Losing My Ithaca/Ethica

The Original Ithaca by Constantine P. Cavafy

Once upon a time I stumbled upon an Ithaca

Like butterflies, I flew in the air searching for a temptous nectar

I set out on a land where Ithaca was far and near like a shooting star

Cut the miles, trooped its length and width, till I reached

God knows how hard I shook it, till all doors had flung open before me

I felt the rush of the Atlantic had sworn to off the face of the earth wipe my existence

Even though I was forced by the mighty gravity to the deepest depth of the blue

I miraculously surfaced my glooms

Bitter taste of victory whirled in my world like a dizzying dance of a whirling dervish

I crumbled in my own temple of Ithacas

Woke up to a festival of crumbled ones

Losing ithica, after ithaca

So many seeping through my tightest slots of patience

As a nail crowns your finger, Ithaca covers me

I preach it in my poetic salon

Enchanted other heretics seem to be by my desperate delusions

In a world Ithacas are benevolent works of divinities

I am haunted by my fear of my fear

Who could be more helpless than a running deer from the monster’s claws

Only a human

With too little strength to die for an Ithaca, with an Ithaca, like an Ithaca

 

 

 

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Once upon a time I stumbled upon an Ithaca

Like butterflies, I flew in the air searching for a temptous nectar

I set out on a land where Ithaca was far and near like a shooting star

Cut the miles, trooped its length and width, till I reached

God knows how hard I shook it, till all doors had flung open before me

I felt the rush of the Atlantic had sworn to off the face of the earth wipe my existence

Even though I was forced by the mighty gravity to the deepest depth of the blue

I miraculously surfaced my glooms

Bitter taste of victory whirled in my world like a dizzying dance of a whirling dervish

I crumbled in my own temple of Ithacas

Woke up to a festival of crumbled ones

Losing ithica, after ithaca

So many seeping through my tightest slots of patience

As a nail crowns your finger, Ithaca covers me

I preach it in my poetic salon

Enchanted other heretics seem to be by my desperate delusions

In a world Ithacas are benevolent works of divinities

I am haunted by my fear of my fear

Who could be more helpless than a running deer from the monster’s claws

Only a human

With too little strength to die for an Ithaca, with an Ithaca, like an Ithaca

Inspired by the original Ithaca by Constantine P. Cavafy

The Early Grey Season

By: May Kosba

Call me a street child, dead hopes, victim of capitalism and let your imagination flow and take you wherever your conscience lands. Your vivid imagination would not unplant the fear dwelling within me of the living shadows of the dead in my cemetery. Yes, cemetery. Call it a cemetery, a graveyard, the final destination, land of desertion, but never say a garden, it is far from it, never say home it is far from it . Do I care to develop a description? I don’t think it matters. Yet, I see it another landful of dust in the capital of dust, only a carnival of bones and corpses possess the underground would make it a different site. Certainly not a touristic site, nor the elites kind of place. It is the place for the dead for the entertainment of those above the dead. We’re not poor, perhaps below poor but not dead, yet. If you search for where our richness is lurking you may not find it on earth, I trust it is deposited for us in the heavens. A little pondering on that my doubts might kill the thought. That doesn’t matter, for we’ll die too soon or maybe dead already.

My friends at school laugh their hearts out every time I have to remind myself or be reminded that my father is an undertaker. I am clueless on whose fault is this, and what is this. Is it him being an undertaker, or us living with the dead, or us being poor, or us not complaining. My father’s job doesn’t shame me. I have to believe scavengers must exist for the survival of the universe. If the earth worm is man’s scavenger then someone has to make it ready. If it’s not someone else’s destiny then it should be my father’s. That too doesn’t matter.

People have always thought I speak bigger than my tiny size and wise beyond my young years. I say if you see what I see, and hear what I hear, your forehead wouldn’t part your knees your whole life. You see, like anybody you wake up in the morning wishing today passes without any troubles; you wake up to a funeral march, our visitors wear only black or white, too many voices entwine; some weep, some hiss with gossips, some drift, some complain of the dirt, some are too busy with life, some remember the hereafter with a few verses of the least they memorize of the Quran, all through the Sheikh’s recital continues to reign over the Capital of Silence, the cemetery. That too doesn’t matter.

Sometimes animals scream, sometimes shadows move, sometimes people come back from the dead, and sometimes the night is so dark and frightening, and my toys are possessed. That too doesn’t matter.

The other day there was a cars festival. The rainbow wore black; I could not differentiate between my black and white eyesight and reality. Guess I am accustomed to weeps and screams and anything equals gloominess, but this time was different. From the distance, I saw the shroud wraps a tiny body. The closer it gets I shiver. Now I see it and it can’t be more real. The moment I questioned secretly how old is this little creature, heard his mother say “Oh God, he’s just a baby. Next month he was going to be one year old.” I felt the earth withdraws underneath me, the earth slams against me. I hurried back to my room just to hide my head beneath my thighs and wished I’d blackout. I did, I woke up and looked in the mirror to see for the first time snow, it slid my auburn curls like ghosts of the dead in the dark.  Thinking of the hero baby makes me think I must have lived longer than I should have, or if he could die at barely one no wonder I go grey at twelve.

