Autoportrait: A Glossary of Entitlement

AUTOPORTRAIT Removing the mask. Not so much the truth of its representation being displayed, but the representation of the experience of removing the mask, and in so doing, culminating what began as an autophiliac project of memory and time, and my immersion in the dualities. A sense of surrender, a sense of self. Emanations of the Western world left mad and circling a prophet’s lost corner of device- literary signs. The clans, cyphers in abnormal robes.

PHARAOH You were gone too soon but I don’t know how to leave you. You taught me to live and poetry was your muscle, your futility, your bonus. This quiet yearning, hungry for more.

BENEDICTION What did they mean that we were not ready? We buried our forefathers before we were adults. Everything that has been lost will be given to charity. Nothing will ever be gained. Cross from Aden to Jerusalem, see how only hatred spreads, the disease of indentured youth, given to a hollow spirit of consumption. I am tired, aren’t you? Quick, leave me with something. Either we fuck or we make revolution.

THE GAZE You take to the streets in your colour. Hey, migrant, look over your shoulder at all times. Pull your eyes from the gaze of another’s unless he has your eyes and your colours and the shrewdness of your tribe. Look away from a man that isn’t comfortable in his shoes, hiding the true face of his posture, afraid of what they might find. Bake in your new colours, son of Ra- the immaculate, passing from shoulder to shoulder- a beam of light. Be free, be nobody, revel in night.

IN UTERO I have to begin the story in utero. In the clutch of my mother, lost to the temper of memory refrained from the belonging of youth. He told us about the time she lifted him over her shoulder, over a hurdle of shattered furniture and glass. That was in 1982, the year they buried their brother, polishing his shoes the day of his rest. He walks the Cornish these days asking himself, is it over already? Have I grown out of these shoes? What will I leave behind? Am I dead already? What happened to you?

WOMB To conceive of a world of futures unspoken, a hope we carry within ourselves to be seen by others. Glorifying the self, a critic of nature. Politics cannot disguise the fact that we are torn from one another, human to human. In the sustenance of each of our strengths we subscribe to a set of beliefs, to temper our pride. In pride is our grace, the noblest of emotive personifications of self- the wandering mind, crippled to sustain itself in paralysis and motion.

PURPOSE OF MIND Purpose of spirit, sobriety of the mind. Remain alert, practiced in the distillation of strengths that suits your new life. Fixate on love, chase only emotion, flirt with chaos from time to time. There is only this life and the past we are yet to experience, coddled in the reflections of our aging parents, drunk with delight in themselves and their achievements. Fuck this planet and this generation, if that’s all you’ve got. Fuck me at least once. You said it yourself, penetration destroys love.

THE SHAME OF THE WEST The issues lies at the heart of a social refusal to provide unfettered entrance to the West and the Western body of life. Uncertainty is not implied of collapse, though reason only begets what it must. The end of the West will occur overnight, as it is occurring slowly, under their noses, observing from a vantage point of absolute security. While our princes flaunt their wealth, we bury our youth in a sea of deprivation. The faces of a future taken from us, whose stories will only be drafted in mourning. That’s hardly a life.

OCTOBER Some power caused him to write; I know I am unable to affirm what it is I see, only what beliefs have been left for us to request. The downfall of my people is imminent, and with it, the taste even of bread, coffee and whiskey in the morning, everything stewed. Ships blasting their horns paving their perfumes as we lose each other, past on the boardwalk pavement between two moons. He promised her that all of it would change, that they were tampering, finally. She left satisfied, and set out to change things.

GRACE When you are weak, she says, stand on your weaker foot. When you are tired, refuse rest. When you are unable to proceed, walk with grace. When you are asked to kneel, fall over.

WELTSCHMERZ Coming into yourself, you find that you are struck down by an urgent emotion- that of despair. Misery comes later, when you have had enough of sensory deprivation that you are no longer able to feel. Breathe quietly to yourself, don’t let your neighbours label you a migrant grieving over the past. You will never be let inside, not on a special occasion at least, which is the currency of love in these parts. Learn the language of your oppressor, you will do fine. At best, you will survive. At worst, you will resist knowing you will have done your best to harness the strengths available to you. What more can you do, you, who have given everything to this life? They will never see what you have become. Walk it off- once, twice. Otherwise, drop.

EL CENTRO DEL MUNDO I am at the centre of the world. To truly know something is to know its name. To speak about something without knowing its name is to disregard its nature. The story is in the soil, my people tell me. Istanbul- city of possibility. Beirut- city of ruins and friendship. Lingua France, I speak your mother’s tongue. To go back home, passed the roadblocks, without disguise. Where will you go when the borders are closed? How long have you been here, they ask? How long will you stay? Until everything falls, I want to say. I won’t. Why scare them away? I keep going, to the sound of your voice. You are my light, my every hope.

BERLIN I’m finding the piece difficult to write, and I’m running out of time. I keep referring to a book of the ancients, what they do is acute, they have style, but I come from a world without borders. Blending bodies, disappearing in sight. The mystery is not mine. I want to talk to you about legacy, reputation. I dream of you when I sleep and you take the figure of Suhrawardi, the old century prophet whose cock I worship. I hope this hurts, nada me cuesta confessor. Like winds make landfall in rage, which one of us will dare to call out our names? Or better yet, to dissolve in a cavity of sensation, parting from one another in principle only. Will we ever go back? What for?