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Anton Osver is an artist based in Baku, Azerbaijan. He will be in NYC as an apexart New York City Fellow from October 21 – November 20, 2014.
NEXT NEW YORK CITY FELLOW
 


David B. Smith is a NYC-based artist who is in Dunedin, New Zealand, as an apexart International Fellow from October 1 - 31, 2014.
CURRENT INTERNATIONAL FELLOW

Posts tagged with "Ahmad Zatari"

Ahmad Zatari

Ahmad Zatari

Ahmad Zatari is an independent journalist working and living in Amman, Jordan. Starting his career as a poet and translator, he published his first poetry collection Light Makeup for the Horses in 2005. In 2009, Zatari compiled Questions of Poetry, selected discussions and interviews about poetry that he translated. During that time, Zatari started working as freelance writer and correspondent for local and regional newspapers, covering cultural issues and stories. In 2010, he was the head organizer of ‘Music Freedom Day’ in Amman, and in 2011 he went on to co-found the ‘People’s Choir’ during ‘Music Freedom Day’, which also went on to participate in Al Balad Music Festival. Currently, he is starting a freelance career with ‘Freemuse’ as a coordinator and consultant for the Middle East and North Africa regions to advocate for, promote, and investigate artistic freedom of expression in these areas.

Ahmad Zatari is visiting apexart from Amman, Jordan, from May 30 - June 29, 2012. He was recommended by Toleen Touq, Independent curator in Amman. See his Resident Page for more information.

Jun 2

ahmad-apexart

Day 1


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNLLVTZCxbE


Exposure to Impressionist Shilpa

I hurt my toe.

My flight mate was an Indian- American. During 8 hours flight from Madrid, she slept for 4 hours. She felt comfortable enough to take off her shoes and move her toes like tiny fishes.

I was peeking, wanting to do the same. And when I did, the chocked air filled with a stinky smell.

Shilpa, which means beautifully sculptured, recommended that I go to the city by a taxi, not the subway. ‘You may catch the sunset. It is beautiful’. She said while her olive skinned cheeks turned into colors I have never seen.

And I did.

And it was beautiful.

When I got into the apartment, I looked into the window towards west: the sun was already gone leaving melting-red colors- sky. Colors I have never seen but in impressionists’ paintings, as reality is imitating Arts.

And when I exposed my feet the air chocked heavily and injured my toe.

After jumping out of pain, I looked through the window again, and it was the same view.

I was exposed.

Jun 2

ahmad-apexart

Day 2

1


To easiest way to describe is to Compare

The plan was to get lost: lowering the tempo and let things find me.

Wearing the same cloths for the second day now, the sweat was dropping cold and slows as I am walking Church Street and bumping into people’s polite attitude.

When I passed through Ground Zero I was interested in people’s reaction rather than the place itself.

Everyone had this touristic look, and that what gave the place a much lightened feeling as am walking by a shallow river.

I stared, which is impolite, until I found one middle age looking at the ongoing constructions and smiling. Actually she was delightful.

At that point I realized that I got what I wanted from this place, and moved on to find myself at Hudson River overlooking the Statue of Liberty.

Lowering the tempo, I remembered that an Egyptian version of the statue was offered to Ismail, Khedive of Egypt to be built in Suez Canal on a shape of a female farmer.

The easiest way to describe is to compare. There when pure judgmental shallow pictures emerge heavily.

My sense of being somewhere else has vanished as soon as I realized that I wont have to pamper others. I was turning into a regular guy passing through the memorials in Battery Park and move on.

And when I saw a dead fish in the river I didn’t have to compare. I said to myself. This is a new image that will pamper me for a long time.


2


Revolution Bigger Than Art

I made it finally to the Skyscraper Museum where an exhibition telling the stories of publishing houses and skyscrapers of New York is held.

‘News Paper Spires’ is rather a touristic spot. I can’t claim that it wasn’t interesting, even for New Yorkers, but the way it exhibits is too polished for a scholar.

Showing pictures of the development of publishing houses throughout the 19th till now, alongside with video materials and models can definitely work as ideas trigger.

Art indeed do represent reality. It is either a passage for another thing, or a trigger. It is ‘against interpretation’; in the way Suzan Sontag puts it. And I couldn’t see any of that in the exhibition. And felt like it is, indeed, another memorial that I can pass on quickly.

