AIRPORT ROAD www.electrastreet.net/airportroad NYU Abu Dhabi 19 Washington Square North New York, NY 10003 Send inquiries to: Publisher Airport Road NYU Abu Dhabi PO Box 903 New York, NY 10276-0903 email@example.com ISSN 2312-1777 © 2015 Electra Street
Cover Image: Diana Gluck Krishan Mistry’s poem “FourthGeneration4.0” was originally published in The Columbia Review. Reprinted by permission. Urdu text of Muhammad Allama Iqbal ‘s “Ahead of the Stars” courtesy of iqbalurdu.blogspot.com.
EDITOR FOUNDING EDITOR READERS
DESIGN CONSULTANT EXECUTIVE EDITOR PUBLISHER
Diana Gluck Sachi Leith Dana Abu Ali Gabrielle Flores Sachi Leith Brigitta Schuchert Kristina Stankovic Rebecca Pittam Deborah Lindsay Williams Cyrus R. K. Patell
Issue 02 Spring 2015
Contents POETRY Grega Ulen, Scars 9 Brooks Fowler, 11.7.14 11 Krishan Mistry, madipoem3.5 33 Grega Ulen, Like Words 39 Grega Ulen, Success 57 Hannah Taylor, Hunger 61 Hannah Taylor, (over)whelmed 73 Laura Waltje, Transmission 76 Khadeeja Farooqui, Untitled 101 Krishan Mistry, FourthGeneration4.0 107 Mariam ElZogby, Abandonment 120 Thirangie Jayatilake, Leyn Baan St 123
PROSE Veronica Houk, Circle 13 Laura Waltje, Sundays 25 Thirangie Jayatilake, Liquid Children 30 Joey Bui, Dinosaurs 44 Mariam ElZogby, Sorting Through 63 Joey Bui, Hey, Brother 79 Kristina Stankovic, Gone with Hieu Nguyen Min 87
TRANSLATION Humna Bhagani, Ahead of the Stars 40 Roland Folkmayer, I Cannot Tell It to Anybody 69 VISUAL Allegra Sussman, Untitled 8 Julia Saubier, In the Making 10 Diana Gluck, Window 12 Brooks Fowler, icarus 24 Khadija Toor, Flash Forward 29 Khadija Toor, Details 32 Nikolai Kozak, Texture #32 38 Allegra Sussman, Untitled 43 Diana Gluck, Sama Studio 56 Khadija Toor, Garage 60 Julia Saubier, Interiors 62 Khadija Toor, Staircase 68 Julia Saubier, Moby Dragon 71 Julia Saubier, Pray, Mantis 72 Diana Gluck, Split Street 75 Julia Saubier, Childâ€™s Play 78 Nikolai Kozak, Hermanos 86 Nikolai Kozak, Camellos 100 Allegra Sussman, Untitled 106 Cleo Smits, Untitled Series 110 Diana Gluck, Walkway 122 Brooks Fowler, aftermath 125
Introduction Airport Road is the cross street that forms the intersection nearest to Sama Tower, the vertical beehive where NYU Abu Dhabi students, faculty, and staff lived from 2010 to 2014. For many of us, it was on Airport Road that we first negotiated the treacherous “free right-hand turn,” which is “free” for cars because they’re not bound by the red-light signal across the intersection. Pedestrians: look left and cross at your peril. Those of you used to UK traffic rules, don’t think for a second that those white lines on the tarmac mean that it’s a “zebra crossing.” The cars aren’t going to be stopping just because you put your foot in the road. If you type “Airport Road” into Google Maps, the app will ask you if you mean the “International Airport Road” (also known as the “Abu Dhabi – Sweihan – Al Hayer Road), which is indeed much nearer the international airport than our Airport Road. Google is also familiar with “New Airport Road,” which is a few hundred meters toward Saadiyat Island from the street we’re talking about. Googling “Airport Road” reminds us that local knowledge doesn’t always make its way into official narratives (or the apps that draw on them).
No, the road we’re talking about is the one that the old-timers call “Airport Road” (or sometimes “Old Airport Road”), but that maps now refer to as “2nd Street” ( )ﺷﺎرع اﻟﺜﺎﻧﻲor “Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum Street” ()ﺷﺎرع ﺷﻴﺦ راﺷﺪ ﺑﻦ ﺳﻌﻴﺪ آﻟﻤﻜﺘﻮم. Follow it south, and it’ll eventually cross over “International Airport Road” and become the “Abu Dhabi – Al Ain Road” (a.k.a. “Route 22”), which ultimately takes you to the Oman border. NYU Abu Dhabi has now moved to its permanent home on Saadiyat Island, but in our minds “Airport Road” remains the perfect title for this magazine, which is devoted to student creative work. Like the street from which it takes its name, Airport Road draws on ambiguity, multiplicity, and memory. It winds through different landscapes of thought and imagination. It embodies the various forms of local knowledge that NYU students share with one another as they live, study, and travel throughout the university’s “global network” of sites. The physical Airport Road may take you from Abu Dhabi’s Corniche all the way to Oman, but this Airport Road will take you even farther away. And, perhaps, also closer to home. — Deborah Lindsay Williams
Untitled Allegra Sussman
Scars Grega Ulen
The wounds that you love Hurt as much as those you donâ€™t. Like pomegranates, I hide my scars underneath Two layers of peel.
In the Making Julia Saubier
11.7.14 Brooks Fowler
you can’t leave your baggage because there is a sinew connected to your gut scrawling your place in cursive and as the wound heals the sinew contracts and drags the canvas through dust and dirt to your spine it’s november and your ripped jean pockets make me want to hold on but the threads are loose and i can’t tell if the spindle that can make the thread to sew them together is ravelling or unravelling
Window Diana Gluck
Circle Veronica Houk Who knows if Felicity would have said something to the welldressed man sitting in front of her if she had sat in the third row of seats, instead of the second, on the tro-tro from Mallam Station to Kwame Nkrumah Circle. Felicity was tired when she flagged and boarded the empty blue van with a sticker reading “1 Samuel 2:7” stuck onto its rear window. She ached with the kind of exhaustion that pulsed not only in her temples from a full day of work but that also surged in her backside after physical exertion. A surveyor for Sino International Construction Corporation, she had been sent on assignment to see if any areas of the neighborhood were proper sites for a project—a new road, maybe, or a mediumsized housing venture. The area certainly needs a facelift, Felicity decided that afternoon, scribbling shorthand notes onto a pad of yellow legal paper. She enjoyed the dull warmth in her body, as if she had earned the long, heavy sit on the tro-tro’s bench that afternoon. Felicity chose the seat all the way into the second row so she could prop her face next to the open window. Enjoying the breeze and the quiet on the tro-tro before other passengers boarded, she did not notice the mate at first. She was too focused on the beads of sweat rolling down her back, trying to feel them from the top of
her back, right between her shoulder blades, all the way to the elastic of her underwear. She always lost them somewhere threequarters down, a few inches above her Venus dimples. A gentle clawing at her bare arm broke Felicity’s focus on her perspiration. She turned, annoyed at the stranger’s contact, until she realized it was the mate’s fingers reminding her to pay the fare. “Two three zero,” he said, his eyes not meeting hers. Felicity passed a handful of coins to him. After sieving them in his hand to determine the size and value of each, he looked up. When their gazes met from under his tight knit cap, Felicity thought she saw something flash across his face that resembled a flush of pleasure, or amusement. Was he laughing at her, or simply surprised? In another man, or boy—she hadn’t decided which he was yet—Felicity would have assumed the raised eyebrows and sudden jerk of the lips back toward the ears indicated an attraction to her and accordingly felt flattered or piqued. But the mate’s raw smile melted into disinterest as quickly as it erupted onto his face. He certainly recognized that she was not Ghanaian, not in the fullblooded, born-and-bred sense. Likely, it was the reflective quality in her not-quite-brown eyes, which some said had specks of olive and others argued were twisted with lemon, that gave away her mixed parentage. Or maybe something in the way she handled the coins delicately, knowing the numbers printed on each but not
sure of their exact value, that hinted toward her alienness. She waited to see if he turned back to steal another glance at her, but he dropped her money into a hidden pouch down his pants and stared out the door (where a window should have been, there was nothing) with a zipped-up gaze. The mate’s reaction to her face awakened a desire in Felicity. She studied him. Even with his head straining out the window frame, from the second row she could see his profile quite clearly. He had the kind of face that rejects and mocks a viewer’s attempts to tell its age. In his orange tank top, Felicity noticed the clearly defined muscles that strained out of his smooth yaayi skin—how come skin color is always compared to food, she wondered?— but his arms were thinner than her eight-year-old niece’s. He could have been fourteen, skipping school for work against (or in accordance with) his mother’s wishes, or seventeen, already sucking palm wine out of plastic bags and chasing tonga with boys in his age group. His jaw jutted out from the rest of his face as if his words were too precious to risk getting lost on the way from his throat to the listener’s ears and the jaw had crawled forward to shorten the distance. Maybe that was why he had become a mate: his body was made to churn out words in a supersonic tone, like scraping aluminum, each one sounding the exact same as the one preceding. His chest did not house an esophagus and voice box subject to squeaks and cracks, but a factory conveyer belt that expertly manufactured replica after replica of the same product.
