Dear Friend

by. Wael Al-Sayegh

Dear friend, it's been a while. 

Way too long... or has it?

Tell me of how things are? 

Now let's leave out the decorations

and get down to the root of things, shall we?

Leave out the successes, 

trophies and medals, 

degrees and PhD's.

Let's put our children aside and please, 

let's not mention the weather or the traffic.

So tell me, how are things? 

Tell me about what’s rudely waking you up 

in the middle of the night,

tossing and turning you in a corner

of bodily fluids, 

and having you count sheep 

to hasten the arrival of dawn.

Tell me about what is making you feel 

utterly alone during the day 

when you are surrounded by a crowd

of cries and laughter.

Tell me when was the last time 

you got laughed at, ridiculed and attacked

for walking a path no one else can see but you.

Tell me about the time 

you threw off your Egal, 

rolled up your well-pressed and immaculate Kandora sleeves 

and stained it with someone else’s blood.

Tell me about the time

you pulled off your Hijab, in public, 

and skillfully wrapped it

around someone's neck... and tightly squeezed.

I want to know the name, 

or at least the first letter of their name, 

of the person whose eyes and smirk drive you mad!

Shatters your well-constructed, dignified world 

into an abundance of dainty pieces,

dropping your ego to its knees, 

crying with its head between its hands, 

as it gives up the feeble attempt to put itself back whole.

Tell me about that person, 

who said or did something so profound, 

so hurtful to you when you were a kid

that until today, with your silver beard, 

is still a gaping tender wound.

Tell me about your pain, 

suffering, anxiety, loathsome,

salvation, agony, lonesome...

tell me about anything,

anything, anything, anything, 

that makes me feel, even for a second, 

that I am not alone.

I wager, on anything, that in this very room,

underneath all of this organized, polished, formal stage,

is an ocean of suppressed and unexplored 

God-given human desires and emotions.

Underneath your fabricated self, 

is the real you. 

The you who doesn’t hesitate, 

isn’t confused and,

is 100% unapologetic.

So I ask you, again,

how are things?