الثلاثاء، 19 نوفمبر، 2013

مدينة تخص المرء وحده


مدينة تخص المرء وحده

ترجمة شادي الحسيني

كيرياليسون ... كيرياليسون ... كيرياليسون

صوت الفرملة و صرير القطر و هو بيبطأ غطِت على نداء الراجل. ما ركِبش. المحطة في قلب المدينة ما بتهداش و فيها تبادل ما بيخلصش للركاب اللي بيطلعوا و بينزلوا في النور النيون البارد.
رجع ينادي تاني: كيرياليسون
ما تحركتِش من مكاني. فاتني القطر و أنا باتفرج على الراجل اللي كأنه موجود هنا بس عشاني. ما حدش تاني حيفهم. بالنسبة لهم ده مجرد واحد من اللي جننتهم المدينة.

الجيزة، 1999

ضوء خافت متسلل ما بين فروع الشجر و صابب من الشباك منورلي و أنا باوضب صور جدتي، صور لوشوش بقت مألوفة. كُلها وشوش تعبانة و مُبتسمة، وشوش شايلة حاجة أتقل من اللي ملامحها تقدر تشيله. نقدر نسميهم "وشوش مصرية أصيلة". حتى الأطفال، كأن السنين إللي قدامهم و تجاعيدهم متحددة على وشوشهم.
صور جدتي كانت مفرجاني على القاهرة اللي عمري ما كنت حاعرفها لوحدي: القاهرة اللي لسا لحد دلوقتي ما وصلتش لأطرافها. إتصاحبت على وشوش دهشور و المنصورية و كرداسة و جزيرة الدهب و المنيل و الدقي و الجيزة و مصر القديمة.

وشوش أصدقاء جدتي و وشوش قرايبي و وشي، و الأماكن اللي كنا بنقعد فيها ناكل "إكلير" و هي تشرب قهوتها، كلها ما وصلتش لكومة الصور اللي محطوطة على الترابيزة و مستنية الأحفاد يجوا يوضبوها و يظبوتها في مكانها: شغلانة للعيال في الصيف.

جامعة القاهرة، 2010

"آداب أخرى بالإنجليزية": مناقشة حوالين "بيرة في نادي البيلياردو" لوجيه غالي. بطل رواية غالي، "رام"، و هو قبطي من الطبقة الراقية مفلس و عايش في مصر ما بعد 52، شايف إنه المصري الحقيقي مش بس الفلاح ولا اللي بيركب الترام. المصري الحقيقي هو اللي دمه خفيف.
"رام" جواه طول الرواية إحتياج شديد لإقتناء القاهرة، عايز يبقى له نصيب في ميراثها، زيه زي بياع الخيار. خفة الدم هي الدليل الوحيد اللي عنده على إنتمائه للمدينة.
ما بلاقيش الوش اللي متخيلاه ل"رام" لا في صور جدتي و لا في صور تانية معروضة جنبها للبيع.

محطة التحرير، 2011

الراجل زعق و قال: كيرياليسون. إفتكرت "رام" و أن الحاجة الوحيدة اللي قالها بالقبطي في الرواية هي كيرياليسون.

لو كان الراجل ده موجود و بيدعي لما كانوا بيقبضوا على الناس و بيخرجوهم من القطر عشان شكلهم مش متعلمين و عشان لبسهم مش مُتفق مع المعاير الإجتماعية للشرطة و الجيش ، يمكن كان دُعاه أنقذهم.

"يا رب إرحم. كيرياليسون. يا رب إرحم."

مع إنني عارفة إنه لو كان موجود ماحدش كان فهم حاجة. اللي قبطي أو اللي قرا وجيه غالي بس هو اللي كان هيفهم. كانت رحمة ربنا حتعدي على اللي تحت الأرض و كانت حتتجاهل كُل اللي وشوشهم أهلكتها شوارع القاهرة.

"لا إله إلا الله ... لا إله إلا الإله ... لا إله، لا إله."*

ماتقدرش تمتلك القاهرة. دي مدينة تستسلمها بدل ما تحاول تمتلكها. في أخر الليل أو الصبح بدري: هي مش بتاعتك.

