بابا إحكيلى حدوتة

أصابنى الملل والترقب هذا الشتاء الطويل..عامنا الثانى أو الثالث فى الوباء. لم أعد الأيام.. كلمت والدى قلت له كما يفعل أبنائى. أشعر بالقلق إحكيلى حدوتة. فحكى والدى قصة من طفولته. قال لى إنه كان صبى شقى حين كان صغيرا. وكانت أخته التى تصغره بعامين تساعده كثيرا ف الهرب من ضرب جدتى. كانوا يعيشون فى بيت طينى فى قرية صغيرة وكان يضطر أحيانا كثيرة أن ينام فى عشة الفراخ حتى لا تكتشف جدتى إنه أتى متأخرا. حكى لى حتى أضحكنى. ويا له من حكاء. قصص لم أسمع عنها يوما. لم يكن لدى الوقت الكافى والصبر لسماعها. لم أظن يوما أن والدى كان ذاك الصبى. رأيته دائما حازم كبير السن يعلو رأسه الشعر الأبيض يلبس بدلة العمل ويلحق الطائرة لمكان ما. كنا ف سباق مع الحياة للبقاء. نلهث خلف الشهادات وفرص العمل. وحين اعطتنا الحياة فرصة للبقاء وأبطئت رغم تسارعها بعدتنا المسافات. كنت أود أن أسمع أكثر عن قصصك المضحكة. كنت أود أن تخبرنى عن صديق الطفولة وعن لعبك فى الحارة وعن أختك الصغيرة التى توافاها الله. تمر السنين وتكبر المسؤوليات ونبعد فندرك إننا لم نقض ما يكفى من العمر مع من نحب كما يجب. لم نشاركهم تفاصيل يومهم. لم نشاهد تغير ملامحهم. لم نر الجوانب الأخرى لشخصياتهم. لم نفهم إختيارتهم فى الحياة ولم نسمع قصصهم. أبى.. تذكرت الفيلم الهندى لانش بوكس عندما كانت ربة المنزل الهندية تكتب جوابات لعرفان خان وكتبت له مرة: “ننسى الأشياء حين لا نخبرها لأحد”
بابا …إحكيلى حدوتة.

نداهة البلدان

بنرسم خريطة للترحال
عن أساطير الوحوش
وعن أميرة ف برج عاج
هداها الأمير قصر مرجان
صبح القصر ضريح
معاه بس المفتاح
ومدن تحت سابع أرض
وعن شياطين الأنس والجان
هنرسم خرايط
عن أسرى الفرص الضايعة بلأمنيات
وعن مواويل وأشعار
بتتغنى ف الموالد
مالهاش كتاب
وعن حدود بتلف الكون
ما تشوفهاش
موصولة برصاص على أبراج
وبحار مالهاش آخر
غرقانة بدموع بشر أكوام
أمهات ورضع ورجالة بشنبات
على مراكب ورق وشراع خيال
بدون واجهة بدون بوصلة
هنرسم خريطة
للبحث عن الذات
رد الذات قال وانا مالى
ابحث لوحدك عن الإلهام
مافيش خرايط للأحلام؟
طب مش هنرسم
هنكتب خواطر
صابتنا لعنة الترحال
صابتنا نداهة البلدان ورا الوديان
هنكتب عن خير زاد الترحال
خير زادها الرحلة
لما زادها الحكمة
زادها فى حد ذاتها
مصيرها وقدرها

حبر المطار

ارقام كتير على شاشات
نظرات تأهب 
كيلو وزن زايد
يوقفك بالدقايق
بالساعات
وخير زاد السفر
بطاقة الهوية
مكتوبة أو مدارية
والبطاقة العائلية
ف صورة أو معاك 
وقلمك
 لأن دايما السؤال:
حد معاه قلم؟ 
أى حاجة تانية مش مهمة
أى حاجة تانية تروح وتيجى
إلا الأوراق الرسمية
ولحظة الوداع

فى كابينة الجوازات
محتاجين يمضوا
مسموح الخروج
لكن الظابط قلمه ضاع 
اخد الحبر منى
ومع أن الحبر حبرى
والختم من حقى
سأل ميت سؤال
يا حضرة الظابط مش هتفرق
تعددت الأسباب
والسفر واحد
الأرض أرض الله واسعة
غيرش بس شوية الحدود واللغات

وقبل بوابة الإقلاع 
ناس بلبس مدنى
اختارونى 
قالوا عينة عشوائية
فتشونى
وأما إتاكدوا إنى مش خطر
الظابط محتاج يختم
إنى سلمى 
قلمه الحبر خلص 
اخد الحبر منى 
عشان يكتب جنب أسمى
مش إرهابية
جاية وماشية ف سلام

وقبل بوابة الصعود 
طفل بكى
رسمت طيارة على الورق
 الحبر حبرى
والدموع معرفلهاش
اول كلمات هيتعلمها
طيارة، تفتيش، تحية الظباط
واول خطوة هيتعلمها
هيعدى بيها البوابات

