The Thoughts of an Athenian: The Family I’ve Chosen

sometimes something too beautifully real comes up and one needs to share… Do give a look…

Experiences

cnv00008 Millions of people looking for an…

cnv00006 …honest smile, like his.

CNV000135.jpg He was born with the ability to spot the details.

CNV00015.jpg …and then he lets everything to sink in, until they make sense.

cnv00021 He can fly away If he wants to…

CNV000284.jpg

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She is peculiar and unusual, authentic and creative. Her deep understanding for creativity makes her understand the deepest part of me. whenever she says sounds like an ancient truth. You don’t believe in fairytails and myths but she’s a muse in the realm of your mind.

cnv00013 He gives his love to me…

cnv00015…because he can see inside me the beauty he has found in himself.

67140001 When he is with you he is truly attentive to you, he is with you!

67140003 Some of them need your touch and your embrace. You are precious to them, sometimes you are the only light they see…

67140008

Just like the sun, nurish them, they need…

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  1. These are very sweet posts. Ciao from the seaside outside New York City.

    I’ll read more later – inshaallah – curled up w/ a cup of tea.

    xxx 3 for you cousin

    • Hey there! Thank you for saying… I usually don’t share posts, but this one I just couldn’t resist. Ciao from a really green university campus in New Delhi…

      • I meant all of your posts. I read two before I landed on this one & didn’t note at the bottom that it was a shared post.I write poetry also (& am a visual artist). So it is nice to find kindred spirits out there reveling in the beautiful madness we find ourselves in ❤

      • Oh. Thanks again. Always a pleasure to find madness and beauty blossoming together. Do you have a blog? It would be nice if I could read your pictures and words…

      • No – lol – it’s funny because you are the second blogger that asked me that ever & in only a little over a month.

        I am originally a visual artist & goldsmith (the latter for a living). About twenty years ago (1996) I began writing poetry after the Cana Massacre in South Lebanon – which is my family’s ancestral home. (Sorry to drip our fresh blood on your bright pretty doorstep here!). I just sort of *exploded* into words. (Pun & stereotype probably intended).

        Of course then the sky was open to other topics as well. To the horror of the rest of my life. (Getting out of the bath or waking from a dream to rush for paper & pen). Now I have a boatload w/ new ones nestling in now & then. Little fledglings & not all learning to fly as well as others.

        If a third person says something perhaps I will have to have a blog!

        However my dream is to take the train into my City – New York City – from the seaside where I live now & bring a fat manuscript or two to Knopf the publisher who published (& still does) our beloved Lebanese American poet/artist & fellow New Yorker Gibran Khalil Gibran.

        I already have a list of possible titles chosen… which gets added to.

        I’m kind of holding out for that. Lol. Like a romantic. That Saga told; sometimes if someone I feel in tune posts words or photos or art on their blog I will speak w/ a poem vs the other words we use. When they want them.

        It is all poetry in a way – no? Only w/ what we name a *poem* we are allowed greater freedom. Now we can see the thoughts inside the head without demanding expectations to make sense & speak properly & hide from the world.

        Hang on – I will find an early one you have brought to my mind w/ your kind *blog* question…

        Found it!…

        Not wild enough to howl
        Nor tame enough to settle

        unfitfully

        into our pieced together
        common world

      • PS: Also like Gibran I would love to include my drawings or collages in the poetry manuscript. That is so labour intensive it is frightening though!

        Especially since I want to do this as William Blake did; where the words are emeshed w/ the drawings – like two or more elements in the natural world. Something animistic. Where each element is it’s own spirit & whole at once.

        His books are like children’s picture books for our souls! LOVE Blake…

      • I am deeply fascinated by everything that you kindly told me. I find your expression to be beautiful and also really engaging. Thank you for sharing those lines of yours. Visual artist and a goldsmith! They must go together somehow… the intricacies of visual design…
        I am a student of thought, pursuing knowledge with my fair share of skepticism…
        Khalil Gibran gives peace to my heart… his writings untie many knots at the same time… and what flow they gift!
        Also Blake is incredible… the sheer earnestness and mythical weight that floats with his work is sublime…
        I hope all is well at your end, and that you share more of your work with the world…
        Cheers!