حتى لو إمتلكتها للحظة ماحدش حيكون موجود يشوفها و هي بتستسلم لك.

القاهرة بترفض يكون لها ورثة، بس لما بتحتاج لوش، لما بتيجي تتصور، أول ناس بتتصور هم الناس اللي قسوتها كحتت جلدهم.

الراجل اللي قاعد على القهوة، بياع الجرايد، مساح الجزم، الولاد و البنات اللي لافين يبيعوا ورد و مناديل، البنت اللي عينيها هم أول ذكرياتي للخضار، شايلة كرنبة فوق دماغها: وشوش القاهرة. القاهرة بتتشاف، على مضض، من خلالهم. و مع ذلك هي مش بتاعتهم.
أنا و "رام" ما عندناش الملامح المناسبة.

القاهرة، 2012

الشوارع – للحظة –  بقت بتاعته. وشه الصبياني مرسوم بالإستنسل على قماشة بيضا كبيرة ماسكينها عشرة تانين و بترفرف في السما فوقه. القاهرة إستسلمت. سابت له نفسها النهارده و سابت له شوارعها و ناسها.
هتاف الناس ما فيهوش أي شيء يدل على خفة دم و مع ذلك مافيش مجال للشك: دول مصريين. دول سكان المدينة.

لا إله إلا الله

النعش عدى. و مع إنه مش جواه، القاهرة النهارده سابت له شوارعها.

بعد 16 سنة من اللعب في شوارعها, القاهرة اليوم بقت بتاعت "جيكا".

لا إله إلا الله. الشهيد حبيب الله.

و للحظة – لحظة الحداد العابرة – "جيكا" النهاردة  حبيب القاهرة.

26 نوفمبر 2012


* غالي, وجيه. "بيرة في نادي البلياردو". نيو أمستردام بوكس, الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية, 1999.

كُتب هذا النص لمشروع "كايروبوليس" ل يان بيكا و هو مشروع نصوص و صور عن القاهرة نشر في بلجيكا في 2013. 


A City of One's Own

A City of One’s Own

Kyria Lysoon… Kyria Lysoon…Kyria Lysoon

The man’s chanting is drowned by the pulling of the brakes and the screech of the train slowing down on its tracks. He does not get on. The station at the heart of the city is never empty; there is a never ending exchange of travelers getting on and off under the cold florescent light.

Kyria Lysoon, he chants again.

I do not move. I miss the train as I look at this man who seemed to have been there just for me. No one else would understand. For them, he is just another man driven mad by his city.

Giza, 1999

By the dim light peeking through the tree branches and pouring through the window, I am arranging my grandmother’s photographs of faces which have become so familiar to me. The faces are all worn out, smiling; carrying something heavier than their features could carry. They could be called ‘authentic Egyptian faces.’ Even the children seem to have their years and wrinkles outlined for them.

My grandmother’s photography was a window to a Cairo I would never have known on my own: a Cairo whose edges I have not reached till now. The faces of Dahshur, Mansuriya, Kerdasa, Gold Island, Manyal, Dokki, Giza, Old Cairo became my friends.

The faces of my grandmother’s friends, of my cousins and me, of the places where we sat and ate éclairs as she drank her coffee, never made it to the pile of photographs stacked on the table waiting for her grandchildren to arrange them and place them correctly: a summer job for the little ones.

Cairo University, 2010

Other Literatures in English: Waguih Ghali’s Beer in the Snooker Club is being discussed. Ram, Ghali’s protagonist, an elite Copt who has no money, living in Egypt post ’52, argues that the true Egyptian is not just the fellah, or the man who rides the tram. A true Egyptian is one who has a sense of humor.

Throughout the novel, there is in Ram a desperate need to claim Cairo for himself, to have a share in her heirloom, right next to the cucumber seller. Humor is his only proof of belonging.

In my grandmother’s photographs and in others sold next to hers, Ram’s face as I imagine it does not appear.

Tahrir Station, 2011

Kyria Lysoon, the man cried. I remember Ram and how Kyria Lysoon was the only thing he said in Coptic.

