by Yahìa Lababidi
To all those I dearly love,
but for the sake of my sanity
must avoid or cannot afford
to see in person, or even speak to:
Yes, I did, I googled you.
Amid the shipwreck on the world wide waters
I found precious little flotsam bearing your name
a blurry picture here, some garbled voice there
still it was enough for me to summon you
create a history and sense of belonging
Of you, there is always far too much afloat
your smiling face like a cardboard cutout
that everybody poses with at the fair
yet occasionally there will be a rare find
and I'll feel we spent an intimate afternoon
You, I check in with periodically,
your news and views surface in installments
that I rearrange to better remember
not how you are now but as I knew you then
when we laughed hard and you were my heart's friend
All of you I miss as I trace your outlines
through the one-way mirror of my monitor
and when I shut down, you remain with me
as pulsing presence and urmurs in my blood
(thanks to that intravenous internet injection).
About the decision to leave his native country, he says, "I needed to change my life before it changed me. . . I needed to get out, try something entirely different, and challenge myself with new ways of being."
While he speaks fluent Arabic, English is the only language he writes in. His work appears in "Agni," "Cimarron Review," "RainTaxi," and other publications. He is the author of "Signposts to Elsewhere" (Jane Street Press, 2008), Trial by Ink: From Nietzsche to Belly Dancing,(Common Ground Publishing, 2010) and a chapbook, "Fever Dreams" (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2010).
Excerpt from the Takoma Voice (Vox Poetica section, February 2011 issue, pg. 35)