However, I was really obligated for knowing the history of the ‘news boys’ in the 19th century, and their strike in 1899.

The story goes as the publishing houses raised the cost of the bundle (100 newspapers) from 65 to 85 cent. 5000 newsboys refused to deliver papers, and demonstrated on Brooklyn Bridge for days.

At the end, the publishing houses agreed to buy back all the unsold papers from the boys. Strike ended.

This incident, of course, dragged me once again to the comparison theory.

Fuck this. Now I have to explain Arts in Arab Spring to myself in a second language- I thought. Thinking about the first organized strike in Egypt 6th April 2008. When activists called for a public strike in solidarity with workers of Mahalla factory.

The strike started calling for labors’ rights, but ended up calling for civil rights and the fall of the regime. The 6th April movement was named upon this date, which marks the beginning of accelerating events leading to 25th January 2011.

The revolution is bigger than Art.

I don’t know who said that Art needs to be unreal, and it misses its chances of influence or/ and reflect when it materializes.

That’s why Graffiti in the Arab World emerged as post-art. It didn’t need to reflect or influence directly. It was something already done and needed to be un-fucked.

While I was walking back through police-packed corners around Wall Street, I realized that I was, seriously, thinking about an exhibition in a museum called ‘Skyscraper’.

Of course. What else would they exhibit?


3

Takarazuka


I had no previous idea about my next performance. And I didn’t want to look it up.

Friendly people everywhere are wasting any chances of clashes of judgments.

And as I was opening the HERE theater door for that girl who smiled at me, I realized am surrounded by attendees who already know what is the play ‘Takarazuka’ is about.

And during the whole show, I had the sense that the director Lear de Bessonet is really good – but presentative.

Actually I don’t want to write about the play.

I’ am striving for more representations of this culture.

And at Union Square when I walked home, a memorial of flowers to a recently dead girl was set on a traffic light.

Her brother was weeping on his knees touching her black and white picture.

He was presentative.

I was exposed.

Jun 2

ahmad-apexart

Day 3

Jun 4

ahmad-apexart

Day 4 & 5


1

‘Salam’ in Union Square

I regret wearing the T-shirt with the Arabic writing on it. Wearing it attracted every single Arab I bumped endlessly in the streets.

At the beginning a sparkling smile would embark looking at the written words. Then asking me where I come from.

This is strange- I thought that it would drag a whole conversation. Actually the only curious person who was interested to know what is behind the written words is an Anti-war movement protester in Union Square.

Discrimination. He quickly agreed.

I told him: basically it is a campaign against the military regime in Egypt, but yes of course, it has social layers.

 Then he began talking about the war on Iraq and Afghanistan, saying that his movement is calling for a Palestinian state.

We call for peace, ‘Salam’. He yelled at me when I was walking away.

 2

Artists as Inventors

Am I a moving art installation wearing that T-shirt?

I, of course, took it off the next day going to Brooklyn to follow the scattered shows during the ‘Bushwick Open Studios’.

I followed the suggested spots. But also found other spots accidently just wandering in the streets of this relaxed, against time, feeding everlasting Sunday afternoon areas.

Michael L. Rutushin, a friendly artist was just woken up when I got it attracted by swing jazz music coming out of his place.

I had a really crazy night. He apologized for the smell.

I know. It smells like something just died on that couch.

Many paintings on the walls. Some of it was good, and some just felt like he hanged everything he was keeping.

Not trying to be a fool, or making him look like a fool, I avoided asking him whether that piece is really an artistic installation or it is just thrown there.

I found it really exhausting to differentiate art from worn out furniture.  And remembered that I once wrote about this 4 or 5 years ago.

I was asked to cover a public intervention in a rural village outside Amman where artists occupied the houses and the spaces and even a cave. And it was also difficult to differentiate which is art, and which is just left out of art.

One piece really got me into this argument; when art pieces seemed to be finished at the far top hill in the village, I found a wooden chair with hearts itching.

I felt like a fool thinking if it is ok to sit while am tired of wandering around or not.

Thinking about this dilemma, I found the Airplane gallery.    

