Maya Kaabour

August 2020

In Quarantine Searching for Meaning - by Maya Kaabour (Photo by Bianca Berg).jpgPhoto credit: Bianca Berg

In Quarantine Searching for Meaning

By Maya Kaabour

A pen is just a pen
until you write
a death note
or a love note
with it.

A song is just a song
until your soul tornadoes
through your body
and your feet bleed
in blisters
to it.

A fire is just a fire
when you see it
burn a stranger’s house on TV –
but when it burns your room
and leaves you
with just
one childhood album
the context changes.

Multiple Sclerosis is just a
disease that’s difficult
to spell
but when it puts
your mother
through hell
well, the name
is no longer
the same.

All day and night –
the Earth orbits the Sun
and all the world’s
inanimate objects

one

after

the other

orbit in search of their meaning.
These objects
make their way in
and out of our lives:

catastrophically

illogically

metaphorically

periodically

before we have even
had the chance
to notice them.

Humans
do the same
sometimes.

We are nothing but layers
upon layers
of constructed
and deconstructed
meaning:

Names.

Nationalities.

Religions.

Genders.

Spectrums.

Ideologies.

Labelled kinks.

Concealing what
we’re really feeling.
All day and night –
we rush to take the
busy train to
Meaning Town.
The train is sticky
and over-crowded
and invasive
at times
like the armpits of
the man
standing next to you.
But we keep
buying tickets
and arguing over seats
despite all of this.

As the meaning for One
was not enough
so venture into the search for
the meaning of Two.

One day someone
stripped me of all
my belongings.
Left me in Quarantine.
Devoid of my anchor
of Meaning.
Suddenly my lamp
devolved into
just a lamp.
And my plant
was just a plant.
(Despite the occasional
wilt in plea
to water it.)
And my clothes –
no longer
a mean of self-expression
but merely there
to make sure
I am not
bare.
And I started saying things
like I meant them.
And I really felt things
when I felt them.
(Without giving them
too much value
or subjective meaning.)
And the Earth stood still
And the Sun shone through –
Neither dependent on the
movement or the stillness
of the other.
And I found meaning
in having no meaning.
And I thought:

What a wonderful time
it is right now
to be alive.

Me, here in my room.
You, there in yours.
That on its own
will suffice.
That on its own
is a lullaby.
Without the Chaos
of Expectation
and the loud noise
of Meaning.


Edition XXV

The Making Of A Modern Day Woman - by Maya Kaabour (Photo by Hakim El Haj)Photo credit: Hakim El Haj

The Making of a Modern Day Woman

By Maya Kaabour

This is no tribal rite of passage.
The villagers have gone to sleep centuries ago.
There are no songs to be sung.
No skinning of sheep.
No sun salutations.
No nets with enraged ants to be cast on the hands
of the young ones.

There are train stations that keep buzzing.
Cities with writings on their walls that are kinder than
the faces in them.
There are cellars and rats and sky scrapers cast so high
they could almost pierce the stratosphere.
There are bars and parks
 and there’s prime time TV, too.

But something is changing.

The girl no longer laughs wholeheartedly,
and she cries like she hasn’t shared the full story.
She writes too little and day-dreams too much.
Her hands are learning to open up jars and unzip dresses
and struggle to pay bills and
 drunk-grip steering wheels in traffic where

The train stations keep buzzing.
The cities have writings on their walls that are kinder than
the faces in them.
There are cellars and rats and sky scrapers cast so high
they could almost pierce the stratosphere.
There are bars and parks
and there’s prime time TV, too.

She wears her make up like it’s war paint,
and circles the dancefloor; a mating dance.
Fat perverts who resemble her father offer her drinks and say
“Hey honey, give me another chance!”

But something is changing.

A beast is rising from the ashes.
Her tongue is a hard cut diamond.
She is God; but she is not forgiving.
Hell, she’d eat your heart out if she wanted.

She will wait for no one, cater to no one.
She will take up as much space as she needs and
She’ll ask for what she wants when she wants it.

You can hear it in the click of her stilettos.
She cares very little what you think of her.
She’ll sleep alone tonight with all the lights off, while

The train stations keep buzzing.
The cities have writings on their walls that are kinder than
the faces in them.
There are cellars and rats and sky scrapers cast so high
they could almost pierce the stratosphere.
There are bars and parks
and there’s prime time TV, too.

But something is changing,
and so is she.
The woman has awoken.
The little girl has gone to sleep.


Edition XXVI

On The Topic of Love - by Maya Kaabour (Photo by Hakim El Haj)Photo credit: Hakim El Haj

On The Topic of Love

By Maya Kaabour

There is no good love or bad love
No right love or wrong love
Maybe short loves and long loves
Or love that isn’t great with timing.

Love that rings your doorbell
when you’re not home
or arrives too late
long after the guests have left
and the tea has gone cold
and the cookies have crumbled.

There’s the “I wish I did things better” kind of love,
and the “I remember you when John Mayer appears on shuffle”
kind of love,
and the “You remind me of my mother” kind of love.

Some loves grant you your first kiss
in seventh grade.
Those ones play in your head on repeat.
A reminder of when things were simpler
and life was sweet.

Some loves lose 30 pounds,
grow a beard, and move to
Rome
to forget you.

Some loves belong to different
religions so they never agree
on a wedding venue.

Some loves can’t speak to each other –
They get lost in the clutter.
So they morph into silent letters
and hide in words –
always written but never uttered.

Some loves are half loves,
some loves are not loves,
some loves are really hates.
Some loves turn out to be lusts
so they never really ache.

Some loves stay in the closet
playing hide and seek,
waiting for someone to find them –
waiting for someone to remind them –
that everything’s going to be okay.

Some loves are young loves,
they always want to play games.
Some loves abandon their lovers
long before they’ve gotten a name.

Some loves are monstrous loves,
they hide under your bed.
Some loves remain unrequited,
so they fuck with your head.

Some loves light up like
fireflies in glass jars –
Some loves are too shy to
buy you a drink at the bar.

Sometimes new loves start
looking like old loves…

But the ones I find the most intriguing
are the loves that stay
long after they have left:
Their unused tooth-brush a solemn reminder –
The weight of their missing bodies,
an elephant in your bed.

But some love is always better
than no love.

Welcome it with open arms.
Listen to the pebbles being
thrown at your window.

Let it break you.
Let it take you.

The heart is a muscle we forget to exercise often.


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