Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ephemeral Scents

To gaze at a river made of time and water
and remember Time is another river.
To know we stray like a river
and our faces vanish like water.

Daesh, ISIS, or Al-Qaida are getting nearer to Baghdad. They gain cities easily. Explosions occur suddenly here and there in Baghdad. Still we wake up in the morning and we go to work. We get hungry and we eat with what seems like a "hunger". Yes it seems a little strange that we still get hungry. Anyhow, I think I have lost some kilos lately and I don't know exactly why. Meanwhile our  French language lesson was about paranormal experiences, hence our teacher provided us with a text from Maupassant's short story "Le Horla". It is about a man who started feeling that there is a soul existing next to him, drinking his milk and water, and one day he saw on of his garden flowers being cut by that invisible thing, that soul. He went for a psychiatrist to ask for help. I get interested and decide to read this short story so well.  

To feel that waking is another dream
that dreams of not dreaming and that the death
we fear in our bones is the death
that every night we call a dream.

Back home and for the rest of the day I do  nothing specific but navigating here and there in the net. Facebook is taking more time from me, more time than I intended. I hear old songs from youtube. I sleep. I wake up the next day and while drinking tea I read some old newspaper. Al Pacino is in the cover of the weekly supplement of my favorite newspaper, Al Mada.  The supplement talks about Al Pacino. I run fast across the pages to linger a little in front of an article about "Scent of a Woman".

To see in every day and year a symbol
of all the days of man and his years,
and convert the outrage of the years
into a music, a sound, and a symbol.

The first page of the newspaper contains a photo of a Yazidi praying. I feel guilty, a little, that I said once to a Kurdish friend that I find Yazidi girls attractive. Now that ISIS had taken many Yazidi girls as hostages, raped them, killed some, I feel ashamed of my religion. I feel ashamed of what I once said that I find Yazidi girls attractive. May God bless them all. May God bless us all.

To see in death a dream, in the sunset
a golden sadness--such is poetry,
humble and immortal, poetry,
returning, like dawn and the sunset.

I remember once I felt like I love a Yazidi young woman. I think she felt it. One day and while we were just having a passing fleeting conversation she looked me in the eye long enough and said that she will leave Iraq soon with her parents to go live in the USA. She said that and kept looking into my eyes. In my mind an idea passed, an idea about the impossibility of marriage between a Muslim and a Yazidi. As cold as a lizard I wished her, and her family, luck. That was in 2007. I was in Mosul. I felt also that I love a nurse, a friend from Romania I knew via yahoo chatting, and a doctor. All were married. Two were from other religions. Always impossible to marry. It seems that I never chose to love a girl who I might marry. It seems that I am afraid from commitment. I want relations to be passing, and always there should be a reason to kill the relation before it even starts. Killed while still a fantasy. I just want the other side to nourish my need to feel being wanted and desired. Kind of childish narcissistic passing fancy. Temporary and deferred like electricity in my homeland, not secured, not constant, like a mother's breast that is, that is not enough?

Sometimes at evening there's a face
that sees us from the deeps of a mirror.
Art must be that sort of mirror,
disclosing to each of us his face.

I left her a message: (Where are you?). She answered after few days with her bad Arabic: (In this a Universe!). I said: (In Mars?) She answered: (No, this is old, I am in Saturn). Many moons go round Saturn. She got black hair. I am moony too. I go round her like a blind folded donkey in a mill. She finally laughs at me and say: (You need to stay 10 years in a mental asylum !) I turn the pages of the newspaper and see a pub of a new edition of the novel "Perfume" by Patrick Suskind. Perfume. Memories. Limbic system. Rhinenecephalone. The animal inside of us.

They say Ulysses, wearied of wonders,
wept with love on seeing Ithaca,
humble and green. Art is that Ithaca,
a green eternity, not wonders.

I go to sleep. I dream that there is some fire starting in a corner my room. I wake up frightened and started searching if there is really a fire nearby, but there was any. I flared my nostrils at large and took depth and smell, but there was no smell of fire. I stood up, still frightened, and started walking around in the lodgment, searching for fire, but again there was nothing.

A brand new day starts and Al Mada publishes a supplement about Borges. I read the translation of (The Art of Poetry) to Arabic by Shaki Al Aybi. I like that. Now really I like that. I like life. I want to stay alive. Even if as a fleeting face, that is passing by. But while passing I want to kiss a girl. I want to kiss that girl, and tell her how much I love her. 