On the walls there was pictures taken by an IPhone of sunlight shadows. The caption says that when the late Tsunami occurred in Japan, an electricity saving plan was suggested here in the states. Therefore, the photographer found himself attracted to nature light.

On the opposite wall, a really beautiful itching paintings aside of impressionists paintings.

The guy in charge told me that there is a sculpture in the garden: a dying robot on the ground producing electrical shots. And on the right corner, a disco ball was reflecting lights to a broken mirror which reflects to the whole surrounding.

When artists did become inventors?

3

A masculine Intimacy

Moving to another space I found by coincidence, I was really impressed. Lauren D. Smith really do hit the both meaningful and the nihilism of surrealism.

The best paintings, ‘The Beach’, was a reminder of how skilful artists can (or must) be.

A chubby one-eyed man is getting up or just lying in an uncomfortable position on the sand. While others are just too far away in the background.

And at the far point in the sea, part of a monster is coming up the waves imitating the one-eyed person’s position.

And as I moved to other galleries, I got the sense of craft rather than art: a lot of glass, wood, metal, paper, sponge, tools, and fabrics.

There were a lot of impressionists’ works. It was so obvious that other works seemed like speaking another language.

And even if I asked for an explanation, this won’t seem logical. Because most artists are in their late 20s and 30s, mostly New Yorkers, mostly fulltime, and mostly a stereotype of the hipster’s era.

One artist who looked like coming out of 69’s Woodstock had 3 self portrayed paintings hanged upside down.

First painting: a portray.

Second painting: plain canvas with a finger trying to tear the corner.

Third painting: a reversed portray of his head.

And when I thought that am not enjoying as much analyzing, a series of naked men couples attracted me to Brandon Charles Wallace.

And it took him only one observation like: ‘it’s good to see someone interested in a man’s body rather the women’s’, to talk about 10 minutes about his passion to art, and how he sees the masculine’s intimacy.

At that point I was not able to see anymore.

It was starting to rain when I got out the warehouse where 3 stories filled with art spaces on a very long corridor.

I remembered a fragment of Eduardo Galeano’s ‘Book of Embraces’:

‘Diego had never seen the sea. His father, Santiago Kovadloff, took him to discover it.

They went south.

The ocean lay beyond high sand dunes, waiting.

When the child and his father finally reached the dunes after much walking, the ocean exploded before their eyes.

And so immense was the sea and its sparkle that the child was struck dumb by the beauty of it.

And when he finally managed to speak, trembling, stuttering, he asked his father:

“Help me to see!”

Jun 9

ahmad-apexart

Days 6-10

1

Loss of innocence  

Wherever I will be, the soothing and the devastating realization of being a stranger is heavier than anything else.

Whether if I am trying to read William Burroughs’ ‘Naked Lunch’ while waiting for Jacko Weyland in a restaurant in remote Brooklyn. Or listening to the daily live performance of the Hindus/ hippies in union square. Or even trying not to lose my politeness in most crowded subway cars. This reality is haunting. And I am afraid I lose that as a source of observation.

That why I rejected the idea of reading ‘Naked Lunch’, or Lorca’s ‘A Poet in New York’ later. I wanted to observe as a stranger.

And I wanted to see everything in my life for the first time.

Then I realized that what I have in New York is exactly what I have in Amman: nothing.

I already miss some faces. The chemistry we built over months and years. The last cat I gave away.

Everything else is replaceable.

2

Attracted by Language

Throughout these 4 days, I was attracted to language and style. Luckily, I have met Jacko Weyland,a journalist and a writer. And the publisher of the Zine: ‘Elk’.

The interesting conversation put me back in the place I needed: lowering the tempo, and notice again. I almost got used to the place, and already giving directions to others.

The fresh, vibrant, slowly-hesitating, very personal language of Jacko saved me from being a clichéd nostalgic yearner to Arabic language.

While Lucy Foley, a singer, musician and a writer, was passionate enough to drag me into these endless circles of confessional point of views.

I wanted to go to Brooklyn. Lucy suggested I take the Q train so I won’t miss the ‘Wonderful view over Brooklyn Bridge’.

And I did.

And it was beautiful.

Days 11-16

1

The contradicting thesis of an imaginary priest in Union Square

I usually wake up early, make coffee and go to smoke at the street. The first cigarette leaves me a little dizzy. That’s when the street becomes blurry, and people rushing to work become shadowy.

