautiful. Koi fish, just like that one tattooed on my left arm, every kiss you print on my tattoo, another Koi fish comes back to life. 

.. I hold you between my arms, and I look long and hard into your eyes: you’re my unknown lover, my one and only, my deepest secret and my only hope; you’re the dream that I didn’t dare to dream, and the balance to all my fears; you’re my partner, my brother, my father and my son. I rest my head on your shoulder, and it becomes a garden of fresh grass and gentle sun, overlooking a beach of wavy sea; from the sea, a fish is brave enough to step out, and try, and from the heart of the ocean; life comes out once again. evolution has all the letters of love in it; and our revolution over our damned bodies and souls is love read backwards. 

ImageYou keep me warm. You keep me warm. You keep me warm. you keep me warm.

My love, my love, my love, my love.

… and we create life.

As the drams calm down, and the world is becoming heavenly again, we fall into the normal, we face the routine, we fall, we die within a little; then we start our journey once again, and I find you.

… or you find me. 

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Walking in [Insert City Name]

Walking in Memphis! But do I really feel the way I feel?! They got catfish on the table, They got gospel in the air. Reverend Green!! be glad to see you when you haven’t got a prayer. Boy, you’ve got a prayer in Memphis.

Cher – Walking in Memphis 

Everything is different in Damascus, that city has its lights that dazzle you, you’re standing in the middle of the street, and you see the shinning lights glowing on the background of darkness; as you walk, they mesmerize you, and they start creating hallows of gold around them, that shines all the way across the dark blue skies. There is nothing like the skies of Damascus, they are so clear, so clean, so dark at night and so bright in the mornings. They are dusted away by angels in those wee hours when only wolves are awake. Just so you would wake up in the early minutes of sunrise; see the drop of dew sliding, like in an amusement park, on the windows and on the cold iron bars of the stairs; right next to the small plants my grandmother cherish and protect with her own life. 

Damascus is a dream that doesn’t come true but for the deserving. It’s a city of hopes and love, hiding deep within the corners of Bab Sharqi, on the rooftops of Al-Hamidieh, and in the jars of spices of Mehdat Basha. Damascus is a song only the true listeners can hear.”

— The way my boyfriend, originally from Damascus, would describe his mother city.     

ImageAleppo is driving in the middle of night, with your music loud enough to wake the dead, and enjoying a breathe of freedom. Aleppo is the guy singing for 16 hours, nonstop, those hard, untouchable, Qoudoud Halabieh, while people enjoy their Arjileh, mimicked across the world, but never the same taste. Aleppo is the city where children play peacefully and safely until late hours of nights. Aleppo is checking out the cute girl in the corner, and she checked you back. Aleppo is the bizarre taste of a first kiss, the electrifying feel of a first touch, the deep inhale as you fall in love for the first time. 

Aleppo is a lady standing on top of a tower, and her hair is long. She let it down only for the worthy, and only the worthy can climb it all the way up to the top. Aleppo is a magician that doesn’t reveal his secrets. Aleppo is a goddess standing in the middle of the desert, and surviving for the past million years.

Aleppo is the deep laughter of a child who is playing, tirelessly, pika-poo with his parents for the very first time. Aleppo is the musical noise of cars honking at me; yet, I’m lost with Aleppo, and cannot be found.”

— My friend Jay, the way she would describe her love for Aleppo. 

Alexandria is a mermaid, with blue hair, spreading her magic over the waves, and calling you to come, as you might never come back.”

” Istanbul is my sister, waiting at home, with a sweet smile, takes care of me when I’m down, hugs me when needed. We might picker, but our love is eternal.”

“I might hate Beirut, I surely cannot afford Beirut, I sometimes feel cheated by Beirut, but Beirut is my city. It’s where I’m from, it’s where I belong.” 

— Some friends I crossed paths with before. 

As I prepare myself to the next chapter in my life, getting myself ready to explore yet another city around the world, trying to see how will I fit in the big puzzle such cities provide. I hear people speak about their mother cities; and I fall in love of their versions of the cities that carried them while they were young. Mostly, I find myself joking inside of my head about the misleading concepts they have for a city they usually idolize based on childhood memories that are most probably twisted and added upon with layers of time and changes that they might actually never been real after all. Yet, like Frida Kahlo, in one of her most important paintings, I cannot help but wonder about the roots of me. Where do I see myself? Which city do I foolishly idolize. I find my answer to be void all the time. 