If only the man had been there, praying, when people were being arrested, pulled off of trains for looking uneducated, for being dressed in a way that does not agree with Police and Military social standards. They might’ve been saved by this man’s plea.

“God have mercy. Kyria Lysoon. Ya Rab Ir’ham.”

And yet I know that had he been there, no one would’ve understood. Unless they were Copts or read Ghali, they wouldn’t understand. God’s mercy would’ve passed those under the ground. It would’ve over looked those whose faces have been worn out by the streets of Cairo.

“There is…no God but God… No God but a God… No God, No God.”*

You can never have Cairo to yourself. You surrender to the city instead of trying to make her your own. In the late hours of the night, in the early hours of the morning, she is not yours.

Even if you have her for a moment, there will be no one there to see her giving in to you.

She refuses heirs. And yet when Cairo needs a face, when she is to be photographed, those whose skin has been rubbed raw by her cruelty are first to pose.

The man sitting on the coffee shop, the paper seller, the shoe shiner, the boys and girls selling flowers and packets of tissue paper, the girl whose eyes are my first memory of vegetables, carrying a cabbage on her head: Cairo’s faces. Reluctantly, Cairo is seen through them. Yet she is not theirs.

Ram and I do not have the right features.

Cairo, 2012

For a moment the streets are his. His boyish face, stenciled onto a white sheet, huge, held by ten others, cradles the sky above him. Cairo has surrendered. To him, today she has let go and given him her streets and her people.
There is no humor coming from the people’s chants and yet there is no mistake. These are Egyptians. They inhabit her city.

There is no God but God

A coffin passes. And even though he is not in it, Cairo has given her streets to him today.

After 16 years of running around her corners, Cairo is Gika’s today.

There is no God but God. The Shaheed is His beloved.

For a moment, for that fleeting moment of mourning, Gika is Cairo’s beloved today.

November 26th, 2012



*Ghali, Waghuih. Beer in the Snooker Club. New Amsterdam Books, USA: 1999

"A City of One's Own" was written for and published in Dutch translation in Cairopolis: a project by Jan Beke. It was published in Beljium in 2013 by SNOECK publications.

About Cairopolis the book
http://www.alartemag.be/en/en-art/cairopolis-cairo-through-four-different-lenses/

الجمعة، 30 أغسطس، 2013

372


Would they find her if they start digging, little brown Sugar?

She was so small before she died. Before laying her in the earth, I felt her furred body longer. More stiff. It's not longer Sukar, mommie said. The little one is no longer there.

An early morning phone call.

Assurance that Auntie Mona will be up. We're both early risers.

I know it will be a matter of 5 minutes till I reach the garden.


In the middle of everything happening inside me, I am slowly accepting that I no longer have a claim to that place.

Those who I belong with are moving elsewhere.

The thought of having to start a new relationship with another building is exhausting. I don't know how easy it will be for me and the new walls to be able to listen to each other.

Sukar is on my mind since last night. I keep thinking that when I left her there, I left her knowing that she will always be near.

That little brown thing that lived inside my pullovers and sweatshirts.

Now this image of the crack in the cement which marks where she lies will become only a memory like the memory of that day in the garden, digging, and waiting. Sitto watching from her room, wondering why I was there so early.

Things have changed so much since then.

I no longer have cats.

I have seen and known other losses through early morning phone calls. Losses that make this loss more bearable. Losses that seem more assured as today begins.

It's silly saying goodbye to a house when what's inside the house is what matters to you, and they are somewhere else, beginning again.

There was always a drop in the pit of my abdomen as I went down the slope to the garage.
Next time a taxi driver asks me whether to turn right here, I will not feel or think the same things. The sensation of the drop will not come to me as I explain that this is a garage.

It's a slope to the magical land of cookies and chicken pie and girl nights, and family rooms.
It's a drop of excitement at seeing the newest addition to the family almost 7 years ago.

It's also the numbness in your gut one morning in July.

If only we could've dropped that day from the calendar, just like that, with a flick of a wand, would I be writing this now?

Beginnings are beautiful.

So is your new wallpaper.

We shouldn't put the posters up I think because it's still so new and nice.

I will miss seeing you through the trees, knowing you are right there around the corner.

