Stand Up Writing

How vain it is to sit down and write when you have not stood up to live – Henry David Thoreau


Stand-Up Writers

Méditation sur la pauvreté chrétienne dans la vie de St Charbel – Mgr Michel Hayek

« La pauvreté est une des inventions chrétiennes les plus révoltantes pour la nature. Elle n’est pas une vertu entre autres du christianisme, elle est tout ce qui le définit, parce qu’elle est la plus parfaite expression de la charité, du don de soi sans retour.
Si paradoxal que cela paraisse, la pauvreté est justement le don. Quand on se dépouille de tout ce qu’on possède, il ne reste plus que soi-même à livrer, là est le sommet du don, le faîte et la fête de l’amour. »
[..] « Au-delà de l’homme-pauvre, il y a l’homme pauvreté qui est dénué de son propre dénuement […] Il n’avait pas à posséder autre chose que le Bien intime : dépossédé de lui-même, il ne pouvait plus rien posséder, étant lui-même possédé par un Autre.
Sa pauvreté était sa fortune, et il répugnait naturellement à ses mains de toucher ce dont les autres se font une richesse. Ayant dépassé le stade de la mendicité humiliante, il avait assez d’orgueil chrétien pour savoir que personne et rien ne pouvait encore lui accorder quelque chose qui vaille la peine d’être pris, et d’être conservé sans jamais se détruire. »

Mgr Michel Hayek, Chemin du Désert -le père Charbel Moine d’orient 1828-1898, 1956, P.96-97


بس حط حالي بجيبتي

كل ما اجي اكتب بحس بدي حط حالي بإطار: الأوضة اللي انا فيا، الحالة اللي انا فيا، الوقت او الزمن الخ. الإطار مش للنص، الإطار لحالي.
إطار ليساعد عالفهم بس ما بيساعد. لان انا مش الإطار، ما بساع بقلبو. الإطار للاقي حالي بس انا مش مطرح تلاقي انا مطرح ضياع. لو ما انا مطرح ضياع، كيف كنت بتلاقي حالك انت و هالقصص كلا فيي؟ انا بيت ضياع. بيت بيحتوي. ضياع ما بيحتوى. و فيك تشيل النقطة. و شو البيت غير مطرح فيك تضيع في بلا ما تنزعج من حالك؟

البيت بيغمر الضياع، من اللعبة اللي بتوقع بين شقفتين الصوفا للوجوه اللي بتضيع و الناس اللي بتنشقف شقفتين. اوقات شقفتين موجودين حد بعض، بقلب بعض بس بعدن شقفتين و اوقات شقفتين وحدة منن ناقصة.  و بين الشقفة و التانية عالم بيوقع و بيضيع، بيصير خايف خايف ينوجد و ناطر اللحظة ، متل الولد الزغير.

البيت هو انا الضياع، الضياع هو الزلمة اللي عالطريق يلي ما بيعرف حدودو من حدود الطريق. الطريق الفاضية اللي فيا بيت و البيت اللي هو انا، الزلمة اللي عالطريق.

بوقف هونيك و بطلّع جيابي لبرّا و الهوا بياخد كل شي، ورقة ورقة عطول الطريق الفاضية و اللي بتبقى فاضية.

ببعتن لان هودي محطوطين بإطار، هودي مش انا، لأن انا أوسع، من اللحظة اللي كتبتن أوسع منن و من اللحظة.

حطيت من حالي فيون، يمكن، قد ما بساع، و بعتّن مع الهوا، بس بلا إسم، لان انا بعدني هون و هون باقي مع انو الهون مش باقي و لا انا باقي. بس طالما انا باقي و لوقتا، ليش تأبقى بشي ما بيبقى؟ بشي ما بيساعد عالفهم، بشي للتلاقي و انا مطرح ضياع؟ اذا بدي أبقى بجيابي ما بدي ابقى، ناطر تالهوا ياخدني، و اذا انا اكبر من جيابي كيف معقول اقعد فيون؟ و ليش تحط بجيابي قصص مش الي و كبّا للهوا؟ و شو في شي الي أصلاً تحتى خلّي بجيابي و ما كبّو للهوا؟ و ان كان في هيك شي و تركتو بجيبتي، فكرك بيبقى؟

انا ما بدي جيابي و لا بدي شي ما بيبقى.  بدي فقر و بيت ضياع و حدا يلاقي حالو في. و هالحدا يكون تلاتة و هالتلاتة يكونوا حدا و انا ضيع بقلبن بس يصيروا بقلبي. و انا البيت اعرف حالي بيت بمين احتويت. و انا الضياع اتطلع بحالي و ضيع باللي احتواني. و انا البيت اعرف حالي بيت انحوى، و انا الضياع اتطلع بحالي و ضيع باللي احتويتو، باللي لاقى حالو فيي تحتى لاقي حالي في.