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The dream Frida is trying to produce here is of her, rootless, only belonging to herself, while her ideas, her relationships, her life, is growing out of her simple and shallow body; leaving scares unhealed by the time, and streams of blood that cannot be ended. 

Is it me? Am I the problem? Touring the world might have given me much, but it also took away from me the ability to delusion-alize oneself into believing in a concept of a city, where cities are merely locations on a map that are bordered according to the political and historical twists of fate. Cities are rocks, dust, water and fire gathering to create yet another meaningless corner of the world. Why does it mean so much to others, while it means nothing to me? Why do I lack the need to belong to an entity; a city, a nationality, even? I cannot figure that out. 

Cities are landmarks to the primitive notions of human needs to gather for protecting, food and shelter. Knowing that, however, do not help me understand why, this notion of belonging, is haunting me, yet again, as I’m preparing my next move away from yet another city. 

She Lost Her

Anybody ever tell you that you’ve got nerve, treatin’ my love like just another word. Tired of giving love to you that you don’t deserve, so, this is one way of saying it’s over.

‘Cause I got nothing left! I got nothing left! I gave you my best! And you treated it worthless, so I got nothing left!

Celine Dion – I Got Nothing Left 

As if a sword is stuck deep in your waist, you feel the pain. I know it, my love, I do. I understand the pain, the agony, the torture. Your last conversations is playing over and over in your head like a broken record. You are feeling blinded, as if she managed to destroy the core of your self-confidence; as if you were gone with the wind, not like a cliche in a movie, but literally, picked up like a helpless piece of paper, and forced to travel through storms and tornadoes for 49 days. 

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The problem is: The hurricane is still on its way.

She will try to get your attention; she will try to play the same tricks on you once more, and when she fails, and she will fail, she will try new ones, she will try to be sorry, she will try to get your empathy, and when that fails too, she will try to pull your strings; she will try to ruin your life. That won’t stop. It will never stop. She is mentally sick that way, the only way for you to live up your life is to stop her from reaching you. 

Take Ahmed, that ex-boyfriend I had in Damascus over two years ago, our relationship lasted for what? four months? He is still trying to ruin my mood with phone calls to my friends. He remembers how good I was to him, and he wants to ruin me, to make me a bad person, just like him, so he can go on in his life without feeling guilt about his past mistakes; and if he has a button that, if pushed, will ruin everything in my life; he won’t think twice before pushing it. 

She is, also, like that, but kinda much worse, she knows that good pure souls like you are hard to find; and if she can’t have you, no one can. If she can’t keep you in her spiderweb, where your very soul will be rotten, then she will try to poison you, in each and every way possible. 

Save yourself, my love, wake up to the reality of things; don’t let her. I’m worried about you. I love you. I can’t stand looking over the turn of events without warning you. 

I know it hurts. God knows it hurts. But it will hurt more when you will lose your righteous chance to be who you’re suppose to be, because of an insane person trying to ruin you. 

She was in a hospital? Oh, I can’t tell you how many times I witnessed this very trick, my love. So many crazy people tried it on me, and even tried it on my friends. I assure you, my baby, that this whole fake act, which is really disgusting for me, is to get the attention her twisted, crazy head is asking for. 

Baby girl, you’re beautiful the way you’re: so end her. End her very existence inside of your head; deal with it as if she does not live anymore; as if it never actually happened. Because, honestly, it didn’t. She was a projection of what you really wanted from love; and now she is turning into this monster that will eat your very soul. End her in your head, and that shallow, unworthy, unimportant, insignificant, sick, unappreciative woman who was mistaken you for an easy target to fulfill her fantasies, will disappear. She won’t have the power to challenge your emotions anymore; she won’t have the power to hurt you anymore. 

Our emotions are ours to protect, and for other people to deserve.

I love you, Jay.

—— 

Dedicated to Jay, the woman of my dreams.

