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jay Oct 2020
come on, little one, listen to me,
hear me out, carefully:
we are running out of time.
soon, the sun will show its face
so be quick, be swift, tie your shoelaces,
bring your heart, wear it on your sleeve,
and sneak outside, so we can leave.
i’ll wait until the sun starts to rise,
so be quick, be swift, save your goodbyes.

come on, little one, i want to ask:
have you ever been told,
well, it’s not the end of the world
i know the answer (your thoughts count too)
so be quick, be swift, let go of the past,
bring your true self, throw away the mask,
and stay alert, for your worst fear is here,
but remember? i’m here too,
so you have nothing to fear.


come on, little one, don’t you know?
the end of the world is here.
be quiet, be patient, hear me out, carefully:
there’s no time for stupid games
like exchanging stories and names;
i will be calling you little one
and you can call me
whoever you want me to be —
a friend, hopefully?

i know, little one, i know.
i don’t know you
and you don’t know me —
but come on, little one,
how is this of any relevancy?
isn’t it enough that i’m writing you
a letter in the form of poetry —
and that, in spite of everything,
you, little one, still happen to trust me?

(is it the moles on my skin,
or the shape of my eyes?
is it that i know the thoughts in your head
better than you know them,
or that i’m good at telling you
what you know and don’t want to hear?
is it that, for once, you are not
smarter than the closest adult to you,
or is it that you simply like poetry?)


come on, little one, time is running.
but so are we,
and as long as we keep running,
time will never catch up with us
— let alone catch us —
and i promise you, little one,
we will keep running,
and we will live for eternity, we will be free,
we will do as we please, and we will be happy.

come on, little one, listen to me:
i’m by your side even when you can’t see me,
and i’m proud of every single step
you’ve taken on your own, without me,
and if you doubt my words,
or if you realise you miss me,
then do as you are told:
look in the mirror and you’ll see me,
wearing your heart on my sleeve.

come on, little one.
come on, little me.
if only, if only, if only —
you knew how far you’ll reach,
or all the places you’ll go,
or all the things you’ll get to be,
you’d have never ever shed another tear,
or wasted another night without sleep,
or wished you could just fade away or disappeared.

come on, little one.
come on, little me,
i’m proud of you,
don’t you know?
so why won’t you be
as proud of me
and love yourself
the way you fell
in love with me?

come on, little one, don’t you see?
the end of the world is here,
and you will take advantage of it,
you will adapt, you will grow,
you will change, you will see,
you will make the death of the universe
a stepping stone for you.

come on, little one.
come on, little me,
be quick, be swift,
be you, forget me,
tie your shoelaces,
bring your heart,
pull your sleeves,
listen to my voice,
and sneak outside.

and do what you want to do.
i will be watching out for you.

and if you need me,
you know how to find me.

(i don’t think you will need me.
you will be fine on your own,
because, come on, little one,
did you forget who you will be?)
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.
jay Oct 2020
i came here to find myself.
all i found was a reminder that i’m not a saint
jay Oct 2020
this is it: the true story of how i came to be, ripped apart from its sad romantics and its poetry.

i wake up with two thoughts on my mind, and just like pre-written script waiting to unfold in my life, i can’t push them away or find different words to say.



the first one is simple and easy; a thought philosophers on the internet love to share, a thought born when existence meets will:

why am i awake?

but, it can be something else. see, i think in too many languages and colours, and i forget what words can mean. why am i awake? why do i choose to wake up? why am i forced to wake up?

why am i awake — why am i not sleeping, still?

why am i awake — why am i not dead?



the second thought comes to me the moment i open my eyes and i realise i don’t recognise the body my soul hides inside, or the walls of the room i’m trapped in, or the smell of the air that rushes in once i open the door and run outside, as fast as i can, as far as i can —

i run, wondering,

where am i? who am i?

why am i not in my body? what am i not in my city? do i have a name? and if i do, what’s my name?

i run, and i keep running until my feet are sick of the taste of salt and rocks. she finds me hiding in a place where my people come together to worship their gods. they don’t do rituals like they used to, but they still use their voices and value faith above all.

who am i? why do you pray?



i don’t know i’m running from her until she finds me, and then i know. she’s beautiful in a way words can’t describe, and i can’t begin to fathom her soul.

she taught me how to be a god, once upon a time.

who am i? why do i know her face?

i still don’t know what i am, and the only one who knows is time. but, until time comes around and tells me who i am, i’ll try to be a god.

i may be a god.

who am i?

i am a god.
jay Oct 2020
one night i stopped being alive
but the next morning i was revived;

i found myself in the city of shalim,
bleeding, disbelieving, without sight,
lost and confused, tired and abused,
searching for hope, asking for peace,
in a city the world was fighting for,
in a city i’ve never been to before.

my eyes were dead, but i was alive once again,
and the darkness slowly drove me insane.

and then i heard a voice,
from the skies, calling my name,
“do you want to be a god?
just believe it is not a game.”

i believed, and then i could see,
after a blinding light shone at me;

the light shone at the truth
(a saint, i will never be)
and casted shadows at the lies
(they are lies, always have been)
i’ve been raised up to believe,
without questioning, out of fear
of god’s wrath in hell,
and his men’s anger in here.

i’ve never felt as afraid as i felt back then,
when i stood there, watching his men.

and then i heard a voice,
from beneath my feet, whispering,
“is a god what you truly want to be?
just be ready for the responsibility.”

one night i chose to stop being alive,
the next morning i was thrown back into life;

i worried and thought carefully
for a moment that lasted an eternity;
i’d never let a man **** in my name,
or treat a human life like a game.
i’d never summon a lethal flood,
or a drought without a drop of rain.
so i said yes and took a leap of faith,
and a god i learned how to be.

but if a child wore a mask, they’d still be
a child in a mask pretending to be somebody.

so in jerusalem, in the city of peace,
a city where i’ve never been,
i learnt to love and create;
i created my own deen.

(but, please, don’t you think that for a moment
being revived was something i ceased to regret.)

— The End —