Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Prayers of Heron

Written by: Hisham Adam
Translated by: Hisham Adam
Once upon an incendiary sand, this wind was playing with a climate known by nomads as harsh, inhabited by dusty fever and familiar to the cold-blooded snakes and invertebrates. This wind was two-sands away or whistling from an immemorial mirage which landed on the wing of a mythical bird that beaten the legends then flew in a red sky forever. Its blood -which was the only sign of optimism, was sunken in an inch of water, its saliva -which had spilt for the first time when it saw me- It saw me again and did not spill. There is no way to bet, the wound is sinking in the cactus thorn, and in the scales of lizards that adept at deception. The mirage is a birthmark of the Western desert, and its only point of weakness.

Over the full song, the singer kept following the musical scale, but he suddenly fell at the edge of the river when frogs' disturbing sounds escalated. Let us return to the desert where the wind is a single queen of people who love the heat, even those nomads who were afraid of the wind's wrath when it spit sand on their faces and when horses find their way to flee. Oh fair Queen! Some of your people still suffering from headaches and dryness, and there is no refuge from you except these cracks. I love you because you're the only one who can cheat me and I do not dare to speak! I love you because I love to sleep! I love you because you are who I scared and I love her approaching! I love you because we are ancient in the slavery convoy heading north where this wound is an abandoned direction and deniable niche. Nomads worship the wind in secret, and bury oblations under the sands of this desert.

Where does infatuation hide in the daytime! From any direction longing does evaporate, from any interval? And who -along the dark-red blood- knows the fire between my ribs? There is an interval between me and to die. Here is the desert extends its tongue to me and the distance between each step and the other curses me in the intimate relationship between the mirage we can not bet on it and the arid desert. Who -over this fever- can sell me a cube of ice and an oasis of satisfaction? Ah. . How much complaining of a headache! This wind is a dictionary of unread language and an Atlas of non concept geography. This wind was -and remains- a refuge of nomadic tribes who search for a war for cecum camel. I'm the only one who can walk barefoot in your incendiary sand, and the only -the feared- who knows the secret of Thermochemistry

Here is the curse is now on the threshold of my wooden door. Oh my little dolly! How often I cried -just in front of you- before I change my sad accent before dawn? How often I took off my only pride to wear you? It is our secret, so not reveal it to anyone except the wind and the desert. Now, you understand my language that no one understands, all of them -without any exceptions- did not understand, as if I had to learn their language in order to be able to scream in a language they understand. All of them -without any exceptions- thought that I sell beads of witches and pirates' illusions who are looking for a treasure in a sea that no one knows about. All of them -without any exceptions- thought that I am mad so I could not reveal more.

This desert is for nomads, and I have this remote street that studded with noise and transients. One of the transients told me: "Do not stand on the side of the road, and do not sing where no one can hear you" But I want to sing, I want to sing, So I borrowed the voice from heron! A mountain of cotton!!

- Where is your pride, mountain?
- Winced.
- Where is your burnish that was shinning in every rock?
- Declined.

Oh this bottom fever, oh this desert, and those nomads. I am tired of litany, sick of response and sick of those who do not know how to play, and those who do not understand this song.

Monday, October 5, 2009


A part of unpublished novel
Written by: Hisham Adam
Translated by: Hisham Adam
All what Salah Derrar did need was a little of faith to get him out of his contentment that the armies of space insects sleep with him on his bed, and eat the fibers of his curly hair. He could not specify his relationship with them categorically. He feels respect towards them as if they are God's insects implementing his instructions meticulously, but sometimes he feels disgusted towards them. He, directly, looks at their faces while they waving with their antennas that look like Pharaonic whips made of felt, their mouths that full of serrated forceps and their convex backs as if they are smug Indian elephants.

His days in this room are similar; exactly as they appear on the pale color calendar, and everything around him seems dirty and monotonous as if it is an intentional chaotic pattern. The only ordered thing in all this chaos is: a wall clock, its beats add an extra noise to the place and an additional chorus to grasshopper coral and cockroaches' symphony. A sudden smile raids him whenever he saw them hung on the wall as a teenager decided to put an end for his miserable life that full of failed adventures and serious setbacks.

- Why should it spin twice to make sure of completion of the day? Twelve hours is more than enough to reflect this hell accurately. There is a heavy vacuum among each hour and the other like a mercury contaminated with rumors.

