Solitude

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The greatest sensation
absences can give
is a mind
sculpted with lucidity
Able to shift
back and forth
between reality and dreams
And an imagination that dances
between oceans
free to drift.

Solitude is a gift.

According to the whim
of each living moment
I stray from banality
With every pore of my body
I dream and travel
through my mind
With eyes closed
I sleep
I unwind
I doze
The outside world
in an indefinite pause
I make room for silence.

I am alone
Inside the labyrinth of my mind
Amid the known and unknown
Barricaded by rugged rawness
In a swarm of wilderness
Wherein I turn all my sterile hours
into pure consciousness.

I wear the crown of bliss
On some exotic land
I am a happy captive
Soothed by a foreign hand
Empty of a future plan
Empty of noise
Abundant in poise
Separated from man
Consciously I stand
Tall
Whole.

Overlooking infinity
A horizon of divinity
Beneath emerging stars
Beyond the shadows
of the sky’s intimacy
I dream up dreams
of dramatic scenes
Of long journeys
to unimaginable
and impossible countries.

In that deep place
of untouched landscape
Men are scarce
One man less, less complexity
Two men less, less flagrant envy
Three men, less vulgar vanity
In general,
Less men, less vengeance
Less abominable lack of elegance
There is just the earth
And the colourful universe
Amused me
and my silent mindful mirth.

In my most heightened absence
and my imaginative fancy
I dream
I sleep and I dream
I dream and I dream
I even dream about dreams
And I am spared
from the myth of familiarity
from the sharp razor of reality.

It is exactly there
In my wide and vast dominion
That I am the world’s wealthiest recipient
of an everlasting income
without wants and needs
It is there that I found
my serenity
And became the ruler
of my mind’s territory
It is there that I diminished
The tortures of anxiety
that I divorced worry
It is there
that I proudly want to be
the woman I recognize as me.

Through the scattered rays of my imagination
The haven of my existence
Wearing my garment of relief
In my brilliant feeling of ownership
I fend off thieves
I fence off danger
No one can dare
step on my vibrant grass
nor trespass
my land of aloneness
my ground of deliverance.

It is only when
Reality can no longer be avoided
And my empire is invaded
When my implicit dreams are captured
and silence is ruptured
It is only then
That I,
With great reluctance
return home
with nothing to atone
And with much resistance
I leave behind
my solitude
I reenter
the unwholesomeness of normal life.

Hysteria

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EMBRACE YOUR AGE. ACCEPT THE INEVITABLE.

Bee-stung lips
Legs like twigs
A butchered nose
with a pointed tip
firm like brick
Protruding ribs
thin as sticks
Facelifts
and painful pricks.

Confusingly ageless
External sameness
Addicted to excessiveness
A game of competitiveness
Under the spell
of impressiveness
While this is madness
Her aim is happiness.

She pretends normality
Exaggerates reality
Changes her features
For vanity
or maybe sanity
Sometimes temporarily
other times permanently
I should mention:
This has nothing to do
with aesthetic correction
Nor is it about
improving a disfigurement
Because that my friend
is certainly different.

An unusual mix
of big and small
Tennis balls
ping-pong balls
all kinds of balls
Whatever is in fashion
a new dimension
to increase attention
for example: two balls
against the walls
of her poor little cheeks
Stretched and besieged
cocooned and ballooned
That only last
some measly weeks
(minus the ongoing tweaks)

All shapes and sizes
A disfiguring crisis
Expressionless eyes
shocked and surprised
An effort to fix
her thousand ‘ifs’
An attempt to clip
her droops and falls
her deflated holes
her skin and moles
To regain control
of her wobbles
her dribbles
her bodily scribbles
her less than graceful wiggles
To vanish
her growing worries
her insecurities
her inner villains
To drown out
her nervous giggles.

She is so obsessed
with all the plastic tricks
all the latest beauty tips:
‘Brightening’
‘Lightening’
‘Plumping’
‘Tightening’
How frightening!
She is so transfixed
on all the objects
the varying facets
and different gadgets
she can use and install
on her fatigued face
The needles, the pair of scissors
The driller, the filler
The nerve killer
The ‘no expression’ thriller
on her forehead
on every possible area
But that’s not it!
There is no limit
to her fanatical hysteria!

