Saturday, 9 March 2013
We awake as though from sleep into our final week like the throat of a great landscape and the scriptured ceiling drops through the glaze and onto my face like the fug that overhangs this place. Our hosts from times-ago join us for dinner and S rides his all-american suzuki with A on his arm after pouring pitchers to the bars of rhymes we know too well. J and I linger and fail not to pay the Monday round by backchatting the security I pushed down the steps and called a cunt but says hi to E anyway. We don’t tip the best service we ever had and instead hit Gemmayze and bump W and L into the monkeyhole where not for the final time J and I note the circularity. Someone brings vodka and with sincerity a single measure of chaser that tastes to me of devilry so we walk the deadzone road and shout at taxis. L spears a parked car with his shoulder though later claims he fell and the owner takes to debate like a wronged mother. He holds a sandwich as I say fuck you check your car have you checked your car fuck you and L roars the roar of wolves and then a sandwich slaps me on the cheek and sprays bluecheese over my world. Alcohol and consensus quell my effort to end his life so we walk the remaining road in cigarette smoke and adrenaline. In the morning J explains to Yassar Arafat why there’s a monster box of vegetables on the floor while I steal paint in Hamra to make custom threads we wear to neighbors in the night. I tell the bar I don’t ever want to ask for more and soon I’m outside tonguing a dog. We bisect the alleyway bar to bar wherever a heavy allows but I win with an ashtray to my lips and I drink as though I don’t know and then muscles relaxes and doublefists bottles we don’t need. At dusk like silhouettes behind a salad of ash and apple and almaza we realize Beirut has swallowed our lives.
Tuesday, 5 March 2013
We invite Yassar Arafat round to maid our palace and she prioritizes laundering our bedsheets which she describes as black and then she points and laughs when I sneeze. We hide plainview in Sanayeh surrounded by hajj and hijab and not a liquor store for blocks when our neighbours march upstairs to complain of latenight babywhails and waltzing stiletto shackers and a different perp every week and threats of police to which we say give a fuck and M takes as an invite to go full fuckyou and scream even louder. J and I shower while M swills half the Bombay from the blue to cash our supply so much we sack her off at the first bar after she falls asleep and off the chair and empties her insides into bags in front of teenage barstaff and younggun businessbods. Her phone lights to the call of someone called Joe Cunt and I say answer fucking answer it but she throws it to the ground and breaks the straw so J and I split to meet MJT and his companion whose book I admit I haven’t read but entertain us with tales of Hitch in Hamra and maybe the reason I’m here. He knew nothing of the SSNP and nothing of the martyrdom only the swastika in a spin enough to sharpie that shit and return with paint and fire. With tears we cheers to Hitch and I know on this day I came as close as can be.
Friday, 1 March 2013
Looking back at notes written in a hand drunk on poisons we sack off our lives for a week. Generous gunfire whistles between the nearby trees and flashbangs damage nothing so we drown our ambivalence at the bar where earlier they fleeced local lines to mount a screen on someone’s home. A girl called E arrives from Texas or London and again it’s all a game and we run around ruining her mind with glazed faces and blue label I don’t steal from my employer without indifference. J and E leave me to turn arabic to a room full of better women when I realize I’m still hanging and smell of breath but I go full gosling on the little americans and they agree to maintain our celebrity at hard rock later that day. On the walk home I’m wearing sandals and shorts and a cut-off tee that may well blaze a star of david into the eyes of every passer-by. I open the door to M who says the army are in the streets and that was definitely not celebratory gunfire and groups with black flags kill all foreigners on sight but J and I say we’ll take it. Together we split with E and join the little americans on the waterfront to walk the stairs to the deadzone that smells of diamond beer and buffalo. Shit in my sinuses has fucked my ears so I can’t hear a word barelylegal says to me but I grin and nod and it passes the hours before she bounces back down the stairs. The other waits an hour before inviting her boyfriend to the table and he seems impressed when I wedge four of his cigarettes between my fingers and suck the nubs as though depraved. J and I cash a row of glasses in haste and later J admits not remembering losing. By now the americans have left us on the ledge and we’re awash with booze and wilting like dandelions in a storm. In the morning E tells me I called the waitress a cunt and shows me pictures of men that look like us dancing with wet floor sandwich boards and talking down our security entourage while wearing hard rock Beirut t-shirts intended for minors and we agree we must return. Before she leaves E says she wants to do something blogworthy and she does.