A tribute to Amr El Liethy’s “One of  the People” (Wa7ed men Elnas) TV Show about children living in graveyards coverage and in the loving memory of my cousin Ali Abdel Baky (November 15, 2009)

What Meets the Eye

By: May Kosba

She arrived seven minutes before the session starts at ten in the morning. None of her colleagues showed up yet. Can’t complain, the only reason she made it that early is coincidently living about five minutes away from where the training is taking place. After all she can’t avoid the last minute attitude engraved in her genes like most Egyptians. The clock finally ticks 10:00 am, it seems that trainees, trainers, training staff are here including herself ready to ignite the week long training roller coaster.

She sits among trainees, not quite aware if its out of a modest behavior or only trying to convince herself she takes the know-how after her boss. He’s talented; he knows how to keep the show running for as long as it takes, yet interesting. Looking at him talk and move is just too confusing and crippling. She’s not an MIT, its just how the show goes. She always had a distaste for comparisons and tests. She likes to be spontaneous and expects her spontaneity is greeted with both appreciation and respect. After all, spontaneity cannot be deemed effortless. When she talks anyone can see her aura filled with passion and gentleness.

The icebreaking process is something that she and her colleagues should take part carrying out with the trainees, but this time is different, the old man seeks bedazzling the kids. Look at how they gaze at him, charmed, as if a magician with endless tricks in his pocket waiting to come out like fireworks to change their life forever. This image slowly poisons her mood as the countdown brings her show near to the starting moment. What seems to be confusing is the nature of her team’s cause; is it educating them with “development” and what comes with it, or how to perfectly play gimmicks and what comes with it.

 

 

It is time that she takes the reign of “development” and herself. The outset was a little rough, she knew it would be. As always, never ceased her promise to herself to acknowledge where she stands compared to her boss; experience and knowledge wise by saying her infamous line “It’s always difficult to do after Dr. Thabet” and doesn’t seem to care less about how it is perceived by the trainees, she knows by only standing there and the way she looks and speaks will never be casted among them. She knows deep in her heart, she’s of a different kind.

Wearing the trainer’s hat feels completely different from the trainee’s hat. It felt a bit heavy in the beginning. There she stands looking at young boys and girls and a few oldies thinking of how to make a good long lasting impression. She began pulling out tricks of her making to make her points clear and help them change the face of the future in their communities, that’s what her job is about.

The more she talks and moves, the more they gaze back, intensely. For some reason the men’s aura doesn’t tell they grasped much about community development, however, something like “sexual desires development” or something of a very nasty nature. Doesn’t take a genius to tell what’s going on in their heads. Their eyes are the most suitable interpreter. She wished they looked her in the eye, or her hands. It’s amazing how they are not affected by her enthusiasm and effort like the girls, they had their eyes fixed on her breasts and above her thighs instead.

She felt naked, humiliated, and endangered. Their piercing gazes made her feel like a Ghazeya but who dances at twelve at noon except a frustrated development trainer, in a training classroom surrounded by sexually oppressed creatures. Aren’t we all oppressed married or not? She thought.

Young lines of sweat found their way on her cringing skin. In her head, pacing back and forth, thoughts unfold in her mind; she knows the mind can’t hold two conflicting thoughts, what atbout dozen revengeful ones?! Her anger Bears can’t wait to monster those smelly ugly looking mad dogs.

She’s the trainer and this is another test of the survival of feminine strength. She has to win this game. This one single positive thought struggling to dominate her strife. For a moment, her exhausted glances drifted towards a dove looking from outside the window. A silly wish of her a dove, the best you can admire about is how beautiful creature she is not how cylindrical.

She’s always been good at what she deos and she’ll keep doing what she’s doing hoping someday she’ll have their eyes meet hers.

Blood on My Poetry Notebook

I sit alone talking to myself in private
In my own little chamber of secrets
These walls can never breach the oath
They’d once vowed to keep it
Seized my pen and my notebook
Yet could not dare taint the whiteness
A small cascade of thoughts dug deep into my head
Magnified within the craving desire for revenge
As my pen rouses from its quiescence
Strives to spell v-e-n-g-e-a-n-c-e
Heard the invader’s footsteps ascending my tired stairs
Looked up with ultimate confidence
These bones can never deny the moron’s gutlessness
There stood his shadow, building up in my presence
His false holiness banished the demons before the angels
I stood alone exorcizing the prince of the darkness
Claims to be human
God know … No earthly fire could burn his torrid core
Spoke to me words that human speak
Words like home, love and surrender
For whom and with whom … I stood bewildered
Mesmerized by his intricate wicked fantasy or reality
My Lord… his words were poisoned arrows pierced into my body
This unendurable punishment for the not-proven-guilty
Even a monster would have sucked my blood
Wouldn’t let it hopelessly running
Thousand prayers never saved the innocent
Only crowned the devil’s ruthlessness
Hear voices telling me that I should have some faith
I should believe
I’m dear to God … I’m here to believe
I swear I believe and believe and believe
In the one and only one above me
One day … so soon … it seems coming
Your fate is doomed to a daunting ending
Every breath of pride from you I shall retrieve
Go pound the doors of forgiveness
Promise me!
You’ll be freed from all the guilt against humanity plus me
I shall wait here in the chamber of secrets scorning your animosity
Dry my dear bloody poetry notebook
Listen to the crows’ cry over your dead memory