He does not remember when he entered here for the first time, maybe seven years ago or more, before the wall paint gets yellow, and maybe before household spiders weave their sticky cobweb on the room corners as thin traffic signs, and perhaps before sagging of roof nerves and resulted in uncovering his veins inhabited by termites tribe. What he remembers very well that it was an unlucky hour won't recur ever.

He looks at himself in a mirror dirty with soap foam, laughs on his physiognomy which hidden behind a shaggy hair like a hybrid Lhasa dog, trying to recall images of his face before he enter this place, but he does not succeed, so he believed that he was born this way and that he will remain so forever.

At midday, when his space bugs having fun, playing with empty food bags and the scattered bread crumbs, he steps aside and cowers on himself like an embryo, and overdoes cowering till seems like a hedgehog or sea shell, repeats in an inaudible whisper:
Ana mali w'mal al-balad da
Ana mashi jebal almandara

Voices of hawkers, children, passed women loud-laughs and bicycles ringing annoy him, they all at once infiltrate like cursed snakes through a high window to dwell his ears and tamper into his brain like the insatiable graves worms. Writhes like an arrogant demon, confronts the noise of the street parallel to the wall with hard strikes on the same wall. He rises as Orangutan and raises his bare hands, trying to reach the window that leaks waste light which fades before it reaches his retina and always shouts loudly:

- Shut up ignorant people; what are you laughing for?
At night, he walks on his tiptoes towards the wall of pleasure, and through a cursed whole he watches his neighbor Jamal Wagee'allah sleeping with his erotic wife, and never stops observing them until they turn off the light and their sighs commit suicide on their lips that bottled with hot sex blood, and sinking in their hearts like a time-bomb not to explode until the next evening.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

An Inevitable Introduction

A novel by: Hisham Asam
Translated by: Hisham Adam

But! If that was not God's will what threw the serial coincidences on my way, what would it be? I do not dare to say that it was only by motive of curiosity and surfing, it seems to me more than that. Even more striking and imaginative novels can not create such daring coincidences.

Perhaps they were not coincidences as they were imperatives were not taken into account. Does the life go according to its own law immune from what we want and what we are looking for? Do we similarity with the laws of the world without being aware of that, or we are in conflict with them? Was this conflict necessary? Maybe! And maybe we were a part of the game free out of logical and justified ends. I do not know! But I feel the world a big cubic dice.

I stand now stick to my history, trying to re-read and interpret it, as if it is a history of someone I remember his name hardly. A person I met him by chance in the Easter holiday two years ago, shocked by shoulders and smiled at me apologetically and I liked the whiteness of his teeth or the smell of his perfume or his hairstyle.

It is really surprising that someone discovers he does not know himself, and he does not know even the closest people to him; while he did not chum them only because he thought he knew them well, and understands what makes them provoked, worries, rejoice and what do they think of. "No one knows anyone" This is the result that emerged from the first.

Now, things become clear to me and I can see them with another eye, if I did not see before, or if I were seeing things upside down! The Truth surprises us when we look for it, and then we find out that it is what looking for us, and it is what finds us always. We understand that the world is proceeding according to a perfect plan, without getting any attention to our random, and all our idiot perceptions, because when you get used to the noise; quiet confuses you!

Now, I understand some of the mystery hidden from me, and mastered the craft of eavesdropping on the senses. I know it will not help much, but it is better than believing that life is fruitless and that the luck is the master. All things in this world are balanced and in their places, even those calamities, evils, and the coincidences are ordered alphabetically and preplanned!

The world has its own secret, and things disclose about its holiness and it is full of insinuations and passwords that cached in all what we see; but we do not see and we do not understand too. Perhaps we were affected by our humanity then we could not able be as the world wants us to be, to see in every peccadillo a sign to the special kingdom.

Oh! How stupid we are when we claim acumen and knowledge! We do not know anything about ourselves, we do not know about life except what we want to delude ourselves that we know. We quarrel with the truth as if it is our eternal enemy and devil holds all the contradictions. How naïve we are when we always ask about life and its secret as if we just created to solve the puzzles! Only now I know that life is easy and complex just like pants' zipper.