Saturday, 23 February 2013
At least by day I hear this is Lebanon or welcome to Lebanon or we’re in Lebanon like some ironic but proud excuse for idleness or insolence and today A, an American, schools me further by rolling her words through her breath as though talking to a boy when she tells me eeeverything is a game in Lebanon and I don’t understand but she’d do well to tell me why I don’t want to. Working again a local man almost breaks when I speak of males near here. Do you have someone I’m asked. Do I have. Then he says please please don’t listen only make your own opinion and he says I have a friendly face when he disappears. As I linger at the bar a young man comes to me with his face in his hands and rubs his hair and shirt and wails for his brother. Just for supporting them he says not even fighting just supporting. He’s been in jail in Damascus for six months. If I hear word tomorrow he says that he is dead I will go and fight for the free army. Who am I he asks. I do nothing. Together we drink jack and smile at the TV but when he leaves I want to go with him. When M comes later she waltzes round the room with knives before your very eyes and I’m resigned this could turn Friedkin so I whip her to the ground and tell her don’t fall. What if I’m already falling. Then I break your heart. It’s already broken. She traces the words in my notebook to remind me why I’ll never love again.
Wednesday, 20 February 2013
Alone I pull pints and smash bottles to the roars of men like they’re watching football when T walks through the door in airport threads and tattoos. We shout smiles at each other across the bar and of a sudden no one matters beside Johnnie Walker and the twelve ounce glass I fill for him to the brim. I walk the length with Mexican gold and through the fug I watch T take celebrity like corpses to coffins. The next day together we walk downtown with M and V and drink smoothie martinis made with blood before Hariri mosque SS cloak the girls in black and dress down J for tonguing females on holy real estate. He splits with V and three of us visit neighbors for Lebanese brew and doodoo. T relates dropping three thousand rubs on a whore and doesn’t twitch when a monkey in Gemmayze says fifty for three drinks and I practice my arabic shouting pour it back pour it back in the fucking bottle and on my way to the concrete I pass punchbowls and pink gorillas lunging chicks to Korean pop and the strong men put arms across but let me pass from I work in a bar fuck you ana bsteghel bi bar and I didn’t fucking drink anything bchirib waleshi. M collects me from the curb and later claims she didn’t push me to the gents and didn’t ride me on the john and didn’t leek blood over my clothes and then she says there’s something called implantation bleeding so little Lyndon might be on his way for which T and I realize I’m beiruining my life. As the last drops fall from the empty cloudless sky a small boy reaching up his hand with a rose asks me if such a thing were possible for valentines. I take the flower and bite its head off while staring into his eyes and pouring crimson wax on M’s wrist. Alone again T and I pour double black like revolutionaries down our throats as though willing toward the dead zone so much so the karaoke barstaff throw the paper upon which we write radiohead creep dickhead. Resting fails so we feel fresh whiskey for a morning meal all golden in the glass like a syrup grail glazing our eyes and minds like girls. We learn Hamra means red so that’s where we hit for all you can drink poliakov and it’s almost written off when a native gives me tobacco mixed with something else he refuses to name but we dance with chairs and neck from tequila optics and the night is gone long before the warehouse where wolves and happies waltz to euphoric generica and hipster heavies tell J he can’t do that with his girl and shirt in the sky and a killer line do you even lift bro that everyone but us finds unfunny but it’s irrelevant when a hundred people jump to time and monster eggs kettle the crowd. And so we send T away with eggshells in his hair and the faces of brunette shakiras knowing that for four nights we bloom minds.
Wednesday, 13 February 2013
Talent like yours, Mr Idiots, should not go wasted in Beirut. V visits from Switzerland. She has blonde hair and of a sudden I understand I’m growing used to this place. J romances her with sunset suppers and seafront roleplay while I explain to M that the roach she saw was just a mouse and nothing to worry about except that I’m bad fucking news. J and I do pushups on the terrace while the girls look good and we all hydrate each other with black label and bombay in teacups. Soon we leave to test Lebanese patience and with M and V we’re the envy of a small world. After seven hours and a bill no one recalls settled J and I blow minds and ruin lives. Over fifteen pitchers I tell the story of the river and we agree that infidelity is admirable but when M’s mother arrives and I offer shots and sex with an unbuttoned shirt it goes down badly and yet her daughter sticks around. By now we’re Beirut celebrities and I know I am the same way a baby knows it will live forever so I dance the stage while the DJ packs away and sing in rival circles and harass short skirts to where a waiter we never tip tells me to take it easy. In the zone we waltz to McDonalds and I throw bills across the counter and yell take it fucking take it like a man as J mixes his own dessert. At home I hear myself say let’s have kids and I tie M’s neck with my belt and she falls asleep in tears.