The Ghosts in Your city

I’m on top of the world, ‘ay! Waiting on this for a while now, paying my dues to the dirt.
I’ve been waiting to smile, ‘ay! Been holding it in for a while, ‘ay! Take you with me if I can, been dreaming of this since a child. I’m on top of the world!

Top of the World – Imagine Dragons

The beat would start appearing in your unconscious mind way before it would be heard by your ears, suddenly you might realize that it has been there for a while, growing around you, gathering momentum, while you’re unaware of its presence. Suddenly, it would take note in your head, and you would start to wonder: How long have I been hearing this beat, yet, I wasn’t “registering” it?

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Then, the wind would follow, some call it the usual cliche: the wind of change, but this is a different wind: it’s the wind of balance, coming from the far East, gathering tree leafs and blowing whistles in the long pipes of the bamboo, producing a uplifting giggle.

And you’ll laugh, we will all laugh, the whole world would laugh.

That’s how it would feel, as the happiness of equality would wash upon us, the LGBTIQ people around the world, when this balance is restored to the world.

This magical feeling will take over 100s of millions of people across the world, as they celebrate yet another milestone for humanity to be closer to Gods, and less like demons.

For now, however, we will continue our fight, we will continue our struggle, we will continue to be the ghosts in your city, until your city welcomes us with open arms, and we become part of you all.

Join the Equalathon: The marathon to Equality here      

Ashamed of my Body

All so convinced that you’re following your heart, cause your mind don’t control what it does sometimes. We all have our nights though, don’t be so ashamed, I’ve had mine, you’ve had yours, we both know, we know.

You hate being alone, you ain’t the only one. you hate the fact that you bought the dream, and they sold you one. 

Darake Ft. Rihanna – Take Care 

His body is the body of an underwear model, his teeth are bright like the guy on TV trying to convince you that buying this tooth paste or that teeth brush will get you laid, his face is structured like the statues of Greek gods. He is a perfection in every physical aspect. His tattoos are designed perfectly to showcase his physic, his heart is shrinking under the pressure of all these muscles he is building layers above layers on his chest. 

And he added me on Facebook. 

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It was puzzling for me, honestly, as I sat there trying to understand the reason why someone like him add me to Facebook: I wasn’t going to accept his friend’s request, as I never add people I don’t know to Facebook, but I was puzzled with the reason of why someone like this guy would add me to Facebook: It wasn’t the smart comments I made on a mutual friend’s post which made him add me, as his comments assured me that he has the brains of a woodpecker, so, it wasn’t for the pleasure of deep and intelligent chats that would explore the universe and its mysteries. It wasn’t for my good looks either, I’m, at most, cute, and I have been abusing my own body with fatty food and stressful smoking for years now. If it wasn’t for my eyes, which everyone claims to be pretty, and my well studied demeanor, I don’t think I’d ever get laid in the first place. 

I deleted his friend’s request, finally, after I came to a conclusion that I was satisfied with: I noticed that every single picture of him, posing in a way that always shows his humanly impossible biceps or his perfect six abs, got 100s of likes from his friends; he has 100s of friends who are all sexual charged, just like him, and he has been collecting more gay men to left his low self-esteem up high with every like they click under his topless photos. 

I tried to put this story behind me, but I was still puzzled with it for another hour or two, I wasn’t puzzled by the reasoning (if any) behind this guy’s friend’s request. I was puzzled now with the reason why I was extremely surprised for getting the friend’s request in the first place. 

I am ashamed of my own body, that’s for sure. I hate the gym, I just can’t stand the gym, and I’d rather be online surfing Wikipedia for some historical event that no one else in the world cares about other than me and the guy who wrote the Wikipedia page, than to go to the gym, work out for hours, and be happy my biceps are bigger by an inch, which will disappear anyways if I did not work out tomorrow, and the day after and the day after that, and the day after that. 

I should be satisfied with my body, I mean, I’m slim in a healthy way, I have a belly, but it’s more of a pump on the road rather than a gigantic tummy that people we’d think I’m hosting an alien baby in there. I’m tall, but not too tall, and my body hair is strategically located in the right areas to make me look fabulous. 

