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Sunday, August 02, 2009

August

August wears me down. It always had. It always will. This year I have been dreading the month long before it knocked on my door.

It's not often that I'm home alone. But in a time when everybody needs a little vacation I had no option but to stay behind. Kids, more so than the rest of us, must grow up loving August. There would come the day eventually when the burdens of life will make them change their minds. The telephone cried in the quiet room.

-Heard you're alone!
-I am.
-What do you say we share a drink and be alone together...

I picked a shirt in the dark, slipped into a pair of jeans then drove toward the sea. I rolled the windows down and opened the sunroof. No air was coming in. Tartous closed on me as the whole world was too tight around the neck. There was a long line of parked cars on the boulevard as I brought mine into an empty spot. What were they thinking about, these ungodly machines? I stepped down, pushing a button on the key chain and crossed the street pweep, pweep into heavy silence.

Underneath the 900 years old vaulted ceiling men and women sat behind tables. Oblivious to being, they stared at walls, imaginary and real. What makes us believe we're that different from the cars parked outside? Waiting, isn't that what we're all doing?

In desperation we draw the last card, the company of others. We hugged, tapped shoulders then slumped into padded chairs, men tired of the long summer.

Ah my Beloved, fill the Cup that clears
Today of past Regrets and future Fears:
Tomorrow! Why, tomorrow I may be
Myself with Yesterday's Sev'n thousand Years.*



The bleak day turned brighter with the flow of the amber Scotch. My heart sighed while the welcomed numbness took over. My thirsty soul gasped with glee. Talk followed echoing through the valleys of the minds. I fancied a Scottish fairy tiptoeing toward me. She came to a stop and knelt by my side, took my hand in hers, kissed the tip of my fingers then brought the back of my hand to her cheek and whispered in my ear, you'll be alright my...

The chagrined notes of a solitary Oud drifted in the air then a sweet voice rose from the dungeons of a tormented soul. My fairy smiled down at me, repressing a solitary tear at the corner of each eye. She ruffled my short hair then vanished in thin air.

Gayyeen li'ddunia ma na'raf leh
wla rayheen fen wala Ayzeen eh

Mashaweer marsouma l'khatawina
Nimshiha b'ghorbet layalina
Yom Tifarrahna wi yom tigrahna
W'ehna wala ehna arfeen leh
W'zayeh ma guina.. guina
W'mesh b'edena guina**

We came... we don't know why
Where we're going to or what for
Paths drawn for our feet to tread
We follow them estranged in the dark of night
Paths of joy one day then of deep hurt tomorrow
We still don't know why
But we came
We never chose to but anyway we came

-Come on man … don't lose me.
-Cheers!
-Cheers YOU.





*From Rubaiyat
Omar Khayyam (1048-1123), translation by Edward FitzGerald (1809-1883)

** Min Gher Leh Mohamad Abdul Wahab (1907-1991), performed by Taher Mustafa

Dowload Min Gheir Leh

28 comments:

JGM said...

Summer Blues abufares?

Katia said...

It's hard for me to comment on "August" the post as well as August the month... To me, it's full of extremes and contradictions. It's a month that gives me mixed feelings.

At least there was a fairy in there to pull you up. Since there are no male fairies, what do I get???

Cheers Abufares.

Gabriela said...

Here in Peru, August is one of the coldest months of the year. As someone who loves the humid, cold and gray weather of Lima I can say August is one of my favorite months. Sorry to disagree with you!
I loved the poem. I loved its ending.
Cheers!
;)

Dubai Jazz said...

August. It's no wonder we call it A'b Al Lahhab in Arabic.

abufares said...

@JGM
The bluest of Blues till I snapped out of it. Sometimes we just get too tired.
But I'm glad to say that the worst had come to pass.

abufares said...

@Katia
My feelings toward the summer in general are mixed. I only like it because it means so much for the kids. It meant so much to me when I was in school. Have I ever mentioned how much I hated school?
It must be hard to comment on this post. It was probably the hardest for me to write. I was utterly uninspired and it took me hours, over a couple of days, to come up with it. I didn't like it when I was writing and I don't like it now. But I needed to publish it as my only way of fighting back the bleak mood I was in.
I hope you find your (Ifrit) a good Ifrit, lolllll who will kneel by you, kiss the tips of your fingers, bring the back of your hand to his cheek and whisper in your ear: you'll be alright my....
I wish he wouldn't be interrupted.

abufares said...

@Gabriela
if August was the same here as it's in Peru it would've been my favorite month too.
You see I like the cold. Sometimes when a friend living in Canada for instance complains about the long winters they have there I really wish I could live in such a place. Hot weather drags me down. I don't go out much but instead scurry like a rat to an air conditioned hole.
As luck would have it, I'm going later today with a bunch of friends for a barbecue in the countryside. Hopefully, my next post will be more cheerful.
I think that you're still waiting for Mariyah to tell you more about the Mezza. She must've been away from her PC I guess. She still hadn't come over to cheer me up :-)

abufares said...

