Beirut, Madness of Our Sea

One is not born a Beiruti, one becomes it, by loving – without negotiation or compromise – this city without gardens, this jungle of disfigured graying buildings and hanging vines of disheveled electric wires, of poorly-concealed shell scars, like an older woman who is badly made up.
I choose you as one chooses not to stop smoking.
I light you up to calm me.
I smoke you to compose me.
I extinguish you so that I may savor you later.
You tempt me with your abandon, with you contradictions. The serenity of your madness has always offered me refuge.
You are a capricious child, a fickle woman in the autumn of age, an alcoholic old man, a cruel mistress, a cornered animal.
You are a child whom one cherishes in spite of her temper tantrums, a woman with a heart as big as the world, an old man who loves to love, a mistress with open arms, an alley cat in all its splendor.
Immolating city, you quench your thirst from our sea. You are a frenzy, a final assault to the bitter end, a respite.

Mishka Mojabber Mourani's picture

Mishka Mojabber Mourani (aka Marie-Christine Mogabert) was born in Alexandria, Egypt, of a Greek mother and Lebanese father. By the age of six she spoke several languages, including French, Greek, Arabic and Italian, but English was the one most used in her multicultural family. Her love of reading and of writing began at an early age. At the age of 10 she moved to Beirut with her family, and a few years later they emigrated to Sydney, Australia, where she finished high school and joined Sydney University. She returned to Beirut and completed a BA and MA in English Literature at the American University of Beirut. In 1989 she edited and co-authored a series of books on the teaching of English entitled Highlighting the English Language Program. In 1991 Mishka Mojabber Mourani published a poetry collection – Lest We Forget: Lebanon 1975-1990.

Last updated September 02, 2011