August 7, 2007

Those Summertime Blues...


Suffocating heat, scorching sun, dryness, pallor, dehydrated limp bodies trudging along, searching for a tiny corner of coolness, a bit of air...
Searching desperately for a whiff of freshness, a caress of a breeze...nothing.

Nothing but heat and sitting in pools of sweat. Water, search for water. Maybe we should drink our own sweat instead.
A drop here, a drop there, counting them like precious little diamonds. The river is next door, eaten up by the Green zone...

Evenings are long, tediously long. A light bulb here and a candle there, generators pumping, then stopping then pumping again...sometimes there are none.

Fridges, freezers, air coolers, AC, fans, ventilators, forget it...only in the Green zone. Only in the comfort zone of the Brothel.

Thirst, infants dying of thirst and the river still eaten up by the brothel holders...

Quenching with the morning dew. Hoping it will change, maybe today, tomorrow, a little here and a little there, a piecemeal of hope, a tiny ray of light. But no, nothing.

And the genocide goes on...and on and on...

Have a look at the river, look at it - dirty, foul, still, water heavied with corpses, and yet, some take their cans, pots and pans and fill up. Water, water, water...

Water in the Brothel only.
For the whores to shower after each client. The clients of petro dollars, the clients of political religious sectarianism, the clients of Death...

So they shower and they drink and they sit naked, with bellies bulging, pregnant with blue infants, dead of thirst...And they quench theirs, mixing blood with whiskey, mixing blood with water and signing their dollar notes in red...Red from the red zone, red as the sunset, red as...

Summertime.

And I, in the background, have been humming it all day. That old Billie Holiday tune -
"Summertime and the living is easy..."

Yes easy, and my mind wanders to those easy days, easy simple days where I belonged to something, where I felt I connected to someone, a group, a place, a city...

Red zone and the dryness of life. The repetitiveness to the point of banality. The banality of death, the banality of existence…

Time has stopped. It turns around itself, in some robotic motion and delivers the same each day.

And in between the numbness, despair and grief creep out, like worms from a cracked wall. Slowly twisting their way, crawling back into my skin, underneath, tickling me and lodging there, nesting there...

I smoke away the night...inhaling the temporary silence and puffing it away, blowing a breeze of smoke, in the stillness, in the inertia, in the black, in the gaping wound that lays bare open, red open, very red, like the red zone, like our lives...

“Le rouge et le noir” from a Stendhal novel, forever mixing in the colorless palette of our days and our nights...

I throw myself back and fall on a cushion of memories...
I try hard to dig them up and out, excavate them, then I brush them one by one like some ancient archeological relic, and place them in front of me.
One by one...like little statues. Then I name them, give them dates, faces and colors...I revive them one by one, by recalling their sound, their texture, their shapes, their forms...

Summertime and the living was easy...

Sometimes lounging by an acqua blue pool, sipping chilled fruit cocktails. At other times, maybe a fancy dinner or a simple take away. Sometimes a stroll by the flowing river, under a luminous starry night, smelling the cooling palm trees. And sometimes, a drive around the city of Lights, listening to my favorite tunes...

Summertime and the living was good...

Reclining in a shady garden, bathing in the scent of jasmine, feeling the earth rock solid under my bare feet, solidly immutable, as if nothing will ever touch it...shake it.
Slowly tasting cold bright red grenadine juice or maybe an icy lemon sherbet with hues of fresh green mint leaves floating on the surface...listening to the ice cubes clicking in the glass as in a dance…

Summertime and Dance Festivals. All kinds of dances from all over the world.
Bodies in motion, in movement, expanding, contracting, breathing on stage, drawing life and giving it back to us...Pushing forth the possible.

Summertime and Art. Exhibtions, galleries, artists, paintings...
Splashing living colors on an asleep canvas, animating it, infusing it with outbursts of passion, with a primal scream, the scream of life.
And awakening it to a beauty made of different shades...etching them, engraving them in us like a pristine melody...Pushing forth the potential.

Summertime and Music Festivals. All sorts of music...
A medley of singers, musicians, instruments from the four corners of the world. Vibrations lulling us, rocking us, transporting us with their rhythms, sounds,lyrics and tunes to unknown places...Pushing forth a reality in the making.

Summertime and reality unfolding, growing, shaping its way, designing us and us designing her.
We were that reality and she was us. And we communicated with her and she responded and she grew and took form, pulsating with energy, with the possible, the potential, the unexplored...The blue sky was the limit.

Yes, summertime and those little moments of leisure, those moments of pleasure, awakening the senses, teasing them, ushering them in a new direction and reminding them that life could be good, was good, as good as it can be.

You may think this is all very "bourgeois". What you think is no longer relevant. You are no longer relevant.

Or maybe you think pleasure and leisure are only reserved for you. Or maybe you think that we are due to suffer so you can remain in your comfort zone judging...
Or maybe you think, we are not even entitled to the daily things that you take for granted... My, what a despicable lot you are.

What a despicable lot of thieves. Thieves of the potential, thieves of the possible, thieves of a reality that was in the making.

Just the thought of you has snatched me away from my rĂªverie. And I am reminded again, of yesterday, today and tomorrow...
Dots on a straight line...the same over and over again.

Summertime and the pools of crimson red blood. Summertime and the sounds of explosions, bombs, guns and tanks. Summertime and the dreary colors of green and grey army uniforms. Summertime and drinking molotov cocktails. Summertime and the stench of sewage and piled garbage. Summertime and inert lifeless cold bodies. Summertime and a river that stood still, murky with Death.

And you tiptoe back into my mind, writhing your way back and I know you want to steal these memories too... dissecting them one by one, smashing my little statues just like you have smashed all that reminds me of us...of me.

Thieves of the night, thieves of Life.

Summertime and the living was easy. Am still humming it till the bitter end...

“...one of these mornings, you're going to rise up singing
then you’ll spread your wings and you’ll take the sky
but till that morning...hush...don’t you cry.”


Painting : Iraqi artist, Ali Al-Tajer.