Art is endless like a river flowing,
passing, yet remaining, a mirror to the same
inconstant Heraclitus, who is the same
and yet another, like the river flowing.

The Poem's name is The Art of Poetry, and is by Borges
--translated by Anthony Kerrigan

Monday, March 23, 2015

Reading Nedjma

I was walking with my friends in central Baghdad, we passed by a Falcon for sale. He is tied by his legs to the cage. He seemed confused of his surroundings.  

 Looking at his constraints every now and then.

We went walking and reached some old quarter in which the shops were closed, and it was so neglected.

Now I am having a rest after a long sieste that left me with that lovable cloud-like feeling in your head. It is that effect that comes when the headache goes by, leaving that emptiness, that desert, those mountainous areas where wind alone travels. I am drinking a mug of black tea and have just turned the T.V. TV5Monde shows a documentary on Liban Civil War. La classe !!

 An old footage from that era shows a warrior presenting his colleagues, he was asking them each about his job or his diplomas: a doctor, an engineer, a civil engineer, an orthopedic, a lawyer, a technician, a doctor, etc...

I think the idea was to show that these are not ignorant people, and that the cause of their holding guns was justified.

My black tea mug is about to be empty again, so, I will end this evening by reading Nedjma, that Algerian novel written by Kateb Yacine. A friend of mine had found me two translated versions and he burrowed me the two of them.

 The family tree of the protagonists is so complex. You do know easily who is the father of who, and that was made deliberately by Yacine. Nedjma herself seems to be the daughter of  French woman who was raped by an two Algerian men in a mountain. On of the men then killed the other. Seems so ... so ...

Violence and Sex... it seems that Freud was (a little) right.

My clinic in Kerbala is closed since months and I have plenty of empty prescription papers. I use my prescription unused papers to write some notes from Nedjma.

... and I think about the cause of life. The aim. The way of life.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

A French Kiss.. to my Wife

I came today to home after three days at work. At the site of the work I have to spend nights at a hotel, because the logement in the University is not enough for all the staff. So, I came back today and was on my way to the market in my quarter to buy a kilo of oranges when I saw one my neighbours who started asking me thinks like:

"How many days are you spending there in your work? Are you spending your days good there?"

And then soon followed:

"Why don't you marry? You need to marry soon. This is important."

If he would repeat these silly remarks I would ask him:

"Did I bring prostitutes to the neighbourhood and worried you? Did I looked at your wife? At your daughter? If the answer is no, then please do not ask me again why I don't marry, this is my business."

I was thinking about that when in the T.V. they said that in Lebanon there is a movement towards the support of Civil Marriage. And I liked that much !!!

I really love Lebanon..

And France.

What I am doing here in Iraq???

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Stick in the Mud

"You know how everyone's always saying seize the moment? I don't know, I'm kind of thinking it's the other way around, you know, like the moment seizes us."

To be efficient in a language one needs to practice it. Comprehension is much easier than production, thus when a child grows up he understands many words before he can produce a single one. Although the child at the age of one year can say about three words, usually: Mama, Baba, Dada, he usually can understand about a hundred words. 

I was watching the movie BOYHOOD when I heard that idiom: STICK IN THE MUD. It was Samantha saying to her brother ehh, what was his name? Marion? Not Malcolm. I will check in the net wait.

Mason ! 

Do you forget names this fast like me? I just saw the movie before minutes!!

So it was Samantha, didn't forgot her name because he mother used to call her Sam!!, asking Mason why he is always a stick in the mud. I liked that idiom and I thought, before I could be sure of its meaning, that I am also a stick in the mud. So I looked in my mobile English-Arabic dictionary which says that this idiom means being ashamed. I knew there was something wrong with that translation so I stopped the movie and searched the google to find better dictionaries explaining the idiom: being old fashioned, slow, unprogressive  !!

Yeah, I am kind of that. ... Maybe..

I started thinking about my current situation because when I saw how life in America look like, I always compare to how I am spending my time here in Iraq.

I am not doing much to change my situation. I am just living a tasteless life. Not thinking about getting married here, because I see that life is not worthy to start a family in it. But what if I find a girl like this one that Mason had found?

She told him:

"You know how everyone's always saying seize the moment? I don't know, I'm kind of thinking it's the other way around, you know, like the moment seizes us."