According to the experts: "As much as Man grows up as much as he revealed the truth of things obviously, and as much as he learns something new as much as he gets closer from the fact. Every day Man matures and his ideas and vision of the world mature too. That is the philosophy of the Supreme entities, and the secret of our research and endless questions." I say: "As much as Man grows up as much as he further away from the truth, and as much as he learns something new as much as he gets less knowledge. And as much as he matures as much as he becomes more stupid and naive!"

Now, I say now: "When individual be able to capture the thick horns of the truth he will become an immortal beings." Probably the true knowledge is not a delusion, as much as the absolute ignorance is a law that has its ascendency. We know as much as Adam and Eve ate from the fruit of knowledge, and we miss eternity as far as they were close from it. What a Man! Since that time he was looking for knowledge and immortality and did not desponds yet?

I am not about to record the history of my life; it is worthless, but discovering myself was the biggest surprise to me bigger than my ability to surprise. I laughed so often before on everything that was going on around me of paradoxes, I thought them chaos conducive to a bigger mess, and I felt sorry about myself and others, because we are in a vicious circle, into a maze created by ourselves. Now, I know that we do not create chaos, and the chaos is just a highly regular cosmic pattern, and it draws us to it with a grace we do not feel it.

I thought I was born in the wrong time, and that all who around me are just ignorant clowns, and biological creatures do not do anything but only sex and defecation. I wrapped by the philosophy from the ignorance of this world, and wondered: "What is the sacred duty of Man? Knowing himself or knowing the world which he lives in?" Now I know that the most sacred duty is not to know, and that the ignorance is the beginning of the science and its end.

That helped me so much to alleviate my feelings of resentment towards myself, and gives me a sense of moderation and balance. It is just a feeling that may not be felt by anyone except ropes riders in the circus stunts, who defraud the middle ear shell, and mimics their antis. Man likes not to be himself, loves to challenge himself and his abilities; not because he is a refined and distinct creature, but because he knows, instinctively, he looks like the universe somehow, so he tries to be consistent with what he feels.

We feel very happy the scientific accomplishments, and its amazing inventions, but we will be frustrated when we know that our defended for science and knowledge is our jealousy of the rest of the creatures! The Man tries to imitate birds, fish, frogs, and inspired his major innovations from the most contemptible insects. He claims he enacts laws and constitutions, but in fact he inspires them from of the nature. Creatures feel comfortable because they are consistent and harmonious with the nature. The tragedy of the Man that he challenges nature and deludes himself by the victory.

What did Man add to this world? I say: "He did not add anything at all." He is either discover things exist, or claims invention of laws that working automatically even without he knows, or invents things inspiring their idea from this amazing world around him. We are a big deception; as we are who enact laws and abide by, then when we discover the grotesque of the laws, we blows them up and enact new ones.

Not All things are valuable, or they are all valuable but we delude ourselves that we are who assesses and values them according to clumsy laws. We are who prefers gold more than coal. We are who assumed superimposition of the Spirit on the body, and we are, ourselves, who made the paper and named it "Currency."

The Man is the only one who believes that some creatures excrete jewels; and therefore we consider the pearls as valuable, and the sweat of whale as perfume! We all are deluded but we like to live in this illusion and believe it.

Whenever secrets revealed to us, we discover how petty we are. And whenever we felt close to the truth, we discover the extent of illusion we are submerged into, despite all that we claim the knowledge and wisdom; however, the illusion remains the only and absolute truth.

The details surprised me first, then the totals! I did not know that this thing is deeper that much. Eventually, I discovered that we just know the peels of things, while things always maintain their secrets fresh, attractive and authentic. Just when things integrate we know how stupid we are.

While Robin Singer was dying I said to myself: "Here is he dying now after he achieved all his wishes!" I was drawing silly smiles trying to convey to him smiling infection, but he was more adroit than me even on his deathbed! The fever held his tongue, but his eyes said a lot to me.

I knew I will be sad for his death as I did for many other friends who they had gone before. Then, few days later I will come back to the pub down the street, drank champagne with the rest of survivors friends, share laughs and offensive comics with them, throw each others with hazelnuts peels and popcorn such as children, and echo brassy meaningless lyrics waiting for funeral of other new friend.

Only now, I know I was naive and foolish. Only now, I know that everything I have seen I did not descry it. It is just like someone reins a horse dragging a luxury wagon on his feet for miles without thinking that he could ride the horse.

