27 March 2013

writing scripts onto the body

(1) scripts on bodies

you have written
a script.
onto your –

is roaring.

where were you
I do not
hear you –
when –

women are

I do not
hear you –
when –

women are
treated like –
discarded objects.

just because –
we are born

five words –
written a script
onto the body
and you roar.

Amina has shown us all –
what you are

(c) khulud khamis, 2013


(2) the body

the body
my body
such a powerful –

it seems that –
it can
move mountains
cause revolutions

it can also
have me –
locked up
in a psychiatric

for what –
for five words
written onto it.

(c) khulud khamis, 2013

words on the spot - untitled

(1) - untitled

you say you want
me –
this way and

you in your –
black gray

me in my –
red sneakers
purple and black hoody
green scarf
pink and grey striped socks
and red sweat pants.


you are so –

every step.

I am so not.

but the truth –

I enjoy my –
world in color
so much more –
you do
your –
black and grey

(c) khulud khamis, 2013


(2) - untitled

what do we –
take with
to the grave.

two things only.
our memories
and –

for this reason
want to –
all the colors –
there are
in the universe

and all the colors
that have
been invented.

(c) khulud khamis, 2013

26 March 2013

lost in translation

parts of my identity
been –
for some (un)identifiable
lost in translation.

Floating between –
the languages
in a –
between the –

23 March 2013

Paradise water

New novel, new characters. meet Saleh, Amit, and Maya.
For my new readers, this is a fragment of my second novel, "Shai at the Checkpoint". It's a raw piece of writing still. Check out other segments of this novel under the label "Shai at the Checkpoint" on the left sidebar of the blog.
Enjoy reading. As always, feedback is welcome.

Saleh walked into the crammed kitchenette, grabbed a tall glass from the shelf, put it up to the light and wrinkled his forehead. Two yellowish lines were running down the side of it, and the memory of a woman’s red lipstick was smudged across the edge in a slightly distorted kiss. He looked at the other two glasses; they were in no better shape. He turned on the tap water and scrubbed the glass clean. Clean as it could get. He then turned to the mineral water cooler, spelled out the name of the water company in his mind – Mey Eden, Waters of Eden – and poured himself a glass of lukewarm tap water. As he was gulping down the water, he heard a smirk behind him.

“Even in this mid-August heat?” It was Amit, his colleague. He walked to the shelf, took a glass and, with complete disregard to its cleanliness, poured himself a glass of ice cold water from the cooler. “Mmmm, there’s nothing like cold Eden water in this heat.”

“Never. Not as long as they have a contract with this supplier. I’d rather drink this warm water, even in this impossible heat, so long as that,” pointing to the upside down translucent blue monster of a water bottle on top of the cooler, “comes from the Occupied Golan Heights.”
“Oh, you’re such a nationalist. Come on, get over it!”
“I’m not a nationalist, Amit! I’m just a man with principles.”
“Nobody will know that you drank it. Here, take a glass of Paradise water.”

Saleh just shook his head slightly and smiled under his thin mustache. Amit and he have been working together for almost two years now, and they became friends. Not close friends, but still. As close as a slightly leftish Jewish man and a Palestinian man can get. Although Amit did define himself as moderate left, for Saleh he was never left enough. Amit recognized the claim of Palestinians on parts of this land and their right to live as equal citizens. But they always got stuck when the discussion reached the refugee problem or the demographic “threat.” His biggest fear was to live in a state where the Jews would no longer constitute a majority. Saleh could only sympathize, but not understand rationally. Personally he had no problem living as a national minority – if only he were treated as an equal citizen in all respects.

Amit, on the other hand, couldn’t understand Saleh’s claims of discrimination. For him, Palestinians citizens of Israel had all the rights – within some undefined limits, of course. It seemed only logical for him that people who served the army should have some merit over those who didn’t.

After some heated discussions, raised tones and animated body language, they settled into some sort of a routine. They had a silent pact not to go deeper than the surface on these issues. Over time, their political talks were replaced by friendly stings. When Saleh couldn’t get the printer to work, he asked Amit for help. Amit only clicked on the printer icon and the document printed out smoothly. “It’s because I’m Palestinian. The printer knows it.”
“Yup, sure is. One racist printer we got here.” And they would laugh it off.


