by Abed   Nov 28, 2019

The last time I saw Beirut,
a full moon was curbing its rooftops.

I held Athena in my arms,
and she held the sea
in her kohl-rimmed eyes.

Time felt tipsy.
Athena sipped her red sangria and laughed,
her lips, a frenzy of shades,
her copper curls effervescing with vanilla.

Athena was the missing song in my playlist.

The last time I saw Beirut,
the night was crisp.
Athena and I were dancing to Arab House music,
the kind of beat you never know
if it was laughter
or murder in disguise.
Sometimes, it is just both.

That night, Athena raised her glass.
"I love you," she cried. "I love you,
and I don't expect a 'love you' back.
I want you to kiss me."

Before I knew it,
my hands were reaching out for her spine.
And before we knew it, our lips intertwined,
while the little consciousness I still had
was recklessly following hers.

They say,
he whose end draws near
knows and feels
and may even give signs
or throw stray words
or tell about it in a dream.

Athena said none.

She just danced that night,
while the full moon curbed Beirut rooftops.
She laughed and danced in my arms
until the bullets barged through the crowd,
and the floor was effervescing
with vanilla

and blood.


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Latest Comments

  • 1 year ago

    by Star

    Judging Comment:

    Athena the goddess of wisdom and warfare, has fallen in love with the narrator of the poem. And in it we find out how she managed to allure him. By following her they both bond together and become one. The poem that is filled with love and passion, has a tragic end.

    There is a deeper meaning to this., maybe Athena is the spirit of Beirut that is dying and no one is noticing her. And perhaps she felt what’s coming, and that is why she chose to laugh and dance her final moment with the love of her life.

    A very well written poem, so beautifully penned!!!

  • 1 year ago

    by Ben Pickard

    Exceptional writing. Congratulations.

  • 1 year ago

    by Star

    What a powerful poem this is!! Congratulations!!

  • 1 year ago

    by Poet on the Piano

    ABED! I missed you. I missed you sharing on here. I read this last night and kept thinking about it. So I woke up today determined to comment.

    When I think about your poetry, there's always a story you tell that is sometimes tragic and often, bigger than the reader. More than we can comprehend. There's a wonder and awe in this, this relationship that was perhaps reckless and dangerous yet so vivacious. The parallel (if that was your intention, it just made me think) to the goddess of wisdom, of war, this presence that perhaps could satiate no human, so you follow her.

    Then, death follows, a violence that holds her memory and everything changes in those moments, the world tilts.

    This poem was filled with such life yet so much of the parts of life that are not the "breathtaking" moments. The violence we as readers may never know or witness in our own country. Something so macabre, especially describing such a vivid nightlife then having every laugh and dance taken away just like that. It's unsettling to say the least and heartbreaking.


    • 1 year ago

      by Abed

      Meticulous reading, MaryAnne!

  • 1 year ago

    by Larry Chamberlin

    Chilling, glorious and unsettling. Among your best, Abed.

    • 1 year ago

      by Abed

      Thanks, Larry!

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