But what happens every time, after recovering from the first cigarette, that I get my full sight back, and starting to notice the details like a digital camera trying to get hold of focus points.

And every time I realized that the first thing I notice is a 4 wheeled car with a red communist star on it.

The same thing happens to me at the subway. And the first thing I noticed is Sophie Blackall’s painting that unifies the characters riding the subway in New York.

A beautiful painting with varied characters of varied shapes and races and colors: a fisherman, African – American cello player, Asian woman holding grocery, two girls wearing Hijab, and a rabbi.

There was no representation of any Christian identity. And then I realized that I have never seen one during my stay until now.

I wasn’t really looking, but sometimes it struck me, like those moment near sunset when I vaguely expect to hear the calling for Maghreb prayer.

Well, I won’t see a priest in Union Square at least- I thought; where all the vibes of the city centralizes.

I really like Brooklyn because it’s the opposite.

When I went to attend Mos Def and the Brooklyn Philharmonic I felt like am surrounded by normal people; less tension, little bit of staring (which reminds me of home), less effort to impress, and loose conversations about anything but the show.

And it was the same at the bar that James was sitting in and didn’t know its name. A few blocks off the main streets and you can really feel like hours away.

But it wasn’t really the same at Central Park. For a minute I thought I was doing a mistake getting here with a polo t shirt and dark jeans with black back bag. I thought am breaking a system, and felt like am mistakenly invited for a gala dinner, but with sportswear.

But I was neutrally happy.

I was empty-minded to the extent that nothing can fill it but music.

That’s how I laid on the grass against the lake, and listened to Mono’s ‘The Flames beyond the Cold Mountain’ and slept.

2

Being exposed

I hate big ideas, and collective memory and cases. I hate big names and systematic cultures. I hate occupation because it put the occupied people on state of sanctity. I hate authorities of all kinds: emotional, or architectural. I hate beauty and polished –corners boxes of any size. Am in love with the idea of hating big note books and white pen’s covers. I hate identities and full names. I hate plants that wither quickly. I hate children because I think they are plants that wither quickly.

I really like fragile people; those who are ruined and exhausted; the inability to judge; the harsh way of hesitation; and the fact that they are very few.

3

Inspiring poor prints of MOMA

I think that the highlight of this week was the MOMA. Not because of the massive collection they have (many of the paintings seemed like poor print of something I have already impressed with), but this braveness of all the artists who worked against beauty and against time.

I was inspired and overwhelmed.

Went back home and started to write a draft for a project I was thinking of the way home.

Wrote 11 pages till it was blurry again.


4

Dia Beacon

Invention of Solitude

Days 16-25 (to be continued)


Sometimes I do that in Amman: turn off my mobile, don’t pay for the internet connection, and spend the last amount of money on a massive full-of -cholesterol meal and stay home for a week or two.

First day is the hardest, and then comes the surrounding tone of the second day. The refreshing feeling of the vanishing constant headache is a privilege at the third day.

The rewarding coffee and cigarette at the morning of the next days would be something I would dream about at night.

I would inhale Mahler’s Adagietto from 5th symphony (conducted by Karajan) as it was the last breath I would have taken.

Musically, Adageitto is an indication to play a piece in a low tempo. Slowly, only faster a little bit than the low-end indication Adagio.

It wasn’t understandable when Leonard Bernstein conducted Mahler’s 9th symphony – specially the finale- with the non-sense of time as slow as the Adagio indication.

Enthusiastic listeners would call this finale: poetry. The others will complain about ‘the lack of melody’.

Well the truth that I think it is both.

That is how I felt after watching ‘Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present’ documentary at the Film Forum.

I gave myself a day off that day, and didn’t want to stick to the schedule. I actually decided that on the way back from Chicago.

Sitting next to a teenager watching short movies adaptation of classical novels, I saw this small ad of the film in a publication I found in my bag.

I was soaking with sweat, again. In a real need of a shower, clean cloths, and a cigarette. And was thinking of posting an ad in Craig’s list saying that someone is looking for a soaked with sweat-rusty dark clothed, bearded guy wearing a really cool shoes who was on Delta plane from O’Hare to JFK.

