I understand you now ~ Jordanian Play heavily criticizes the Government
I went with my family to watch a play yesterday -my first Jordanian play, if you will. I wasn’t expecting much, because from my experience, the art scene in Jordan is disappointingly limited. cliche-full, and child-like, as it has not achieved any sort of maturity, let alone originality.
The name of this play was “I understand you now”. It was political satire that drew a contrast between the average Jordanian’s frustrations with the government (including lack of true democracy) and his abuse and dictatorship as the “man of the house”.
Frankly -and this is a big statement for me to make, as I am very difficult to impress- the play was one of the best written works I have ever come across. Every line was purposeful, and offered a unique -sometimes even poetic- social or political critique of our people and/or governments. Much of the criticism was daring, as it targeted ministers, prime ministers and even the king himself (who attended the play a couple of weeks ago). Knowing how fear-struck artists in Jordan are about critiquing the government (due to Jordan intelligence threats) I was taken by surprise.
As an artist and writer, I believe that play was a leap forward for Jordanian artists. I can imagine that the playwright, director and cast took a huge risk upon their decision to bring all this criticism to stage.
That daring trust in the truth of the average Jordanian’s life makes me question my own work and how comfortable it is to lay under the headlights exposed and honest.
Day 30: Not the Last Poem ~ Alyah Al Aswad
We used to be hand held mugs of hot cocoa in a basement the morning after a highschool slumber party. We used to be clutched kite strings in green spaces where dogs poop and kids ride bikes with 3 wheels. That one afternoon, a family looked beyond the elasticity of gender bends in my suspenders and smiled intently, as if it should make up for a marriage contract. Your face was a ripe tangerine in the sunlight. You sat on my knee as we watched a wedding ensuing 10 feet away. You asked if I think we could have a two-dress wedding in a few years.
I said; Yes, I want kids who enjoy the occasional smackdowns with sugar commas. In reality, I wanted your kids and hoped they would enjoy an occasional smackdown with a sugar comma. 4 months later I proposed to you on one knee and a $180 solitaire ring - I was a student and it was all I could afford. You said yes, but once I arrived home the summer after graduation, you said the entire engagement was a silly idea. because we were still kids. It broke my heart.
You moved to a third world country to be with me. I became distant and swallowed a wandering eyeball. One time on my way out of the door you said; baby, come back home tonight. Come back sleep next to you tonight. Come back, slip into a hoodie knitted of my feelings for you tonight. Come back home tonight. Make home in you again, and I wished I had it in me.
This is not the last poem I write about what happened, because this is not even a poem. It is a document. It’s exactly what happened.
Day 30 Writing Prompt (Final Day!)
Begin with, “This is not the last poem I will write…”
Day 29 Poem: Rainy Jazz ~ Alyah Al Aswad
Mornings under a roof are just a proclamation that you got your ass off the streets for 10 hours. For 10 fingers of ours aren’t enough to keep our nudity warm.
How do you rewind an eviction notice into a welcome note addressing us as the next tenants.
I have a dented barrel in my living room, oozing gray in the aftermath of a flame quarreling with my own manuscripts. The little I own peals my lips into orange pulp feeding on canned fear of hunger. I love what I write, but my darling got cold last night. Her toes pet the oak of my studio floors at 6:47 am, after one alarm snoozed itself into a 10 minute death. I touched her back with jumper cable arms to electrify the daily rise. I sit in an unmade bed, dipped in mattress warmth. She used to say good-morning, but stopped. The foaming of scratched brush and tooth is supposed to say something to me to replace the words I lost in the barrel, but silence isn’t something I can beat onto a typewriter.
From her spot in the kitchen, she manages to recreate the rain hitting my bedroom window glass with whole grains ticking against the ceramic of a bowl. My stomach feels as thick as hollow milk-box compressed. I stand inside my tied shoes, jeans buttoned on, but topless as her unbuttered toast. I slip into my cup of coffee, eyeing her through the steam. She scrambles for office keys, when I’d much rather she’d be a squatter frying scramble eggs in a pan with me. Nine to five jobs are proof of an abusive relationship with bills in the mail. She shouldn’t have gone for the doorknob. My lap was still spare and my day unplanned as a pregnancy scare. At the edge of by hallway, she said goodbye.
Who would want to wake up to a goodbye.
Day 29 Writing Prompt
Day 28 Poem ~ Alyah Al Aswad
Re-crumple the geometry on the college block of an exhale,
into a shadow show of flames
that dance in the pit of your diaphragm.
Her eyes have learned how to fork yellow sun ray missing the flat of a wooden blind,
so her joy can splatter like egg yolk.
She talks at me,
with the consideration that my depth is shallow fried
because I barely unribbon the instruction in her voice,
just sink my pocket watch in her voice,
as it pumps through the valves of my
tonight, wine bottle, and alone,
I sweep her hum under my memory rug as she talks weight and iron
I need its acoustics in my bones in winter.
She doesnt speak enough.
She communicates in knee caps slashing their way through
the thick of people.
Her best temperament visits on Wednesdays.
She sits on the ground,
knees bent backwards
Her hair is a throne.
Her neck is pivotal.
She does not walk,
she orchestrates with hips.
She is an orchid growing in the wood of a farm swing.
Day 28 Writing Prompt
· knee caps
Day 27 Poem: Tissue Matters ~ Alyah Al Aswad
You carry me up to the inner junction of your eyes,
as if I am to have a conversation with a giant,
they river on the banks of too much laughter.
I swallow the saline water
and my flat chested-ness cringes at the taste
of your flow.
You tuck me back into your pocket,
I fit in well and rub my cheek against your thigh,
for a minute, I have an owner and I belong.
Silent beings are destined to be disposable.
You force your back hand into my home,
ambivalent about whether I should face my fear of heights
and the crash into the interior of a trash can.
I saved your sleeve from the run in your nose,
next thing I know I am shivering
in the violent hum of a garbage truck.
Thank God your mayor believes in recycling,
in my reincarnation.
I’ve been rather sick for the past couple of days, and that is what has slowed me down on the 30/30 challenge. Its extremely difficult for me to generate poetry with a sore throat - believe me, I’ve tried sitting at my computer to write a poem a few times, I’m just too exhausted.
I just need a day or two to recover, and then we’ll be back on track. I apologize for the inconsistency, but sometimes human immune systems falter at the worst times.
By the way, I am looking to feature a few queer writers on the blog, so if you think you’re interested, please inbox me or shoot me an email.