@DJ
Whatever names we give to August we could not do it justice.
I'm happy September is next. It's a transition to my favorite 2 months of the year (Tishreens) October and November.
BTW, last year we went to Aleppo in August to spend 3 days. I made a reservation at one of the hotels in the Jdaydeh area. We arrived there at 2:00PM and the temperature was soaring at 42C.
We had a very hard time till morning. I found that the kids have packed all their stuff and were waiting for me to get back home to Tartous. I think we spent more time driving than we actually did in Aleppo.
If August is bad in Tartous it sucks in the rest of Syria.

Anonymous said...

Abufares , in SÃO PAULO we are having very cold and rainy times , they say it dindn´t make so rainy season since the 1940, but i like it, it seems that we will have good fishing,
KASAK (ON THE ROCKS)

Yazan said...

August, brings me much energy, unlike you my friend.

Like Katia, this month means a great deal to me, in so many ways.

It's the epic moment of the summer, the scouring sun makes me long for the sea and for the outside world. The suffocating humidity keeps me on my toes and up for any, any option out of it. It makes me a lot more impulsive in a sense. Winter is relaxing, but boring. August is the time when I can barely go to sleep, and I never feel tired.

Not to mention how the heat brings out the most beautiful female bodies, to the delight of this whole planet. ;)

Dubai Jazz said...

I don't know if it's any consolation Abu Fares, but Min Ghair Leeh is essentially a love song, all bit it a sad one.

And Abd Al Wahab, with all due respect to all others who sand it after him, owns and hold the title undisputed.

Dubai Jazz said...

Here's a link (sorry for being a heavy-shadowed guest)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oyz5dIQnU10

abufares said...

@LÊ
I wish you could send us some of that cold and rain over here. It's getting hotter and drier year after year.
Kasak My Friends... On the rocks indeed.

abufares said...

@Yazan
But of course my friend. At your age it'll be wrong if you didn't feel this way about August.
I remember my 20's. Summer was just an excuse to get really HOT (much hotter than the ambient temperature) and roam the beaches and streets in search for the simmering females of our species.
Now, I like to say that I'm too old for this shit. However, the truth is that as we grow older and we're not as physically endowed as the young anymore we prefer to go for the intellectual crap and appeal to the "mind" of a woman. This is hard to achieve when we're sweating down our butts in the heat of August. Accordingly, we prefer to wear a turtle neck and sit by a fireplace with a glass of wine in hand and impress them with how much bullshit we accumulated over the years in addition to all the undesired pounds around our bellies...
What were we talking about??? Ah, you see? I'm trying to prove my own point. And, by the way, I never wear a turtle neck :-)

abufares said...

@DJ
Men Gheir Leh is one of my all-time favorite love songs. Love, happiness and sadness go hand in hand and that's exactly what makes this song so special.
Abdul Wahab is a great paradox to me. He is the least likable man I like most.
You see, I'm a Farid Atrash fan and I always believe that he was the victim of a conspiracy, masterminded by Om Kalthoum and orchestrated by Abdul Wahab.

JGM said...

I’m glad abufares, the bluest of blues is over. You snapped out of it and you emerged triumphant.
I have to admit, I have been on the down side myself for a while now.
This feeling is not in particular associated with any of the 12 months...
but rather the culmination of appalling weather in the region, the intermittent exhaustion of my happy genes! and many of life’s daily going about in a recession...

The following poem is full of ironies and such is my plight.


“Walking Around”

It happens that I am tired of being a man.

It happens that I go into the tailor's shops and the movies
 all shrivelled up, impenetrable, like a felt swan
 navigating on a water of origin and ash.



The smell of barber shops makes me sob out loud.
I want nothing but the repose either of stone or of wool.
I want to see no more establishments, no more gardens,
nor merchandise, nor glasses, nor elevators.



It happens that I am tired of my feet and my nails 
and my hair and my shadow.

It happens that I am tired of being a man.



Just the same it would be delicious 
to scare a notary with a cut lily 
or knock a nun stone dead with one blow of an ear.

It would be beautiful
to go through the streets with a green knife
 shouting until I died of cold.


I do not want to go on being a root in the dark,
hesitating, stretched out, shivering with dreams,
downwards, in the wet tripe of the earth,
soaking it up and thinking, eating every day.



I do not want to be the inheritor of so many misfortunes.

I do not want to continue as a root and as a tomb,
 as a solitary tunnel, as a cellar full of corpses,
stiff with cold, dying with pain.



