“i don’t like to wander,”
she said, “it’s a gift from god,” she said, “to wander that is,” she said. A student, unable to allow words to fall from her. Is it really so hard to let go of sense, to closed-eyed fill your pockets with olives, to divine and wheedle reasons for the flickering of streets lights from a distance, the passing of ghosts invisible clouds–We are all a kind of invisible cloud people and in our passings and noisings unsettling dust and popularizing sound into the air around us we are more than the lines of our body. I want to believe it is important to wander, to believe that we are constantly peeling, palimpsests our oldness showing and in shedding we allow ourselves to reach for new things, not settling in thinking “olive oil” when I say “olive” or “concrete” when I say “wall,” but a liquided mind, true to its somehow “ownmost self,” not operating based on what it is told to think, how it is asked to think, but somehow in touch with a deeper… Thing.
I believe, firmly and wholly and completely, that this occupation can only end when people learn to master their wanderings. Instead of being clogged with the hopelessness that Israel has slowly fed them, dripped between the layers of exposed flayed skins, the Palestinians must be able to reacquire the world around them; on their own terms. See the wall not for a symbol and an object of history, but as a physical, somehow mystical object of thought and being. See the towns in the West bank being emptied of people, taken by Israel not as another step in a long series of steps that will lead to their destruction, but as a thing that is wrong that needs to be made right. People must wander, must untie the knots that Israel has tied… Does that make sense? The solution must come from these people… But again my foreign naivities, my foreign ignorances trying to impose a kind of movement and thought pattern that is wholly alien;
“I don’t know what I want:” is that possible, to not know what we want? Is not everything we are everything we think a fraction of what we Want, do we not necessarily want every breath we take? Do we not want every word we speak? We are, completely and only, a thing of want. A physical surface of wants of pains and pleasures and an internal surface of wants of loves and sadnesses. Yet, “I don’t know what I want,” we become divorced from allowing ourselves to hear ourselves, fearful of what people will think the world around us is made of so many “right wants” and “wrong wants,” it is wrong for a man to want a man, it is wrong to eat fatty foods, it is wrong to stand too close to other people while they are peeing, it is right to sit around a warm table at thanksgiving and be white and beautiful, it is right to want to have big muscles and a big penis, it is right to build fences around our home so we know where one house begins from another, a line of dead grass. Overflooded with thoughts, we “don’t know what I want,” we “are unsure what I’m feeling right now,” we “wish I had some direction,” but inside of us untempered is a dusty piece of foil that is us. That yet reflects, that yet conducts, that yet crumples. A dusty piece of foil that is all that we need the most in the world. We are dense with want, full of it, swirling with it our internalities are only a machinery of wants and envies and hungers yet we “don’t know.” Shoulds and coulds and woulds sitting on our shoulders plastic bags filled with yogurt and vinegar and heavy beads of clay the way that skins contain, how they are fat and heavy sitting on the earth and sprawling, our skin is tight and rigid, containing us in shape, tied to our bones and muscles.
Fabricating the science of our insides, filling ourselves with electricity, with jelly, with love, with mist, our feet our heavy and keep us tied to the earth, the feetless rise up.
Wandering must be important. Wandering leads us to throw things off, to learn language, to go out of our way to make black friends, to do to speak to everything unsystematized and spooled perfectly shining coins flipped to be caught in open palms but burning hot dropped to the ground, “you never finish any of your stories, mahmoud. You build a skeleton for the world, an iron and wooden web of shape and standing over it spread a great cloth that skins it with red and greenish clays, red waters and purple grass,” the air comes passing, blowing them both where they stand inspiring their hairs and clothes to come undone, their lips and ears, it is clear where their bodies sympathies and loyalties lie, “you blow your own breath into it, blowing at the waters until they begin to move of their own, blowing from the back of your lungs clouds that are first still then begin to drift, You’ve made the Clouds, Mahmoud!, and you turned tornadoes and touched electricity and at last spit life in globs, sticky balls of people peeling themselves from your mouth juice with their fists in the air angered at being so thrown into being…” “And, yes, what is your point, Ahmed?” “Why… why don’t you spit onto me?” “Oh ahmed,” “Oh mahmoud”
I don’t think I’ve said a single syllable worth saying in 22 years… How many gay arab love stories do I have to write before I write one worth writing?