Stand Up Writing

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

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

!لي رغبة بأن أحبّ

لي رغبة بأن أحبّ

و لا أعلم إن كنتِ وليدة هذه الرغبة او والدتها  

يبدو لي انكِ ولدتها و نفسك في آن معا. 

هي خرجت من رحم ابتسامتك، تحمل ملامحك، فولدتك مجددا، إلهة احرق كلماتي بخوراً أمامها. 

إلهة اتوسل عطف نظرها، ثم اعود و اتمنى الا تطيل النظر  كيلا تلمح هشاشتي. 

لكنني أعلم ألا شيء يخفى عن تلك العيون. 

تخرقني فتحرقني لتعود و تسرقني إليها ملاذا آمنا. 

إن الأمان وهم في حضن الحبّ 

و الحياة وهم من دون الحبّ، 

فخذيني الى حضنك في هدهدة تؤرجحني من شوق الغربة إلى قلق الانشراح. 

اقبليني طفلا لا يعرف الكلام، حدقي في عيوني طويلا كالمرآة و افهمي لمعتها من إنعكاس وجنتيك. 

ايقظيني بزرع اسمك على جبيني كي الاقي الحياة باسمك الذي به صارت تدعى الحياة. 

اعتاد الأموات الجلوس في حضن الإله في السماء اما الحي هو الذي كنت انت في احضانه على الأرض.  

انزلي و امكثي هنا فقد سبق و نزلت السماء، 

و ما عادت هي المشتهى بل المشتهي

ِو اعتصرت وسعها في عيوني يوم ضحكت. 

هي التي يناجيها الناس، ناجتني ألا أغلق جفوني لئلا تموت القصيدة، 

فبقيتُ مسمّراً وأنتِ ترقصين الحياة، و على حركة يَدِك يَنتَظِمُ الشعر 

و أولد انا من جديد، من رحم ابتسامتك، من رغبتي، من حبّك أنتِ التي باسمك 

صارت تدعى الحياة.
إدي ابي يونس 


A cry at her window 

Papers scattered, like thoughts, all over a desk. A laptop half closed, half opened, mainly fully left alone sits on the desk. Across the room, an unmade bed lies in the corner. Is a bed still considered unmade if someone’s sleeping in it? Because if not then it’s a made bed, made by the person all twirled up in the blankets, phone at hand with a blank note opened. The face succumbs to the paleness of the note or maybe it’s the other way around, or perhaps they are both symptoms of a pale, blank soul. Words could be a way to a colorful, or some sort of “full” world but they can also be the anchor that weighs the soul down, keeping it in place as it sinks in a vast sea of water, black as a woman’s mascara. So maybe pale isn’t such a bad thing after all and maybe pale is the new black; either way it’s all he’s got. 

The man settles down, recollects himself and lets the waves carry him away: Past her cheeks and all the nights she spent sobbing, into her eyes and all of the times she looked right at his soul, all of  the times she felt the need to look away but didn’t, all of her disappointments. The tears take him straight into her soul, to a dark room with a small light in the corner, where a man lies in his bed, scattered thoughts, with a note as pale as his face and soul. He turns off the light as well as the phone and turns to face the wall in an attempt to sleep. He twists and turns with his eyes closed, but love has too strong of a grip on his insides so he calls out her name to the night. At the mere sound of her name, the papers fly through the window, across the wide gap of heartaches, in search of her arms and their sweet scent of belonging. 

He forgets that time she told him about her closing the windows every time it’s raining  outside or when she’s lonely.

Eddy Abi Younes 


أنا، و هنا الله

اكتب طفل، الفظ رجل، أعني طائر لأقول “انا” و هنا الله. حيث يحلّق الطائر في المطلق، حيث يتلقى الطفل الحياة بملئها، حيث يستسلم الرجل عن كل ما يجعله رجل فيصبح انا. و أصبح انا ، لا كما انا، بل كما كنت و انا الان في أصل ما انا عليه و عمقه و غايته، إلى أن يكفّ هو و اتي انا من جديد. و في كل ذلك أمشي نحو جديد ما لبث جديد، أمشي يقتادني عطر انسان منغمس في واقعه بكل ما اوتي من حقيقة. و العطر يهب حيث يشاء، في كل الأنحاء، و انا لا أضيع إذ أن المسيح عندما لحق الخروف الضال وجده في الحظيرة منقبضا على ذاته، يشتم هواء الحرية الذي يكاد يقفذه خارج ذاته و إلى قلب الحياة، يتمسك بقضبان الهيكل رافضا فقدان ذاته في مراعي الروح و الحق. هناك لا يثبت إلا الروح و الحق، و ما عدا ذلك فتوبة تليها ولادة فتوبة، و الاثنين من اجلي انا، لأجل “انا” تكون انا اكثر مني انا. توبة فولادة يكون فيها الآخر غيري انا. يكون كل شيء كما هو. يكون كل شيء مقبول مني انا و اولى تلك  الأشياء انا، انا الطفل ، انا الرجل، انا الطائر و هنا الله. 