Some of what happened here, I experienced them all and involved in its painful and exciting details, and also those dull and silly ones, but I never thought, while I am seeking for my glory in writing, that what I know and what I cohabit with will be my first and last novel. I knew why "One Hundred Years of Solitude," is the most beautiful novel had ever written by Marquez, and why "The Da Vinci Code" is the finest I have read for Dan Brown, and why many people considered "Roots" of Alex Haley a humanity saga; they are all characterized by the truth.

But! What about the ethical of writing about this story? Have I bought my expected glory with a certain betraying? How to get rid of the successive conscience curses which will not forgive me at night, so they haunt me like dead indignant ghosts, until I surrendered to their mad wishes, then I end up dumped from an immemorial rocky abyss, or hanging on trunk of an ancient oak tree, seesawed by the wind like a thin wilted hemp paper.

Couple of weeks ago and when I was overwhelmed into my curiosity and engaged ordering the messages, pictures, and printed papers that I found inside a miserable wardrobe, I do not know how this naive curiosity, later on, turned to a strong desire to write? And how those papers, messages and pictures turned to an integrated story which can be live as their characters wanted them to live? I do not know! But what I believe in is; that no doubts these coincidences were not for me.

I wonder about the feasibility of publishing this story now, and I feel as one of the cloth-brides tied by a thin thread to a proficient hand. A doll playing its role in chapters of story that she does not know much about it. Then it rests peacefully into dolls box after the curtain falls down without knowing that there is a great story behind the red velvet curtain. How petty ourselves and desires are!

Dear reader, in order not to reviling me and not the curses overflowing upon me, It is my duty to explain part of the truth; Everything you will read it here I knew it only few weeks ago, although I lived its beginning for years. It is a story which you have right to read it however you want, and feel it or not, and like or throw it in the wastebasket, I had gathered its chapters from the trash anyway!

Read it in Arabic

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Partners of Tulip

Sort Story by: Hisham Adam
Translated by: Hisham Adam
She knelt on her knees in front of his grave too slowly like a dimmed lighting angel strayed its way to the sky. She told him the news of the village: those who perished, immigrants, married couples and newborns. She told him about the news of traders, sailors, and farmers in the field of eggplant and alfalfa. She told him about the collapse of the roof of wooden attic in the house of her neighbor's home Jaleelah Salih, the death of Abdo Hashem's cow, the last flood of the river and locusts' season, and the scandals of the village. Then she sang him his favorite song, as if she is lulling him before sleep. She revealed him the longing and the desire to follow him to heaven where he sits in peace and quiet, enjoying under the shade of the mythical trees, plying with his rifted feet in the rivers that have no upstream nor downstream, then she placed a bouquet of tulips and left quietly.

A week later, she returned and told him the news and told him the usual tales and sang him his warm song that he loves, and she cried as much as her longing allowed her to cry, and then when she wanted to replace her old tulips with new ones, she found it fresh as she left last time. She could not understand the feeling about these strange, but somehow she convinced that her husband carries the dignity of saints where he is in his perch, enjoying under the shade of mythical trees, plying with his rifted feet in the rivers that have no upstream nor downstream. Guessed that could be a sign, or a message he is trying to express it to her, so she started preparing herself to join him at any moment. She took her old flowers, and placed the other and left quietly.

She had been waiting for death with joy and quiet fear; so she keen to restore potteries to her neighbor and she gifted her her pampered cat and sold her antique silver jewelry to be able to meet her debts, and hired a carpenter to repair the wooden windows and the doors of her house, and she bought a shroud and putted it up the wardrobe, but she did not die throughout the week.

She began to lose faith in the assumed dignity of her husband. She made sure that the hallucinations of the bereaved lovers started inhabit into her pockets nasal, and the lane of her slow-hot veins. She returned to his grave, and started telling him the news of the village: the spread of plague, the migration of young people, Spinster girls and the expectations of a coming war. She complained to him about cunning of traders, baseness of sailors and horror of abandoned eggplant fields, and told him about the death of her pet cat with her neighbor, and the carpenter who did not work as he should and discovered of the falsehood of some jewelry, and then she sang him his favorite song, and when she wanted to replace the old tulips with new ones she found it fresh.

