Mother tongue.
One day i released outrage and anger, 
spat distaste towards my homeland, 
burnt cedar trees, 
forgot the levantine sun,
felt their insults break these shoulders, I held my mothers mountains and soaked my fathers ink, carried boulders so my ancestors forgave
words can be heavier than their weapons 
I fell
“Arabic -
That thick, meaningless, language”
Look at the way these arabs talk! “
they continued in voices filled with air, 

I never knew I did 
when I thought I walking straight 
I didn’t realize I fell into voids
sometimes i spent the night staring at the moon, 
Glorified it, and ignored the stars, 
man learnt how to read, 
But he forgot who wrote the books,

The wise man listened to me, then laughed 
Replied , Don’t listen to those who demean you inferior, 

You are an Arab, 
Enter the home of an Arab, 
You will find three cups. 
May, ahwa, wa aseer, 
Water, coffee and a drink
Enter the home of an Arab and 
You will find a warm meal,

Hearts that the sun envy’s from, 
Light that the summers stretch for, 
Golden crusted, 
the terminating seal of an eclipse, 
Melodies that the birds will stop chirping for, 
Just to listen to. 
Ah friend, the guests joy is our delight.

Mother tongue, 
“Look at the ways these Arabs talk!”
Fairouz, Hafez, Um Kulthum

Did you forget that my ancestors 
Drank from the water of the Euphrates, 
Stole from the dead seas,
Bathed in the Nile,
Swam in the Tigris, 
Drown me in my history
They can spit you creation

There are those who’ll call your language ruined
Tell them I am the ruins of ba’albeck, 
That my mothers’ silence is a dagger and my fathers whisper is a command, 
And isn’t it that which is ruined we are amazed at?
Isn’t it the ruined architecture of the ancients that we gaze at?

Mother tongue
Look at the way these Arabs talk 
Gibran, Mahfouz, Qabbani
Mother tongue
Darwish, Hakim, Ghazzali

They told me Arabic isn’t the language you only read
But the language your heart indulges in
That the alphabet humbles, 

Allow me to explain
When the Arab picks up the spring flowers whose petals hangs upside down
He calls it halet el sit
The earrings of the lady
And when the Arab calls his lover
habibati, albi. Hayati, ayooni, ya rouhi
my love, my heart, my life, my eyes
you are a part of my soul

The wise man laughed
And for once, I was speechless
You are an Arab, you have a history like no other
Mother tongue, look at the ways these Arabs talk

cover art // archive warwicka