      • Your words are kind. It is always lovely to find likeminded people which – inshaallah – we can experience from across the Planet. Our seafaring & landfaring Ancestors who traded w/ so many across the World must surely be happy w/ this turn of events for us – their children in time! And so I thank you for your warm hospitality here my Cousin.

        The visual art & the craft of goldsmiths (jewellery or boxes etc.) are quite separate to me (& to many others). As art is for pure expression & often jewellery or a cigarette/card case etc. serves only a function as talisman or more often now adornment or practical function (in the case of a fine metal practical object).

        However I recommend traditional visual artists (painters & sculptors & printmakers) study goldsmithing – as every European artist did in the Middle Ages – before moving on to visual arts; for it’s discipline in patience & precision. That is why most European artists began in this medium for years. Sort of like how East Asian children were required to only grind ink for a dream long age before they were ever even allowed to pick up a brush & learn their calligraphy!

        All of that said there have been & are artists who have blurred the line between art & craft when it comes to goldsmithing and/or jewellery.

        Herman Junger the German smith. His pieces are simply tiny sculpture. They have an amuletic quality. And I love that he collected spoons of various eras & peoples! They clearly influenced his work; which is machine age modern minimalist & ancient pre-industrial at once.

        And then of course Salvador Dali did those amazing pieces in gold & gems after his paintings (of melting watches etc.) which he had executed by the brilliant Italian goldsmith Verdura. My art teacher brought me to see those when I was fourteen & that set me off on the study I took beginning age fifteen.

        And the sculptor Alexander Calder (who lived down the road from me here just north of NYC in the country) did amazing pieces for his friends & family. Unlike Dali – by his own hand & usually in silver.

        There are so many others. Goldsmiths whose work becomes art & artists who made jewellery & other small objects (though often executed by a smith). There are some lists people have made online that may interest people – though they are not comprehensive & it is all subjective. So I understand exactly what you mean as well.

        I love the contemporary jewellery designer/goldsmith Delfina Delletrez (though I think she no longer does her own benchwork). Surreal brilliance!

        And I love work – jewellery – in acrylic (Plexiglas/Perspex/Lucite). I want to start experimenting w/ this now. Especially now that I’ve recently read of less toxic plastics.

        And I love pieces made of plastics & gold.I’ve done some of this on my own (not in my benchwork for designers). But I am thinking of a particular smith whose work I saw – but I cannot remember her name.

        I’m thinking – viewing images & words on your blog – that you would appreciate these pieces also. I like when art has a talismanic quality where it influences not just our thoughts but also our very neurons. Essentially bypassing our thoughts. Like our elders did when they used music for healing illness (strengthening immune system via the brain really…) an ancient Syrian/Arab/North African practise. This is proven to have scientific merit now! Or that Chinese born NYC based (on my old block now in Lower Manhattan!) artist that works w/ coloured fireworks among other things. He does that for me. (Please forgive my not remembering his name this moment).

        Re. my not having a blog (despite I am trying to live a simpler more solitary life of more prayer & less self direction – which is not working out so far!); I don’t think sculpting in 3d translates well to a flat or photographic medium – which is essentially what a blog is. Because as an artist I’m not interested in reporting to anyone ‘I did *this* in my studio this week’ etc. I never liked the concept of giving *artist talks* at show openings either. Where one is verbally explaining physical work/pieces. On a blog 3d work is a *photo of 3d work*. Then it’s a photo not 3d. I like purity in art. A photo of 3d is no longer experiencing the work in real *space*. The experience in person is the beauty of sculpture & even street art & graffiti wether 2d or 3d. Banksy’s works on the illegal Apartheid wall in illegally occupied Palestine require the wall. And I love his anonymity also…

        I suppose the main thing is as a Syriac I am trying to spiritually disappear into God/the Universe (Greek word: Theosis… meaning to become like God). And as you can see I am failing miserably at that by using so many words… lol…

        Thanks for spelling Khalil Gibran’s name right! Ulli ulli (female trilling sound) for you! & *clapping*… It drives us a bit mad when people spell it ‘Kahlil’. It’s like spelling Cynthia ‘Cnythia’ to a Lebanese Syrian or Arab! And nobody cares. People get angry if you warmly correct them.