“Cir-cal cir-cal cir-cal,” he droned, his voice like a lifelong smoker’s. Really, Felicity wondered, was he a boy or a man? The tro-tro stuttered to a halt and a plump woman in an overtaxed kaba and slit struggled to hoist herself into the bus. She tottered to the seat next to Felicity and pulled a plastic bag stuffed with groundnuts from her purse. “Hello auntie,” Felicity offered. The woman grunted, but Felicity was unsure whether the woman meant this sound in acknowledgement or if a groundnut skin was stuck in her throat. She did not mind the noisy zeal with which the woman was husking and chomping on the nuts, nor did she concern herself with the mess of shells she littered on the floor, but it was unfortunate that the woman’s mammoth breasts all but eclipsed Felicity’s view of the mate. Only the back of the mate’s neck, poking out from the black cap, was visible now. The ridges of his nape were smooth and curved into his shoulders gracefully like Nkrumah’s planted machetes in downtown Accra. Felicity was suddenly embarrassed by the march of sweat down her spine, which she had previously enjoyed, when she noticed the dryness of his burnt-yam skin. Despite the gooey afternoon heat, his skin was as arid as the harmattan. “Bra!” a voice called from the street. The mate slid the door open, and while the tro-tro was still moving, a young man jumped on,
pulling a kid goat on a rope behind him. The goat squalled when the rope tightened around his neck as he was lifted aboard. Burnt-yam skin. That’s how Felicity described the mate’s flesh in her mind. “Do we all secretly want to eat each other?” she wondered to herself. Ever since she had moved from Washington, D.C. to her mother’s native Ghana, Felicity had paid attention to descriptions of skin tone and noticed a tendency to describe skin as a treat. Maya Angelou, writing about the Ghanaians she met when she moved to Accra in the 1980s, called their skin tones “the colors of my childhood cravings: peanut butter, licorice, chocolate and caramel.” Felicity did not know which Ghanaians the esteemed Miss Maya had access to, but she had not met any with skin the color of peanut butter or caramel. Even hers, though lighter than most Ghanaians’, was not the smooth tan of supermarket Skippy or the freckled tawny of roasted groundnut paste sold by street vendors. Even when ripe and glistening with sweat, Felicity knew her skin was neither succulently exotic nor comfortingly familiar. How ridiculous if someone could call to mind the exact tone of her skin based on her idea of a snack! And how even more ridiculous if her skin actually matched the color of something she ate! Felicity was convinced Miss Maya could not resist the imagined taste of salted skin, slightly sweet at the back of her tongue—she understood that the mate’s flesh might leave the stinging aftertaste of dzowe, but it was not the right color or the right consistency. She thought the author took a little “artistic liberty” to satisfy her craving. Oh well, she meant no harm, but her inaccuracy did not sate Felicity.
When the tro-tro came to a stop in traffic, the mate threw a coin at a woman outside his window, and she passed him a sachet of Pure Water from the pan on her head. Felicity was surprised to feel jealousy flare in her cheeks—a cool, almost passive tartness—at their wordless camaraderie. As they neared the heart of Accra, the tro-tro made more frequent stops for passengers and began filling up. A man wearing a dapper suit and a youthful woman carrying textbooks squeezed their way into the first row. The buttons of the man’s oxford looping his neck, locked in with a sateen tie, in this heat seemed as peculiar to Felicity as the mate’s wool beanie. Without looking up at any of the passengers, the mate materialized his wad of folded cedi, velvety from the dirt, finger-oil, and Godknows-what-else on them. He announced in his metallic, robotized voice, “Fare. Two cedi thirty pesewa.” Then the spruce man started to get flustered and blustered. He shouted something in either Twi or dense Pidgin at the mate. Even though Felicity had been living in Accra for almost two years, she had not yet mastered the art of deciphering any local languages, Pidgin English included. She had been too busy assuring her mother’s family, whom she was newly meeting, that she was quite satisfied with her life at thirty-nine years old (“even at,” they had corrected her). The only decipherable word coming from the passenger’s twitching lips was “cedi,” repeated over and over.
“You? How much did you pay?” Felicity looked up from her clasped hands to see the man’s thick finger in her face, though not threateningly. “Two thirty.” When the other passengers in the tro-tro began yelling with the man, Felicity understood their complaints. The fare was supposed to be one cedi thirty pesewas, not two thirty. The mate just grinned and tapped the driver, who was wearing a salmoncolored T-shirt and must have been in his early twenties. He appeared agitated, but in a way that expressed his delight at having the authority to express his agitation. He was a working adult, annoyed as any Toiling Kojo or Slaving John with parts of their jobs, and as long as he occupied the vehicle’s front left seat, he was Crown of everything between its walls. Felicity guessed this was the driver’s first job and that in his head he had already spent the money he would earn. He turned around in his seat, still speeding, and shouted at the people that the extra cedi was for air-conditioning. “You see?” He tapped the vents above their heads, next to the TV playing music videos in too-bright Technicolor, from which no air was streaming. “But the air conditioning is not working!” the man in the front row exclaimed furiously, the knuckles of his fists whitening. He tried to stand up, but the tro-tro’s low ceiling forced him into a crouch.
“Exactly!” retorted the driver, still driving with one hand on the wheel and his eyes facing the rear windshield. “So you see, we have air conditioning. Just it is spoilt today. One extra cedi.” “How can you charge for something that isn’t working?” the man asked. “But we have it,” the driver said, losing interest and turning back around to face the road. Many cars had been honking at him. The mate grinned, as if his point was proved, and said again, “Two cedi thirty pesewa.” He thumbed the bills with his right hand as if shuffling a deck of cards before a night of gambling. The man in the suit was not the only who began one yelling in Twi. As the commotion escalated, Felicity could only catch scraps of comments and did not even try to sew them together. “Driver! Ho, is that how you are!” “How, two-thirty for this nkyenkyema lorry?” “Pocketing cash, ino be so?” “It is summer in here.” The young man who brought the small goat began vehemently gesticulating at the driver. In his excitement, he let go of the makeshift leash. The goat disappeared under the seats and
began gnawing on the plump lady’s groundnut shells, then on her leather sandal straps. “Bo! Whose goat is this chewing my feet?” the woman asked crossly, her cheek bulging with half-chewed nuts. “Kwish, kwish! Eh, brother, control your meat!” Everybody unleashed deep-belly cackles—at or with the woman, Felicity was unsure. A faceless voice from behind Felicity rose to action. “Yoo, hunger kill goat same as you, taking groundnuts, auntie! Brother, invite auntie to dinner; maybe her eyes not so red when she chopping fufu and spicy goat meat stew.” Laughter charged the bus—its walls seemed to puff out like lungs in a deep inhale—and united the passengers. No one was as excited as the man in the suit, but they showed the unity that Felicity often observed in tro-tros. She could never share in these moments of friendship because the other passengers would joke, or argue loudly but not angrily, in Twi and did not include her in their conversations. Depending on how her hair was braided, the cut of her dress, and if she was listening to music on her smartphone (which Ghanaians did, but apparently in an obviously different manner), sometimes she would hear them laugh that there was an obruni on the bus, as if she could not understand that word. The tro-tro pulled into a petrol station to fill its tank. When the driver and mate got out, the suited man continued his speech. “We should protest! Let us go back to the station, get our money back, and find a tro-tro with real air-conditioning.” He pumped his
fist. But like a popped tire, all of the passengers exhaled their hot air together. They had no more breath to scream. “Who is with me?” he rallied. “To go back and assert our rights! Let us not be taken advantage of!” Silence greeted his cries. For some reason, thought Felicity, when the mate left the tro-tro, he siphoned the passengers’ resistance out of the van. Maybe they were only feeling lethargic because of the heat in the un-airconditioned vehicle. The man asked one more time, then laughed when again, no one responded to his calls for justice. He turned to an indifferent man beside him and said loudly, “Oh, brother, this is the Ghanaian mindset. A true example. If the President raised the price of gas five cedi tomorrow, we will all nod and say, ‘Drive on, Ghana!’ Meanwhile, we are all driving on spare tires.” Felicity frowned, more at herself than at the man. On another day, she told herself, she might have joined in the call for a refund, but the silence of the rest of the passengers, all Ghanaian, intimidated her. As an obruni, who would listen to her lone voice (or almost lone, including that of the man in the suit)—what authority did she have? Besides, she was sweating through her dress and wanted to remove it before the unforgiving fabric demanded an otherwise escapable trip to the laundromat. The blood drumming in her thighs reminded her of the seductive comforts of home at the end of the workday. To slip off her shoes and walk barefoot on the laminate tile to the fridge, and stand in its open door drinking
chilled mango juice straight from the carton. She was glad that Kwaku was away on business and she would not have to cook him dinner, that tonight she would not struggle to fry plantains to the crispiness he liked without letting flecks of boiling palm oil jump onto her hands. Felicity closed her eyes and listened to the mate laugh with the driver outside her window, a tin laugh that cut through the cityâ€™s tumult. Tomorrow, he would drive to Circle again.