She was still wondering about the secret of survival of fresh tulips at every time, and the hidden message that her husband wanted to express it to, but she was unable to reach a final and definitive interpretation. But she returned convinced that her husband has an understandable dignity, and she was not concerned with what is going on at all.

That day –was not Sunday as usual- she found a young man; handsome and features kneeling at the grave of her husband, repeating some verses in reverence, and changing the crusty tulips with new ones, then she smiled because she knew the secret of the tulip, but she did not understand the secret of the relationship between him and the tomb and its owner, so she steps towards him gracefully:
- Did you know my husband, handsome?
- Your husband? But I am standing on the grave of my father.

He told her about the tomb owner, the farmer who was recruited by the government during the civil war, and tournaments that his colleagues used to tell him about, and the story of his martyrdom which shocked everybody. In return, she told him about the blacksmith who died of a horse kick, how they married couples of years after their secret story had been exposed, and his desire to have children that he stay dream of until he dead.

The most romantic thing was their partnership in the tulips and discovering the secret of staying fresh every time, while the most realistic thing in every what was said was their dispute on the owner of the tomb, as the young man insisted that the owner of the grave is his father, the martyr farmer, she old woman insisted that the tomb it belongs to sterile blacksmith which she remained loving him all her sixty-eight years and she said: "There is no tomb of a martyr without tombstone!"

They sat down to the village Sheikh who was unable to determine conclusively the identity of the tomb owner, and there was no one in both villages knew. They said: "All graves are similar, and their tombstones have no name or even dates of death!" Therefore, it gave his order to exhume the grave and dug out the dead to recognize him and they agreed digging the grave to be next morning.

In another place the young man was reclining on a sofa looks like a finishing boat thinking of what the morning could hide to him, as if he will see his father for the first time. How much we do not like to see the dead! No matter how much we love them, but we do not like to see them sleeping, their faces do not bear expressions that we loved. Guessed that it could be an appropriate opportunity for him to transfer of his martyr father's grave to where it should be. And he slept early that night.

That time the old woman sat on her rocking chair, wrapped with tens of reassuring and frightened concerns, focused her sight on a virtual spot in the hallway, as if recalling the spirit of her husband to ask him what to do. She guessed that she will miss something, whether he or someone else lying in the grave. She did not wonder where her husband would be if he was not the one she was telling him the stories and the news of the village and sang him his favorite songs, but she was thinking of something else not able to catch its flank completely.

By 9 o'clock at the morning everyone gathered in front of the tomb waiting for the Sheikh of the village who was coming with his penguin walk, carrying the Koran in a hand, and in the other a thick ebony baton. His features were not as usual, or so the old woman and the handsome young man thought. The Sheikh of the village looked at the faces of everyone in a closer look, as if questioning something he wants, before uttering a word the young man and the old lady step forward: "We do not want to exhume the body, so be who he is. Tomb exhuming is just like baring alive!" Everyone applauded, and departed. The young man did not stop visiting the grave every Friday and pray at his feet, and the old woman did not stop visiting the same grave every Monday telling him the news of the village sang him his favorite song and replaced the fresh tulips with another fresh ones.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Dying in The Badrnar Night

By: Hisham Adam
Translated by: Hisham Adam

The winter with its nails -which look like Australia bears' claws- was scraping the fleas as bodies on his brown skin and he thought them dead skin. He assumed that he somehow turned to a reptile decided to change its skin in the appropriate season. The old lantern at pigeon-hole of his mud wall room draws rising objects from the shadows on one of the walls bare of paint, they were dancing in a primitive way outside and he was unable to guess the music that makes them move funny that way. He likened him with night goblins decided to celebrate crazy ritual in lively clamor Zar bout for a woman had to steal her husband's wealth to pay for demons in order to get a baby in the last gasp of her youth before menopause.

He sat extracted the ears-wax by a straw mined from one of the walls of his room, mumbling with inaudible nonsense. It was like filling the fuel tank of spray aircraft founded by chance in a barren desert remote. His eyes were patrolling all over around just like chameleon's eyes lurking unfortunate dragonfly, as if he expected something. Silent noises shown on the wall make him feel secure and fear at the same time: a sense of secure getting him out from loneliness and isolation, and fear of the unknown which is hidden behind those stupid dance movements.