I am afraid that the movie will end while I,
Am stick in the Mud

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Timely Rambling

Are you happy?

Seems an easy question. Isn't it.

Well try to answer it. 

You think you don't have enough time?

If that is the case then I think you are not happy, my friend. 

It was yesterday when I heard something about the relation between happiness and slowness. I forgot where that was and what it was exactly but the idea was that if you can master yourself to be slow in your daily actions you will find happiness. I think I read that from a newspaper.

Happiness is difficult to define. Even if we look at its more basic description: pleasure, we will find some difficulty defining it. Like water, we will end by defining it as: water!

To define pleasure it might be easier to define it in simpler organisms, like bacteria, than defining it in human beings. When the bacteria finds an environment supporting its survival, for example with favorable nutrients, and favorable pH and temperature, it will try to stay in that environment, and it will try to avoid any change. It is happy. It has found its pleasurable milieu. It is balanced. No threats, to life, or in another word, no pain.

That is it for today's rambling. The idea was to just to post those photos and to write something.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Holmes in the Bus in Baghdad

I was reading Sherlock Holmes (A Scandal in Bohemia) in the bus when a desire took a hold of me, the desire of becoming as perfect as he was in observation of details around him, so as I put down the book for a while and started observing the details that surrounded me.

 Thanks God the speakers were off. They look much better off in the sun.
 A heel of a shoe has found its role in this bus.
 At the end of the short story Holmes didn't shake the hands of king of Bohemia although the king had presented his hand. All that Holmes asked for was to guard the photo in his personal belongings, as if he was thinking that it is more safe than to give it to the king. The king, if really was trying to do harm, and was really pathological suspicious would have not accepted that, but as a child, he accepted.
From the beginning I suspected that Holmes didn't like the King of Bohemia from the way he observed his clothings, and I even suspected racism. He described that king with ridicule. That king looked almost nauseating to me with all that bad taste in clothings, and bad manners.
The King of Bohemia was worried that a woman, an English woman we would suppose, will hurt him in the future because they were lovers and she had a picture of him and her together. The king of Bohemia suspected that she might one day blackmail him. Holmes duty was to take that picture off from her. But she finally, in sudden movement, let Holmes took the picture and left him a message praising his cleverness and telling him that she didn't intend to harm the king, but on the contrary she was afraid that that king might try to hurt her reputation one day so she kept that picture with her. That ending is not convincing to me.

I didn't like the king of bohemia, nor holmes, nor the lady who was about to marry.
I liked only this speaker who was saying nothing.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

My strange dream about Isis

Lately I read some articles in Arabic journals about terrorism. About what is happening in Syria, Iraq and lately, in France. Yesterday I dreamed as if seeing visually an article. If we were living in the ancient times I would be regarded as a prophet seeing a message from God. It was symbolic although I didn't get all the symbols. Here is the dream:

"It is in an airport, a child in a wheelchair pushed by her mother, approaches in their walking by hazard a slim talk black man who looks like Sotigui Kouyate.

He is so slim and wearing suspenders. The girl doesn't like the suspenders and thought that they look silly so she started chatting with him with ridicule. He answers her with questions: "What if somebody can not wear a belt?", "What if I am diseased and belts can hurt me?" While they continue chatting she manages to take the suspenders from him. They start laughing since his trousers start hanging down. He tells her that his disease makes him loose weight even if he eats good.  

The girl continues her ridicule and she finally answers his questions by: "How wise you are, you know much things, you know all things about medicine, religion, and the soul."

He answers as calm as he seems always be: "Regarding medicine, I asked my doctor what is wrong with me so that I can understand myself. Regarding religion I claim no knowledge, nor regarding the soul."

At that point the girl's mother says: "That's what I prefer." She is smiling when she puts the wheelchair in that corner to go for a thing to check, like when we go to check the boardings of airplanes. The African black slim tall man stands about 2 meters from the girl in the wheelchair who still has his suspenders with her. She moves her wheelchair to approach him and without a word, but with a smile, she gives him his suspenders. He kneels down to look her good in the eyes and says: "What the world is waiting to make you his Goddess Isis?"

The dream ends with seeing few lines written in Arabic, and also hearing somebody reading them. The verses say something like:

What the world is waiting?
We men had spoiled this world
We made women become prostitutes
When will be go back to that time where women reign?

That how I remember my dream. I am sure I forgot some details but that what sticks in my mind and thought that you like to hear about.