icarus Brooks Fowler
Sundays Laura Waltje 1. A tall chimney that spits out cinnamon and maple syrup. Papa drives down the steep road behind our house at full speed and says the breaks down’t work. We sit in the car with Mama listening to Car Talk on the radio, waiting for Papa as he drops off the car for repairs. One of the Car Talk brothers died last year, and I cried for an hour because I never got to call in. This is Sunday mornings: breakfast on the porch, pancakes, orange juice, everyone awake and the radio on in the next room. The first time I saw my preschool best friend again was the farmers’ market, sucking on honey last sticks. We both wear thrifted dresses, only thousands of people look at her pictures. I walked for ten minutes with the banana peel in my hand, distracted from the conversation by my sticky fingers. He says I get wetter than anyone else he’s ever been with. This is how I want to spend Sunday mornings. He says opening my own bakery will be hard, but he’s had my banana bread, and he thinks I should do it. Oma says the reason my egg whites aren’t getting firm enough is that I didn’t clean the bowl and the beater well enough. My best friend Emma’s secret to her scrambled eggs is curry and cinnamon powder. Caitlyn named the emaciated cat she found in her back yard cinnamon because of the brown speckles in its gray fur. I don’t go in the basement except for when I have to clean the kitty litter; the smell gets stuck in my nose, and the kernels stick to my bare feet. Gravel digs into my soles—it hurts for the first week,
but by the end of the summer I can run over the rocks. He waits for me on the other side of the train tracks and calls for me to cross, but I’m not quite ready yet to break those rules yet. The current wraps my skirt around my legs, so that Caitlyn and Jack have to pull me out of the river over rocks. My knees are scraped bloody; the river keeps my skirt as an offering. My puppy fell into the stream behind my house and I fell in behind him; together, covered in brambles, we walked back home. 2. There aren’t that many jews left in Germany, I wonder why, Mama says to my jewish best friend’s mother. We used to lock elbows so that our paren’t could not separate us—children are surprisingly strong. We posed like pin up girls on the beach, on our day off. It’s one of my favorite pictures, taken on a Sunday morning. I taught you and your summer family how to knit. Knitting was like washing clothes for me, I couldn’t remember when my mother taught me, I needed my grandmother to. My grandmother took my hand in hers and began to cry, “I miss him so much.” Opa did not know why he was happy to see me, because I am a new memory so I faded, and he broke down in tears. Opa was a stern man, Mama said, even on Christmas he did not let them into the living room until he finished helping the Christkind and rang the bell. Opa’s nursing home is right across from the church I go to on Christmas Eve. My jewish best friend, my oldest friend, my preschool friend, joined me on Sunday morning, there for me at my confirmation. I went to her bat mitzvah, and there on her white couch I got my first period, so our mothers say we become
women together. They say you become a women after your first time, but I felt more childish than ever, curled up in the bottom bunk of a twin bunkbed. One of our first kisses was on a bridge in the rain. I got caught in the rain, biking to my first college class and the AC kept my dress wet for three hours. I keep the AC in my room off; I like it cozy. He holds me in his arms, and I’ve never felt more safe. I fell off the gymnastic boxes backwards, breaking my arm on the metal frame of the trampoline beneath me. Mama and Papa carried me with my broken arm back into the house. I spent a week watching Xena, because when you can’t walk you want to see someone else doing flips. 3. I did not see my grandmother between her stroke and her death. She was a proud woman; I was a cowardly girl. I realize that men outnumbered women in the room. I watched my body leaning away thinking, Isn’t PTSD a funny thing. He says his name is “chad molester,” and I bite my tongue not to scream, Don’t you know that’s not funny? but instead I take a walk by myself at the river. I don’t like when she’s alone with someone and neither does he, because I don’t trust her with herself, and he doesn’t trust others with her. This is enough, the room full of smoke, the alcohol sticky floor, the pictures of naked women on the wall. He started a blog with things he’d like to do to me that only I have the link to—and it’s not rock climbing or hiking. I wore my hiking boots every day with a sundress. That’s how he said he knew I liked women before I did. She doesn’t believe when I tell her women are that kind of beautiful—she thinks I say it for attention. The two of them take
my hands and pull me in half down the middle. A gauzy curtain with dragon flies divides the room I share with my sister in half. We lie on the pile of mattresses surrounded by boxes sticking our tongues out like lizards. The first time I saw a lizard climb up a wall, I held the hand of the first guy I started pursuing under a table. I lie on my bed with open windows and a fan, sweat staining my sheets. Shadows dance across the wall as cars pass outside. Above me street lights appear and disappear. There is no place I can fall asleep better than a moving car at nightâ€”this was true when I was two and it is true now.
Flash Forward Khadija Toor
Liquid Children, Souls Of Sweetness Thirangie Jayatilake I The day ends with a playground not for children but for the occasional growing up. No, I would not send your child there. Two wired slides with no bottom or railing to rely on. Ropes unstable and high, your child would fall off. But if you wanted to play, come on right in. No, there are no swings, just a trampoline. I personally loved it. But maybe you’d feel too childish a disgrace to try. Since my grandfather passed away, my grandmother always needed someone to sleep by her side at night. She had an ayah as a child—she’d never gotten used to sleeping by herself and now she was too old and afraid to try. “Just like a child,” my mother would say. She was stubborn, always wanting attention and refused to listen to anyone else’s advice—problems of the old age I’d hear them say. Or maybe. Just maybe, we are never grown up but forever growing up. I would still sit on a swing and laugh and not care if I should be acting my age. Or maybe somewhere down the line, we let go of childishness in favour of the practical. Maybe, I wouldn’t know, not really. I’m just growing up. II
Dark lines etched in my skin. Soon they’ll fade. Different,
each time it is etched, it grows darker and seeps beneath the skin. Henna, most of my friends around here call it. Mehendi they called it back home. Henna was the black or dark reddish brown dye that the old ladies would apply, leaving a dark grey or
brown blotched halo around their hairline. My friend, soon to be married, will have one of these. Mehendi ceremony, they call it. The dye symbolizing good luck and health. A bride-to-be being blessed. Entering womanhood. Intricate dark lines will deepen themselves as they twirl around on her arms and feet on her wedding day. For her it’s tradition. Custom. It meant something to her each time. It never meant much to me- I wonder if it should have. It was decoration - no contradiction. “Friendship” and “Blessings.” It says on my arm in Chinese. A temporary tattoo and something pretty. III
She was falling down and she didn’t care. She wouldn’t. Boiled
vegetables and chicken on a Winnie-the-pooh plate. Winnie and Tiger holding a trampoline waiting for Eeyore to stop bouncing. Bleeding knees and a bruised forehead. Her first time riding on her brand new birthday present. She didn’t need no training wheels, nah, those were just for small kids. Sandy had his ears flapping wide, running with her against the tides of winds. He was only a puppy with mountain of energy. Her mother would say, “Be careful.” Liquid child, soul of sweetness. Throwing bricks at an already broken wall. She had a smile, the balance was coming—it was on its way to perfection. Her father let go from behind her. Sandy looked just fine, his tongue bouncing with the wind but her throat was dry. She peeked back for a second. Her father would say “you fall, you learn.” She was nine and learning how to ride a bike. The plate said, “And there’s the coming down.”
Details Khadija Toor
madipoem3.5 Krishan Mistry was
i often go
still havenâ€™t spoken with
i believe in
when will you get her in meaningless gestures
i still havenâ€™t spoken iâ€™m not sure
get to see her
where i was
go too far
i wasnâ€™t shocked
i was going to
again often i believe where i was
i still havenâ€™t spoken
Texture #32 Nikolai Kozak
Like Words Grega Ulen LIKE WORDS my lonely footsteps fade out in the sand, cigarette butts, skeletons of antique shells, everything transmutes into fossils of days long gone. Landscape has no memory here. The nature knows you and undresses like an onion, crying, peels down to a meagre heart that needs no pride nor shame no longer. Strange emptiness clashes with your own and charges it with silence. Nothing ever moves. If you stay long enough, time licks you down to ancient statues. Of all the deserts, the prettiest is the quietest.
Ahead of the Stars, Even More Space Exists Muhammad Allama Iqbal (1877â€“1938) Translated from Urdu by Humna Bhagani
sitaaro.n se aage jahaa.N aur bhii hai.n abhii ishq ke imtihaa.N aur bhii hai.n taahii zindagii se nahii.n ye fazaaye.n yahaa.N saika.Do.n kaaravaa.N aur bhii hai.n kanaaâ€™at na kar aalam-e-rang-o-bu par chaman aur bhii, aashiyaa.N aur bhii hai.n agar kho gayaa ek nasheman to kyaa Gam maqaamaat-e-aah-o-fugaa.N aur bhii hai.n tuu shahii.n hai parwaaz hai kaam teraa tere saamane aasmaa.N aur bhii hai.n isii roz-o-shab me.n ulajh kar na rah jaa ke tere zamiin-o-makaa.N aur bhii hai.n gae din kii tanhaa thaa mai.n a.njuman me.n yahaa.N ab mere raazadaa.N aur bhii hai.n
Ahead of the stars, even more space exists These tests of love, even more exist Lonely existence does not breed these winds These hundreds of caravans, even more exist Do not become content with this world of color and fragrance Even more gardens, even more nests exist If one nest is lost, where is the sorrow These places to sigh and cry, even more exist You are an eagle, your work is soaring In front of you, even more heavens exist In this day and night, do not fight over places For this time and space of yours, even more exists I was in the loneliness of days past in the present But now, these confidants of mine, even more exist
Untitled Allegra Sussman
Dinosaurs Joey Bui The bathroom had pink tiles. That was one thing. Another thing, I told them, was a squat, oblong window above the sink. Too squat to let a body through, but enough to let the Buenos Aires songs come in, and keep coming in. It was a Tuesday night. I remember because as I was pissing, a guy was walking by outside, on the other side of the wall, and he was singing, ‘Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, oh Saturday night is over.’ I heard him like he was right next to me. The window was just above my head and had no flyscreen or glass or anything. I remember because I was drunk and I thought, that at least is very true, it is so true because it is Tuesday and so Saturday night is over. It is true like so very few things are. But that’s what I was thinking, by which I mean that I was definitely thinking, and would have noticed if Gabo came in. Or if Gabo was there, because I would have wanted to talk to somebody about how it was Tuesday and Saturday night was over. I’m just trying to explain what I’m thinking when I’ve been drinking like that, because I think definitely, even if not properly. Definitely, Gabo didn’t come through the bathroom. It was the night that Juan did a set on his own, or rather, with a different band. He was alright. He was doing acoustic, all soft and murmured, with choruses like a pop song and a guitar around his neck. That was around when he figured he’s a handsome guy and
all the romantic guys were singing bossa nova like the Brazilians. He brought around a new girl that night, this skinny brunette. I don’t remember her name. She was on the edge of her seat just listening to Juan, not talking to one of us even though she was sitting at our table. She had a real sad face, although she was nervous and laughed a lot, with a dainty chin like a bird and wet eyes. She looked miserable all the time, that’s just the way her face was. She asked me about Gabo, when everyone was talking about Gabo. “You were with him that night, weren’t you, Manu?” she asked me, full of tragedy. “We were all with him. He was with us,” I said. I was already irritated. She had never said a word to me before, and here she was calling me Manu. “But you were,” she stopped, “you were with him, weren’t you?” Then I wanted to kill her and I must have looked it because she took off. I was on a short fuse those days. I knew everyone wanted to ask me about Gabo, but she made me really angry. Maybe she was embarrassed that she couldn’t outright say we were fucking, Gabo and I. But that’s all it was, and it wasn’t a big deal. Maybe it was just her sad bird-eyes. *
We all met Gabo at the university. The student union Zapatas held a midnight rally, one of the first ones. Mostly speeches and poems, with all these young kids in jeans and a manifesto sticking out the back pocket. They asked us to do some songs. Rafael’s sister was in the Zapatas and that’s how they knew us. I can’t remember the lineup we’d prepared, because I already got high while the kids were doing their speeches and reading from Che or something. So we got up and in the middle of this song I forgot what came next. I was playing bass as well as singing, and I got stuck on two notes for about five minutes, because I can only think when things are still. I think it was D-flat and E, and I just played D-flat–E, D-flat–E, D-flat–E over and over. The guys were freaking out, and the kids were getting uneasy, obviously. Rafael’s sister was probably shitting her pants. But then I started singing, “Something, there’s something, something’s in the water,” and I played that infernal bass line again, while I thought of something else. It sounds like it was all an accident, but I sang it because I’d been thinking about this stuff for a while. I said, “There’s something in the water, you know, something in the water.” The kids loved it. We were doing what we’d heard was going on in Tucumán. Los Perros had a song about building a raft and escaping, and Almendra was doing this song about ice falling over the city, freezing the city when everybody is asleep, that was probably the best one I knew. The guys and I hadn’t talked about it, but we
played it and it was what the kids wanted, even though they hadn’t asked for it. It was a time when nobody was saying anything, not really. That was also before we really knew for sure that the kidnappings were real. We’d heard rumours about some activists and students in Rosario. But nobody knew their names and it was all very uncertain, because on the other hand, maybe they just read the Vedas and left for the Andes one morning, or got broke and went back to their mothers in Tigre. You didn’t know who you could ask, either, in case it was true. But at this point the vultures hadn’t come after musicians yet, or city kids. It was early enough that everyone was perversely excited about being involved. The whole thing was thrilling. Something was in the water. After the rally, we went drinking with some of the kids in La Boca. They were poets, carriers of the manifestos, and we had big conversations about things we didn’t really know. Gabo was one of these poets. I remember the first thing he said that night, because it made me wonder if he was retarded, and that’s why everybody fell silent when he spoke. We were all talking about Che, good Che, father of the young Latin American poets, saint of the Latin American bar room, and the baptism into his patronage by spirits, by which I mean fernet, loud and drunk, and suddenly Gabo said: “I don’t care if I fall.”
