So many empty chairs, when, for many, a stone suffices. How much to lose ? On the ascent, the sliding hoof, the tumbling stones, once more, falling on the innocent. I climb with you, here by chance. We are visitors, accidents too, which somehow do not happen, standing still in a future moment.
I feel like kicking all the chairs down, all the stones into the blue air, punching the living daylights out of the goon who sprayed his weed killer on once resplendent orchids. The victory of arrogance will never cease, the will to greater; the killer, to keep high, keeps killing : dying orchids, dying bees, dying snakes. At midnight, the lame fox preys on the mutant mouse.
No one hears the cry of beauty as it dies, as it is asked to no longer live. And we are there in its death, in the flower that cannot bloom, in the egg that cannot hatch, all our impotent powers. Our only arrogance is to fight arrogance, our only anger is to continue to fight anger.
But I hear the voices : wouldn't it be best to push it all down the burning slope, the final collapse, a fine apocalypse, with all the bees and the poetry and all our magnificent mutant unborn children, dead to our aspirations, alive to the malefic charms of the toothy weed killers tumor propagators?
Sometimes smiling is impossible in this south, and yet the sun effaces even these idiots. The pure beauty of the Mediterranean takes the lonely coke bottle to hell and leaves it there with my bad temper. It will rain your music on this unknown city, on this my anger, on this, the yes, in my scream. I still call it blues, although I write it in silent notes to the sound of your trumpet, as you also walk the hill, to new strife, to new dawn. I take so many supreme liberties, none greater than this writing itself, which I make stutter as it strides, as your notes serenade the bees as they die, for an extra ounce of meat, for an extra litre of oil, for some meagre profit.
It is always for profit, waters ineluctably polluted, the people slowly, surely, poisoned, and then cured, by the same hand. The taxi driver will risk his, and your life, to take you to where you needn't go, to smoke a cigarette under a millenary olive at midnight. That too is the South, the unnecessary and the useless and the love of both, for the body, for a smile, for a kiss, for the wind and the salt of the sea. What does it matter ? Nothing matters, not even the calamity of your birth, far greater than your death, your marriage, your virginity. Don't ever forget the inconvenience of being born, as you sip your malt whisky, and smoke your black hashish, and munch raw fennel, hugging the most beautiful girl in the world. You will look over the valleys as you write signs to be understood in absent tears, in absent futures of music and love.
The bus will take you at dawn to Beirut, through the pine woods and the groves, past the homeless gathering kindling in the waterless plains. There, you take your sound with you, my brother. You cannot stop at every village. You too are always already leaving. You must leave your tears in the eyes of your blind music. Our strange chance is to be born into ignorance. No one can think enough to bring the walls down. They will rise again the same evening in these lands of the deaf and the blind, in these lands of suffocating beauty. And if we have enemies, even they are as unknown as us. They are just the common murderers of beauty, bee killers and snake assassins. Man cannot rid himself of the organ which kills. The ladies in headscarves know that as they carry the grains to market, sitting on carpets, talking in silent woman signs as the men smoke and the dogs bark. You play in silence, as dawn, your sister on a hill top, echoes, silver stripes, nascent azure, earthen grey.
You are the bridge. You listen to the ladies, to the girls, to the mothers, to the sisters, to the whores. As one of them. You hear what they hear, and you play it. And then you turn away. You walk toward the company of men who do not hear what you hear, but rather listen to what they see, to an image, to images to which they instinctively comply. Hence the music, the trumpet, the oud, the voice, the mystical other worlds, the outside. You are a secret agent, a double agent, and yet you serve no one. Because there is no God to serve, no Allah, no Jesus, no prophet worthy enough, because they will not listen, either, to the beauty of profanity. So you are left with illusions, real illusions, mirages, visions, experiments, a kind of mysticism without God. You cannot tell that in certain circles, your sweet blasphemy could spark a flurry of deaths, of threats and violence. You do not wish to die now. Life is too good. You are too free and you enjoy that freedom too much. But you have to travel. It is the new nomad way. You are faithful to this, to the secrets of your way, your music, which opens the leaves of another book of grass, of tomorrow. If there is to be one at all, a tomorrow, it will have to take heed of this, of you, of you Ibrahim Maalouf, of you Dhafer Youssef, of dead now, of now’s perpetual resurrection.
(Listening to Ibrahim Maalouf, Beirut and Dhafer Youssef, Sweet Blasphemy)