Yet, I feel horrible whenever I get naked, alone in the shower, in bed with my boyfriend, as I’m changing my clothes to go out in the morning and walk the dog. I feel horrible when I’m walking in a gay bar here in Beirut to find that everyone has a body that, in my head, looks better than mine, that every t-shirt they wear would fit right around their biceps, and hug their six abs perfectly, while my t-shirts are loose around my body. I blame myself for not working out, not spending a lot of money on a gym that I’d force myself to go to, and I’d still have the same anxieties regardless of how many cardio classes I attend or how much weight I can carry with one arm. 

In my head, I blame the media, every single aspect of the media is imprinting expectations on the images of male and female bodies. Magazines, TV shows, advertisements, porn movies, even waiters in high class cafes, even the people who are indirectly pressuring me to conform to this image when they conform to it themselves, making me the odd one out. 

I know, logically, that I’m fine, I’m a good looking man in his late 20s who still has the world ahead of him, but in my heart, I feel bad, horrible even, every time I see a man who conformed to these expectations and managed to “get there”. Why is it too hard to accept all kinds of people, of all colors and shapes and sexual preference? 

Everyone is selling and I’m buying it regardless of how my brains are trying to force me not to: Underwear models are perfect, porn stars are perfect, guys in the street are perfect, I don’t look at them anymore to enjoy a glance of the male body beauty, but rather to feel bad about my own body. I am ashamed of my body, and I want to change it, but I don’t want to spend my money on a gym I’ll feel forced to attended, I want to look like that guy on Facebook, but I don’t want to be him. I don’t know what to do, I honestly don’t. 

Reinventing

I’m gonna break the cycle; I’m gonna shake up the system. I’m gonna destroy my ego. I’m gonna close my body now. I think I’ll find another way: There’s so much more to know. I guess I’ll die another day: It’s not my time to go.

Madonna – Die Another Day

 As our bodies shatter, we reassemble ourselves in all sorts of acts to recreate the glory that once was our souls. These souls, now hiding in the shadows, are waiting for the right person to put our body parts together. We recreate, we rekindle, we remove parts, we reinstall others, we redesign our faces, our feet, or big bellies, our fat thighs, our body image, and we reinvent ourselves, over, and over, and over, and over.

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I’m sitting inside the bus, getting myself together for a trip that would last around 40 hours, not knowing that the seat I got is broken, and it can never incline, which meant that I’ll be sitting like a rock statue for the next 40 hours, resulting in a back pain that I would ignore while I enjoy my first hours in Egypt, a country I visit for the first time. I was 21 at the time, I was naive and heartbroken.

I pick up the phone, and I call Hussam, a short and tearful goodbye with promises to meet merely months after this departure, a meeting that never took place ever since. As I head to Egypt, I start to think to myself, maybe it is a new beginning, maybe I will be accepted, maybe I would stand against the stream and open my arms wide, and maybe, for the first time in my life, I won’t drawn.

For a year or two, as I go through life in Egypt, I struggle, as you do, in finding my place among people, and I struggle some more with finding myself among all the places Cairo can provide you: What am I? Am I the young romantic writer destined to become a columnist one day in one of the Egyptian newspapers? Am I the new hot dude in the gay community in Cairo? Am I a journalist with a thirst to the unknown? Or am I the Syrian who is missing his country and family and wants to go back? I needed around 5 years to find out the answer to that question: That was about the time that I left Cairo.

I’m sitting inside the airplane, getting myself together for a trip I did not expect, less than 24 hours ago I was standing in the middle of Tahrir square, reporting about what is happening there, and  now I’m on a plane I did not plan to evacuate Egypt to Jordan, I thought, from my whole heart, that I will be back in Egypt in couple of weeks, which never actually happened. I call Jimmy, and we have one more goodbye, we were dating for a couple of months by then, we were getting ready to move to the next phase of our relationship, when I went out the door and I never returned.

As I sit there, in my father’s living room, with my grandmother crying and asking me to stay in Syria and never leave again, I think to myself, maybe I will be able to find my place here once more, maybe I can have friends and family and become who I really want to become, maybe I will plan my life around Syria again, and maybe this time it would work.

