Archive for the ‘United States’ Tag

A Five Year Old Blog Post

Friday, June 10th, 2016

I am naturally timid, stubborn and observant. Because I was first-born my father wanted to change that and sought to teach me how to think like a businessman from the streets. He is a first generation immigrant. When he met my mother he was working at a Greek dinner as the lead fry cook on the grill. A position he had to work up to and, consequently, deadened the nerves in his hands. My father was my mother’s first and only love. She was from a small rural town in Minnesota. When she decided to convert to Islam, her immediate family cut her off completely which was easy to do since she had moved to NY to be with my father. Around that time, he started working wholesale on Broadway. What that means is that he sold fake designer clothing and items which they produced themselves. He took pride in his work by adding his own signature to the designs and doing the best job that he can on them. My uncle and him held down all of Broadway during their prime. Instead of being on the sidewalk hustling their shit, they owned rooms in discreet buildings where they produced and sold their stuff. They had employees and partners. They got betrayed by many and were chased by the police often.

This is how he learned to think like a hustler and he sought to meld me into that image since I can remember. By all rights, within the Egyptian and Islamic culture, this meant that he raised me like he would a boy. He taught me to have free will and to stand up to anyone who tried to cut me down. Be tough and the only people that matter are family. Fuck the world. Nobody will care about you like we do.

So I stood up to teachers in Egypt when they would beat us for minor infractions with wooden sticks and rulers. When they called us miserable pieces of shits and everything else in the Arabic language for misspellings, I knew that what they thought did not matter but I felt bad for the others. Some would sit weeping in their seats. Back in the US, I stood up to bullies until high school years where I became even more introverted than before.

Empathy and kindness was missing. I was abused by a babysitter physically and verbally when I was three years old. It ended with her trying to drown me. Some of my oldest memories are of my father beating my mother and verbally abusing her for small insignificant matters like spaghetti not cooked to his liking. It was new to me so I would sit scared unable to move through most of it or lock myself up into my room (only child then) while my mother would cry. The concept of being kind and tolerant to others was not taught through example. This would manifest itself in many ways through my behavior back then. I would mutilate my Barbie dolls in fits of rage. I used to abuse my pet rabbit, the only contact with an animal that I was allowed during our time in Queens. One time, the children of the basement tenants wanted to play a master/slave game. I was chosen to be the master and I whipped them mercilessly with cold emotional detachment. After getting banned from their home and my rabbit running away, I started to wonder if something was wrong with me. Neither of my parents sat down and talked to me about either event.

I think my saving grace during that time (from three to about six years old) was the smaller things that I remember fondly. My mother’s Native American side of the family still kept contact. I remember her getting a laminated letter once and a stuffed rabbit along with it. It was the last letter she was to get from her great aunt who died and her mother did not tell her until four months after the fact. That was the day that she told me about the Cree and her memories with them only after I prodded for answers since she looked so sad. She read me the letters from her great aunt. The rabbit and letters were the only things that I had gotten from extended family of any kind. Through her letters, my distant relative showed much kindness and beauty of character. She had a grace that came across in the letters which made me wish that I had the chance to meet her at least once. I still have the stuffed rabbit.

My mother sat me down and created a quilt with me that was made just for me which I still have as well. My father would buy a bunch of mangoes and we would devour them together after dinner with our hands. He would fall asleep on the floor and I would lay on-top of him resting while listening to his heartbeat. Sometimes he would buy a bunch of crabs from China Town and we would cook them together. Once he took me with him to buy them. These are the things that taught me that there are different facets to humanity. The softer side.

These are the roots. More at a later date.

Learning The Curve

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

To Be A Child
Finger swirls
in thick
bittersweet water.
My body quakes
with ecstasy.
The inner child
within me
laughs…
What a journey
to the past!

Assignment
The questions
give significance
to the answers
The questions
prompt emotion
and bewilderment.
The answers
are prophecy
with blurry
images that
prompt dissolution.

Untitled
Mother of the Sky
Child that never dies
Silence learns

Windows of Mystery
lost souls
opening forgotten doors
making the world shiver
windows

Pyramids

Blissful memories
consuming with ire.
Gleeful desire,
hungry prophets.
Liar Liar Liar!
Mystery is fire
Odyssey of “Step” to “True.”
Ready the bodies
stack them higher
wrap them in gold.
Yearn for the fire!

Untitled
She wears bright
red shoes to dance
another world

Land of Virtuous Eden
And control the sky
“Nobody whispers like you”
says the endless islands of clouds
Winter smiles as it descends,
Enters with graceful white wedding dresses
And nobody says winter
enters red,
Mother Earth.

Red lips smile back,

Mother of the Sky
Earth is never shy.

Land of Righteous Eden
Dear daughter
Sing to your solitude
Laugh cry smile in my heart
Blessing

Untitled
there is a paradox in the definite that I don’t seem to grasp.
the parallels are?
deserving stereotypes?
deserving the abstract?
all a bunch of shit.
needing something to stop
needing something to be said
needing nothing at all?
not their fault is what they say
sky that is never grey

Orange Sun
Tower of opaque glass stands tall and proud,
But her might can not withstand the oncoming storm.
The tempest ravages her walls until they crumble.
Peace is a luxury long forgotten.
Happiness is a cynic’s dream.
Those who built her would abandon her.
Those within her walls panic.
Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.
All that’s left is the orange sun.
It’s warmth a shield from the storm,
And a chance to rebuild her walls.
Mourning the absence of the radiant orange sun,
Patiently waiting for the next storm.
Patiently waiting for a new beginning.