After they had drunk water, Saleh reached for his thermos and winked at Amit. “Kafe Aravi?”
“Only if you boiled it seven times,” Amit was already reaching for two finjans and patting his pocket to make sure he had his cigarettes. Saleh had explained to him that Arabic kahwa had to be boiled seven times exactly to come out just right.
“I think it was seven. Hey, I made it at five in the morning, so maybe it was six, or eight. But I’m sure your Jewish taste-buds won’t even know the difference.”

They walked out to the narrow balcony, Arabic coffee was on Saleh, cigarettes were provided by Amit. Amit slurped from his finjan. “Hmm… yes, it’s seven.”
Saleh inhaled from him cigarette, then he took a slow sip of his coffee. He let the hot, bitter liquid swirl inside his mouth for several seconds before swallowing. “I think it’s closer to nine,” he laughed, “but I told you that you would never taste the difference.”

Amit made a face as if offended and took another sip. “You could boil it twice for all I care. Still it’s the best coffee in Yerushalayim.” He pronounced the last word slowly and deliberately, trying to hide a wicked smile.
“Alquds,” Saleh mumbled.

Suddenly, Amit became serious. “Listen, forget Yerushalayim. Next week there’s a party for the staff.”
Saleh’s cigarette was halfway finished, and he was hoping to get another one from Amit before they went back to work. “Aha, I think I saw something in my email about it. Anyway, I’m not going.”
“Look, Saleh. I’m not going to try to convince you.” His back was to Saleh and he was looking down at the street below. “We both know it’s going to be a Jewish party. Usually only about three or four Arab staff members attend them. But I was thinking that,” he took a deep breath, turned around to face Saleh, and cleared his throat. He spoke slowly, as if weighing the significance of each word, “you know, Maya… I mean… it’s obvious to all there’s some attraction between the two of you. The only two who are either ignoring it or denying its existence is you and Maya.”

“Maya is Jewish. I’m Palestinian. End of discussion.” The vein on the left side of Saleh’s forehead became visible. His left hand holding the cigarette shook ever so slightly. He drowned his cigarette in the remains of the coffee and turned around to walk inside. “Coffee break over. Back to work.” Amit mumbled to himself as he followed him in.

Saleh walked back to his office, passing Maya’s desk on his way. Only her auburn curls were visible from behind the large computer screen. But as he approached, she peeked out from behind the screen. “Saleh! Just my man. Can you come take a look at this? I can’t get the letters line up on this vector.” Saleh’s vein receded when he saw her. “Let’s see what I can do. Move it, redhead,” and he scooted her chair with her in it aside, grabbed another chair and took over the computer. After playing around with the functions for several minutes, the letters were neatly lined up exactly where Maya wanted them. “There you go, Mai. Did I tell you my grandmother’s name was Mai?”

“How many times, Saleh! It’s Maya. For you, M A Y A. Get it?”
“Aha… I see… well, my grandmother’s name was…” and he got out of the way before she had the time to grab at his shirt. “Maiiiiiiiii,” he screamed as he headed down the corridor, laughing. “And she was a redhead, but not a real one like you, Mai. She hennaed her hair. All the way up to the age of ninety eight!”

He sank down into his chair. He had two designs to finish before the end of the week: an annual report for a human rights organization and a poster for a book fair. Let’s get the poster out of the way first. He looked at his watch. It was twelve forty seven. I’ll work for an hour and then ask her for a cigarette.

Two hours later, Saleh was still at his desk. He had finished four versions of the poster and was working on the fifth when he finally realized he was just passing time. Three versions were more than enough for the client. The fourth and fifth one were only very slightly different in the fonts and shades of the background. He discarded them, pushed his chair back and stretched his arms. Something was still missing from his designs - they were all too cold. Uninviting. He closed his eyes and took several deep breaths. Something was missing from his designs. They were too cold. Uninviting.

Maya was fresh from Wizo. She finished her degree in graphic design only several months earlier, and already was accepted to work by one of the larger companies in Jerusalem. Her designs were known for their playfulness. There was something clean yet fresh about them. Different. Saleh looked at the poster on his computer screen. He was satisfied with it, yet compared to Maya’s work, it seemed to him a bit on the dark side. Maybe too serious for a book fair.

He opened his eyes, and rushed down the corridor. “Maiiii, I’m sending you something in the mail. Open it and have it ready. I’ll be right there.”

