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This Ain’t Livin’

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I.
They all live for cigarette breaks
and half hour lunches
where the sound of change
clinging
and empty bags
rustling
fill the spaces
between sighs
and hopeless musings
about cars they’ll never buy
and places they can’t go
while they check the time
and hold their breath
this ain’t livin’, God. This ain’t livin’

II.
Parents with full-time jobs
they take up for their kids
who they never get to see
because they’re chasing clocks
and coming home
with pockets full of overtime
and broken backs and dreams
coming home to sleeping lovers
who forgot the taste
of good morning and goodnight
staring at bills plastered
on an empty fridge
they know they can’t fill this week
this ain’t livin’, God. This ain’t livin’

III.
They try ignoring the old man
under the construction tent
with the broken smile
whose greetings are all laced with honey
his hand is never outstretched and he never holds a sign
but they know enough to feel a sense of shame
crawling up and down their skin
so they hide away behind fake phone calls
just until he’s out of view
so they can go back to work
where they’re a pay check away
from living under construction tents
watching strangers make phone calls
this ain’t livin’, God. This ain’t livin’

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Empire Files

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As many of you already know, I’m in New York for a year, working as researcher on The Empire Files. The show covers themes involving empire, war/imperialism, and inequality. If you haven’t been watching it on TeleSUR you can still find it on Youtube. We have tremendously powerful episodes coming out every week, so be sure to tune in!

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The Traveller

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I’m waiting
in a seat across the road
somewhere far away
legs swaying
and fingers dancing through my hair
watching the world happen
as though I’ve opened a book midway –
reading the story of people madly dislocated from one another
roaming in search of something
that will make them feel
anything

They carry storms
that they hide away in the linings of their pockets
and they’ve gotten used to flowers that never bloom
because they’ve taken all the rain
to feed their loneliness
while they bend and fold their hands and bodies
like vines that can’t escape the process of braiding
for fear that they may stop climbing

They touch with lips that say nothing
while building dreams
out of wax and anxiousness
molded into castles that kiss the heavens
and when sunrise comes
it all unravels
and still
they’ll try to sew their world back together
with thread made of longing
running them like veins
across their hearts
and still
they’ll try
like Icarus –
even if they drown
at least they’ll drown together.

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Ramadan and Recipes

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It’s been about two weeks since the start of Ramadan, which means (at least for me) that time has flown by at an even greater pace than first expected. I only came to realize how far I was into the month after iftar* yesterday. So, I apologize for not updating as promised!

A (major) side note – not only am I redesigning the website, I am opening up a site store. In the coming weeks there will be more items listed and you will be able to purchase them via PayPal or credit card.

To make up for the lack of posts I’m publishing recipes below for m’tabbal (baba ghanouj) and fattoush:

M?tabbal ?(Baba Ghanouj)?
What you?ll need:
3 to 5 medium eggplants
5 tablespoons Tahini paste
Juice from 1 freshly squeezed lemon
3 garlic cloves (crushed)
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Method:
1. Roast the eggplants in the oven on medium heat (or barbecue them for 30 minutes)
2. While eggplants are still *reasonably hot, peel them and discard as much of their seeds as
possible
3. Place the eggplants in a colander and strain the water (this usually take 5 to 10 minutes).
Make sure to strain them well.
4. Place the eggplants and all ingredients in a food processor and let run for 2 to 3 minutes until
they combine to form a paste.
5. Serve alongside Lebanese bread with some olive oil for garnish after it cools. You can
reserve the remaining m?tabbal in a sealed container in the fridge.

* this dish is usually served as an appetizer alongside hummus, pickled beets and chilies.

Fattoush salad

What you?ll need:
2 lbs of tomatoes
1 lbs of cucumbers (preferably small Lebanese cucumbers, but english cucumbers will work fine)
1 bunch of green onions
1 bunch of green mint
1 bunch of Italian parsley
? bunch of radishes
? head of a romaine lettuce
1 large green bell pepper
2?3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of sumac (spice)
? cup of pomegranate molasses
? cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
5 Lebanese pita bread loafs
? cup of olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)

Method:
1. Rinse all veggies thoroughly with cold water
2. Separate the pita bread sheets from one another, sprinkle a bit of sumac and olive oil on
them (or leave out the sumac and just sprinkle over some salt after the olive oil), cut them into 1×1 inch squares, and toast them in the oven until they are light brown (at
high heat)
3. Chop the tomatoes into small chunks
4. Chop the cucumbers into small pieces
5. Chop onions into small pieces
6. Remove the green mint and italian parsley stems, and chop leaves until they are medium?fine
7. Chop the radishes into thin disks
8. Chop the bell pepper into small pieces
9. Chop the lettuce into bite-?size pieces (not too small, not too big)
10. Crush the garlic with a dash of salt and leave aside
11. Mix the salad together before serving so the bread stays crunchy: Place the vegetables in a
bowl, add the mashed garlic, pomegranate molasses, freshly squeezed lemon juice, sumac and
salt and mix well with the vegetables
12. Add the toasted bread and olive oil and mix again, making sure to do so with care so the
bread doesn?t break too much
13. Drizzle a bit more olive oil before serving and plate as desired

* the pomegranate molasses, which can be found in some mainstream grocery stores (and in all

Middle Eastern stores), can be removed entirely from this recipe if you do not want to use it or if
you are unable to find it. The salad will turn out great regardless. If you have salad left it will hold
well for a few days, though the bread will get a bit soggy (though I oftentimes prefer it this way
because it has a chance to soak up the dressing)

*iftar is the breaking of the fast

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Ramadan

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This year Ramadan is set to fall of June 18?? Muslims around the world will begin fasting for a period of?30 days, from dawn?until sunset; abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking, sexual intercourse, and vices (such as selfishness, backbiting/malicious?behavior). During Ramadan, the month in which the Qur’an was?revealed to mankind, Muslims are encouraged to enjoin what is?good?? breaking their fast with others, giving alms to the poor if they are financially able to do so, and reconnecting with their faith.?

I have decided to keep a Ramadan diary, where I’ll post updates either each day or every so often: photographs, recipes and other observations. Please check back for more updates.

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