إدي أبي يونس


Mid-sea departures Pt.2

  • T: So here we are, you’re running to it, I’m running from it, but for now we’re still here, so… cheers old man. The traveler picks up a pebble he found stuck in the fishing net next to him and sends it skipping across the water… they both watch it skip several times and finally drown out of sight.
  • S: That maybe the smartest thing you’ve said all night kid. You see, we aren’t so different you and I: you’re running away from death, and I can’t wait for it to come but we’re both centered on this idea of death. Your anxiousness and my bitterness prove we’re alike… He stops for a couple of seconds, looks around him again, to the sea, the stars and the lights far away. We’re both equally stupid… Look at this man!! Look at this beautiful sky, and you’ll know why we’re idiots. We’re out here, surrounded by so much beauty, right now, and all we can manage to do is worry and complain. We’re everywhere except where we should be: right here. You’re worried so much about what’s going to happen that you’re missing out on all of this. And I’m no better, I mean I’ve been running away from pain so long, that I can’t seem to stop, breathe and just enjoy the view. But now that I’m here, hell!! It’s worth it, I mean just look at it. He stops talking again, but this time it’ll be for good.
  • T: you know someone once told me that the reason they call nature our mother is because every time you’re deep in your own mess, acting stupid, she’ll definitely slap some sense back into you.

The sailor smiles lightly to one side, as if smirking, but he seemed to have shifted somewhere else, or maybe not. Maybe everything and everyone was so shifted out of their own selves that, at that moment, when he was deeply rooted in the present, he seemed as if he was somewhere else to them, but in fact he was in the only place that mattered, the only time that mattered and he finally was the only person that mattered. He was himself, a sailor, broken nonetheless, on the edge of some boat. He had found his shore in the middle of sea. Deep down, he knew at last, that this isn’t about beginnings and endings anymore, it’s about openness and depth now. The sea had finally conquered him, pierced through his soul to share its secret.

The traveler keeps looking at the stars, everything seems lonely: the sea in its coming and going like the son he once was, in that long white hospital corridor. The stars, standing still, with their fainting light, like that man he once was, down on his knees, crying for it all to stop, because it was enough. And the night, that long black shroud, well, it had earned a different name, a different face since the time he sat in his car looking at her looking back at him. The night was that young woman who was trying to kiss the good into goodbye. Trying to hug the ache out of it all. But not him, he was already elsewhere, he was already alone. He was thinking of the morning hangover, of the headaches, the heartaches, so he decided he had enough for one night. But the next day it hurt just the same and so does it hurt tonight.  

  • T: I’d like to think that we’re made of the same stuff, you and I. he keeps looking at the stars. I hope after we’re long gone, some sort of light will keep on shining somewhere, something that we can come back to until we get our goodbyes right.
    A sanctuary of lost wishes, lighting up the night of a loved one. A knock at midnight, a passing wayfarer with a bag full of hope, who quickly vanishes into the night it came from. But we’re not alike, – picks up another pebble, throws it up and down a couple of times- because although you may have a bag of hope stashed somewhere, I am the night you vanish in, empty as death. He sends the pebble into the sea, and walks away from the edge.
    Eddy Abi younes

يا هالظلّ اللي مَرَق

إلى الذي طبع حبّي للوطن بحبّه و مفهومي للسياسة و النضال الوطني بخدمته و مبادئه واستشهاده
في ناس ظلّا مَرَق –

و بالقلب حَلّ و حَرَق

تيبقى حِرق الحنين

يذكرني كيف انسَرَق.

