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Volume I

You have been reading, but now it's time to listen. Sleepless in Beirut brings to you the sounds of her delectable city.

Click on the link below to access the recording.

Track 1:
Night Expedition




I'm sleepless in Beirut.

Come fire. Come rain. Come thunder. Come puddles.

The crackle of TVs in a silent street.

The pitter patter on the window like fingers drumming on the door.

The heavy thuds of neighbours shake the walls and floor.

The dripping showerhead on the bathroom tiles, water spreads beyond the cracks.

Days sew themselves together, a patchwork quilt of this and that, and
only the sound of needle poking through the fabric announce a new day

New ways to amputate time's swifty flight? I don't have any, except
the wait: it weighs you down to sit and watch the floor that's always
still and firm.

See anticipation doesn't do the trick, it moves you. Anticipation.
Even the sound of the word is happening, it's like a gust of wind
dispersing leaves, reeds, hair, whatever.

Waiting. Like a yawn, an early morning pulling you unwilling out of
bed. An ocean of stretch and drag.

Like the "and" between push and pull, I stand victim to them both.
Waiting. Anticipating.

But mainly wanting. Craving for escape and change. The problems here
are not mine. But then again they are, and then again...I cannot
imagine solving them without a gun. Eight and fourteen bullets, fired
in all flying colours. Fire works?


Wouldn't that be a celebration!

My aim is good, no doubt. I doubt I'd do it though. So I choose to
leave and hope some other coward with a big idea turns brave.

Changes. We all want some big fucking changes.

But we wait, anticipate, the car arrives, 5,000 L.L. tip, the boy
delivers, IKEA opens up and next to it a depot of little exotic men to
do it for us.

Let's pray the airport road is fireproof when the shit hits the fan,
because escape is our number one export and we can't fail to deliver
this time round.


the in-between: minus eleven


We're sleepless in Beirut.

"We have no more government."

"3adi. Khaberni shi jdid."

"Yiii, shou sar?"

"11 ministers resigned."

"A7san. Shou badna fiyoun. Waja3 ras. Hala2 mninzal Torino nfesh khele2na."

"Ma ili jledi..."

"Yiiii, mama3e musi2a, shoo badi a3moul?!"

"People are going to die."

"Ba3ref. 3am bimzah."

"No way bokra inzal 3ala Beirut. Yiii, kif ma ili jledi hek osas!"

"L timing bit3a2ed, ma32oul ma mne2dir nsefir?"

"Aren't you French? Your bekhra will come to pick you up."

"Shou 7al balad..."

"Batalit balad."

"Fuck this shit."





"When do you want to meet?"


"I can't Friday. Saturday."

"Tayyeb. Saturday it is."

"Drinks on me."




I'm sleepless in Beirut.

"One vodka cranberry please," I told the bartender with the long hair.

Those were the days when I could still down up to three glasses of vodka-something and still stand on something-inches heels. Those were the days when I went out every weekend to some dimly lit nook and tolerated the relentless banging on my ear drums. Those were the days when Behind the Green Door was still avant-garde and it was the it and the the and not yet Bee-ainde

By the third glass, I was that little bit more cooperative and that little bit behind the words that took a walk on the wild side of my mouth. Those words can take you places and that night they did.

Judging from the little peppering of white in his hair and stubble, he was the boy who grew up on shaking foundations and saw the world through quivering window panes. But I failed to see the boy that instant our eyes met, right then I saw an older man, a something I was always tempted to swivel in my glass and I kept him in mind while I scanned the room for something more promising. You see, he happened to be an inch shorter than me and I happened to be that mean roller-coaster attendant who stood outside the gate with a large ruler and wouldn't let you in for a ride.

But by now I was cooperating with the pheromones and the hormones and the moans of a single ready to mingle residing on my wrong shoulder. So I let the eye contact linger for longer, until his eyes were at the level of my nose and we spoke.

About this.

And that.

About me being a kid (Funny men, the elders. Stating the obvious, never failing to caricature, like that gap in Madonna's teeth, 3 inches wider, the gap between our dates of birth, pulled apart further to satisfy unconscious inklings of pedophilia.)

About how tall I was.

Or about how short you are, I thought. Enough restraint in me for this one. Lucky him spared by the grace of tongue muscles.

About how I was cold.

He took my hand with the silly hope of warming up and melting down my defense. They were small, but I cooperated. Not small, just like mine. Bizarre fit, shortcoming. 

I didn't mind his hand, our thumbs were playing a blind men's game of head-butt. He sat down next to me, because I had to pretend I was tired to avoid the dance. 

He had had his share of alcohol because his face seemed capable of expressions one would normally keep for self-entertainment in front of a bathroom mirror. He tried to be cute and he reminded me of Puss in Boots holding his hat to his chest and looking up at Shrek in that digital animation masterpiece of heart-piercing cuteness. I was serious and he was childish and soon enough he started breaking me up in a thousand little giggles. A rare find this charming little man amongst men so little they can't laugh at themselves between cigar puffs. Comic relief in a place named after exploding sexual tension, perfect fit, forthcoming.

About what we do in life.

About how cool it sounds.

About music.

"Wow, respect.", he said in veneration. 

I must be scoring points on his checklist of things-a-girl-ought-to-know. 

Allow me to illustrate with this little quote from 500 days of Summer (nice lines, crappy movie):

Just because she likes the same bizzaro crap you do doesn't mean she's your soul mate.

But it seems this little truth always slips our mind when we think "Ah, so he/she is one of me! We're so alike." And it's only some dude who died a long time ago, always blue and singing about it. A fluke in logic, deceptive compatibility. You see and hear what you want to. And we both wanted something affirmative, something like a yes for a change, sick of no's splattered all over this city.

No smoking. No parking. No take picture here. No citizenship. No make civil marriage. No you go do it without telling God you want it.


We clambered into his car, Belle and I, and he dropped us off to mine. 

"Could I maybe have your number?"


It feels good to accept, to give in, to stop fighting, to nod, to give, to write down a number, to receive a message, to answer a call, to accept a dinner date.

You give to get. Move over fat NO, cooperate a little.