For six months, I went through life in Syria, I struggled to find a good home and a good life and a good job; as I’m settling into this new life, getting to know real people, and having the best relationships I had in my life, I was offered to come to Beirut for work. Was it needed? Did I really need the change in my life? Did I have to? I cannot tell, what I know is that I couldn’t say no to this job offer. I packed my back, and in less than a month, I was out of the door.

I’m sitting inside the car getting ready for the three hours trip to Beirut, worrying that the police at the borders might not like me that much and I might end up in some unknown prison, I make a final phone call to my boyfriend, who will follow me in couple of months; I couldn’t handle anymore reinventing, I couldn’t handle reimagining my life, I wanted him and  no one else, and I did not say goodbye, I did not reinvented the world around me, I decided to put my life back together.

Now, as I plan to go to Canada, I know that I’m facing the struggles of settling in yet another new country, Beirut is expensive, heartless, yet beautiful and welcoming. I’m facing the struggles I’m going to face once more when I move to Canada, but at least, for once, I’m facing it with someone I love.

Aside

In the Darkest Hour

It’s like a record going round. Yes, it’s going round, going round, going round. I know I should wanna take it off But I find it hard, why do I find it hard?

I used to have a vision I was sitting somewhere up there Looking down on myself doing right For once in my life.
It changes, hope my life changes. Gets alright somehow. Oh, I’m waiting for tomorrow. I hope it changes, can’t just stay the same, I’ve been out of luck for so long and I don’t get much so there’s nothing much to lose.

Will Young – Changes

It’s hard on him, I understand, I relate. He is sitting there in the shadows waiting for a break in the routine of his life, hoping that his heart would beat again with a joy other than the joy of love. Love makes you happy, but it doesn’t make you complete. He, and I, know that.
He feels stuck, like he has been tide up to a rocking chair that keeps on going back and forward until he can’t feel his toes anymore, and can’t handle his aching emptied head.
Inside his head, he is screaming with agony, like a mother watching her child taken away from a window on the third floor, helpless to get the child back, yet dying a sudden death on all emotional levels: like being stuck at the everlasting moment of the pain of the bullet as it enters his brains. Depression is a bitch, especially if you can’t answer yourself the question that is on the minds of everyone who loves you: “What the hell is wrong?”
He is homesick: It’s clear to me. However, what is he going back to, exactly? a ruined country, a city with  no future, a war that is closing its teeth upon the souls of its people; and chewing. The sound of breaking bones and spilling blood is echoing in everyone’s ears around the world: but who is listening anyways? Who cares for the lives and the separations of the roots in Syria? No one. No one cares.
ImageWhen asked by a friend on when I’ll ever return to Syria, I told him that Syria has been “destroyed beyond fixing, the country is gone mad, and no one can save it anymore. It is now the rule of the  jungle, and the rule of every man for himself.”
So, why homesick? to the bombs? to the deaths? to the unspeakable reality that is being whispered everyday in the ears of the dead and in the wounds of the martyrs? to his family? to his loved ones? That is a concept I’ll never come to understand, simply for lack of experience: Me: family-less, rootless, lost between the countries of the world not finding my own since my very own existence. No toys from childhood to remember, no one to call me son with a loving tune to cherish, no beginning anywhere. 
I’m lost in my own mind while he is lost in his own abyss: trying to find a place for himself in a new city, a new country, with friends that are only mine, with dreams that are only mine, no friends but my own, no dreams for him but the shadows of my plans. If anyone should be blamed, it should be me; for allowing him to love me; to leave everything and come for me, solely me, and now that he misses everything else, he has nothing but me to blame.
… yet he doesn’t.
He doesn’t blame me, he sits ideally on the couch dreaming of what used to be; he talks to friends and family members planning trips to visit that I’m too worried to understand or support. He waits; and the waiting lingers, and the distance between my office and his couch looks bigger and bigger everyday.
Like a haunted ghost, while the ghost haunts the innocent people who just moved to the house, the ghost itself is haunted by his own past, can’t let go of his own stories; and he takes it out on people, rattling houses, creating noises, and scaring children.
The war in Syria is tunnel; and we are walking blind in that tunnel; smashing into one another; breaking each others backs with pain and suffering we carry on our own; and there is a light at the end of the tunnel; but it might very well be a train coming towards us to end our stories, once and for all.

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