He does not know the time and he did not strive to know, but he decided to remain awake until the dancing objects stop moving. The place for him is himself; his body which is full of suicide fleas since last summer, and his shaggy hair, and his naked legs, as if he is wearing the place!

He does not stop the firm conviction that the hole in the wooden door is leaking glances of the curious eyes, waiting for him to sleep, so he kept moving, showing he is still awake as if opening his eyes does not always mean he is awake. He was afraid not they differentiate between sleeping and death, then he decided to keep moving constantly to prove his life not waking up only; that was another battle to him!

There is no way to distinguish between living and dead people. Those who are outside see him as dead from long years ago, since he decided to commit suicide to meet his parents who died drowning in the river and never found their bodies. They said: "The River took them to the bottom of the sea!" but he believed there is no one can access the place of dead, so he jumped behind them, but they recovered him back for the first time and he repeated the attempt continuously time and again to no avail. He was thirteen years and did not stop attempting to commit suicide by drowning in the River, so they arrested him into the mud room and kept him away from sharp instrument; but he was ridiculing them because they can not feel the desire to taste the sweetness of death that he felt in each attempt.

The village that like termites home on the cortex of oak was wearing black dress of the night, as if it does not want to see the outside world, like a hedgehog wraps himself for fear of hungry predators, extreme lies on an uneven hill, humidity of the sea can be smell a league away enough to be described coastal, and let its people be proud. In the light of oil lanterns and fire torches celebrated Badrnar Day when the moon completely disappeared from the sky above the coastal village.

The myth inherited from the ancestors of the villagers says; In the Badrnar Day sky shows its serenity inherent. The sky is black or dark blue and it must be always remain. He alone locked into the mud room do not know the time only through a hole in the wooden rickety door. Light and movement are the only two languages he can understand well after he lost his hearing and since that is amused to see the world on his own way. He said: "The world is beautiful and quiet with no sounds!"Village people went him out to wash in the River just like the other members. They tied him with heavy rough chains like horse-chestnut and took him from his bare torso, and poured water on him so the dead fleas fell down without anyone knows. He looked around him to those people and things through the holes of dark night, looking to the shadow of rising objects like alive sconces. He tried to escape but he could not. He, barely, saw the glitter of their teeth in the light of fire torches fire, they were opening their mouths and close them constantly, and he was able to understand what they were saying via their expressions and disgruntled faces.

He relaxed his legs' bones and fell down on the riverside as if he wanted to inhale the smell of the death. No one have wished death as Massoud did, and perhaps for that he did not die until after the electricity entered the village and lanterns and fire torches disappeared, until then the people of the village, insisting the lights remain extinguisher in order to preserve the privacy of Badrnar nights. He (The prisoner of his room) was still watching the world through the mud hole in the damned wooden door, and makes fun of the rest who are dying one after the other and prevented him from the same.

He said: "I want to die, not to be perished!" but he could not express his message to him. He tried many times, but every time they hear nothing but only annoying screams that does not carry any meaning. How can one still alive against his will? How the human does not have the right to die how and whenever he wishes? What is the value of life that other gives it to you without your consent?

The children of the village -who did not witness the sinking of Massoud's parents-, were meeting each other at the twilight time in front of his mud room and peep on him. Their small eyes seemed complete through the hole of the damned door, and he was seeing them exaggerating to open their eyes as if they want to swallow the small hole with their own eyes. For some reason he felt that it is their new way to yawning.

In a night of very dark Badrnar nights, an elderly woman went by stealth to Massoud's mud room, she did not look at him from the hole of the wooden door, but she tended the shackles and chains then left quietly and sat not far looking to the wooden door and expect the lean brown body of Massoud come out, but he did not. After all that dancing, chanting prayers and heritage hymns, they brought their rough chains to force him to bathe in the river, but they found him dead and the effects of dry tears on his eyes.

The old woman yelled loudly and no one understood its meaning, but she passed her wrinkled hand on his body full of dead fleas and cried a lot. Men carried his body on their shoulders and wanted to bury him, but she stood in front of them: "Throw him into the river to extinguished his desire, has always lived the dream of death into it", but before they do they applied turnip oil all over his body, and put him on a boat made of thin banana leaves tied with ropes of synthetic palm fibers, and remain looking at his body withering in the water until it disappeared.