He hadn’t spoken all night. It was a high, stringy voice, like it had to be, to be squeezed out of such a skinny body. But it was lyrical, like he was reading poetry. Everybody stopped to wonder what the fuck. “As long as somebody picks up my gun and starts shooting,” he said. Then another student, who recognized the Che quote, shouted out and squeezed Gabo’s shoulders. It left his dark green sweater ruffled and showing a bit of his collarbone. I looked at him, and felt uncharacteristically embarrassed when he stared back at me. He was a pale guy, his brown hair so light that it sometimes looked ginger, and he was slim, no, slender with almond eyes like an Asian. He was the weakest person I’ve ever seen, and the most serious. In bed, he embarrassed me with his seriousness. I took him with me, after the bar, thinking that his serious looks were seductive and wanting to reward him for his Che quote and the obvious respect that the other students had for him. But I was unsure, because I didn’t get any other signals. Even when he started taking his clothes off, slowly, studiously, it was as though I wasn’t there, like he was at home and didn’t want to leave a wrinkle in folding up his green sweater, his khaki pants, his thin t-shirt, and his cotton briefs. I was embarrassed again of his skinny body. I stood watching him because I didn’t feel like I could touch him, which made me feel strange. That was Gabo’s trick, he made me
strange and melancholy, although mostly I was just wondering what the fuck, is he retarded or a poet. Then I get mad at my own strangeness and go after him. * Gabo wrote a song for us in September, or was it November. He’d been at a lot of our gigs. He’d come from the university and sit with the other kids, not drinking or talking with them, but they always saved his seat for him and fell silent when he spoke, like their secret god, I still don’t really get it. We were hanging out with the university kids a lot by then, and some other odd people that talked about rock and poetry—and who drank a lot, of course— just hanging out, like we were all waiting for something to happen. After “Something in the Water,” the guys and I only played songs like that. New songs, nothing sentimental anymore, and about the thing that nobody was talking about, or everybody. Pablo knew this other student poet, Maria, he was sleeping with her, and she wrote an insane song for us called Mister Scissors. It was about a guy that worked in the theatre backroom, cutting out scenes from a film that starred his lover, editing and rearranging the clips, and at night he comes home and cuts her up in bed. It was good, really freaky. The first night we rehearsed it, Maria was standing right up next to the stage, in front of me, and she kept shrieking, “Louder, louder, louder.” I listened to her, because honestly I was scared of her, and the song gets into a climax that is everything shrieking, like the lover in the song when she’s being cut up. I
don’t know how Pablo gets into bed with someone like that, but good, because we started getting more attention with that song. Maybe Gabo was jealous of Maria’s success, and that’s why he wrote a song for us. “I wrote you a song,” he said. He got up in the middle of the night suddenly, like an alarm had gone off, and walked over to his window ledge where he had the piece of paper folded up. He didn’t have handwriting like a poet, his letters were big and childlike, and the song was about dinosaurs. “Read it slowly,” he said. That wasn’t hard because my hangover was coming. “Imagine the dinosaurs in your streets, imagine the dinosaurs in your bed, imagine the dinosaurs disappear.” “Slowly, slowly.” “The dinosaurs will disappear, the dinosaurs will disappear,” I read. I didn’t even sing it, I was too tired, but Gabo nodded, his eyes serious and his body naked. In my stupor, the song made sense, although in the morning it sounded a bit funny. But by then I had
trusted him enough, this strange, skinny god of the young poets, and the song became our greatest. We performed “Dinosaurs” in Tucumán in November. It was a huge gig, they called it a happening, and all the kids came down from Buenos Aires and Rosario, even Santa Fe and Montevideo, for it. The greatest bands were there, it was a big deal. Almendras were there. They knew about our dinosaur song like we knew about their snow song. They even looked like us, these four guys in their 20s, haggard like they didn’t have a mattress between them or a mother. We had Juan, though. Nobody had a handsome guy as Juan. Gabo travelled with us, not anything special, by which I mean, not with me. A group of Buenos Aires students had started coming with us everywhere, including Gabo and Maria, who was sleeping with Juan by then. A couple days before we left for Tucumán, I passed this kiosko in Buenos Aires that had kids’ books next to the chips and candy, like El Principito and Mafalda. They had a children’s book about dinosaurs and when I saw it, I had to get it. But it felt stupid when I brought it home so I gave it to Gabo. I thought, he might like it, he’s strange. He took the book delicately like it was from some precious archive, like it was going to crumble, which made me impatient. I grabbed the book and flipped over to this page I’d flagged. “This one is you,” I said, pointing at one of the dinosaurs. “Apatosaurus.”
It was one of the vegetarian ones, with a long skinny neck like Gabo’s or rather, like Gabo’s body, and scaly skin. “You are not one at all,” he said. I was angry for a second, and then I realized it didn’t matter if I was not any of the dinosaurs in the book, it was a stupid kids’ book, but if I was, I think I would one of the big flying ones, with bloody wings. Things went really crazy after the Tucumán performance. There were thousands of people in the hall, and even more outside on the grass. Everyone was camping because the hostels were full and nobody slept that weekend anyway, except with each other. I didn’t see Gabo again that weekend because the band was constantly swarmed with people, and also I was blind drunk the whole time. We had made it then, really made it. We played “Dinosaurs” over and over, everyday, and it was great every time, everybody wanted more. The kids worshipped us, chanted our names, more than those weird poet kids in Buenos Aires and their silent worship of Gabo. Different kids came back to Buenos Aires with us, though some of the same faces stayed, but it was hard to keep track because like I said I was drunk the whole time and there were a lot of people around. * Everyone saw Gabo for the last time on the Tuesday. We weren’t doing anything in particular that night, we were just out drinking at some bar in Palermo, the guys, Maria, and the kids that came
with us. He didn’t come home that night and the next and the next and soon we realized that we had seen him for the last time. No one could talk about anything else, not for the usual reasons, but because we were really scared. They asked me about it. Did I know where he lived? Did he seem scared around then, did he seem like he knew what was going to happen? It really annoyed me, the questions, because I used to see a lot of Gabo, but that was before Tucumán and it wasn’t a big deal. Once, we all sat down and talked about what we remembered of that night. “He left early.” “He was acting strange that night.” “He’s always strange.” “The bathroom had pink tiles,” I told them. I was passed out in the bathroom when Gabo left, on his own. It must have been a long time, because everyone thought I had left too. But I was sitting in the bathroom, staring at the pink tiles because I was dizzy. In the end, we didn’t figure out anything and didn’t feel any better and realized we didn’t have much to say. We didn’t even meet to play anymore, there seemed to always be something more
important to do, although I didn’t really have anything to do, except drink. By the end of the month, Juan and Maria left to go to Juan’s country home. They didn’t tell us where it was, exactly, and we didn’t even talk about the band again. Nobody talked about much. There was a lot of moving around, and I saw Pablo and Rafael a couple more times to drink. But then once, was it two months after or three, I came to knock on Pablo’s door and nobody lived there anymore. So then I was alone mostly, the Chilean painter got tired of me, and I didn’t have much to do but drink. One night, I found myself in the same bar again. I didn’t mean to come, I really didn’t want to see that place ever again, but I couldn’t tell at first. It seemed to be any dingy place in Palermo with a neon burger sign out front. It was the exact same neon burger sign as a couple spots I know in the city. I sat at a low table, unreasonably low for a regular adult. It made me feel overgrown and sad. My knees hung out to the sides, bent because the seats were too close to the floor. I sat anyway and I forgot to order a burger so I had a lot of beer instead. I must have been there for a while, drinking beer, because I began to feel very bloated. My stomach felt baggy and my knees were cramping like the table was getting even lower and closer to the ground. Yes, I must have been drunk, and the vertigo made me feel like I was falling into the floor, not like an upright person
falling over, but like I was swelling and swallowing up the small furniture. So I made myself get up and go to the bathroom. When I washed my hands, I looked up and saw the squat, oblong window and started screaming. The vertigo, or whatever it was, swelled up in me and I filled up the room. I saw the whole tiny bathroom from bird’s eye view and it clearly had white tiles, and also it was clearly the same bathroom as that night. I looked and even though I was swollen and giant, it was clear that the squat, oblong window could have fit a person through. Then I heard bird songs coming through it and a woman’s voice. “You were with him, Manu.” It was clear that it was Maria’s voice, it was Maria with the sad bird eyes, but why didn’t I know it? And it became clear why the tiles were pink that night and why I spent such a long time staring at them and never forgot that they were pink. The room swelled with bird songs, with Maria’s voice, and I thought I might die but then it passed. I pissed. I was sitting back on the toilet seat. I kept pissing and the room deflated, so did I, and the bird songs wrung out dry. I smelt fried meat and remembered that I had ordered the burger after all, and that I was ravenous, so I washed my hands again and went back to the bar, which looked all the same, and it was like nothing had happened, nothing could have happened at all, not really.