But I won't think of that today.


I'll think of a one-sided smile as I climb the slope back to the real world, knowing there's still a whole bunch of other climbs.

الأربعاء، 16 يناير، 2013

January Suns



A Step Closer to God

March

If you ask, you will never lose the way.

I take after my mother in this, the constant questioning about one's whereabouts in the different cities – even in one's own.
We moved calmly, enjoying the warmth that had finally come. The sun made the city glare back.
It's one thing to ask about a place you know and a completely different thing to ask about a place to which you have no name.
We asked and laughed and followed other tourists.

That climb.
1000 steps.
The slopes. The steps. Slopes. Steps.

We'd take breaks, Sherin and I and take a picture, or just laugh.

As we rose above the city, we could see it better. From all around as we rose in that spiral of steps and stones and slopes amongst the green. The turquoise squares, rectangles and circles which turned out to be swimming pools on roof tops.  
Right before that last part, with all the steps, we stopped. With this woman whose bed I have shared my bed when my heart was broken, who has shared with me cities in the way she knows how to. We felt so blessed. We stopped and Athens was all under us, reflecting back the sunlight with her white walls and blue shutters.

If I were a city, I would be white washed with blue shutters.

Months later, we would be in another city and in the heart of a church and another moment like this would happen, one of gratitude.
The last steps, some more, some more steps. The tiny church. The sun. Athens at our feet and the Acropolis in the horizon if you look straight ahead.

We were on the tiny white church which we had seen from the Acropolis four days earlier.


 Backstage

April

I forgot everything. That he wasn't there, that I was a tad uncomfortable, that the pants were tight, that my hair was straightened. The sounds of the audience. I was not me. I was her. I was the younger Laurie. This woman whom I struggled to understand, to know to become – she had stepped in. She was enjoying the music, the excitement. Her whole life was ahead of me. It was so clear and this body wasn't even mine.

Through the thick curtains, some light came into this small corridor. This corridor was my path to the stage. It was here that I started to become who I am now.

Lasheen came. He was tense but excited. I've never seen anyone be so dedicated, so looking forward to act. His whole heart was in it.

Daddie

Lasheen was the father I never had. He played the role of the parent whom I couldn't ever know. He filled the shoes of the other father whom I had lost months earlier – suddenly.

Daddie

We danced. Not like we dance on stage. No. We danced closer to each other – cheek to cheek like Frankie would sing – to Moonglow.
He twirled me. I laughed. I no longer knew who I was. Laurie. Zainab. Is he Daddie or Lasheen; the beautiful boy who smiled like an unexpected rainbow in the sun.

He twirled me one last time and let me go.

I walked to the curtain. Me, Laurie Jameson, listening to Mada playing just for me. An old lover perhaps, at a friend's house in 69.

Mada played a song for me.

   
Nine Months Later

September

The ninth month of such a long, long year. It felt like a long tiresome pregnancy.
It was a month spread between cities, between borders.

Basel

The small Swiss town where people speak German. The final attempt at knowing that I was not making a wrong choice.
His face, his laugh, his serenity.
His back to me at the door as I called to him. His surprise at my return.

Berlin

I didn't go to Berlin after Basel. I came back to Cairo and ate ashtoutaah with him on Habi's roof.
Berlin was downtown, Simonds, a walnut tart and strawberry juice, his brand new elephant and another long walk.

Amman

He turned 26 there. As he played his piano and his new blue melodica and sat in his underwear on stage, waiting to begin.

He was born on the 16th. Like my favorite poet.

Cairo

He must've swept her off her feet for her not to notice, Mariz said.
His celebration on the 23rd. The surprise. The night was full of surprises.
I was uncertain of my presence there. But then, that smile, that smile that makes me hold my breath in surprise, I saw it then.

That smile. Shadi's little, big smile.

Then, after that, the last day of the month. The hug on Sahar's lap, Sonia's ribbon, Dolly's eyes and Amy's laugh. Seham, Samar, Mariz, Mariam, Ruth, Zingy, Reem, Moghazy, Moudy, Marwan and Amin, Gasser.

Shadi.

Shadi and his smile.

January 2013