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November 2018

For Hera, For Baba   The child falls asleepto the sound of the newsin Arabicin Aramaic.Prime minister decided tofuckon your deathbed. The child sleepsbut the reporter’s voiceis a lullabya lullabyto get the nightgoingflowingriverclean. The child sleeps asMarcel Ghanem’s voicecalmsthe vibrating nervestrees in the wood have been calling my name, Motherwhisperingthat soon, I will be a bride. I wore my white dress, Mother,and the child is still sleepingthe televisionis a boxfull of colorfuldreamsfaraway landsand unicorns. Men in suits and brandsbeautiful tiesties me, chokes me, Mother, I walked in the narrow streetsand the suncould not washthe dirty hands.

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To the land of cemeteries We went, Under rain Dispatching Rainbows that end abruptly. Led by a body charioted by Quranic verses The sons followed. As they dig and scratch the pavements of my streets to find pipes We dug Hollow Grounds beneath a crumbling fortress to lay the memories of the father, Surrounded by the grieving, the living, and the opportunists. The sons live on The sons now touch the ground, They will plant future seeds. Fathers next to fathers Next to spouses and brothers Next to sisters Next to loved ones Next to those swept by history.

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Hanan The sun entered their home through a small window in the kitchen, stifled and timid, like an uninvited guest. The house was sparsely furnished — like mine when my kids and I first arrived. The walls were bare, displaying nothing but a padded black velvet wall hanging with the word Allah embroidered on it in gold sequins. The couch that Citizenship and Immigration provided was still the same muted beige, and still stiff as a fucking rock. Abdel Razzak was sitting across from me. His legs were crossed and his hair was a luminous wave of sandy brown curls, forcefully slicked

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Illustration by Ibrahim Kombarji Characters Yasma Early twenties. Naji Yasma's father, in his fifties. Fernande Barakat A single mother of two, in her late thirties. Playful, daring. Marlene and Olivier Fernande Barakat’s children. Awad The building’s concierge, in his late twenties, Egyptian. Ali The chauffeur. Riad Halabi The building’s owner, in his late fifties. Sylvie Karam An elegant woman in her fifities. Robert Karam Sylvie Karam’s eldest son, in his early twenties. Jean-Michel Karam Sylvie Karam’s younger son. Kamil Saleh A man of thought, single, in his forties. SCENE ONE As the audience enters, Yasma and her father are seated on a modern brown divan in the middle of the stage facing

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ZAMAN(( زمن :"a time, season, or period. In this case, "bad times.")) Characters Yousef Early twenties.Ali Early twenties. Lights up on Yousef who is making the best of the balcony in his abandoned mansion in Syria. It is dusk. He unstacks two bamboo chairs and places them facing the audience. Between the chairs, he places a low table. He looks for a rag to dust off the furniture, but when he cannot find one, resorts to using his bare hand. He takes a bottle of arak, a bottle of water, and two glasses out of his backpack and places them on

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Earlier this year, I attended Tariq Mehmood’s book launch for his new Young Adult novel, You’re Not Proper. The book’s vibrant cover art and Mehmood’s aim to introduce more diverse characters into the Young Adult genre encouraged me to add his book to my reading list. As someone with a special interest in Young Adult literature, reading You’re Not Proper stimulated thoughts, feelings and critiques that were only possible due to the book’s diverse characters and unique cultural representations. The Young Adult genre has been dominated by Western authors and their respective portrayals of Western characters, settings, plots, and even culturally

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A woman, who was mentally disturbed, walked past me today muttering.   She said (I think to me),   “Fuck you blondie”   and then   “who do you think you are?”   and finally   “walking around like you have all the time in the world”.   I was hurt, because I’m not blonde. But pleased that she perceived me as unhurried.

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We communists are dead men on leave. Eugene Leviné The clutter-smog of the desert-sky gallops And this sadness: mountains of greyMounting grey – with the one wan hopeOf being equal music for the day… We are rested here; cosseted by anger,True. But girded and lifted, too,By the fallow furOf many years living like this, On leave: quiet, quiet, and deferred…Here’s the genie again, dressed in lightning-blues –She asks of me to name, in a minted list,The Who and the Who of the Who is Who. I demur,By levels of mangy loss, made to concurWith anything, all that’s hazeAnd all the homelessness Of

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You’ve seen it on TV, heard it on the newsAbout the long, white-faced black-eyed killerProwling Philly alleys in black van with busted clockStuck at 10:16 bought for a case of beer and a dollarMidnight in Camden from a man in red snakeskin shoesWho spoke in Lebanese smoke, only in past tense. Rearview-mirror-hung crystal wriggles the diamond of present tenseOut of Park into Drive the future swings light in a noose.At every red stop light, every twist of pig squeal break shoes,That stab of Catholic guilt, perpetual nagging buzz killer –Then yellow canines, hanging tongues – and sure as a dollarRed

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It means a walk with Nauf up a carpet like new-mowed grassjeweled by flood lights to swathes of sapphire, emerald,ruby and amethyst. What a fantastic adventureyou say again and again. She carries her stilettosin her right hand, her left arm is in your right arm,her warm palm, slender fingers with blood redtalons pinch at your wrist. You step under the fan palms into the pavilion,impossible how canvas has been painted, a mirage,into moonlit arched windows, broad Arabian doors.Inside the light is submarine blue green.You are swimming in it and Nauf leansagainst you, straps on those golden heels,dissolves into the currents

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