Sama Studio Diana Gluck
Success Grega Ulen Spoken word I’m drinking tea with future global leaders. Some of them even smoke although that’s frowned upon now; they have to hide behind the corner. They sweat in their long-sleeved shirts because their teachers told them banks won’t hire them tattooed, because a suit and tie are one sole model of success, because they’re covering up the color of their skin with their white shirts, because they can’t resist the corporate gaze upon their backs. They’re future global leaders, they recite the slogans they have learned from little promo booklets, they declare five majors, they do unpaid internships in India, they sit around in UN offices, they eat tofu, drink soy milk, do yoga, they think they’re saving orphan children and changing the world but they are cleaning desks of old white men who with a push of button scatter peeled brown bodies all across a country. Their CVs say they’re a success.
This is how you publish research, their teachers tell them in their social science classes, but they donâ€™t say it will not help their research subjects but open up the field to do more research, write more theory, give more money to researchers, so others, too, can have good CVs. Maren, 25, cannot sign consent forms and does not speak the language of success but her black skin will find its place on paper as subject two four one and she will die two weeks from now but her no-longer-beating cold black heart will find its place on paper as statistical deviation. This is how you do a labor theory of value, their teachers tell them in their econ classes, because their econ teachers like to think they know how much a life is valued, because their econ teachers know how to make more money out of money, because their econ teachers like to think they know, they know, this is how invisible hands fix markets, but there are no invisible hands to fix the children blown up off the coast of Ghaza, but there are no invisible hands to fix a breakfast to the homeless children, but there are no invisible hands to fix the ninety-nine per cent who arenâ€™t successful,
who won’t become successful, because there is but one success in this wide world and everybody knows it. It’s a CV for a memoir, an endowment for a diploma, a philanthropist check for a two o’clock coffee. “So what if the best way to dominate a world is to pretend that you are saving it?” I read online yesterday. There are books for future global leaders like the one I found in campus bookstore: “Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success.” Dress for success. This is how they’ll all become successful, but not successful Marxist revolutionaries, but not successful Indian guerrilla fighters, but not successful teachers who will tell their children money’s bad, banks are bad, gentrification is bad, capitalism’s bad, UN is bad, invisible hands are bad because there are no invisible hands to fix anything.
Garage Khadija Toor
Hunger Hannah Taylor
I hold my book close, Just in case the woman next to me on the train —Don’t look, mine.— Gets curious about what’s made my Eyes enlarge fingers flipping worlds away I hold my book close, Close enough for my nose fuzz to occasionally tickle —Too close, the optometrist says.— The pages. Each time I feel a Slight shock. I look up, unashamed, And try to grasp my surroundings. It appears I’m still on the train 3 stops past my flat. The woman next to me has, curiously, moved down two seats. A couple across the aisle sits Hands interlaced torsos turned teeth teeming With words. Worlds away. Satiated.
Interiors Julia Sauber
Sorting Through A Memoir by Mariam ElZogby Consider Cairo for a long moment. A city of eighteen million people, a “thousand” minarets and sarcastic sense of humor, Cairo is one of the most important cities in the Middle East and North Africa region. It is also the most important city to me. Loving Cairo is what they call being “madly in love,” madness the most important characteristic. Cairo is a mad city, I am mad to be in love with it, and the love itself is mad, nonsensical, and therefore, beautiful. Cairo is everything my city should be. “Al Qahera” (i.e. Cairo) reminds me of my namesake, my father’s grandma. At the age of seventy-something, Grandma Mariam never left her house without her pipe and tobacco, and never sat inside the house without a shisha by her side—this at a time when women hardly confessed to smoking cigarettes. Mariam was a character; Cairo is a character. It is that “character” that ignited my love affair. I never fell in love with Cairo when I lived in it; I only fell in love with her after I left her. When I came back, I realized everything that I missed. I missed the traffic—the million and one cars that were on the streets at the same time. I missed the only rule on the streets—to make eye contact with the other drivers and decide who seems to be the most reckless. I missed crossing the street and looking into an oncoming driver’s eyes sternly, holding my palm up, asking him if he would be stupid enough to put himself through the
hassle of running me over. I miss the roaming carts, more traffic, selling everything from fruit, to grilled corn, to Louis Vuitton ties at 20 EGP. I miss the men shouting “Imbabah Imbabah Imbabah,” “Kit-Kat, Kit-Kat, Kit-Kaaatt” as microbuses flew by, indicating their stops. I miss seeing grown men (and sometimes even elderly men) jumping out of a moving bus, not out of recklessness, but necessity. It never stops. Just like Cairo. Just like the people of Cairo. Just like I never stop missing Cairo. I miss the people. I miss the little girls, cheeky and annoying, nagging for money on the streets, grabbing your leftover food if you don’t offer it fast enough. Or coercing you into giving it to them. I remember I once walked out of McDonalds with a sundae in my hand, I had just taken the first spoonful when a girl came up to me and said, “Kfaya ‘aleikie kda, idinie el ayes-kereem” (i.e. that’s enough for you, give me the ice cream). As rude as she was, she made me smile, more than the ice cream would have, and so I gave her the ice cream. I miss the cheekiness of Egyptians. I miss the feeling that no matter what, someone has my back. I cannot count the times I walked the Cairo streets and was catcalled or harassed or witnessed another female getting catcalled or harassed, but I also cannot count the times that a random man stood up for me or for another female, and I can even recount a few times when a complete stranger carted off the harasser to the nearest police station to teach him some manners. I miss the random smiles of vendors on the street after I buy something, anything, from them. I miss the generosity of free things from the neediest of people. I remember walking down the street with my
mom and seeing a man selling cotton candy bags on the street. We both knew the dangers of eating something like that off the street, but we had Cairo-stomachs, and so when we asked the man for two bags of cotton candy, he insisted that we have them for free—we were his first customers, ever, and he wanted to celebrate. No amount of nagging would change his mind, and we ended up with phosphoric pink tongues and huge smiles, standing next to the man as we told people walking by that it was the best cotton candy we ever had. He didn’t sell any bags because of us, but we shared a laugh. I miss how grounded Cairo is. No matter how many people pass through Al Qahera, Mongols, Turks, French, British, whoever, she stays the same. The French and British learned Arabic, instead of teaching us French or English. No matter how hard they tried, Le Caire still says “Bola’ el Dakrur” instead of “Beau lac de Caire,” “Sorram” instead of “Sorry,” “Blease” instead of “Please” and “Egybtiam” instead of “Egyptian.” But no matter how many jokes I crack, I am thankful that, against all odds, Cairo taught me to speak Arabic and not just that, Masri too. I miss the fact that no matter what has just happened, whether it was a revolution, a simple protest, an accident, or more recently, a bomb, life in Cairo bustles on. People may stay away from one street, or one neighborhood, but the rest of the city is still as alive as ever—people are going to work and coming back home, students are going to school and university, people are going out for food or shisha or just some air. I may be able to appreciate this even when I’m not in Cairo, but I can only feel it, take part in
this madness, when I’m there. Cairo never sleeps, and nothing as trivial as an event in one tiny corner of that country-sized city is going to deter anyone’s plans. Bomb downtown? Damn. I’ll take the ring road home. Protest in Zamalek? I’ll sleep over at my Grandma’s. What I miss the most is the people. I miss knowing that no matter how early or late, someone is going to be on the street. I miss waking up in the middle of the night to the sounds of what we like to call “bombb,” a sound akin to gunshots. I miss the sound of “zaghareet” on the streets, signaling a wedding procession, or what we call a “zaffa,” I miss going outside onto the balcony and joining in the “zaghareet,” being part of a random wedding. I miss getting into a car with my dad as he beeps a tune to help liven up a quiet “Zaffa” passing through our neighborhood at one a.m. I miss going out for McDonalds at four a.m. on a Tuesday night in the suburbs and finding at least another five people with the same late-night cravings. I miss knowing that, anywhere in this city, I will find someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows me, who can help me, and even if by some sort of dark magic I do not find that someone, a random person will help me. I miss getting random marriage proposals from men on the street (as annoying as it was at the time). What I miss most of all is looking off of my balcony at three a.m. on a weeknight and finding a million different lights on the street, in houses and shops, streetlights and cars, motorcycles and fires.
