Souls of men


Men let waves of grief engulf them,
hold their breaths until they pass,
surface, and swim on.

Wallowing or drowning is not an option,
men don’t float like spume,
we’re savages raging against whitewash,
but we’re utterly fragile beneath it all,
asking ourselves forever if we’re enough.

What you don’t get to hear is the breaths we hold,
the heartbeats we waste,
the anxiety we covet,
we provide enough,
we love enough,
we see enough,
we do enough,
and if we are enough,
then it’s all worth it,
if we die before our anticipated time.


An ode to dad, who constantly gave of himself until his last breath!

-Grief needs a home.

-Grief needs a home.

Grief looks better on me than joy.

My three piece suit,
of guilt, memory and emptiness,
is so designer,
now that pain is such a sellable commodity.

Watch them run to me,
watch them flock to me,
all after a bit of my fabric.

This exotic blend,
of Mediterranean un-mend,
drapes over my skin,
silken and poetic,
and in my misery,
they find me so attractive.

I miss you dad,
and all that people do,
is realise how they missed me all this time.

Suddenly awoken,
that this heart has spoken,
from the day it was born,
attached by gene and blood,
to you in prose and rhyme.

We’re not the type to be seen,
or heard until we’re gone,
I’ll make it so it’s different,
with words, build you a shrine.


fatherly subtleties


fatherly subtleties

You know you’ve had a good father,
when he allows you to be yourself
when he’s alive
and when he passes,
all you want to do is be like him.

-Wesam El dahabi

Today, I missed you.
Whilst others see you in their dreams,
They only see you whilst asleep.
In every corner and crevice of my waking hour.

I find you in the hair on my forearms,
Did you know we share the same colour?

I feel it in the belly of my being,
This distant longing,
Of un-belonging,
Now I know why silence was the closest companion you had.

There’s much to be said,
About boys growing up,
With or without a picture of their father in front of them,
I don’t know if your passing will be my biggest growth spurt,
Or I will remained dwarfed here forever.

What I do know, is that forging an identity,
Is the most subtle art,
The softest paint stroke,
In a calligraphers brush.

Know when to press hard,
And when it is too much.

And somehow,
All the bravado,
All the pomp and high horsed-ness of a son,
Becomes what it is,
Because of the fathers silent dismount.

Aloof he trots, viewing nothing but himself,
And there he is gently caressing the ear of your horse,
With silent whispers.

A father knows,
When to take the limelight away from their son,
But mostly they are the light,
And the son never realises until they’re blinded.

When your father is alive,
You fight with every ounce of you to be your own man,
To be so unique,
A better and upgraded version.

These all come with the notion of your arrogance attached,
That somehow your father isn’t your ideal.

When He passes away,
You will skirmish every inch of your existence,
Just to be as he was,
To feel him one more time.

You want nothing more than to feel his being,
By complete imitation of what he did, how he was,
So you can be who he was for your son.


The hand that loves

beat me5

You could have beat me,
Just once,
To show me you have a hand that loves.

How much of your hand is enough,
How little is not enough?
You left me here oblivious, sifting through what it means to be a man,
loving his children, loving his wife, just loving,
and for the most part, their love found me first and led the way.
But you didn’t show me how a boy loves his father, so how do you want me to love you now that I am a man?
Time is all I have of worth that’s mine. The currency is universal, all children know how to barter with it. You could have paid me with time.

Ode to father – part 1


Scars are my tattoos, I pride myself in them but I don’t go out of my way to get them.
No ink and colour to express myself, feel comfortable in or beneath my skin. I learned this from a more exemplar man. I look at my father’s hands. He’s real bad ass, doesn’t need tats.
The fabric of the earth perfumed with his blood, yes, that olive tree still wails for him. Forty years after he traversed the earth away from it

Because his blood runs through the earth’s veins and when he gently prunes the roses twelve thousand kilometres away, the rose stems bend to him and becomes a bashful girl in the arms of her lover. The soil which nourishes that rose courses through from the olive tree beneath the Cedar Mountains of Lebanon and finds him in an Australian garden.
He treads lightly on the earth like God describes the believers in the Quran. Treading lightly meaning both literally, forward bent, head bowed in shame not of anything or anyone but in awe of God, nomadic movements without foot print and he moves spiritually by not burdening its resources and he is infatuated by Gods beauty made manifest through his creation, thus treating it kindly and with love as one does his maiden love on their first night.
His actions are gentle and loving but his hands have strength and power, the earth, winds, water and fire are summoned and rush to his aid in obedience to God’s promise, “When I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hands with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks…..”, simply because he practises what he knows and one need not know much to practise more.
No, he doesn’t have ink stained skin but he has a love stained and scarred heart. He has scars for tattoos and he taught me that they are tougher than ink tattoos, far more expressive, tell a thousand stories more and have oceans of character deeper than a cheap monetary exchange for a murial stabbed into your skin just because you chose so. You can’t decide to have character, you earn it. You can’t buy toughness, you suffer for it.

Want to be tough? Show me the fabric of your soul, the mettle of your make-up, not the bill for your ink.

My father is pure like the earth. A man of knowledge said of sages being like the earth, ‘Dung is flung on to the earth and flowers spring forth’, so too do sages get put through the worst of trials and tribulations, yet only beauty comes out of them. My father is purer, he is the earth embodiment, true to his nature, he knows the land, and it haunts him, always reminding him to come back. His love affair with it is not because of a leisurely hobby like fascination, it’s not on his Facebook likes, it’s because he knows where he came from and he knows where he is returning. He can take life’s blows because he’s already felt the earth’s cry, had the blood of saints and prophets beneath his feet and all he will do is continue to blossom until his time it is to re-join the elements.
My father doesn’t have tats, he has scars, he has soil beneath his nails and he sweats an earthly perfume from his brow. Those men, those women who know this way are few and far between. I implore you, find them, learn from them, eat a mouthful from their hand, lest their state may be passed on to you and you carry on this tradition.
I started by telling you about my scars, but I only have scars because I was allowed to enjoy myself by engaging in my passions, my leisurely activities and hobbies. My scars are lame compared to my fathers. My scars are from play, his scars are from life.

We are raised to believe that scars are ugly, they make perfect skin imperfect. They make handsome features grotesque or feminine soft skin tough and masculine, as if to stigmatise these at polar extremes to one another, unable to reconcile them as being able to exist with one another. Scars are the absolute distilled definition of beauty manifest. They tell stories of work, love and labour. They tell stories of struggle, pain and endurance. The scar on the heart of a person who has loved is not the same as the person who only speaks of love but never had their heart broken and had to mend it again. There is a reason why a scar is a physiological adaptation to stress, and forms the way it does. It makes the area more resilient, it toughens the area making it oblivious to further damage whilst at the same time increases its threshold. The body intelligently knows that to become stronger, it must change its basic structure. A scar is the beautiful and intelligent way the body naturally reforms itself. A scared heart is one that can now take more, love more, feel more, see more, share more, understand more, endure more, persevere more and be more patient. A heart devoid of scars is just an organ. But it takes incredible character and wisdom to allow a scarred heart to remain open and flexible, not closed and tight.

End: part one.