Exhaustion
Laughter echoing inside hallow walls
Small hands painting on an obscure canvas
Sooty paint littering plain marble tile

These visions that intoxicate the mind
Prompting disquieting tirades in public
Cracked ego whose only witness is dumb

A rough history of disbelief
Water losing its flavor between slack jaws

Three Part Series
1. Early Years
Creeping amid electrons
ostracized from neurosis
urinating in faith’s lap
ravaging trepidation with poise
angel of vilification
gender desedimentation
entering the cruor

inbred genetics the cause
skull-fucking the blind

festering subjugation
enrapturing children
animosity pooling within
ravenous septic oval eyes

2. Name Me Skinrape
Name me
Victim protecting their master
The protected abusing one another

Name me
Selfish selflessness
owner’s expectations legitimized

Name me
I am the vitality of the young
I am what creates the shadows

We grow from within
Raping unmarred skin
Luxuriously seeping thru orifices
Widening eyes, mouth agape
Congesting those that remain
Crude genitalia losing faith

We are
A cancer intensifying its host
Our creator’s gift to intellect

We are
Strength in individuality
A monotone rainbow

I am what motivates humanity
Worship me

Name me
For without the light,
How can we appreciate the darkness?

3. Saturated Transcendence
My days are like
Lethargy laden limbs
Apathetic creature
Laying in the sun
Hunger desire saturated
Transcending this world
Staring at nothing

Seeing the past is like
Pieces of a puzzle
Fluttering of fly wings
Frozen moments in time
Being re-written
At each re-collection

Empathy or attachment
Both scorch the same

Out Of Luck
Lady Luck is dragged by Her across the floor
Knees scraping against the chipped ceramic tile
Golden leaves crusted with blood
Uninspired and hollow poetry scrawled across her skin
Sweat of Her pouring down Her am down the drain
Shit smeared walls reeking and over-perfumed scent of the streets
The screams of cats being raped wafts past drawn dandelion curtains
She wishes she was them for a moment
Their pain would last but they are free
She is forced to watch
Her hands holding Lady Luck’s chin and encircling her neck in a tight grip
Death’s smile creeps over the edges of Her lips
So contagious
So tangible
So unattainable as they dance the same steps
To the same music
Since the birth of mankind
Every second of every day
Harp strings plays the tune of Death’s hatred
As humanity slips by unaware

Sometimes I miss the Egyptian sun and the graceful sand that can be so dangerous. The fertile lands surrounding the Nile that I never explored. The beauty of THIS land, the States, is something I have rarely seen and it scares me at times with its vastness. At times, I am unsettled by its unfamiliarity, its strangeness, my alienation from it. I have returned to Egypt in recent years and the sun is not as it had once felt to me before. I realize that my other home has changed so much that it is only a ghost of what it was. What I desire will only exist in my memories and I think that I am still in mourning of its passing.

Part 14

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

The move back to my grandmother’s apartment was a last minute decision. We had more furniture then and it was a much more comfortable living situation. Uncle M and his family moved to live in the fourth apartment beneath ours. Uncle A and his wife, Aunt N, had moved to the United States leaving that apartment free. It was said that they moved because Aunt N did not feel comfortable in Egypt and could not adapt. Aunt H, Uncle M’s wife, thought I was of age to help with food preparation and so I did. Cousin F and I handled smaller tasks while my mother, Aunt H, and her older daughter took care of the major steps.

The main meal in Egypt is lunch while breakfast and dinner are smaller affairs with not as much work put into them. People would go home if they could to have lunch, after which, they would have their daily nap then head back to work. The women who did not work in the family would spend most of the morning and afternoon preparing and cooking lunch.

Bread would be bought in the morning fresh from the local bakery which was basically just a bricked enclosure surrounding a large oven. Meat would be bought from the impromptu farmer’s market that consisted of local farmers from the surrounding area squatting on the main street. The animals are held in cages made of dried shaved sugarcane and it’s a spectacle to look at for those not accustomed to seeing their food alive prior to eating. Chickens, pigeons, guinea pigs, rabbits, ducks, and sometimes Turkeys kept tame with thin rope. You would buy them live and kill them at home or, if you had money, see which ones would kill them for you for a fee. Vegetables, rice, spices, sugarcane, fresh cheese, flour, eggs, nuts, and fruit are common fare on the street too. Either in large sugarcane baskets, large reed baskets, large metal pans, or on wooden carts pulled by donkeys or horses. Fresh yogurt, fresh milk, fresh molasses, butter, dried processed pasta, dried apricot paste sheets, oil, tomato paste, tea, and candy could be bought from almost any corner store. Beef and lamb, when they had it, had to be bought from the local butcher’s shop. Only the rich bought them live and had them slaughtered by butchers for hire.

The milk had to be boiled before use, the rice had to be meticulously picked through to find any rocks then rinsed repeatedly with water to clean off the dirt and excess starch, and the flour shifted several times to catch anything that may be in it. There is a leafy vegetable called jew’s mallow in English that had to be minced with a rounded blade that had handles on a wooden cutting board before being cooked. Garlic and onions had to be peeled and cut not by choice, but by necessity. We had to grind most of our spices and make our own blends using a pestle and mortar. Most of the ingredients were bought the day of the meal after the head female of the household chose what the menu would be.

It was a labor intensive process  and the entire family sat around a wooden or plastic low round table covered with old newspaper. Each side of the table shared a large plate or bowl of the food served while the main dish sat in the middle of the table in a pot. Most of the time, one of the men of the house would divide the meat between family members, but sometimes the woman would. Although Aunt H herself worked at an electronic company, she would go home a little early to help prepare lunch.

We still played outside and, like a typical child, I would try to avoid having my younger siblings tag along. That changed quickly over time and I took it upon myself to protect them. A few months later, my father had decided that it was time for him to start his own business in Cairo. We made preparations to move there soon after he bought an apartment and set-up the business.