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Nigdaw Apr 8
you had so much clay
to mould into
the perfect shape of existence
why did you punish so many
on their road to Damascus
jay Oct 2020
from jerusalem to damascus, and you haven’t figured it out yet. who am i?

put your hand on a book and repeat as i say, i will find myself.

it’s an oath. the cities have witnessed it.
jay Oct 2020
you are afraid to die in your sleep because you think you will forget how to breathe. it’s okay if you do; this mortal, dying body isn’t something familiar to you.

neither is the air you breathe, or the soil beneath your feet, or all what this body craves and all what it needs — but it’s okay, see, you’re not lost. not yet, anyway. you simply don’t know where you want to be.

you aren’t even sure if you do want to be.

but here you are.

here you stand, in all your glory, void of any connection to this planet and its people, and your ears ring. you listen. you don’t care, but you listen and you hear voices, coming from beneath your feet, and they’re calling out to you — they’re calling out your name, telling you where you need to be —

and it’s right here.

damascus. she’s a city built on seven and she has many names — the ones you call her are the ones  your heart claims. jasmine blooms at night but thrives under the sun; shameless and proud, aggressive and loud. and you love it more than you’ve ever loved.

it’s damascus, and it’s a holysite come nightfall, at midnight. you follow your heart and wander around, and you forget not to breathe so you end up drowning in the jasmines — the yasmeen, and that’s when you realise it —

you are more alive than you have ever been, standing right there, in all your glory, with the yasmeen framing the old streets and glowing in the moonbeam. you are more alive than you have ever been.

you try not to breathe, but it’s too late, and your fear of dying in your sleep is replaced.

a newfound fear of living forever swims in your head, haunting your thoughts like a shark with its eyes on a prey. you’re afraid of living forever. it’s okay if you do; you know that the world will someday turn gray, you know that it will all fade away, but you won’t be alone.

the voices calling out to you — your ancestors, kings and queens, artists and their muses, the ones who wrote history and the victims of the margins, the saints and the sinners and the ones who got away with their sins — their voices will always be there, echoing in the air you breathe, calling out your name from the soil beneath your feet.

they will always be there, and so will this city — damascus, the city with an infinite faces and endless names. the city, the beloved of fate, the sister of destiny.

and if she were not fate’s beloved, how do you explain her immortality? and if she were not the sister of destiny, how do you explain the fact that you ended up here, with all your mortal, dying glory?
jay Oct 2020
to be damascene,
you cease to exist in dimashq
you start living behind the scene.
you fall in love with a mask
and an infinite faces underneath.
you learn her names without needing to ask
and you carve them onto your heart,
letter by letter, one after the other.

to be damascene,
you cease to remember what love and hate mean.
you start loving the rain and the scathing heat,
you start hating the brick walls and the old streets.
you fall in love with yasmeen
and imagine him tattooed on your skin;
little white flowers drawn in black ink,
so fragile yet so keen.

to be damascene,
you start loving from the bottom of your heart
which desires the unspeakable,
the good, the bad, the colourful, and the gray
and you start hating from the depth of your eyes,
which have seen far too much
to let you turn your head away
and act like everything is okay.

to be damascene,
you cease to love unless it’s a sin,
you let go of the songs and the notes,
and you start to sing along
with birds and bricks and bullets.
you treasure memories over lives,
and you let go of the present,
all you do is reminisce.

to be damascene,
your words cease to make sense
as you mourn the present tense,
and you worry about the jasmines
and the city you grew up praising and cursing,
but you remain painfully aware
despite all the senseless words no longer say,
and all the things you cease to be —

to be damascene
is to belong to a city unlike any other;
an immortal city with an undying soul.

and if your body falls
the way jasmines do,
and if your home falls
the way bullets do,
and if your world falls
the way lovers do,

she will still be there:

a new world will rise
and she will be there still,
right in the center.
she will have a new name
but her children will rarely use it.
she will live a new chapter
and her children will be writing it.

to be damascene, is to believe in it.
jay Oct 2020
i stand here
and there’s nothing i crave more
than to run away and disappear,
nothing, but the secret spinning inside me.

i stand here
and these voices are all i hear,
and they’re calling out to me,
screaming of fate, screaming of destiny.

i stand here
and the blood of ten thousand years
spills from my body onto my streets
spreads like the ink i spilt on my sheets

(and i’m rooted in my place,
sinking in my blood, like a tree,
i stand here, unmoving yet free
as if freedom meant what it means.
the voices won’t let me go,
the voices won’t let me be)

i stand here
and i’m not a patriot or a lover, no,
but beneath my feet,
lie more empires than i’ll ever know
or count or amount to.

i stand here
and here i will always be.
Bee Apr 2018
Dear, Sweet, Damascus,
Even your vinegar will
attract hungry flies.

— The End —