In Cairo, I am never alone. It may be just that fact that is at the core of my mad love for her. In Cairo, I never have to be alone with my thoughts unless I want to be. I never have to face myself when I am exhausted or scared to. In Cairo, there is always someone or something to lend me a smile or a laugh. In Cairo, there is always something that will distract me on the street, or something happening that will keep me busy on the news. In Cairo, there is always someone else, a stranger, that I can direct my anger and bitterness towards, away from my life and myself. In Cairo, there is always something to wake me up from the most telling dream or the most disturbing nightmare. In Cairo, I can surround myself with a sea of people that I never have to encounter again, I can be whoever I feel like being every different minute. In Cairo, I can be too busy to notice my problems. In Cairo, I am happy because I live the most natural form of denial. Cairo is at the core of who I am today, of who I have become. It is the perfect representation of the madness within me, the contradictions, and the embracing of these contradictions. It is also my drug, the way through which I can ignore all that worries and scares me. The clutter of Cairo gives me something to sort through.
Khadija Toor Staircase
I Cannot Tell It to Anybody Passage from “Nem mondhatom el senkinek” a poem by Karinthy Frigyes (1887–1938) Translated from Hungarian by Roland Folkmayer Nem mondhatom el senkinek, Elmondom hát mindenkinek. Elmondom én, elmondanám, De béna a kezem s dadog a szám. Elmondanám, az út hová vezet, Segítsetek hát, nyujtsatok kezet. Emeljetek fel, szólni, látni, élni, Itt lent a porban nem tudok beszélni. A csörgőt eldobtam és nincs harangom, Itt lent a porban rossz a hangom. Egy láb mellemre lépett, eltaposta, Emeljetek fel a magosba. Egy szószéket a sok közül kibérlek, Engedjetek fel lépcsőjére, kérlek. Még nem tudom, mit mondok majd, nem én, De úgy sejtem, örömhírt hoztam én.
Örömhírt, jó hírt, titkot és szivárványt Nektek, kiket szerettem, Állván tátott szemmel, csodára várván. Amit nem mondhatok el senkinek, Amit majd elmondok mindenkinek.
I cannot tell it to anybody, Therefore, I am going to tell it to everyone. I am going to tell, I would tell it, But my arm is lame, and my mouth is stammering. I would tell where the road ends, Help me; lend me a hand. Raise me, so that I am speaking, seeing, talking, Here down in the dust I cannot be speaking. I dropped the rattle; I do not have a bell. Here down in the dust my voice sounds hell. A foot trod on my chest, Raise me to the highness. I am going to rent a pulpit of those many, Please, let me on the staircase of it. I do not know what to say yet, not do I, But I think, good news brought I. Good news, good tidings, secret and rainbow, Brought I for you, Who I loved, standing with open eyes, waiting for miracle. What I cannot tell to anybody, What I am going to tell to everyone.
Moby Dragon Julia Saubier
Pray, Mantis Julia Saubier
(over)whelmed Hannah Taylor Did I open the door before you Knocked? I saw you coming through the peephole Perhaps you’d never have raised your fist or even paused at the mat But you did cross the threshold when I held the door ajar I took in that moment— You straddled my world and theirs I resented your left foot for dragging behind. Deeper Deeper Under and Exposed Lying. spine traced in the moonlight Window open And you saw my flame flicker you didn’t once Turn away but you Did blink Twice. Does everyone feel this much? I crumble under the weight of my Apprehensions
my Regrets for all that didn’t happen ring in my ears and I feel your weight on my chest Limp. Always so assuming. The frantic clang of a cymbal That calms as it realizes its own sound will travel. Each breath a bit shallower I feel my energy draining Fingers and toes first Tingle. I recover. Deep breath. Only caught twice— I open my eyes my arms chin upwards I spin and spin and spin and spin—tracing scattered ovals until I collapse Laughing manically Scaring the doorman Smushing the spiky green limb of the aloe vera Ending the life of the little red ant and Forget I’d ever let anyone in.
Split Street Diana Gluck
Transmission Laura Waltje Sound laps at her wet sponge on dry skinâ€” lisp. For her motherâ€™s birthday she bought a gurgle pot; A fish with air in its tail. It makes her mother laugh. Like birds answering back to the hum drum of traffic. They match the rhythm hold their pitch as dopler horns change frequency with changing distance. You are sweeter, brighter, louder, higher when you are close. They say astronauts can listen to what they touch in space. Just another example of how connection matters.
The birds call back to the call of prayer. There is no point of origin I am surrounded by both. Her mother pours a glass of lemonade ice clinking a bird above her head twittering hinges open.
Childâ€™s Play Julia Saubier
Hey, Brother Joey Bui I’m sorry to interrupt, but it’s so hot, could you take the fire down a little? I would do it myself, but I see you were so good with the logs and the twigs before — thank you so much. I believe that a person’s soul is in the hands, do you agree? I think so when I see your hands touching the bark, rolling it so that the logs collapse just right, as though you know the grooves of each piece and remember the way that they lean and build up on each other. And in the way that you pull out this particular log now, spitting with red ashes, and flick it away like a fly onto the sand. One day you might see the soul in my hands come to life with a piano. You have never seen a piano? I am sure they have pianos in the cafes of Sài Gòn, in fact I have seen them in the grand cafes with live music in the nights and always a woman singer. She has long hair and sings slow songs. I was last week in such a cafe, down an off-road not far from Dinh Độc Lập, the Independence Palace. The road full of alleyways and loud, musical spots. Some were restaurants that sold sizzling meat dishes — you could see the smoke rise high into the air! — such an oddity copied from the Koreans, no doubt. Listen to me rattling on. Why don’t you recline in this hammock opposite mine, and I shall bring us some wine and squid to roast over the fire. My uncle, your boss, was sitting with me but he is inexperienced and wanted bed after two cups of wine. You look
like a sturdier man to me, with an excellent round stomach. Why don’t you sit down and I will be right back with our food and drink. Let us toast. What shall we toast to? Let us toast to the beautiful country! You must drink it all, look, it is not so hard. This is top quality squid from Đà Nẵng. Go ahead, shall we stick it onto some skewers? Yes, I suppose we can just leave them lying on this jutting log here to get hot. Although will it not become dirty? Never mind, do not worry yourself, my friend. I will eat anything, I have a strong stomach. I do not hesitate in eating the street food here at all, though many of my ngoại quốc, “returning Vietnamese,” friends would go queasy at the thought of those fantastic street dishes. Not me, I happily await the plates of fried flour cakes and of course I must add the minced pork, squid sauce, carrots and fried onion on top. Now that we are comfortable and the squid is nicely smoking, what questions do you have for me? I know you must have questions, because you do not very often meet a man like me in a small rural town town like this, do you? Are there any ngoại quốc in your family? I thought not. I am only here to pay respects to my old aunt and uncle. I have a very high regard for family. And I enjoy helping how I can. For example, yesterday I bought thirty sacks of rice to give to families in the village — oh of course you were there. I forget. You were unloading the rice for us, certainly. So what questions do you have for me? Ah, let me show you my town in Paris, in the 13th arrondissement. This blue dot is where we are, but if I my pinch my fingers like
so, we can see deep into Paris, to the very streets and small parksâ€”those are the green spots. This is my apartment on Rue Demesme, right there. I suppose it is not very big, but that does not make it less valuable. Property in Paris is more about location than space, and we are in a very good location. We are right by the hospital and Parc de Choisy. It is a smart investment. You have to be smart. The immigrant must not be lazy, as I see the youth is here, always loitering and begging on the streets, then fall drunk at night like upturned tortoises. It is no different with the rich youth, who will never do anything because of their corrupt fathers and grandfathers. I spit on the Communist dogs. What? Do you think the Viet Cong are hiding behind the banks of that irrigation stream, which is dry and full of dead fish? You should be so lucky. Is it the wine that is bitter in your mouth or is something else the matter? You think I do not know, but I know. I am just like you, my brother. We are bitter. I was living in a small, dirty village like this one not long ago, though my family as you know is better than yours. But in France I am no better. I come and they put me in the housing projects in Clichy-Sous-Bois. Tiny, cramped rooms and a communal bathroom that I shared with other men. I work in a meat smoking factory, on my feet and working the mixer with my hands. Some days all of my body is wet with sweat like I had been working under a shower. I come home on the first day of work and think about my own life. I look in the mirror and I see such an ugly face, my skin is yellow
and dark in this way, I do not even recognize myself. I scratch my cheek and black stuff builds into my fingernails. I scratch everywhere and it is black. My body is sweating black, like dirt. I think to myself, how can I touch a woman like this? I think about my loneliness and tears flow down my face. I lock myself in the toilet to hide from the other men. I promise to work and work. I save money to buy the crocodile logo shirts and a ticket to Vietnam and find a Vietnamese woman. I wish you could know my wife back then. She was the youngest daughter, so shy and small. She wore a white áo dài when I visited the house, like a schoolgirl. She barely said a word. I asked to take her to a cafe, so she sits in the back of my scooter. At the turns, I swerve and at the stops, I stop abruptly so that she grabs onto my waist. She does a chirp like a bird every time, it is so sweet. I think oh, now I have this a pretty bird on my back, and I should marry her. But my wife is so lazy, you know. She comes to live with me and complains about the size of the house, she complains that I am old, she complains about everything. She complains that she does not have her sisters to talk with. She complains that she does not have new clothes and handbags. I tell her to go work for money if she wants new clothes. So she says to me, how can you bring the woman you love away from her home and make her clean the feet of white people? I confide in you, brother, that the thought of love had not crossed my mind. A lazy thing like that. She is now staying in the Sofitel in Sài Gòn. That’s where she makes her
sisters visit her. She buys them bottles of Channel and crocodile shirts with my money, she buys as much as she can and if I try to stop her, she says, you stole my life! She says all the time, you stole my life! What a failure of a robber am I, to steal something of no value. No, it is nothing. I am not drunk. I am sure you are not happy with your life either. Look at this godforsaken land. I know you. Men like us, we are always dreaming, always dreaming. There is always someplace we are getting to, isnâ€™t there, or there would be no sense in suffering for it. At the end of the war, Vietnam was such a sad and abused little country, like somebodyâ€™s plaything. I think to myself, I will go somewhere rich and powerful and learn their ways. On the boat, I am lying beside a soldier whose leg is infected with gangrene, so I try not to breath and I promise myself, I will succeed oh I promise it, I promise I will. It is unbearable because his leg is rotting and the rot gets higher up his body everyday. Somebody tells him it will soon reach his heart and kill him. We think about throwing him off the boat, and he is thinking about it sometimes because the pain is so great, but of course it is hard to decide to die and it is hard to tell a man to die, so finally we throw him off. Will you believe it, that I did not feel anything? I was not his friend. I did not know his name. There is no such thing on a boat like that. There is a lot of death, and no time to mind it. More wine?
