I grew up watching the sand-dunes flutter
Shimmering golden under rays of Sun.
Beneath a sky which wept in shades of blue,
I buried my feet into soft, vast land
And my fingers traced patterns onto the ground
Etching my dreams onto it’s canvas.
The warm wind would flirt with my hair,
Whispering secrets into my ears.
And in that desert breeze, my yearning was born.
It was there that I first thought of you,
Somewhere out there, someone to share my sweet mint-tea.
The timeless tale of a lone man’s search,
Was etched right here in the sand of memories,
In the steps of my ancestors,
Crossing the deserts, in thirst and bravery
From tribe to tribe, from storm to storm,
For just a longing glance or two.
As time went by, as my desire grew,
People welcomed me into their homes.
I sat cross-legged as they served me dates.
With these delicacies, so sweet and pure,
They hoped to ease the bitterness of a destiny unfulfilled.
They tried to soothe my eager heart
As I prayed for the chance to meet you,
You, whoever you might be.
I left their welcome,
I left their pitying smiles,
I left the lives they built in love
And I walked alone onto an arid field.
I watched some horses as they ran,
Their hooves drumming up golden clouds,
And their manes whipping in the wind.
Their exhilarated neighs rattled the air
Melodies of true unrestraint,
Singing a need for freedom that only Arabians understand
Yet I myself remained in shackles,
My soul restrained by this burning desire
Fiercer than the scorch of this Eastern sun.
I roamed and roamed, my heels bleeding and tattered,
Hoping to find you here, somewhere in the tents of life,
Or perhaps under the shade of the swaying palm-trees,
But as the moments stretched into years,
I realized I would need to travel the world to search for you.
My heart then guided me to the banks of the Nile.
Amongst the ruins of history
I sat and watched the waves catch the sun,
The water flowing through lands as old as time.
A lifeline nourishing as it goes,
Yet one that failed to give me what I need.
I wondered if along its banks, your footsteps had blessed that fertile soil.
I looked around in a hopeful daze,
At dusk, at dawn, at every call to prayer.
Searching for you under a million minarets,
Or within the shadows of the pyramids
But yet again, I felt my disappointed pain,
Standing as tall, as eternal as those wonders of the world.
My sandaled feet then took me to the tombs,
To temples in antiquity seeped,
And in them my soul related to the oldest stories ever told
They spoke of love, of loss, of fear
Of wanting the greatest the world could give
Of a search as old as time itself,
Of the most sacred of partnerships
Of affection so great it was the key to life
Oh how I long to be etched into their tales,
I felt that question in the dust
Dust which swirled in whispers
Between these everlasting stones.
It formed into clouds above my head
And then crashed onto my desperate thoughts
Finding shelter in this longing
A longing that has become the definition of me.
Overwhelmed, in pain and in thirst for you
I needed to cleanse my aching spirit.
I followed the Nile to the Mediterranean Sea,
I laid myself between its waves,
An endless glint of blue and green
They swayed me gently from side to side
Rocking me in their fight for control
I closed my eyes and let them wash over me,
Wanting my want to not get lost at sea
Wanting my want to find it’s shore,
Wanting my want to materialize.
To have you with me, your sun-kissed fingers caressing mine.
Oh, how I wish I had your scent on me.
But the painful truth is nothing but
That I had sat there in solitude,
Slipping into the beginnings of a bitterness
That had threatened to scrape out my battered heart
That had threatened to wrap my soul in soiled sheets
That had threatened to drown my last breath of hope.
And in that moment, which stood still in time,
I realized I’m merely a woeful shell of a man
That I am but a bundle of possibilities
Unfulfilled, unrequited, unreturned
All I am is a nonexistence,
Buried into this living form.
A pariah walking amongst noblemen
Waiting for the reviving breath
That only your lips could kiss into me
Oh, my destiny,
I’ve come too far to surrender now,
I cannot release the dream of you,
This fantasy that’s become my salvation
I had to fight this invading doom,
I had to escape to the furthest of lands
I had to chase your smile, I had to demolish all doubt
It was time for my search to leave the comforts of all I’d known.
I now stand here in the hours late
Watching my shadow as I roam these silent streets
I hear my footsteps and their echoes,
Lonely in this Northwest night
They take me steadily to nowhere and it makes me wonder
If my heart will ever stop this fruitless quest,
Of traveling the land in search of you.
I breathe in the frigid air
This rainy night making me dream of home
These damp pavements are merely infants
They bear not the stamps of ancient times
They reek of glass, steel and modernity
And on these roads of youthfulness
I feel older, more weathered than even history itself
Worn down by my odyssey
Carrying the burden of distant memories
A foreign man, in a foreign land
My only refuge, I’m yet to find
Oh how I long for your dark eyelashes
To wrap around me and protect me from myself
And for the ebony waves of your hair
To warm my blood from this Western frost.
A weary sigh escapes from me,
So forceful it disrupts miles of fallen leaves
And they fly between these endless stacks of homes,
Which trap me in this suburban prison
A thousand faces peer at me from behind their windows
They begin their dance of polite words and nods
They keep their distance, and avoid my gaze,
Their doors bolted shut,
And I can almost hear them all,
In a thousand breathless questions, they ask:
Who is this man that disrupts our peace?
But I have no answer to ease their minds
I am lost, confused, paralyzed
My hope collapses, bringing me to my knees,
And my knees sink into green and a chilling frost
And as the cold spreads into me,
Killing the warmth of my childhood dreams,
Putting out the fire of my Middle Eastern bonds,
I finally lose sight of you,
The torch that had guided me through life’s treacheries
And as I gasp, struggling to breathe,
My heart surrenders to my darkest fear.
And I finally admit it to myself:
You have never been real.