Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
hassan hasn’t talked
since the day of green seas
and we reduce it to absence
but they said
it’s a changing in the weather
that signals for more to come
and we’re trying to understand
but this isn’t a jump off the cliff
it’s not a change
built over time
a channel flipped every time
I hear a transphobic joke
every time I can tell this isn’t going
anywhere I want it
we trade in seas for lakes and summon the
whose names we don’t always know
cause family histories aren’t always recorded
maybe I need to jot down a list of names
of everyone who’s ever walked me home
called when I was alone
ever told me I’m acting like my shit don’t stink
because love is more than sweetness
when u grow up in an Arab family
when u grow up any kind
of working class
and any good Arab knows they need to strive
for the top
for the change
in cars every two years
for the kinds of capitalisms
we never critique
because the generation before ours
consumed the shame
of colonialism, tried to beg for mercy
and only got a lesson in apathy
you get a car you get a car you get a car
but what about a lesson
in our own histories,
our own urgencies
our own violences
any good arab knows not to get too dark
because who knows what
will happen when
you get further away
and the view from the top of Mount Lebanon
any step up is a step down
for other ppl and yet
I’m saying we can’t do the job right
the statue of Harissa
with tears in her eyes a miracle
but you’re mistaken my friend, habibi
she isn’t happy
she isn’t well
I’m not religious
but I see our reflections
in her tears
and we’re starting to look
a little devilish
the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan
Tuesday, October 06, 2020
One winter I bought my daughter an Instax camera. Through her lens, the magnolia tree in front of our building looked taller, its creamy whites and magentas more lovely.
This is so beautiful, she said, and pressed the shutter release.
The “room” of the camera may have shrunk, [but] the camera retains, in its name, a reference to that magical space one originally occupied: the dark room where one went to receive an illuminated version of reality.
Photographs show not the presence of the past but the pastness of the present.
Is it possible for an image to be an elegy? For a photograph, as it captures the light of a lost moment, to be anything but?
The more interesting abrasions are not of stone but of flesh. Through photographs we follow in the most intimate, troubling way the reality of how people age.
One day she will say, I can’t believe how young she was. Looking at me now, you would not know I was once a small child with blue yarn and barrettes in my hair.
The smearing effect of time, memory. Distance and sun exposure.
While pregnant, I became obsessed with the passage of time. Something about the marks it made on my skin as it stretched past.
A sort of umbilical cord links the body of the photographed thing to my gaze: light.. is here a carnal medium, a skin I share with anyone who has been photographed.
What I remember about my own mother: some days I returned from school and the floors gleamed. A shadowy figure that came and went, ornamenting the fringes.
She was everything, but she was also invisible.
Once I left a pair of scissors open on the floor, and she cut her foot open, trailing blood to the bathroom. How it feels as the frame that holds your life falls to pieces.
One day I will forget how high the ceilings were. How its exposed beams collected shadows, which drifted across the walls in complex, shifting prisms.
The light of this lost, mournful moment. As though filtered through a dream or a half-tone screen.
To document the light it is to catch the quality of time as it streams past.
Photography is an elegiac art, a twilight art.
We live in the presence of another world, faces lit from the inside. So much is mystery. So much we do not know.
Bodies bleached by sun, faces haloed in gauzy light. How joy effervesces—and what is lost in the effervescing.
the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan
 Jay Prosser, Light in the Dark Room: Photography and Loss (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2005), 3.
 Prosser, 1.
 Susan Sontag, On Photography (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1978), 70.
 Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, trans. Richard Howard (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1981), 80-81.
 Tara Villalba and Lola Mondragón, “She Is a Radical,” in Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines, ed. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, China Martens, and Mai’a Williams (Toronto: PM Press, 2016), 74.
 Hervé Guibert, Ghost Image, trans. Robert Bononno (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 109.
 Sontag, 14.