“Maya!” came an echo from the far end of the corridor.

“You need some tola'ot in there.” They were both staring at the poster on the screen.
“I need what?!”
“Worms… you know… bookworms?”
“Aha… I see..,” he leaned closer over her shoulder, her curls just barely tickling his neck. He smelled the freshness in them. And stopped breathing. “Right there, see?” she pointed at the image of one of the books in the background. “Not too conspicuous. And make the worms in earth tones.”

Earth tones… bookworms! How come I didn’t think of it? Stupid. It’s so obvious you need some bookworms to go into a poster for a book fair! YaRab! She’ll think I’m so stupid.

(c) khulud khamis, 2013

21 March 2013

novel progress update

I've been getting many inquiries from friends regarding the publication of my novel. The key word here is patience. The standard time it takes from a book to be published from the moment a publisher takes on the work is 12 months. At the moment, the manuscript is being edited by the dedicated people at Spinifex. The whole process takes time, as after they send me suggestions I need to go back to the manuscript and work on it some more. The book is scheduled to come out sometimes in early 2014. I will keep you posted on the progress.

But the exciting news is that I get to keep all copyrights to my work.

As some of you know, I have posted some short segments of "Fragments" here on my blog in the past. However, as soon as I learned that Spinifex would be publishing the novel, I thought I had to forfeit those rights, and I went ahead and deleted all "Fragments" published so far. Now I was informed that all copyrights are mine, and specifically told that I am free to publish segments, I will be publishing short sections in the coming months for you to read.

I also invite you to help me think of a new title for the novel. Currently, the novel's name is "Life in Fragments." However, I would like to incorporate the word Haifa into the title. So any brainstorming is welcome. So far, I've received the following suggestions from friends:

* Haifa Fragments * Haifa in Fragments * Haifa Life in Fragments * Fragmented Haifa * Fragmented Haifa Living * Living Fragments of Haifa * My Haifa in Fragments.
One friend suggested I make Fragments into a verb.

Any suggestions are welcome.


18 March 2013

returning my nationality to you

Come to think of it
ultimately -
my (your)
is just an empty shell
i used to think –
need to belong to.

and since –
you (us)
do not (can not)
ever –
me –
as one of
you (us)

Therefore –
out of my own –

give it back.

And instead –
to be a –
citizen of the world.

Unshackled by –
nor by –
word become
dirty –
(c) khulud khamis (2013)

16 March 2013

Raw Hatred

I just opened my Facebook page, and I see one of my friends sharing a photo of Channel 2 Newsstatus. The status is: “Jordan: at least 14 killed and 37 wounded in a bus accident near Allenby bridge crossing.”

The following comments were posted below the status by people:
[free translation from Hebrew]
v  Kululululu I couldn’t ask for a better morning than this… just a shame there isn’t another zero at the end [referring to the number of killed an injured].
v  Death to all Arabs, there is no place for an Arab in Eretz Israel. Maybe this sounds terrible to some people from North of Tel Aviv, but they also don’t deserve to live in this state. And yes, I am a proud racist, proud of my country and the soldiers protecting it.
v  Arabushim [a derogatory word for Arabs] – feel free to die, I don’t mind.
v  A pleasure, such a morning, big happiness, and if anybody has a problem with it is free to change countries because this is the country of the Jews, one people for all.
v  To all the leftists, you know what? I am h a p p y! There’s no happier person than me about what happened to the Jordanians… and I give you my word… that if, God forbid, this happened to us, and they published it for example on the news Facebook page of the Jordanians… I give you my word that all of them would write *
v  Hopa… nothing like starting the Saturday with a smile.
v  Arab son of a bitch die and burn Amen and get cancer.
v  14 people?????? But they are animals!
v  What happiness, a few Arabs less, it’s a shame that only 14.
v  Today is already beginning good!!!!
v  For every terrorist that died, an Israeli lives.
v  Wish for more such accidents Amen.
v  Not-pleasant, not-terrible.

By the time I write this, I found the original status with the picture of the overturned bus. There are more than 700 comments by now on the status, and most of them are similar to the ones I translated above.

You can read about the accident in English on YNET: "17 Palestinians Killed in Bus Crash."

I feel sick. I feel sick that when I walk outside of my home tomorrow morning, I will probably pass by these very same people.