I Am Not the Devil but I Bring Hell

THE BOY’S THE PRAYER

1.

The smile his chapped lips tried to keep
Was not supposed to last so long…
For years and years, he swallowed tears
Until one night, he said: “No more.”

2.

“In heaven you are born
Maker of the underworld
In hell you burn
In hell’s your throne

The god of fire
Bringer of light
Black is your color
You king of the night!

I’m calling you, now
So answer my prayers
Because the Good One
He never listens.

3.

Justice walks with the devil!”

***

MEPHISTO’S MONOLOGUE

1.

“Last time I walked this earth, things were different.
Now, the news spreads quickly and that might work against me.
Yet again, I never walked as a man;
That’s why I’m tempted.

You summon me now and ask for my help.
You offer me not just your soul but your body as well.
Vengeance, I suppose. I assume you want revenge,
Yearning for a thousand souls to burn with you in hell…

You must love me, boy
Or you must hate them all
To bless me with this gift
And curse them and yourself, forevermore.”

2.

“The world is not beautiful, nor is the universe, nor is man.
Imperfection is everywhere – it permeates; man!
Everything is flawed, lacking, pretty darn defective.
But the Good Almighty King saw that it was good!

Tell me, son,
What’s so satisfying about this blue tomato?
And what of the big black mysterious balloon?
And the naked monkey who claims to be wise?

There was work to be done on the seventh day,
Believe me,
But what a procrastinator is your creator!
For instead he went to rest;
Tell me, how can he be the best?

Most of the good things are man-made.

3.

“But!” They say, those of faith, blindly
The Great One knows, unquestionably
Surely, He must have a plan!
It’s a sin to think that He made a mistake.
Wait! No!
I’ll tell you what sin is, priest!
I say…
Man!

Man is God’s sin.

4.

“Tell me,
Why should you be laughed at and kicked around?
And some pity you. “Poor you!” they say.
Say, when’s the last time they’ve offered you help?
Boy, like a dog, they shooed you away.

I’m glad, however, that you’re now aware
To make them suffer is only fair.
I am, boy, the one who cares
Maybe evil but your only friend –

Oh, I tell you, my boy
This is going to be fun.
Just wait and see…

6.

Justice walks with the devil!
So, what have we got to settle?”

***

SOMETHING EVIL IS ON ITS WAY

1.

It was just another night on Hamra Street,
But things were about to change, alright!
Death! Hell! Fire and flames!
The Devil wants to play a game.

Boys and girls were at the bars
Successful men sucking cigars
What a life! Look at those stars!
Fun, eh? And classy cars.

“So, come inside; and drink and dance!”
“Live your life, man. This is your chance.”
“I’m so glad to be here with all my friends.”
“I wish this fine night never ends.”

2.

There was a stench now on Hamra Street
The smell of sulfur and of something sweet
Death! Hell! Fire and flames!
The Devil wants to play a game.

The ground shook, the music stopped
and the lights were out…
There was silence, and now it was dark
Something cold and wicked laughed.

The sinister cackle echoed in the street;
Evil in the atmosphere…

Hell! Death!

Justice walks with

Fire.

3.

Meanwhile, (screeching sounds)
Silver-black rats from hell
With red, hellish eyes
Were digging their way up
To feast on –

 ***

RETRIBUTION

1.

Fire! Fire!
The world’s on fire!

2.

The street, now, was swarming with rats and fiends;
Beasts and demons and other gruesome creatures.
People squealing! Begging! Crying for mercy!
Screams filled the air.

“No! Please! No!”

“My eyes! My eyes!”

“Oh, God!”

“Don’t kill me, please-don’t-kill-me!”

And the poor boy who wanted revenge,
Now possessed by the devil,
Was laughing,
And his cold and wicked laughter echoed.

3.

Robert who had once laughed at a boy
A poor boy selling roses,
Ran until he tripped and fell.
A hairless, pig-faced, apelike creature (spider legs for fingers)
Came snorting, sniggering
Plucked Robert’s eyeballs out
And heartily chewed on them…

4.