For this reason Monday burns like oil 
at the sight of me arriving with my jail-face,
 and it howls in passing like a wounded wheel, 
and its footsteps towards nightfall are filled with hot blood.



And it shoves me along to certain corners, to certain damp houses,
to hospitals where the bones come out of the windows,
to certain cobbler's shops smelling of vinegar,
to streets horrendous as crevices.



There are birds the colour of sulphur,and horrible intestines
hanging from the doors of the houses which I hate,
there are forgotten sets of teeth in a coffee-pot,
there are mirrors
which should have wept with shame and horror,
there are umbrellas all over the place, and poisons, and navels.



I stride along with calm, with eyes, with shoes,
with fury, with forgetfulness,

I pass, I cross offices and stores full of orthopedic appliances,

and courtyards hung with clothes on wires,

underpants, towels and shirts which weep
 slow dirty tears.

Pablo Neruda is my favorite poet of all times.
The translation to English is by W.S. Merwin and by far the warmest... even though I do not speak the Spanish language!

Please accept my apologies for taking so much of this space... Thank you.

Karin said...

Heat sucks in general ... I can handle dry heat but high humidity makes me feel as if something's hanging at my throat, strangling me piece by piece!

I'm happy you snapped out of the deepest depth of the blues and moved back toward surface ... God knows I know the feeling! Take a deep breath dear friend ... it feels goooood!
:-)

Isobel said...

With such oppressive heat, its no wonder you were (I'm happy to see past-tense) in the doldrums. I suppose it has the same effect as 3000 days of rain that we've had here. You can't go out, you can't really do much at all. But sometimes being with friends, and especially listening to beautiful music like the Oud, can help raise us up. I certainly hope your little Scottish fairy wasn't playing the bagpipes too!! As much as I like the pipes they certainly would clash with the Oud! :) There's always a way to find some happiness, Abufares. Sometimes it seems too far away to hold on to until we remember it's in our hearts.

abufares said...

@JGM
what a tremedous poem! It means so much that you find it interseting. It tells so much about who you truly are. We're birds of the same feathers so to speak.
Your comments here are always full of meaning. So intense. I have to thank you for the passion behind the words. For being the man behind the passion.

abufares said...

@Karin
I'm out! August might be a metaphor for our darkest hours, for those instances we find ourselves overwhelmingly alone.
Having friends like you and having an insatiable appetite for hope mean that I will always manage to keep myself afloat. Come heat or cold, I, so much like you, will survive.

abufares said...

@Isobel
My fairy kissed my fingers and played with my heart. Her music never clashes but sets the beautiful rhythm my soul and mind follow on foggy nights. Like a siren waiting for my passage through a rocky shoal she guides me through to safety, to the harbor of my ultimate dream.
Your words as always comfort me then set me free.

Karin said...

YOU WILL Abufares, YOU WILL!! We're two pies in a pod or, as you put it, "birds of feather" ...

" ... insatiable appetite for hope" I love it - YES Abufares ... and for LIFE!!

JGM said...

Thank you for embarrassing me abufares with your uplifting :) acolade. One cannot be more humbled...
It really fills me with immense pleasure to know that you have appreciated Neruda’s poem.
As for the passion, ah well, it’s the fruit of a spontaneous and a relatively seasonal simple act of making love with words. Very often I’m mute...LOL

Thank you.

Fantasia Lillith said...

I use to love summer holidays. Now that I am "all grown up" it's just like any other month. I still go to work etc. The only fun is in the summer clothes, the eating outdoors and such.

Pablo Neruda is my all time favorite as well.

We all have our ups and downs .... the important thing is to acknowledge how we feel. And then decide to do something with it. I like what you did! Creativity is the best antidote.

Anonymous said...

I do not know if it has anything to do with global warming, but this summer has topped the list of Hot summers! The air is so hot that it seems as if one is melting here in the tropics. The heat index factor for the last couple of weeks has been 103 F!!! Beautiful weather for the beach, but because it is so hot everyone is there. (Too crowded and then the water is too warm... )

Never the less, I still enjoy the summer as I get to spend time with my girls! They are both back from the USA and will be here until the end of August. I must add, that even though I'm complaining, I love the tropics above anything else : )

Get youserlf a "Mojito" (Mashed 7 mint leaves, 2 wedges lime + 1 teaspoon of sugar, add white rum and soda water). Smile and enjoy under the shade of a big and beautiful tree.

Love u,

w.b. yeats

Anonymous said...

What a lovely piece!

abufares said...

@w.b. yeats
oh thank you do much. i've already snapped out of my blues :-)
A Mojito ASAP

abufares said...

@Fantasia

I'm out of it and doing well please join me.