 That’s when I read the ad of the film, and directly threw a thread between Thursday 21st, and Saturday 23rd. The day I came back to New York, and the next show of the film.

The film focuses on Marina’s performance work in MOMA 2010 under the same name. The performance went on for 3 months, with Marina sitting on a chair in an empty room, in front of another chair, staring at whoever sits on it for the time he/she can bear.

 Every day from 9:30 till 5:00 Marina would sit there and look at these people who sat skeptical, worried, challengeable, emotionless, intimate, and passionate.

Marina would receive every person with the same amount of appreciation. Between a ‘sitter’ and the next one, she would close her eyes, with her chin on her chest, waiting for the next sitter, feeling him/ her approaching and sitting.

She received more than 750000 sitters. She was hungry for people she doesn’t know.

Her mother-she said, didn’t kiss or hug her in order ‘not to spoil her’. She was raised to be a soldier.

And to get rid of this all, she performed works where she tortured herself, trapped in slapping cheek ritual with her partner Ulay for 6 minutes, inhaled the air only from his mouth for 7 minutes, and both involved in a journey walking the great wall of China to meet each other in the middle after 3 months.

 She tortures herself in a very ritual way in a temple -she can’t avoid- symbolizing her parent. Yet, she feels the need to compensate, but she can’t really love people unless they were invited to that temple.

Many people would sit there and see Marina stare at them and cry. Lonely people lacking attention, just like Marina: didn’t believe that someone would just sit there and stare at them.

Last year, a friend of mine had a heart attack and went into a deep coma for several days.

When he woke up, he refused to talk. Doctors said he was physically well, and they don’t have a reasonable explanation for what they called ‘mute by desire’.

After he woke up from the coma I went to see him where he was still at that hospital where they only allow only one visitor for each time. A rule has been violated regularly, specially by his wife, and his mistress.

The room was occupied by his brother and a friend when I went there. He was lying there, with eyes wide open looking through the window. And his brother and his friend were talking about the Egyptian revolution.

When they saw me they emptied the room directly. And I sat on a chair next to his bed, trying to talk to him, not knowing whether he is able to recognize me or not, staring with this blank look.

At some point he reached to my hand and I held his. For the next 5 minutes there was nothing but staring into each other’s eyes.

I didn’t understand at the beginning; I kept bumbling stupid sentences like: ‘come on, get out of this and will have this big pitcher of beer’. And ‘you asshole I don’t know how you do it: your wife and that girl at the same room’.

But he wasn’t replying, or even nodding. He was just staring until I got it: I stopped talking, and stared.

When Marina was preparing for her show, she invited young performances to her place for a workshop. Where they all fasted for 3 days, and had some exercises like: sitting still in a forest with their eyes closed for hours, swimming naked in cold Hudson River, looking at a mirror for hours, or even holding a tree for a day.

Marina invented solitude by going directly and idiotically toward the Adagio.

John Cage also had an experiment he called ‘As Slow as Possible’, which is now a living performance piece started in 2001, and going to end in 2640.

I do feel the same.

ما تصنفنيش



Days 16-25


When I was being ‘interviewed’ over ‘beer –pong’ at Bad at Sports in Chicago, I sneaked and took a look at the questions when everybody else was setting the cameras and the microphones and pouring the beer.

The first question started with: ‘as an artists’.

At the actual ‘interview’, they didn’t mention it. I suspected that they knew already.

But I wanted to say this out loud. And when I did, Richard Holland mentioned that wearing that t shirt and walking around with it is an act of art.

Frankly I didn’t see it this way; I only brought two t shirts. And according to the laundry and hygienic cycle, I wear this one twice a week at least.

With time, it attracted some of the strangest conversations I was involved in. Here are some of them:

1

Entering Whole Food store, starving, looking for something not really expensive to eat as I didn’t eat the whole day and felt good to not spend money on something like food.

The store was about to close, shelves are almost empty, and the fridge is left with a not tempting sandwiches.

I wanted a ham and cheese sandwich, but the only one left was too skinny and dry.

-Can I help you sir?

- I haven’t decided yet.

- We are about to close.

-Give me a minute.

Then he notices the t shirt and asked me directly (in Egyptian accent):

-Do you speak Arabic?