وقبل السفر
حبيت اكتب
اسم ابنى جنب أسمى
والعنوان هنا او هناك
لو يتوه أو أتوه
محدش ضامن الأيام
وقبل ما الحق اكتب
اول حروف لاسمه
خلص الحبر منى
قبل ما نبدأ المشوار

Soundcapes

My sense of time is different in Berlin. Dawn and twilight share the same silence. I can only distinguish between them by the dim morning light on the horizon or the fall ofdarkness. My sense of time back home, in Cairo, depended on me connecting with the sounds of the alley which I lived in. I used to wake up to the sound of curlew. I knew that the morning has come from its singing and from the morning call to prayer. The women who used to sell the newspapers came everyday at six o’clock exactly, calling “Ahram, Akhbar, Gomherya”.,She would call us by name if we had our window shutters closed. She knew exactly the name of everyone who used to read her newspapers and which newspaper they liked. Soon after, the bread seller passes. He would walk through the alley with the bread spread on a woven basket on his shoulder and call, “Aiwaa El Aish”. I could smell the fresh baked from my room. We used to it hot before my mother even prepared breakfast. “Bequia Bequia” the arrival of the Robabikia man, meant that the time was now 9 o’clock. He used to buy any old stuff that we didn’t need and save us more the unnecessary clutter in our homes.

The doorbell rings at exactly 10 o’clock . Mohammed the grocery man. He used to wear the same slippers through all seasons and would pull his cart himself. He had no money at the time to buy a donkey. So my mom liked him. She used to say, Mohamed is a gard working fellow and God will reward him. Indeed, after God rewarded him, he opened a store at the end of our street, but still came especially for my mother to see her needs. He was then promoted from a hard working fellow to a magnanimous one . After midday prayer, the ice cream man used to pass by in a cheerful cart, and it was enough for him to call once to make the children of the alley run to it. He always had hi radio on, which always had Umm Kulthum playing. He liked to have a good time, that man and sold ice cream with the flavor of the “Um Kalthoum”. In the afternoon, the licorice seller would pass by and call out using sajat (zills). He was a big old man with a long white beard always dressed in a white galabeyya and used to ride a bike with three wheels. He used to look like Santa Claus if the Alley with his bike and copper jug.

At the end of the day, and without looking at the sky, I know that the sunset has come from the whistling of the pigeon owners to their pigeons. They whistled and waved their flags on the roofs of the buildings to call their pigeons back. The night has come. We hear the children of the neighbors whistle for their parents after a long day of play in the alley. Every house had its own whistle. We had once a young handsone neighbor’s son whose eyes were like the blue of the sky. His whistle was one of the most beautiful in the alley. When his soul returned to its creator after a deadly car accident, the alley’s children stopped their whistling for a long time to mourn his death. The sounds of the alley were intertwined, reassuring us, that we are not alone and that there are people who share our daily lives. The presence of others and hearing their voices gives a different sense to time …

The Weeping Willow

The willow tree is not only Native to North African countries, but turns out it exists in Europe and is called the weeping willow tree in English. It is actually native to Pakistan. Anyway their English name is quite sad! They have a beautiful name in Egypt ‘Om-el-Sho’or’ which translates into something like ‘The one with long hair’. Another name for it is ‘Safsaf’. Maybe they are different families. They remind me of the route we used to take to our village in Sharqia along the Ismailia Canal. A lot of those trees used to grow in abundance along that canal, which was constructed in 1863 to supply drinking and irrigation water from the Nile to the villages. I was told there was a King who planted a lot of those willow trees because his army used to make gun powder from its’ barks. He would trim its branches to kill his enemies. But the trees are as old as the Palm trees and as old as the Pharaonic civilisation. They Pharaohs kings and Queens considered this tree sacred and used to make crowns from their leaves.
The route we took to my father’s village was the Ismailia-Zaqaziq road which extends along the Ismailia water canal. Heading north, the willow trees were planted on the right side all along the Ismailia-Zaqaziq road. On the left side of the same road were small villages, most of which still have their pharaonic names such as Bahtit and Amrit. Women and their kids from those villages used to cross this two way road to reach the canal on the other side. The woman would wash their aluminium pots and clothes in the canal under the shade of the willow trees. They would then hang their colourful clothes on their branches to dry. The pottery makers from those villages as well would make use of the space around the trees and arrange their pottery under the tree trunks for the road travellers to see and maybe buy from. I always felt they were in harmony with the urbanscape at that time. They completed the natural scene. Recently, a lot of the trees have been dug out. Farmers tell me that its’ barks can be converted to coal, much needed nowadays. Others say the roots have grown so big that they destroyed the asphalt. Such a pity because these trees don’t need a lot of effort to survive. They just grow along the water canals and witnessed a lot of stories to tell.