Sarah who had once pitied a boy
A poor boy selling roses,
Was tangled up, caught in a spider web.
Something bit her between her thighs
And ate its way inside her.
Screams of pain, but more rats came
And ate her from the inside.

5.

“I am not the devil,”
The boy said to the good man,
“But I bring hell.”

 ***

EPILOGUE

Morning came and the boy woke up
As if from a vivid dream.
He found himself in nature,
In his mother’s womb,
Next to the river, Nahr Ibrahim
A boar killed the god of love and beauty here…

Blood in the river!

The boy was thirsty.

He drank from the river and the river was dry.


I drafted this poem in 2011-2012. I revisited it in 2015 and that is the version found above. “I Am Not the Devil but I Bring Hell” was also published on my older blogs.

Amorphous

I’m pretty sure that I’ve shared “Amorphous” somewhere before, but I can’t remember where. I have a vague memory of me reading it to an audience. Maybe in 2013? 2014? I can’t say. It was also posted online, probably on one of my long-gone personal blogs.

I found “Amorphous” when I was going through some stuff, so I thought it would be nice if I had it here too. After all, I don’t plan on expanding it or editing it, and I don’t plan on throwing it away.

So here it is:

Chris Khatschadourian

Amorphous

   The despondent man has left the kitchen and retreated to his room about an hour ago, leaving you where you stand now, on your own. You stand there, motionless, unaware of your own existence, in absurdity, and an hour has to pass before anything else happens. This hour is a thousand years, yet it does pass.

You breathe. 

    Now, you hear him squeal like a dying pig, but you’re not surprised; you remain unmoved, emotionally indifferent. You already know why he’s crying because you’ve spent the whole afternoon with him, while you were still a virgin, as he talked about his depression and his suppressed, sexual desires and you listened. You are no longer a virgin, but – you altruist you! –you couldn’t care less because for a moment you made him happy.

He cries.

You are not what he truly desired.

You made things worse.

What is the meaning of death?

    Some twenty or so minutes later (how many years?) the crying finally ceases. There is a moment of disquieting silence – you, in the kitchen; him, in his bedroom. After that, there is the predicted gunshot; you’ve seen it coming, haven’t you? You hear him fall to the ground, and there is something else that falls with him because you hear the sound of shattering glass. Was it the bedroom mirror? If not, what else is there that is made of glass in his old-fashioned bedroom?

Echoes of a Gunshot
And Breaking Glass
Oh, What a Blast!

That is the end of him.

But you are not going to see him dead.

    You stay where you are, motionless, unable to move, in the kitchen, still absurdly still, Waiting for Godot, and another hour – has to pass – passes. This hour lasts for eternity. No, it has nothing to do with Einstein or his Theory of Relativity or anything of that sort, but those sixty damnable minutes, those three thousand and six hundred seconds – each second an eternity itself – was… really was… you’d swear – if you had a mother – on your mother’s grave that it was… hell!

But finally, it is midnight.

    You start to think as if for the first time. So far, you’ve been merely trying to perceive your environment and what was happening to you, receiving information through your newly acquired senses, without much understanding. Now, you become inquisitive and therefore you start to speculate. There’s been death. Has there been rape? Nothing is clear. Who are you? Why is everything so abstract and absurd?

Mr. Antoine Roquentin,
Jazz gives me the Nausea.

    There’s been magic, one would say, as you start to utter sounds – not words yet, just random sounds, but soon you’ll be able to speak. You need teeth, a tongue (of course!), and, most of all, you need lips.

A flute is being played in chromatic scale.
Don’t talk Jazz to me, Mr. Wood-Pipe!
(Glass-Pipe?)

Think.
Think some more.
Think like a scientist. Think like a philosopher. Quack like a fox.
Run like a duck, for all I care. But think.

“I think, therefore I am.” Descartes the Charlatan, the fake philosopher, misleadingly alleged.