Saturday, 9 February 2013
Someone sucks whiskeysours and shakes my hand with warmth as though I didn’t blag the mix and tells me of the three monkeys. The first he says doesn’t speak. To the tune of chants astride the bar a boy beckons me forward. You know ee dee ell he asks and I say what like he’s spelling my name. Ee dee ell. Ee dee ell. He wears a white sweater with a red cross but a sun cross and I understand EDL like pulling on my ears and puking down my mouth. EDL as though he’s English as though he’s been to England as though they wouldn’t kick shit out of him as though I want him in my bar and I poke his knights templar sweater like a girl kissing a toy. I ask what the fuck through a grin but he doesn’t speak. The second he says doesn’t see. Z takes me to his wing for solitude and whiskey and out the blue he says I have a problem. With my son. Z bleeds and weeps to me for his boy who’s lost to his world and for whom I ponder and cross lines with empathy. He has everything but wants nothing he says, which we know is okay but for the trees he doesn’t see. The third he says doesn’t hear. In rags and feathers J and M and I play tables with embassy staff and hotshot capitalists and green people with alcohol. We cling to bottles so much so that J smalltalks our ambassador's earpiece and I’m sauced for tomorrow’s job interview but I land the gig so who’s counting. Alone we move from beer to wine and wine to arak and play I’ve never but hear nothing that wasn’t already known.
Wednesday, 6 February 2013
I meet M whose father hears voices and who dropped out of life to become something unreal, to act and commit herself as though to hospital. She tells me of earlier years and older men and fired teachers and married men and ruined lives like one of us. All the while I talk through teeth and can’t believe she’s real with eyes like fields and her voice a mirror to passing guys all envy and stares. Because I show them garbage and flowers she says and I have a beautiful face she says but the men here treat me like a cockroach. Tomorrow she cooks foul for us and launders and sings and laughs and fucks and asks for violence and not to stop and says she’d forgive her man with offers of others so with her I’m the most hated man in the room. For me she pulls favours and friends and spends the day but she can’t be real while I see it through those around me watching in the Hard Rock café, through cameras and bile where J swills local beers and tells his wildest tales to MTV and orders wings for the first time in years. Later M and I lay to Damien Rice in the halflight and the next day she rings to the same songs to bring me tea and oranges and send me pictures and talk of morals and visas and England and marriage and I see the rocks beneath the berth and I know she’s falling in love so this is where I stop writing.
Sunday, 3 February 2013
J falls asleep at the bar on nothing but illness while a guy tells me about hashish in Lebanon and compares it to politics. Like a drug he says. A fear he says. A ten year-old boy knows more politics he says than you. Hitler he says wanted peace in his way. Ask anyone around the world. Even terrorists communicate a culture he says with bombs and threats and deaths and fear like selfhood. Meanwhile I work where wanderers fall, an English bar with football and Danish ale and Guinness. I work for my identity only and support a team no one knows and split the bar like a sword while J sings songs at home alone to echoes of rifle fire from moped thugs with reverb as though at war with houses. The next day we walk graffiti streets and disused carparks to the smell of piss before a call to prayer rallies a hundred men and we cross a sandbag walkway not unknown to northern France in nineteen seventeen. Martyrs Square sits inside highway tarmac and vandalized walls and bomb-shelter architecture. Of bulletholes. We answer the call among the shoeless others but as we enter the blue roofs and marble arches a van astrides the sidewalk all in earpieces and crewcuts and suits and Glocks away from which our gaze averts. A silence ripples the carpet all aligned in symbols as four women anonymize their selves behind a line of raised behinds. A clock tells all of time and a chandelier made of lies and lives and money dominates. We exit beneath a green man running through an open door. Later J gives a speech to a room full of hackers and lawyers about morality and theft and Aaron Schwartz while I meet a crazy with a United shirt who kisses and kisses and pushes me to be from England even though she’s never been. I make her vomit and the next day I steal from H&M but before I waltz I ask the guard for a pharmacy to buy own-brand rubber from which no one benefits.
Tuesday, 29 January 2013
This guy believes Roethke’s Waltz is about a Waltz and not a fight and when I tell him he’s gone wrong I go warm inside like I’ve been floored but then I realize this guy knows shit about poetry. J saves me with noise and alcohol so we split to a bar called Dictateur like some French fuck factory and I sit across from a mum who thinks I’m her age and a designer who definitely does not look like Zooey Deschanel and answers my questions by blowing smoke in my face. I douse the table in beer and scotch and absinthe before everyone bails to a club called fuck knows what where fags and dykes and chubs prance to eighties classics no one remembers. The last thing I feel is neat Bombay in a large glass and a single drag from a cheap cigarette that burns it down to the nub. Soon we hustle cups and balls for pong with espresso vodka and scotch chasers and despite refraining from a decider we leave to streets of nausea and go Mad. The site says sanity is overrated but before we arrive J shouts lalala at the cabman and throws me to the tarmac. We know that Mad is hundreds down the line so I stand uncontrolled in showers of sprinkler water shouting and jumping as though a god and I feel untouchable and so we fight. With jeers and laughs J eggs for others to come and swing and they do and we make peace between nations when a boxer dances from across the street to punch me in the stomach. The next day I eat sheep spleen in a sandwich and then brains that taste of nothingness and dissolve on the tongue like promises to a girl I once knew.