it’s the kind of haze that smears tobacco into the walls of your alveoli and leaves you gasping for more, sitting in a puddle of mascara and lipstick, wondering how smiles framed with fifties red became asphalt roads that lead the depths of a nowhere that never ends

the scar on the inner right thigh is where you learnt about nails that chip on vodka glasses and scratch their way down to the pits of stomachs where the butterflies don’t move.

and the way he rolls the white tablet around on his tongue is the only thing that keeps you coming back for more, drowning in elated episodes that don’t quite make it to long term memory because you can’t remember the last time you were called by your own first name

its 2:01 am and all you have left to reminisce is a series of fragments that once belonged to you, but the show must go on and so it does, with souls that die only to be sold and revived again with the hope of someday

they sew you into the beading in the red curtains and dispose of you every six months, behind diamonds and pearls and half drunken middle aged men looking for attention in your young aspiring eyes

you fell in love for the last time as they stripped away your old face

- cabaret style nights 

- the romanticist 

do you remember the day
we became sisters
and you were too scared to
prick your finger because it would bleed
but you did it anyway

our family
was more important than that

everyone asked why
you stressed on your words
and i always told them
that you were a gift to me
from palestine

and we planted an olive tree
in the middle of our dirt filled fountain
so that the damascene rain
could watch it grow

i still remember you with
every drizzle of rain
that plants itself onto my nose
and disappears
without saying goodbye

who would have imagined
that our land would reject you too
up to your hips in your own blood
with the scar on your finger
disappearing into the crimson
and the blue

i suppose somebody stopped
the missiles and the bullets
somewhere along the way
but they came anyway

nothing ever really changed
and now one more heart
breaks and bleeds beneath
the weight that was imparted
when you were taken away

- you were my blood sister 

- the romanticist 

I miss you at one thirteen am with a black singlet studded with stars

You occupy my mind for fifteen minutes a day and linger on ninety six times as long but I don’t mind the way nightfall brings you back in spurs of winter cold extending across the surface of my bare arms because there are parts of me that still long to feel the sorrow from beneath broken glimmers of hope on wandering eyes.

I close my eyes and imagine your slightly crooked front tooth escaping from the side of your mouth but my hands always fall on cold sheets smoothed out and built up for you were never there to bring them to life

My hair falls over my shoulders just the way you liked it curled and twisted so that maybe someday we could find the answers along the winding path that lead to something bigger than the both of us

I whisper your name at one twenty seven and remember that I forgot to stop loving you

you are more than just a memory


somewhere it snows
on mountains made of white lace
where shadows
cast themselves over impurities
that could not be washed away
by liquid water


This is the kind of cold
that finds its way to your bones
when you are crouched over
rocking back and forth
in a corner on the kitchen floor
drowned out by the mixer
set on high


My hair shines red in the sunlight
brown beneath moonshine
and reduces itself to nothing
as the darkness moves in
to wash away red stained sins
i don’t remember committing


He shoots from behind the zamba2
and misses the girl with
yasmine in her hair
for the mountain leans
beneath the weight of its people
reduced to a series of guns
and missiles and hearts
filled with hate


I am unsure if his eyes
were deep green or just hazel
but he called me mother
and played in the snow
before the sun melted him away
and the moon brought hunger
I dont think he ever mentioned a name


An arabic proverb
sits on my wall in tatters
“my brother and I against
my cousin,
and my cousin and I
against the world”
withering away beneath the winds
brought by with the shrapnel
whispering their broken promises


light shines through
from in between my fingertips
to remind me that i am real
living for a tomorrow
painted in all the colours
of the rainbow
or perhaps
it used to be


She sells roses of scarlet
on street corners and outside
makeshift cabaret style clubs
one day she will go inside
to emerge older
tattooed with shame


water gushes from behind
the retaining wall
to sweep us away in a sea
of crimson and raspberry
and all the shades of death
the trees used to grow
in spring


i dont know how
to stop this anymore

when it gets overwhelming 

-the romanticist 

My tongue is glued to the roof of my mouth with grout of black on a backdrop of fading colours.

The thoughts still circle around my head like a crown of wilting roses beneath a blue winter sky that offers me no clouds and so i plant my feet into the ground and wait as i grow in a tangle of hate and hurt and unresolved longing for something I lost before I realised that it was mine.

I dream of red and white diamonds planted into the valley beneath the mountain and yet i am greeted by stars that shoot upwards in the midst of the light destroying everything.

I water my roots with stale tears and they proceed downwards and deeper into the darkness until i have no conception of what it is to have a shadow that follows you along the pavement.

My eyes search for shoulders that were never meant to be there to begin with to land firmly on empty sheets
and somehow i understand that
you are a part of me now

- things i’ll never say

- The Romanticist 

there aren’t very many reasons to stay
-to dig myself into the ground and cement
myself to house and home but every morning
I unzip my suitcase to the smell of white
socks hanging on the wash line in winter
for three days straight without drying
when you said that i should probably utilise
the ducted heating vent for something more
than melting the ice between my toes
because the world was not created to bare
witness to the black and red stains that
lined our fresh sheets soiled with snow

the stars usher me to stay on for the night
but all they do is remind me that wash lines
and baskets on the rooftops were parallels
for nets and hooks you used to catch
my dreams, shut them away in jars like
fireflies to set them free when our darknesses
were in need of some light to remind them
that tunnels are not never-ending chasms
of stagnant air and stale tears

there is an olive tree in a pot on the balcony
that extends its branches every evening
only to retract them as i turn away into
the sunset and i cant find a way to plant my
roots into the very same soil that rejected
you lest you remain embedded in the largest
portion of a soul that yearns for you
to have walked back into the sunrise
to the tunes and melodies of “please stay”

somehow you rejected this soul too
and that is precisely why
i am unable to let it go

- soil and snow