صورتَك دايماً بالبال –

غيرا بيجي و بيروح

و كل ما انحكى ب رجال

بصَلِّي لهاك الروح

صوتَك بعدو بدينَيِي –

عم تُصرُخ عم تثور

تٌرْكُضْ صُبح و عَشيّة

صخرة بتهدّ صخور

كيف تَصار اللي صار –

شو قاسي هالمصير

إنتَ مِتِت جَبَّار

بس كلّ اللي بِقي زغير

إن كانوا جَدّ كبار

يفسرولي العَم بيصير

كيف تا ارتَهَن قرار

عِند فُرس و عِند أمير

يا هالظل اللي مَرَق –

يا هَللي قلبي خَرَق

اسمحلي بكلمة اخيرة

 مش مين ما مَرَق فَرَق

23/9/1972 – 21/11/2006

إدي أبي يونس


Mid-sea departures

  • S: What do you wish for? Asked the ferryman.
  • T: A proper goodbye
  • S: There is no such thing, goodbyes are essentially chaotic, even the quiet ones.
  • T: Then I wish I had no need for wishes.
  • S: Child, why are you so possessed with the idea of death?
  • T: I don’t know but I’ve been told, often, that I’m an old soul, so maybe that’s why.
    There was a quiet moment, followed by him turning away and heading towards the edge, where he sat down, looking up with his feet dangling off deck.
  • S: Have a seat, he said, it helps.
  • T: I’d rather stand.
  • S: That’s your problem amigo, you’re too tense, all swallowed up in your little bubble. I don’t know much about old souls but one thing I’m sure of is that they’re always young.
  • T: And I’m guessing a young old soul would probably sit with you right now?
  • S: You’re at it again…
  • T: There, I sat down. Happy?
  • S: Makes no difference to me, I mean you don’t have to if you don’t want to…
  • T: For God’s sake man, you’re starting to sound like my girlfriend
  • S: Hahaha, that’s a good one… finally a sense of humor.
  • T: Yeah, that’s about all there is.
  • S: Nah, I just have to get on your nerves a little bit more and you’ll be up and running. Which is not so hard to do by the way.
  • T: The price of being honest and straightforward.
  • S: Do you really believe that?
  • T: I did till the second you asked me about it. But I’m not so sure anymore.
  • S: Good, you’re starting to loosen up, I told you sitting down would help.
  • T: Nah, it’s just the sea sickness… how can you take it, this constant coming and going, the smells, the nausea, all this shit.
    The sailor reaches into his shirt’s pocket, pulls out a cigarette, lights it up and puts the box back in his pocket. He stretches out his hand and brings them back behind his head as he lies down, face to the stars and with a long sigh kicks it off again:
  • S: I’ve taken many blows… but one still haunts me to this day, is the day she was gone.
  • T: I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to stir up that kind of memories.
  • S: I know you didn’t and believe me you didn’t, but losing someone you love that’s the kind that’s always there.
  • T: I can imagine. I hope you don’t mind me asking, but how’d she die?
  • S: Didn’t I tell you that you were obsessed?
    She didn’t, I did. She said It was like I had died a long time ago and that’s why she was leaving. She may be right, I don’t know. – said the old man while scratching his forehead with his thumb while holding the cigarette between his index and middle finger- But she sure as hell killed off whatever I had still living inside me that day.
  • T: Wait, so she’s not gone yet?? I mean you can still find her, get her back.
  • S: There’s no such thing as getting them back, once they’re gone… they’re gone even if they come back. Something disappears, the vividness of it all. And every time you’ll meet afterwards, you’ll know…
  • T: That it’s not there anymore?
  • S: That death is the mercy of the gods. Think of it, death it’s just paper work, company policy, and office procedures, garbage like that.
  • T: So you’re not afraid?
  • S: I never said that… Departures… that’s what scares me.
  • T: But you’re a sailor, I mean you’re always leaving…
  • S: It doesn’t matter because apparently you can leave even though you’re still there with a person and I know for a fact that she left when I thought she’d never will. – Takes a sip, swallows all the toxic inside and then lets out a cloud of smoke followed by an attempt to clear his throat – Stayed romantically hopeful at first. “Home is where the heart is” I thought, so even if she wasn’t there, I still was. Coming back home – the old man continues with a sarcastic ironic tone- that’ll keep you going for years, and it did… He stares blankly at the view in front of him as if looking at something that wasn’t there then suddenly coming back Until I saw her again of course. I had always thought about that moment. I had hoped for teary eyes, trembling lips, nervous hands, confusion, embarrassment, something, anything… Nothing, completely mediocre, and that’s when I knew… I was a damn refugee and those people belong at sea. Since then I’ve been waiting to wind up on some shore. So you see kid, the coming and going, the smells, the nausea, death, these are things I’m always expecting and so far all of them have not disappointed, except one. Want to guess?