On nights like this, I ask myself where I am in my journey. Am I in the place? Is it this yard in a stinking fishing village in the south, is it the apartment in Paris so small that I am hiding drunk in the toilet on weekends, or is it Sài Gòn where my fat wife is bathing in Chanel perfume? That is the fate of the immigrant, always the dumb hope that we are going somewhere. Somewhere, somewhere, what a curse the word is, and I have grown it into my flesh like rot. I had such an idea of coming home, of the beautiful country, the kind women and the good food. What place do you dream of, brother? Is it somewhere with beaches, a big new house, are there skyscrapers in the background and neon signs? How beautiful is the woman? Tell me, how soft is her hair and how does she hold you when you are worried? But you must be sick of me. I have been such a terrible host, speaking all this time of my tedious story. You must hate me, and how do I feel about you, I don’t know, brother, I still cannot tell if you will rob me or not, you have been so mysterious and quiet. And I have talked myself into a drunken stupor. I am weak and you must do what you will, that is how it is. Perhaps it is not so bad, is it, perhaps it is fine that you want something of mine and there will no difference afterward except that you will have the things instead of me. If I could just have one request, it is that if you rob me, if you take my shirt and my phone and my money, please take my wife too. Be thorough. Take my passport, the French will realise no difference and it will be easy for you to live my life because I have just told you how.
Now my head is heavy and aches for the net of the hammock that will catch me, nothing will be better than to sink into it. I will wake up in the morning with no clothes on my body, my mouth crusted with squid and saliva and my skin red from this fire, unless you burn me all up in it, and those sap trees nearby will melt down to rivers of glue and cover the whole town in black smoke. What a pair we make, you and me, brother, two robbers in the night.
Hermanos Nikolai Kozak
GONE WITH HIEU NGUYEN MIN A Screenplay by Kristina Stankovic BASIC PREMISE Though they just got divorced, Kerstin and Alf have to continue living together because of their poor financial situation. When their daughter, Nina, starts earning money in a suspicious way, Kerstin and Alf hope that she will solve their dilemma. SCENE 1 (KERSTIN, in her fifties, with wild, red curls. She is in the living room alone. She is smoking and reading the newspaper.) KERSTIN (To herself, reading.) “Behind The Scenes Of Kim Kardashian’s Photo Shoot.” (She examines the photo, turns the paper in all directions.) You can get more behind that this? (She turns the page in disgust, raises her head, and yells towards the door of the bathroom.) Nina! You’ve been in that smelly bathroom for an hour! Is this how you get ready for University? In my day you’d be getting ready by studying! Get out now, my bladder will burst! (She waits for the response, but as she doesn’t hear any, she goes back to reading her paper.)
The main street closed until five. This new government, my dear Lord ... ALF enters the house, KERSTIN is still reading. He approaches her and starts speaking insecurely. ALF Kerstin, you know, I was thinking about something ... I think we should wait a bit more with the whole divorce thing. You know, a step like this one is huge and should be, you know ... I mean we should think about it carefully. (KERSTIN leaves the newspaper on the desk and stands up.) KERSTIN Youâ€™ve been thinking you say? ALF Right, I was. KERSTIN Only after twenty five years of marriage you started thinking? Alf, do you remember when we wanted a child? You were thinking about the idea for five years and now we look more like grandparents than like parents to her! When we had to name her, you had to think about the name all until her first birthday when we had to put a name on the birthday invitations! Your thinking has led us nowhere.
ALF What can I do? I’m indecisive. KERSTIN Now that is an understatement. If you were to decide about when we’ll file for divorce, I’d still be waiting for the papers in afterlife. I thought about ... We are getting a divorce! ALF I’m worried about Nina. KERSTIN You know what? For a change, let me think about that. SCENE 2 KERSTIN and ALF are telling their daughter NINA that they are getting divorced NINA (Sitting on her bed, talking on the phone.) Yes! That little slut comes in ... her cleavage deep as the Atlantic Ocean, and the professor is so confused that he asks all the questions twice! For the next exam, I’ll ... (She hears the knocking.) Maya, wait a second. Yes?
(KERSTIN and ALF open the door but still don’t come in.) KERSTIN Daddy and I have to talk to you about something important. NINA (smiling) Are we getting a new car? ALF Not really. KERSTIN What do you mean by “not really”? Not at all. NINA So what is this about? KERSTIN It’s something that mostly relates to dad and I. NINA (Turning back to her conversation on the phone.) So Maya, what was I saying? Oh yes! The exam! ALF So what concerns the two of us doesn’t relate to you?
NINA Well you said that it was your business. (Sighs and says on the phone). Listen, Kerstin and Alf want to talk. I’ll call you later. (Turning to Kerstin and Alf.) So, what’s this all about? ALF You see, what we have to tell you might be painful. But that’s life. It’s full of painful moments. However, it’s what we make out of it. If you decide to take it as painful, we understand, and we will support you. But in every painful moment, you can find some joy. NINA Like the time when I broke my leg and they painted my cast pink? ALF Something like that. What I wanted to say is that this is none of your fault. KERSTIN Oh stop this, Alf! The only painful thing is listening to you! I’ll do it! Dad and I decided to get divorced. We were reconsidering our life choices and as a consequence we concluded ... (Turns to Alf.) What did we conclude Alf? ALF That we should have a new start.
KERSTIN Exactly. We are breaking up, but we still share all our love for you. Mom and Dad love you so much Nina. NINA That’s all? ALF That’s not enough? NINA I guess it is. (She is back on her phone. Silence.) KERSTIN C’mon Alf, let’s leave her alone. She might need time to process it. KERSTIN and ALF are now standing in front of Nina’s room ALF I think it went well. She didn’t seem too upset. KERSTIN I guess so. Oh well, I gotta get the dinner ready. KERSTIN leaves.
SCENE 3 (ALF enters the room. KERSTIN is sitting in the chair again.) ALF Why are you sitting in my chair? KERSTIN Your chair? ALF Yes, my chair. KERSTIN All right, Alf. If you want to play like that ... Get a paper out and pass me a pen. ALF Why? KERSTIN Youâ€™ll see. ALF takes the paper out and passed the pen to KERSTIN
KERSTIN Now we will make a list of what belongs to whom. The chair is yours you said? ALF Yes. KERSTIN Good. Mine are all the plates, so you get the knives and the forks. (Writes it down.) Let’s move on to the bathroom. (They go to the bathroom. KERSTIN stands next to the toilet.) The toilet is mine. ALF What? That’s not fair! In that case the toilet seat is mine! And the shower head! KERSTIN Ok, but the floor on which the shower stands is mine, so you’ll have to pay me a dollar for each shower you take. ALF Kerstin, relax, let’s be civilized. KERSTIN You’re right. (Pause). We should be civilized. In that case, each shower will be two dollars!
NINA comes in. NINA Mom, Dad, I’m home!
KERSTIN Hey dear! How did the exam go? NINA (Typing on the phone.) I’m fine, I’m fine. (In front of the bathroom, there is a bag of old clothes, and Nina puts a piece of paper into one of the skirts.) KERSTIN leaves the bathroom just before Nina enters her room. She sees that Nina is dressed in new clothes and has a designer handbag. She turns to ALF. KERSTIN Alf, did you see your daughter? ALF No. I was thinking about how to divide the sink and the faucet. (Someone knocks at the door. Alf opens. A woman is asking for humanitarian help for refugees in Syria.) KERSTIN Just give her that bag of clothes.
ALF (To the woman at the door.) Here you go. You’re welcome. Goodbye.
KERSTIN Yesterday she was talking about going to Paris. Today she is wearing a handbag that I can’t buy even with my two salaries. And she is thinking about buying a car! ALF My God! Where is that money coming from? I don’t think I even want to know. KERSTIN And you shouldn’t. If she gives us, let’s say 10 000 $, we can sell this apartment, add that money and buy two small ones. And I’ll have a toilet seat of my own and you won’t have to pay for showering. ALF Now this is good thinking. They high-five. SCENE 4 KERSTIN, ALF and NINA are sitting in the living room.
KERSTIN You see Nina, dad and I need help. We can’t live together anymore. NINA Let me guess. You want me to help you get a new place? KERSTIN Something like that. ALF That. NINA I can’t live in this hell, so yeah, I will help you out. Tonight, if my team wins, I’ll win $10,000. ALF Your team? NINA Yes, I’m betting on football teams in Vietnam. ALF You’re betting on football matches? NINA Yes. In Vietnam. And I’m winning.
KERSTIN God bless Vietnam! SCENE 5 The family is watching the game online. NINA’s team just won. KERSTIN Yes! Yes! Hieu Nguyen Min is our hero! ALF I’ll have his portrait in my new living room! They dance and hug each other. SCENE 6 The next morning in the living room. NINA Mom! I can’t find my skirt! KERSTIN What skirt for God Sake? You have more clothes than fucking Madonna! NINA The green skirt!