This is not some complicated case
nor a biological womanly phase
This is vainly adorning
Foolishly succumbing
Naively conforming
to a manipulating
Culture of Erase:
‘Elongate the waist’
‘Change your taste’
‘Improve your ways’
‘Start now don’t waste’
‘Spend now incase’
‘Avoid numbers hide age’
‘Old age is a disgrace’
In short,
Just erase your face.

Instead of this disarray
How about we disobey
Speak up and say:
Embrace today!

Yet with all her misguided faith
with her delusion and haste
she eliminates every facial line
every wrinkle that is divine
every beautiful story, her history
everything of hers, yours and mine
every imperfect detail that is sublime
the very things that makes her shine
She spends all her time
trying to redefine
To confine
any sign of time
Losing her mind
Hiding her age
Poisoning her grace
Trying to chase
with jealousy and rage
what life left behind:
her lost youth.

She knows nothing of the truth
not her nor any woman in her shoes
Can’t she see?
How everything is romanticized
How we have been fed a thousand lies
every single time
Can’t she see?
How oblivious can she be?
Sadly, she remains convinced
that wrinkle-free
is being free
and youth is the key
to a life that is happy.

Instead of this disarray
How about we disobey
Speak up and say:
Embrace today
Find your way
Use your head
Ignore what is said
This vulture-culture
might as well be dead
Be wise
Don’t fantasise
Enough disguise
Time to say goodbye
Remember, don’t sigh:  
Every age has its prize
and every age has its vice.

Yet drowning with self-pity
she continues to copy
this and that personality
with what’s left of her femininity
with her worn-out body
that is now shaky and sloppy
She imitates
She waits
for what she considers a trophy:
a hint of human attraction
a few seconds of false admiration.

She wants to be somebody
Worth it and perfect
The best she can be
Only because they told her
then she told herself:
Unless young and pretty
I am nobody.

An Encounter

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I could never forget
That summer night
When we met
A chance meeting
With intellect
Sentiments
I couldn’t detect.

There we were
Him and me
Resembling
Jordan River, me
And the Dead Sea, he
Connecting
To some degree
Indifference sitting
In between
Ready to intervene.

He was the calmest wave
I’ve ever seen
Of all the seas
In the Middle East
An influential figure
Witty and clever
Handling it well
Holding it together.

Inside his soul
Stood marred walls
And avalanched falls
Bolted doors
And deserted shores
Washed-up cities
And blocked borders
Complicated countries
And denied entries.

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The Hug

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Inspired by my stay at the Sha Wellness Clinic, Spain. A new page was turned that year. Alicante,  2014

I repeat, it was not lust,

nor a tragic futility of love

it was not an aftermath of despair

nor a fleeting love affair

it was what it was.

 

It was shyness of the unknown

of silently screaming feelings

of trembling hands and vulnerabilities shown

of language barriers, paralysis and fences

of echoing caves and sacred hidings

I repeat, it was not lust,

nor a drunken state of momentarily love

it was not a frivolous consequence of ecstasy

nor uncalculated courage and misguided trust

it was nothing resembling the above

it was what it was.

 

Confined inside of me

he marked his territory

a stranger even to himself

in this darkness and absurdity

fragmented awakenings I foresaw

of roses, redness and flamenco

and all that belonged to yesterday

was on death row

I repeat, it was not lust,

nor my soul’s solitude if you must

it was not a prize to take pride in

nor loneliness in me festering like dust

nor profound nights in high mountains

it was what it was.

 

Perhaps I cannot dwell

on the complexity that drew him to me

an enchantress casting her spell?

no one can tell

it was what it was.

 

Stranger I said:

procrastinate here with me

envelop me

burden all my senses

and if I may

let my cheek rest on your shoulder

let me let go

of all my defenses

I repeat, it was not lust,

it was what it was.

 

By Razan Abdul Majeed, 2017