Eddy Abi Younes

One Art – Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

by Elizabeth Bishop

أنا، أنا و الاخر 

انا لست انا إلا تجاه أحد و غالبا ما يكون ذاك الأحد جماعة أو حشد و غالبا ما يكون الحشد أحد و هو أنا. و العيش هو في نيل إعجاب الحشد.

إن تشبهت بهم ما عدت انا، و متى كنت أنا و كتبتني، وجدنا بعضنا البعض متشابهين. ألعل ذلك لعدم معرفتنا، نحن الاثنين، لذواتنا ام اننا نختلف بطرق متشابهة او نتشابه بطرق مختلفة؟

أهم تحت قناعي أم أن ملامح وجهي استأثرت بوجوههم؟ و ان كانت هذه أو تلك، يبقى السؤال عني أنا.

انا كلمات نسجت من عروقي و اخرى بخيط الغريب. انا قصاصات ورق مرمية و صفحات خاب أملها فبقيت بيضاء جائعة. انا أفكار غزلت كما الدروايش، فانتشت روحي، و حين استفاقت، تركتها تدور في النشوة، ترقص في العشق، اذ اننا به أجمل و أما الحبر فلا يليق بنا.

بعد رقصة و قبل أخرى، بين عروقي و خيوط الغريب، في لملمة الورق و الصفحات أبقى أنا محاولة و تبقى أنت الجواب و الآخر الحق و أنت، أنت اليقين.

إدي أبي يونس


Writing and Not Understanding

Claiming to write so you’d understand is as crazy as “claiming to write you so you’d understand”. It’s a useless and an absurd comparison but it has to be this way because there is nothing as ludicrous as that claim.
Writing strikes me as a process of spilling myself. I spill myself unto the pen which in its turn spills itself unto the paper, in a way which i don’t always control – as if it is a different entity with a mind and soul of its own – but it understands me and expresses me better than i do.
In the origin, it was life that was spilled in us and that continues to spill over unto everything we touch. My role, i have found, is to provide it with the space it needs to be True, Good and Beautiful.
Frankly, i can never claim to understand Truth, Goodness or Beauty, i just cherish them, and hope to do so with enough decency and enough courage that will allow me to abandon myself to them, and in them to abandon myself to myself :
To endlessly wake up to the stranger that i am, and tirelessly drink from the glass which he offers. And though he may not be appealing and his glass be bitter, i drink it all the same. And when it’s finally nighttime and his waters drown me, i reach out for the glass one more, raise it with one hand like a trophy, and drink to Life.
And then, after a while someone will trample upon me, covered in whole by sheets of paper and brutally grasping onto a pen. Maybe then, i’d tend to their drinking needs . . . Maybe then, they’ll make their own toast to Life.

Eddy Abi Younes

William Desmond on the history of philosophy.

“I give counsel to myself: Do not smash the wheel and proclaim the glorious liberation of human creativity; you, or someone else, years hence, will find it necessary to reinvent the same despised wheel – decked out perhaps with a new name to assuage the pretense to glorious creativity. I think we have to be able to interpret the rationale, the strengths, and the limits of the basic philosophical possibilities, as diversely expressed in the history of philosophy. This requires a thinking about them that refuses to stay on the surface of the packaged positions that easily get regurgitated in standard histories of philosophy. We must go deeper, approach the originary sources of perplexity and astonishment, out of which the surfaces of the positions have grown. This means we must already be mindful of the matter itself that has occupied philosophers for millennia. Much more than being a historian of ideas is asked of us. One must be a philosopher to understand *as philosophy* the history of philosophy. One’s attitude to past philosophers cannot be defined by simple rejection. One learns from them, even when one disagrees with them. And even in disagreeing with them, one ought to have a hermeneutic generous enough to allow one to make strong intelligible sense of their essential contributions. Every previous philosopher worth his salt harbors latent reserves that challenge continued rethinking (…). I reject what has followed from the alleged completion of metaphysics by a Hegel, or a Nietzsche, or a Heidegger (…). We must move beyond the paralysis and stultification generated by this rhetoric of the end of metaphysics.”

William Desmond, ‘Being and the Between.’

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