KERSTIN Dad gave it for refugees, why? NINA (Suddenly serious.) No, no, no, no!
KERSTIN What’s wrong?
NINA The ticket! The ticket! It is gone! The new life is gone! KERSTIN Alf! Alf! Did you hear that? Did you hear what you did? ALF You told me to do it! So it’s your fault! KERSTIN My fault? My fault? I’ll kill you, I swear. The camera zooms out, only yelling can be heard. THE END
Camello Nikolai Kozak
Untitled Khadeeja Farooqui Death. Once a year, twice a year, a hundred times over. In October, in November, in July. December 4th, December 16th, December 1, 2, 3. How many more? 141 people died. Not died, wait. People die of ebola or viruses or the plague. 141 people were killed. Murdered. Not people. Sorry. Kids. Tiny little wonders of nature. Kids with shining gold medals on their green sweaters. Kids with untouched maggi noodles in their lunch boxes. Kids with their bad Urdu tests hidden in their blazer pockets. Kids waiting for the weekend. For that football game. For that Friday night movie on Disney channel. Could have been me. I went to that school for more than half my life. Might still have a uniform stacked somewhere with that badge that God gave me the chance to win, between those certificates that I managed to accumulate, between my bad tests. But not everyone did. Itâ€™s a tragedy. But the bigger tragedy is that we will move on. We will get up everyday and brush our teeth and check our email
and do our homework and eat our lunch and frikking move on. The tragedy is that you and I will go on with our lives. The tragedy is that despite that email from Dave Tinagero about there being a 24/7 counselor for Pakistani students in New York, I donâ€™t need one. Because I am used to this. Used to it. Immune to death, to murder, to blood. The tragedy is that no nation deserves to live every single day with the burden of 141 deaths. 141? Ha, hundreds and thousands. Hundreds and thousands since 2001. No mother deserves to cry for the death of her 7, 6, 11, 14 yearold-child. No father deserves to bury his child before he has cleared 6th grade, gotten into college, become a doctor, flown a helicopter. But the tragedy is that we do. But we do. We will. We have to. Somehow when God was giving choices, perhaps Pakistan was not in the listâ€”probably playing a cricket match somewhere against India. The tragedy is that despite everything, we still trudge on, in half-hearted jokes and wedding laughter and street cricket and electricity breakdowns. Every semester I tell myself that home is beautiful people and Kashmiri chai in fog stung nights, that home is monsoons drenching the country despite its sorrows, that home is Punjabi
on the streets, Pashto in the bazaars, that home is the sun rising over Badshahi Masjid, sounds of kids splashing in muddy waters of Lahore. But today, on this Etihad flight, EY 233 departing from Abu Dhabi International Airport Terminal 3, landing at Benazir Bhutto Airport at 2005 hours, I don’t. For Home is dark. And bleak. It is haunting. It is in need of blood. It is in need of caskets and white kuffans. It is candle vigils. It is story after story on Geo News. It is report after report on radio stations. It is black after black on my Facebook timeline. It is fear. It is sorrow. It is death. I don’t want to go home. I don’t want to. I don’t. The more I force myself to love you, Pakistan, the more I end up hating you. Blasts, deaths, attacks, silence, blood, terror, trauma, doctors, emergency, police, army, aviation, terrorists, jang, khoon, aziat, dharnay, janazay, dhamakay, strikes, combat, war, inqilab, ehtajaaj, mustakbil, zindagi, maut, hospitals, wards, death. “I don’t know …” “They might be dead …” “There was an attack” “Was that a blast?” “Attack on Abbas Town.”
“Attack on Quaid Road.” “Attack on Parade Lane.” “Attack on General Headquarters.” “Attack on a school.” “Attack on that mosque down the road.” “Attack on Moon Market.” “Attack on Clifton.” “Attack on Karachi Airport.” “Attack on Malir base.” “Attack on Imam Bargah.” “Attack on Malala.” “Attack on Haider, Daniyal, Amina, Sana, Fajr, Haris, Ahmed.” Why are these the words of our every goddamn conversation? Why? I don’t want to come back. I don’t want to. I don’t. I am fine in my bubble of papers and people who talk about art and music, of planning globe trotting journeys from Sydney to Paris. I don’t want to come home. I don’t want to. I don’t. And yet I love you. I do. I have to. Those lines of people that I know I will see outside combined medical hospital ready to donate blood, money, prayers. Those thousands of kids holding vigils in my highschool in this terrible cold and this gas-less country. Those people glued to their TV screens, to their prayer mats. I know this will happen, but what if it doesn’t? What if we have finally lost? What if it’s over? What if Pakistan, this time, we have given up on you?
Please, please, please, give me some hope today when I land. I want to come back to you every summer, every winter. But I don’t think I will be able to time and time again. Show me something. Anything. Someone in a car buying garlands, a stranger smiling at someone, someone holding a door for someone— Why don’t we do this, Pakistan? Other countries do, other nations do. Perhaps we are too busy mourning the dead and worrying about tomorrow. Or tonight. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to write. All I know is that maybe finally we’ve died. Maybe finally we might have given up. “Ae rah-e-haq k shaheedo, wafa ke tasweero tumhe watan ke hawaein salaam kehti hein” aur hamesha kehti rahein gee.
Untitled Allegra Sussman
FourthGeneration4.0 Krishan Mistry what
“what’s this” supercilliary
“what’s that?” transcendental principle (the principle of love, etc.)
authority in the production of danger several other devices, too authority in production danger in many several alternate other devices
only grief disfigures the presence of their truth only pity
grief disfiguring presence truth in pity
immediate certainty fatigue safety immediate fatigue
“between two points there can be only one straight line” “between two points is a straight line” no book
a composition decomposition of you me in the out of the midst depths of abstraction calculation
â€œbut here he comes!â€? boredom there he goes
complete insight in complete analysis a great essay of seeds a great essay of seeds
eyes closed as soon as anything exists there is no full picture of what has been defined
cognitions in the sight of ideas thoughts between visual perception we must accordingly therefore always use another conception projection of window the first religion for the first second window
no conception of fervent civility but the the concept of grace is real and connected unconnected to the whole of your concert primarily secondarily associated with two three exhibitions faculty should apply unless you would have them killed faculty apply identify any of the online officers slain
there are however sciences the other side of the sign where are sciences the other side of the sign
passing him in the other hand and decided to keep the information from us
forbidding-hope-knock I hope to publish
determine our knowledge
_______________________________________ the response of consciousness
Untitled Series Cleo Smits
Abandonment Mariam ElZogby As the sun sets so does the nostalgia She can almost see it as clearly as her shadow Shadows of what she was, shadows of her smile Late birds flap their wings in desperation as they retreat As she swallows she can feel the tears rise Brimming, her eyes threaten to spill with the rays of dawn It’s nights like these that slip into dawn Sprinting and dragging the hours as she ignores nostalgia She whispers her anguish to the birds until sun rise Birds with no trace of existence but their shadow Regret overpowers her and she cocoons into her retreat She misses it all, the tears and chaos and that smile Not all smiles, but that one innocent toothless smile She looks at the sky and remembers her eyes, her dawn They said: surrender, retreat They didn’t say she’d drown in her nostalgia They didn’t say she’s sleep holding onto a shadow They didn’t say her tears would burn as they rise Not from her glands, but from her soul they rise She looks in the mirror, practicing a new smile Her old smile nothing but an empty desperate shadow Begging for the return of her dawn She welcomes the only thing left, nostalgia
Waiting for the birds to wake her on their way back from their retreat Only then can she pretend to forget her own retreat Only then can she pretend not to notice bile rise Rise in her throat with every breeze of nostalgia Threatening too replace a shadow with a manic smile Threatening to erase her memories with the real dawn Threatening to substitute reality for her shadow The life in her head is nothing more than a shadow A shadow that drives the memories to retreat A welcome retreat that breaks with dawn One step at a time, until she can no longer rise She plasters one last half smile And takes the plunge to endless nostalgia Escaping dawn in favor of her shadow She hopes nostalgia will accompany her on her final retreat She can finally feel her soul rise as she envisions the beautiful smile
Walkway Diana Gluck
Leyn Baan St Thirangie Jayatilake “HeLlo morning tuk tuk?” Hands turning air handlEs To pick up straY passengers Three words are all you Need to know
“Best tea in town” Farzal –Owner and Storyteller His Arabic I cannot muster Moroccan roots through Moroccan tea His ancestors’ tales on Serendib1 lands Cardamom, Cinnamon, Chili The trading spices. “WhAt’s in your stomach?” “WhAt’s in your heart?” You’ve got to believe that You are a good writer Passion gets you far. She’s got a drive. She’s got a smile. And in her terrace with hammocking waves Juliet has lived2 80 lives over and over again. Tradtio Nal. Unique. _______________________________________________________________________ 1.
Serendib—Old Arabic name for Sri Lanka.
“Around the Galle Fort in 80 lives” by Juliet Coombe.
Antique with a spin. No formal training. Pure skill carving its way Since Janaka’s school boy eyes Traversed the colourful splendor Of masks in rusted red and yellow. Roo Sters call—Galo3 became Galle. But from the Trading evidence remains Chinese ceramics. Moroccan mugs.
His father’s collection, Kamal’s treasure. The publishers. The artists. The collectors. The café owners. The new rope walkers on Linjbaan.5 Painted electricity poles. Stray dogs napping under boutique shelves. Rusted no horn signs. Red and green and blue tuk tuks firing down the narrow street of Leyn Baan.
Galo—Portuguese for Rooster.
East India Company logo.
Linjbaan—Dutch for ropery. Leyn Baan Street used to be occupied by tradesmen selling rope.
aftermath Brooks Fowler
The Spring 2015 issue of the NYUAD student creative journal.