بدعاء آتي لمجيء ذاك الحاضر أبدا، بدعاء يتجلى ذاك القريب بشوقي اليه، ذاك الذي رفض المظال، الراحل أبدا لإنه خير لي أن يرحل. 

برحيله آتي لغربتي، لذاتي التي لا تسبرني و إذ لا موضع لي أسند فيه رأسي، أشق بالسير نحو أرض الأحياء. هؤلاء هم ملك الحياة، و الاخيرة كما الأرض، ملك الله. فمن كان هو الحياة يعطيها الأن بفيض في قلبي و من اعلن نفسه الطريق يصنع الأرض  مع كل وطأة من أقدامي.

الأرض تعطى لي و الحياة تفيض فيّ، فيا ليته يعطى لي القبول بأن أعطى لذاتي أنا  بفيض من ذاك الذي هو، ذاك الكلمة التي ماتت كي اكون انا كلمة تولد لمعناها، الذي هو هو. و ان كان هو الذي هو، فأنا هو الذي عليه أن يصبح هو، بل أن يكون هو،اي ان اكون انا و هنا الله.


Time !! 

Time is the mother of all illusions, of all excuses. It is the sand upon which promises are built and the rock on which expectations come crashing down. And if you were to avoid the endless crashes of this ludicrous rollercoaster, then time is a prison that is built sitting down. In waiting rooms, in hospitals, time is the one month coma that has lasted five years and counting. Time is a word that never tires of coming back on board of millions of what ifs, a tenacious act full of doubt, the skinny woman that holds the grown man to her breast so he may forever suck on regret. 

Time is a pair of hands that let go way too soon, time is not an album but rather a ripped picture that keeps on losing pieces. Time is not a collection but rather the lost item. A man standing outside a door, hearing the cries and heavy breathing. The scars and burns, the unanswered questions, the empty rooms heavy with scents and memories, heavy with a presence, heavy with an absence. Time is the beggar watching feet and wheels go by, looking at the same cracks, memorizing them, noticing them as they grow and move on while he stays put. Time is the robber that steals from the rich as well as the poor and gives to none.

But when the bird finally lands on your shoulder and you take to the stillness, then time is a poor man getting buried under the sand of the hourglass, time is the writings on the shores wiped away by waves. Time is the man standing on a ledge, who doesn’t know if he’s being pulled back or pushed forward and we’re the ones holding him. Dead on the ledge as well as the ones who hold onto him. Dead on the ground, as well as those who refuse to let go.

So let go, let be and feel the breeze under the wings of that rebellious seagull. Feel the horizon shift with every clap of his wings. And watch what is not falter at his cry. Head beneath it all, above it all, beyond it all. To the core of the fire that has spread, to where water and spirit bond to make the whole word anew, beyond illusions, without excuses and within you. There time and space fall to their knees, shiver to dirt at the sight of the Divine. 

Eddy Abi Younes


الإنسان الطريق

عرفتُ إنسان كان يسير على الطريق، عرفتُهُ إنسان عَرفَ الطريق، عَرفَ الطريق لأنه الحقيقة و لأنه الحقيقة كان هو الطريق.

عَرفَني إنسان كان يسير، عَرفَني الطريق فسار بي حتى أَمُرَّ به. عَرفَني فعَرفتَهُ، عَرفَني كي أعرفَهُ. سار و ما زال، و سيظل يسير، كيما أعرفَهُ فأصبحُ فيه، كيما أعرفَهُ إذ انه بي و اذ بي أصيرُ،كما هو، الطريق.

فيا من يَحُجّ و دربُهُ الإنسان، يا من يَحُجّ و هو إنسان لأصيرَأنا مثله إنسان، متى سِرتَ صرتُ أنا، و متى صرتُ لا تقف عندي أنا، بل أكمِلْ السير و هبني أن أسيرَ حتى أُفنى و لا يبقى سواك، أنت الطريق.

ادي ابي يونس 


I am elsewhere 

There is a fire that fumes wonders of shadowy trees, whose sparks linger in the sky; calling for those furthest to let them know that there is such a thing as intimacy. Whispering for those closest the great tales of faraway lands. Preaching to all, of all the outstanding things that await on the other side of I. 

Be it this side or the other, the I is always elsewhere and elsewhere starts and ends at home. 

And so, let the stars guide us to our death, to other sides and other depths, to rich encounters and unpleasant truth, to unending silence. And when all is done, may we rise to the song of earth and sky, to be embraced as their own and may elsewhere end at last with home. 

But before all that, we must follow the trees, and soak ourselves in their path of leaves, in order to look at what everyone sees, to see beyond what they all see, to stare hard and long at what calls to thee, to choose the road as thy cornerstone. To let the stone drive thee from home and watch that stone turn into home. 

But after this and before that, and even more, through it all, keep present thy fire and sway to its rhythm, hear that call and reck for all, so that wherever you may roam you may find a home. 

Before paths without and paths within, rest your feet and just give in, and at last let your weary eyes feast as elsewhere starts and ends with home. 

Eddy Abi Younes


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


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