Strange creatures spring out of my shadow pretending they're not there when I look at them playing hide and seek in the afternoon sun under dull neon tubes and warm yellow lights they disappear when I catch them make me look like a madman when I scold them and get rid of them in the dark until the first ray of light opens the door ajar again bringing them back senselessly frolicking merrily jumping like gnomes in an orgy feasting at my expense behind my back.
The old woman has seen enough sunrises to wrinkle the earth her skin has the memory of trees her head used to balance jars of fresh milk when the fields were still open when her feet treaded bare on homely land and the livestock were still alive grazing on the horizon. Today her face resembles her house pockmarked with bullets yet standing her ground under the sun feeding sheep hay and imported food pellets keeping an eye on the barren horizon where life once thrived and her soul will forever wander. --- We had wells over there now spitting blood in our violated fields we used to walk till the trees now where there is a razor sharp desert feeding barbed-wire colonies foreign bodies in terrorised outfits; you know I could love them, I swear I could I would call them by name and hand them fresh mint and some cheese even from behind a wire fence but their hands are all occupied gripping their heavy guns handcuffed to fear. --- They greet us with gunshots from behind a smokescreen they just don't get it it's us greeting them in our house. As they run out of bullets we run out of patience.
Things that come and go like the China vase about to shatter seated on the edge like the mirror that fell yesterday and today is being crushed in the landfill like the beer bottle that slipped out of my hand making a mess on the pavement tarmac absorbed what it could leaving the rest to be trodden on like cigarette packets outside the bar empty plastic lighters of no value like valuable antiques buried in the mudslide with their latest owner museums set alight by clueless rebels rewriting history with things that come and go futile arrivals inconsequential departures from the port of sadness.
Tomorrow, 25 January, will be the second anniversary since the start of the Egyptian revolution, the ongoing popular project that changed the region, and the world. Even with the beheading of the Pharaoh, the foundations of the regime linger, while dictators elsewhere stick to their palaces at all costs. Change is inevitable, one just needs to choose the right side of history.
The bells are already announcing your funeral we know that you're ready you know it's your time your arsenals running out unlike our rage and yet we'll allow you to die like a man.
This is where liberation starts when our guts roar hungrily our stomachs unable to digest anymore the cheapness of your greed your blatant necrophilia lusting at our demise feeding yourself on engineered failures sucking the sweat of the masses uprooting our family trees from your own plastic garden fountains of dollar ink arousing your corpse already buried alive in your Pharaonic palace. Do not fear us we won't even touch you we're just gathered outside to seal your grave.
He had been waiting at the gate forever, an eternity. Unshaven, dirty, ridden with fleas, scabs and bruises inflicted by the seasons, he waited patiently to be allowed in, as he watched high dignitaries, emissaries, entire cavalries entering freely, only to see the gate closed in his face. He wrote messages on the walls around the palace, got beaten up by the guards as he sung and screamed for the King to come out, lost his voice and his tent, and even his coat was taken, making his life harder, more miserable. Tear-gassed he didn’t even have the chance to cry his fate, lost as he was trying to survive, struggling to enter while stuck to the ground. Little did he realise that behind him, new tents were being erected, new faces blossomed and stronger voices were joining his – voices with different accents and dialects, faces darker or fairer, forming one big colourful tent of the oppressed. Even the guards, or most of them, had grown wary of their fate, paid to stay out on attention come rain or shine and just shut up everyone and clean up the palace street of the unwanted rogues, their own brothers. Stripped of their uniform, they were part of the gathering masses with a humiliating salary.
That’s how the guard who shall remain unnamed told the waiting man, Why do you want to enter this soulless place? Look behind you, everyone else is waiting, we can force through the gates by sheer force. But what do we do then? Install you as the new King?
That’s not what I came for.
I know, I’ve been watching you everyday.
Although now that I think of it, I’ve forgotten what I came for.
That’s even better. It means we can all start afresh.
And that’s how the guard and the waiting man realised that all they needed to do was to lock the King and his followers inside, give them their mausoleum, let them rot under their crumbling walls, dying of their own tyranny. Freedom was out there, on the streets.
You know what? She probably doesn't care at all, they told me, caught as I was scribbling frantically to keep her reading to keep her mine to keep her loving me to keep me alive in this fatal game flirting with fire words stabbing our hearts once soothed our soul silence speaks a thousand pictures more than our bandwidth can carry more than is ever bearable incurable massive mindfuck writing along not to drown clasping to dying alphabets that built our homely walls gasping for air that only she could breathe into me.