        Alfred Knopf (his publisher) misspelled it on the first round of printings & it was never changed! Quite astonishingly. Lol – which showed how we Lebanese Syrian Arab Americans had even less influence here in the States then than at present.

        Despite Gibran having come to the States as an older child he never developed a good mastery of English; which probably comes as a shock to many people. (I was *completely* shocked when I first read letters he’d written as an adult in English). He had only gone to a settlement house school. (These were charity organisations/buildings established in Eastern U.S. cities that assisted immigrant women & children). And he had left there quite early & grew up in a poor Syrian (Syro-Lebanese) neighbourhood in Boston w/ Lebanese spoken all around him. (A mixture of Aramaic & Arabic… as it remains to this day…About half from each language according to contemporary linguists).

        You can *hear* his own voice in it’s broken English in his private letters. (In the 1970s biography by his nephew for one example).

        For the English language Knopf books his poems were translated – rewritten really (!) – by his benefactor Mary Haskell. She was a librarian & teacher & older than him. That’s why those particular works in English were so florid & over the top in a Victorian style that had long since passed by the early 20th c when he was first published. And also more feminine than his Arabic voice.

        Also she romanticised him in an Orientalist way… Meaning a false colonialist way that did not reflect his masculine Eastern voice. (He was a Maronite Syriac Christian who had wanted to become a priest).

        This is also why Lebanese & Arab writers & readers & critics love Gibran so much in his indigenous Arabic writings; whilst American writers & critics & poetry scholars & poets dismissed & derided his work. (Including almost astonishingly Alfred Knopf himself!). Despite his popularity w/ the American public. (Including my Libnani sister who reads *zero* poetry – yet was married to his poem on the subject! Whilst quite fittingly Bees swarmed round her head in this garden wedding – attracted by her strong parfum – as if she were some ancient Priestess of Baal/Tammuz/Adonis! Depictions of Baal – God of Life/Love/Light in our land such as in Tyre – always showed him surrounded by bees… lol… Gibran was I’m sure very proud looking at this *bee ritual* my sister took part in – lol – from his anointed place in the other World; since he himself wrote of this our ancient God…).

        Happily – for those who do not read Arabic – there are some new translations into English of his work (previously reworked by Haskell). They are not published by Knopf & it is no wonder as Knopf has made a fortune off the Haskell Orientalist English translations/reworkings! These have been done by people who understand all of the above. And understand Gibran’s voice in Arabic. And importantly – his masculine Libnani (Lebanese) voice.

        I love him & I love his artwork – drawings & paintings – even more than his writing. He deserves more credit for his visual art. I see his true self there. Including our ancient earliest Syriac Christianity – prior to it being corrupted by Helenisation & Latinisation & frankly mostly lost to occupiers & then impostors across time. His work is almost animistic w/ everything shown alive & breathing & our souls in that. See the painting of the souls/people & the mountains & how they are *one*. *One* Life & all is Life. And Life = Love. And hence not to fear passing. Gibran is a child of our core beliefs & for that we love him.

        I wrote about this ‘Kahlil’ vs ‘Khalil’ misspelling on a blog (of someone you liked – lol – how I found you here! God is good…) that mentioned Gibran/paraphrased him & my comment was deleted there.

        People want to define us & cherry pick & praise things about our people & customs & culture – whilst astonishingly not allowing us to define & explain *ourselves* to them. I see this as the thinning residue of colonialism… inshaallah… this will pass peacefully & w/ love to some purer recompense between all people on Earth. Including those who wish to be the only ones to define us & thus control us. It is fear based really. That is why all wise prophets speak of *Love* – as it is the opposite of fear & control.