- Yes.

-Hello brother, the turkey sandwich here is still fresh, ha?

- Ok

And he picks the bigger piece

-Do you want me to heat it for you?

-No not really, I like it cold.

-When are you going to eat it?

-Now, but not in here.

-I will heat it for you, it will be crusty from the outside, and tastes fresh from the inside.

- Ok

-Brother, listen to me (almost whispering), I wont cut it for you, we use the knives hereto cut ham with it.

2

Getting out of the subway in Union Square after a long ride and lit a cigarette directly.

 Didn’t notice that I was spreading too much smoke until an old woman stared at me with this angry look. Then glanced at the t shirt and yelled on her way away from me:

-Motherfuckers foreigners smoking in our (at this point she was too far to recognize the words)

3

Walking in the Metropolitan, an employee there approached me (tall and thin with gray hair an tanned skin and a mustache)

-Hello sir.

-Hello.

-What does this beautiful typography says?

-It in Arabic. It means: ‘don’t categorize me’ made by an Egyptian friend.

-ما تصنفنيش

-So you can read Arabic.

-Believe me, Egypt is a home for creativity. (In Arabic).

- Well am not an Egyptian.

-It is too bad what is happening now there.

-Am thinking about Syria too.

- Things should be alright soon, I hope.

- Well I don’t think so.

- Nice to meet you, sir. Enjoy the Mets.


4

Walking in Chicago during the heat wave.

Duncan says that in couple of days the steam from the lake will produce thunderstorms.

I wanted to smoke while sitting, but wasn’t sure if I can do it in the park. Obviously it is not prohibited yet, I saw very young people smoking. Actually I have noticed that the numbers of Chicago smokers are bigger than New York’s. And that was a relief.

The moment I sat in seneca playlot park, an old gloomy couples sat next to me. They just sat there without sharing a word. He was tall and thin, wearing old fashioned glasses, always holding to a thing in his hand. He was actually grabbing, and pressing. At some point his nails turned too white, and fingers too red.

She was sad, but more relaxed than him, wearing a yellow shorts and open sandals. She looked that kind of a person that would feed the pigeons- just like that old woman I saw in Chelsea smiling to whoever interrupts her conversations with the pigeons she was feeding.

But she was sad. And became miserable when he said: ‘let’s go’.

 At the opposite line of seats, there was a group of young people: about 6 guys and one girl.

They were wearing all black. Only the girl –whom her head was on the shoulder of one of the guys- had white sneakers.

They were just sitting there looking at different directions without a word. Only a teenager came by to break the silence, holding a cigarette and in the other hand a speaker produces Tupac’s ‘Only God Can Judge me’ in a very loud sound.

Looking back at the group, I realized that they are talking to each other.

At that point I took the I pod, but it wasn’t working.

It didn’t feel ok to sit there, so I moved to the far end, next to the bus stop, and smoked. But it didn’t feel ok either.

A carriage passed through carrying tourists smiling at everything. The driver was wearing a really old full of holes black trousers, and a torn white shirt with tuxedo tie and timberland boots.

A group of teenagers came by the bus stop wearing bath suites and towels. And when a family with children approached, I hid the cigarette behind the fence. The mother saw me holding something, and she immediately pushed a kid she was holding his hand to the other side while she kept looking at my hand.

And when two young men approached me I was done. I was ready to leave these tiny obsessions that emerged in less than 15 minutes and left me nervous.

They guys just wanted a cigarette, so I gave them two.

Guy 1: Wow man, thank you. We will pay for them.

Me: No problem.

Guy 1: No really, how about a dollar.

Me: It’s Ok guys, you have a good day.

Guy 1: Man I can’t recognize your accent, where are you from?

Me: Jordan

Guy 1: Jordan? Where is that?

Me: Middle East

Guy 1: Oh. You know? With this accent you can have a lot of girls. It is beautiful. All what you have to say is: Hey how are you doing’, and they will fall for you.

Me: Do you think so?

Guy 2: Come one, I swear he already has a lot of girls, he doesn’t want more girls.

Guy 1: Wow, cool t shirt man, what’s that?

Me: It’s in Arabic. Its means ‘don’t categorize me’

Guy 1: I want one, where can I find these?