“No!” yelled the ingenuous Roquentin, answering back, delivering the truth. “I do not think therefore I am a mustache!”

 You start to wonder, and you wonder about that sound, the sound of breaking glass. You are jealous of it. What was it? The bedroom mirror? You don’t know, but you’re curious enough that you want to know, you really want to know, but first, you have to know yourself. So, if you sound like the shepherd’s flute but you’re not a flute, and if you’re jealous of the sound of something being shattered, what can you be? What are you, Sophia?

    You are an empty bottle of wine standing meekly under the kitchen table, and I just gave you life.

    You wait. You wait for nothing. You wait for what exactly? You wait until forever ends. At last, two eternities later, you decide that it’s time for you to go. You wish you can move from one place to another and I grant you that wish. All of a sudden, you grow hands and feet of flexible glass and for the first time in your life, you experience idyllic emotions. You start walking clumsily, like a toddler, out of the kitchen, into the hallway, towards the exit door. Freedom awaits you; heaven is on the other side. You are almost there.

    But wait! Stop! Do not open the door. You will not go out. Please, dear bottle, my child, my creation, stop! Your story ends here.

Is there free will?

   You don’t comply with the orders I give, and hence you keep going. You should have listened. Did you forget that I gave you life?  Consequently, you trip and fall. You break and shatter as soon as you hit the ground. That is the end of you.

    Only a sip of what was inside you still lurks in the despondent man’s glass, on the kitchen table. I am apt to drink it. For I am Godot!  So I write that I close my eyes since all this is in my head, but I don’t actually close my eyes. I write that I find my way into the kitchen, pick up the glass, make a toast to who-knows-what, and take the final, remaining sip. That is all I need: a sip of imaginary, red wine.  

It is the blood of the sacrifice.

Chevaliers de la table ronde,
Goûtons voir si le vin est bon;
Goûtons voir, oui, oui, oui,
Goûtons voir, non, non, non,
Goûtons voir si le vin est bon.

That’s what I call a ‘French Toast’.

The room is spinning.
But I’m not drunk, I swear.
It was only a sip.
It was the blood of the sacrifice.
The room is spinning.
Planet Earth is rotating around itself.
Around me.
The sun rises from the east and sets in the west.
Around me.
I am the center of the universe.
The room is spinning.
I remember things that never actually happened.

  Sarah was never my girlfriend, and we did not make love on her sister’s bed. I have never seen her naked. She never told me that she loved me. I wasn’t the one who taught her how to drive. There was no car accident. She never died. And no, we never held hands.

The spinning is room.
Yes, is the spin rooming!
Where is Godot?
I’ve been waiting and waiting forever. Godot is late.
No, Godot is dead, because the bedroom mirror is shattered.

I was asked the following question by a morphologist who owned a candy shop:

“If I can make you tick and talk, does that make you a human clock?”

And my answer to his question was another question.

“Do you know a good place where they sell quality time?”

Then a kid walked in, browsing, sniffing sweets:

“Sir,” he says to me, shooting the third question in the atmosphere, “haven’t you had enough wine already?”

Now, that was it. I was perplexed. How did he know? Where did he come from?

I suddenly realized that something somewhere had gone wrong.
Seriously speaking…
Literally, I found myself in the words I wrote.
So, now that I was aware of it, I spoke in sad poetry:

“I don’t expect the mass to read,
But if they do,
I know that only few
Will understand.”

But to tell you the truth, I don’t know what I meant by that.

A Stroll in Geitawi

Taking a stroll in Geitawi — July 8, 2020

Whatever isn’t supposed to happen
happens
here.

Darkness is heavy.
Darkness is so heavy.

My footsteps are louder than the night.
My future is as dark as
tonight.

The moon keeps hiding behind
thick clouds. It isn’t
romantic.
It’s just the silver eye of a cowardly god
peeping in.

Beirut can’t afford a good night.
Beirut can’t afford light.

My footsteps are louder than the night.
I can’t hear
my brothers and sisters crying.