Topography of my soul


When I was seven,
 
At gunpoint,
 
I was driven out of my homeland, Palestine
 
A Naksa, survivor, daughter of Nakba survivors
 
Eyes moist, gazing at the horizon
 
Fixated towards Jerusalem
 
Ever since
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When I was seventeen,
 
My family departed Libya, moved away, as did I
 
Leaving all my friends behind
 
“I will not go through this again” I thought
 
“No more friends, no more love, no more gain
 
No more loss, no more separation, no more pain”
 
I said to myself
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At twenty seven,
 
A stranger in a strange land, London, UK
 
The chest of my beloved was ripped open
 
Valve replacement in his weary heart
 
Standing by his side in ICU
 
“Wouldn’t I wish it was me under the surgeon’s knife”
 
“I would cope better, if I took your place”
 
Anguish unbearable, legs… jelly, I fell to the floor
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At thirty seven,
 
Gasping for life, in a hospital bed
 
Embroidering hope with a phantom thread
 
Wavering in and out of existence
 
Four years in the abyss
 
Watching in despair
 
My children growing
 
Playing alone, dressing alone, reading alone,
 
Going to bed without mama’s song or bedtime story
 
A breathing shadow
 
I linger at the brim of sanity
 
In daunting anticipation
 
Dreading the relentless daily questions of my toddler
 
“Are you feeling better, mama? Can you give me a bath now?
Can you tell me a story yet? Can we play outside today?”
 
 “Does that grey colour in your hair mean you’re going to die soon, mama?”

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At forty seven,
 
Grieving the sudden loss of my soulmate,
 
Burying my beloved in a faraway graveyard
 
Frozen, I curl inwards,
Staring at his face fractalising, covering every spot I lay my eyes upon
 
Frantically I run to me
 
Flicking through my memories
 
Searching every corner of my lost mind
 
Exhuming my heart, tearing it apart
 
Chiseling the kernel of my soul with my bare hands
 
Maybe, just maybe, I could find Khaled’s grin again
 
Meet his shadow, kiss his forehead
 
Catch a whiff of his scent around
 
Or hear one of his heartbeats just one more time
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At fifty seven,
 
oops, not there yet !
 
* * *
 
NO… NO
 
Don’t get me wrong
 
I am not complaining, not at all
 
I’m merely describing the lowest points in time and space
 
On the map of my journey, in the canyons of my soul
 
* * *
 
The rest is magic
 
Swaying hills, and gushing waterfalls
 
Great big mountains with high altitudes
 
Buoyant meadows, and dancing rainbows,
 
Flowing rivers, pounding oceans, hymns of gratitude
 
Thank you Allah, Shukran ya wadoud
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A Tear for the World


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I feel your throbbing pain

O World

I see your bleeding soul

I cringe, I go insane

 

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Weary, I retreat

To the land of barren tears

Where no man has ever been

In silence, I weep

 

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“O dear God”

I whisper

“How can such a small heart,

Take all this pain?”

 

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Is it really cruel?


 

 

 

People say

What happened to you is so cruel… so unfair

To have to lose khaled in such an awful way

When you were so much in love

I say, yes it is very painful

But not at all cruel

Death is nothing but a gateway

Everything dies… Everyone dies

Why should I be the exception?

His journey ended before mine

That’s all

And soon I’ll follow

It’s only a matter of time

Before we are together again

We come to life

 Only for a while

Also… the law goes

The higher you fly up

The greater is your fall

The more intensely you enjoy your love

The more painful is your sorrow

This only fair

Some live and die

Without experiencing real love

And I’ve experienced all

It’s not cruel to give something back

And to feel more pain

Is not unfair

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Raw


This poem is dedicated to my friend Genie (Palestine Rose)

When you write raw

You leave your heart exposed
Unmasked
Unprotected

It will carry many cuts and bruises

It might even bleed its life out

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I too,  write raw

Not to appease
Neither to please
And certainly not to hurt or cause harm

Not to praise or to be praised
Not to condemn or put anyone down

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But to heal and ease the pain
Of an injured world
With which I fell madly in love
Long before the day I was born

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I hear rivers and oceans weeping I go to pieces
I see the tears running down sky’s face,

I melt away, I go insane

I would peel off the kernel of my soul
I would crush my being to nothingness
I would dwindle and wither away
I would set my heart ablaze
To see a child smile

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Take my heart
Take my heart
grind it down
Sprinkle the dust over this tormented world
Turn it to compost
Let it feed love-hungry souls

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In the palm of my hand I hold my heart, tender and sore
With delight I give it away
Watch the blossoms budding around
As one child smiles again

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Wouldn’t you?

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