Me: Well am sure you wont find it here, I got it from Egypt.

Guy 1: I will buy it from you, how about 20 dollars?

Me: Well I don’t think I can sell it.

Guy 1: Man, am gonna ask you something, but please don’t feel like it’s a weird thing to ask: can I have your mobile number so I can buy it from you?

Me: I don’t think so man, am not selling this.

Guy 2: Alright now lets go.

Guy 1: Alright, no problem. Thanks for the cigarettes man.

Guy 2: Have fun with the ladies bro.


Uncle’s Van from the Nephew’s point of view

Jul 2

ahmad-apexart

Day 30

Let’s pretend that I went to New York for a month. Let’s pretend that I was looking at a painting while scratching my ear. Let’s pretend that this was my ear, and the beautiful burnet girl who eats organic food tried pronouncing my name three times with no luck.

Let’s pretend that I have no name, and that I wear a mask while sleeping. And when I woke up once without it, I came out of my room, turned right to walk in an empty street.

Let’s stop pretending and admit being intimidated by a tall topless skin head guy walking his big fat slobbering dog.

And when I walked to the end of the street, I befriended three guys: S’all, Irvnig, and Ishmael which they got to choose their names when they were 16.

By the time I was walking down this street, they were discussing the names that they are going to choose.

It was already midnight, and the young men just turned 16.

Irving was the tallest, with brownish hair hovering over his huge skull. When I was approaching I thought that he was the most silent tall guy I have ever seen.

And he was.

It took me 5 minutes to get near them as they were talking under a broken lamp on the sidewalk. And Irving didn’t say a word. He was just hovering against the direction of the wind, while S’all and Ishmael engaged in a whispering dialogue, looking at Irving from time to time.

And by the time I was getting close to them it rained, the dog peed, tried to pronounce my name, a French Leo Ferre’s song, and a Ukrainian parabolic antenna which sends messages into space.

S’all wanted to name himself that. He says that it is a Louisiana expression means ‘That’s all’. And that Louis Armstrong used it to organize his reel recordings’ archive.

The chubby smiley guy told us that whenever there is a space left in the reel; Armstrong left the songs list bottom empty, so he knows he has work left to do.

And when the reel is done, he would write ‘S’all’ at the end.

And he wanted to name himself ‘S’all’.

Irving also wanted to be involved in the identities game, so he just said: ‘Irving: the town in Texas that was named over the historian Washington Irving’.

S’all and Ishmael worked immediately on their I phones looking for the name. But because it was the end of times, Wikipedia was already collapsed, and Louis Armstrong was a Serbian Trumpet player playing patriotic songs in Belgrade municipality’s band.

 Irving didn’t feel like talking. He was tall and thin with big fierce jaws and very small eyes.

I thought he was Asian, but he was just a regular silent American.

Ishmael said that what he could find is that Washington Irving started to write as he observed Hudson River surroundings when his family took him away out of Manhattan when he was 15.

 It was 1783, and yellow fever was spreading, and the British announced a ceasefire that ended the American Revolution.

Before the collapse of the internet, Ishmael googled many names. He wanted a small name that not everyone could pronounce correctly.

That’s why he arrogantly threw the facts for Irving and S’all, and bragged about choosing the perfect name.

Ishmael was arguing that he can’t even discuss the reality of his own existence, so how others could be found in him just for choosing their names.

‘That is why I will not be intimidated by the big names and what they relate to. I can’t really believe that this man who is walking toward us is a product of anyone else. He is a product of this moment: he is just walking toward us, and if you want to freeze this moment he will still be walking towards us but in slower motion, and if you want to remember him walking towards us, your brain can’t hold but to parts of seconds’.

Three years earlier, Ishmael was looking through the net for small names when he randomly ended up reading the cultural section of a Swiss newspaper in English.

And he began to read the article entitled: ‘Raed Ibrahim occupies Aarau’.

Raed Ibrahim, which Ishmael thought it is a cool name that not everyone could pronounce correctly, did occupy Aarau and called it ‘State of Ishmael’.

Ishmael was thrilled, and wanted to get rid of the historical backgrounds, but envying him for one thing: that he lived for 137 years.

But the three young men were dead before I reached them.

The dog peed again, it rained again, and all what I wanted is sky to stare at.