        So here was this blogger quoting Gibran but unable to allow me a Lebanese (& American & a New Yorker as was Gibran all of these) to even mention how we really spell our beloved uncle’s name!

        I don’t like when people quote him to me & don’t allow me to speak of him as a child of our people – even going so far as trying to keep control of this erroneous spelling. Hence whoever spells his name correctly as you did – my home is yours. So thank you Habibi.

        •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

        Soul between the oud strings

        In the air that holds the dabke dancer
        high above Earth

        Inside the bowl of henné – the bride’s hafleh

        Inside the ney – the reed flute

        The riqq which sounds like bracelets
        & sounds like serpents talking

        The feet which sound like drums

        I hid myself there
        till I *exploded* into words

        Another – just another –
        angry Arab

        blackwooltentlookinggirl

        The fearless Baalbeck dancer
        jumps with one leg extended

        & Stars they still swim…

        Last night I dreamt of you

        You asked to be with me

        Or rather TOLD me

        & I said ‘no’…

        …& I awoke & was not unhappy

        You looked the same…
        blank & clueless

        ‘Bint’ it means ‘whore’ in British slang

        But Bint it is really Arabic for Girl

        & Daughter

        (22 June 2011/St.John’s Day – Midsummer Day – Johannistag)

      • It is interesting how you say: It is all poetry in a way… I feel something similar… something akin to the universale Poesie of Novalis…
        also, I feel that there are rhythms inscribed within rhythms, inscribed within rhythms… layers upon layers of varying taste… music… poetry…

      • “rhythms”

        1000x this what you’ve written ya Habibi.

        The birds’ song & the heartbeats & the babies’ crying & the car & lorry traffic & the DJs’ rhyming… Life. The song of life.

        I sometimes visualise us humans in particular as bio-entities like bacteria but in coloured masses & larger & smaller shapes blending & breaking apart & attracting & repelling & more sadly very violently clashing across Earth’s living skin & that is *all*. All the lovemaking & massacres. A bio-organism.

        Vs. politics & identity politics & wars & class. We are a bio-mass… lol. It’s about something bigger than individuals. (Individualism – the industrialist & post-industrialist lie & hence modern affliction… Despite it’s obvious merits like free speech… or lol! semi-free… Or my personal girly favourite -being able to dress how I like…).

        That is why the bigger picture outside of the self is helpful. In any tradition wether Syriac or Coptic or Muslim or Buddhist or Shinto or Indigenous Native American etc.; wise people know to listen to that heartbeat vs fight it.

        In our Arabic tradition a baby crying in Church or at a musical performance is accepted & good luck! And when I was blessed w/ seeing & hearing the transcendent Nubian Oud & Tar (flat hand drum) player Hamza el Din play in Brooklyn in the 90s during our Mahrajan al Fan (Festival of Arts) a baby cried almost *ceaselessly* at one point & he of course *praised* the baby & the mother for it’s cries… stopping his beautiful playing to praise the baby & give it the floor essentially… lol…

        I was astonished when I visited a Greek Orthodox Church (vs Syrian or Antiochian Orthodox) here & they were renovating – including a new ‘cry room’ for mothers to bring their loud babies. Lol! In all the Syrian Arabic Churches here that is literally part of the Divine Liturgy. Babies are literally expected to take part regardless of their beautiful ability to completely drown out the priests. Lol! Their “little children” sounds are closer to God than the priest’s sounds – as Jesus brilliantly observed when he said “Become like a little child”.

        Memory Eternal for the beautiful Hamza el Din who has since passed over. Speaking of “rhythm” – what a master…

        We have this at weddings also. Traditionally a stranger is a guest of honour. Lol – so much so that people used to search for a stranger! So you can’t crash a wedding. Lol!

        It is all as you say. A rhythm & song. Waves like on a beach.

        I pray w/ all my heart for this kind of understanding to reach people. Murders & wars in the World would be halved.

        Three for you xxx

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