Archive for the ‘The Diarrhea of a Midnight Crawler’ Category

It has been a while since I paid Mike Midnight a visit.

As always he was at his old office in Al Balad’s Shabsough area. The above illustration is the result of an hour and a half meeting with him. Love him or hate him the man has stripped this concrete jungle down to its bare iron bones revealing an underground growth of human monsters accompanied by a host of vicious cockroaches intent on mischief.

If you want to get inside this Gumshoe’s head here is a useful entrance:

Mind you he has a vicious tongue and his words are not suitable for the faint of heart!

– Usually not suitable for the faint of heart but this post is okay –

The year 2048.

It was a rather surreal moment.

The aircraft slowed down until it was parallel to the alien vehicle. “It is now or never,” Midnight said to himself, as he rolled down the window before incessantly pressing, with the back of his palm, the horn. The leader of the alien aircraft adjusted his position in order to catch glimpse of the driver of the speeding vehicle that was now so close to his.

“Jama suity chewiebacca fala fel hom-ass. Kala wata wati tito teezak ya ghabi homara pota!” Midnight yelled as he flipped the birdie at the shocked alien, “and as we say in earth lingo: Screw you you idiot. Lose the license to ill and stop driving. Piece of shit specimen!”
Midnight then hastily pressed the TBNICOPAA (short for Turbo Booster Now In Case of Potential Alien Attack) hoping to disappear into the horizon, especially that the angry alien armed its aircraft weapons.

While some enjoy the warmth of their beds at 6:00 a.m. in the morning one man is always out there; roaming the badlands of Planet Jordania: Midnight V, the solitary asphalt-farer.

To be continued or not …

Everything was on the wrong side especially sound. His fingers pressed tighter on the steering wheel. He wanted to affirm the fact that he was in control and not the entity.

“I am in control therefore I exist. Fuck you Descarte!”

A car shot past him. “The sound came from the right yet the car was to the left of my vehicle. Shit!”

Led Zeppelin’s That’s the Way was playing on the radio by an obscure presenter. With a single glance that scanned the vehicle’s three mirrors he eyed the fading road behind, and was able to see the entity approaching like a beast salivating after a prey.

His heart sunk and so did his foot, pushing the pedal to the metal.

He is in for quite a ride, and if all goes as planned, so is that vicious entity that is trying to engulf his being.

– Usually not suitable for the faint of heart but this post is okay –

The fiery flow in the unfathomed depths is rising. The acidic vomit has reached the esophagus. Weighed down by the bills of reality he is unable to move freely in the imaginary world.
Tired the writer decides to drink rum with his favorite author and journalist. He opens his desk drawer and pulls out a  water pistol that he safely tacks in his overcoat’s right pocket.
“You never know what might show up in those dark cerebral alleys!” he says to himself. Locking the doors he presses the lift’s button. Nothing! The elevator’s prehistoric engine doesn’t whir its usual symphony compliments of screechy cogs and oiled leather belts.
“Stuck again! Damn!”
With steps that are more like leaps he reaches the entrance of the old building that resembles the facade of a run down theatre in Al Balad (Down Town).
Spitting the gum, that lost its taste, the same way the memory of a teenage summer camp love affair fades in time, out of his mouth into the rat and cockroach infested drain he heads out to a pub not far away in his mind. After few minutes walk he finds himself in front of a shady establishment in Havana, Cuba.
The street sign reads, El Gato Loco. The moment he pulls the entrance handle fog-like smoke streams out the door.
There he is. His friend. Sitting with all the worries of the world buried deep in a young mind trapped in an old man’s body. He doesn’t show it. He will go out to the sea in about an hour or two.
His right muscled and hairy forearm is laid on the old wooden edge of the bar, inviting strangers to a manly game of arm wrestling, while his left arm is wrapped around the waist of a beautiful mulata.
He hasn’t shaven for a while. He is grumpy yet of jolly disposition that is obvious to everyone present. If life’s force was visible one would have been able to see it coming out of his pores and dripping from his furrowed brow.
He was talking out loud.
“Your sensibilities do not concern me. True one has to write for the ordinary reader but one must not relinquish his/her self while doing so. Writing is art reflective of one’s soul. You not only put your words on that piece of paper; you put yourself. You don’t see people complaining about paintings they do not understand. They simply refuse to talk about such paintings because they are afraid of being mistaken for idiots. Anyone can write and paint simple and that’s what gets them excited; a language they understand and that will move their swollen lips. Well, maybe they are idiots for not wanting to understand … a man’s effort, work, life … etc …etc … bullshit!” Hemingway barks.
His heartily laugh echoes across the stuffy room that smells of burnt out cigars, alcohol, cheap aftershave and delicious perfume.
“Welcome Mike! What brings you to Havana tonight? Have you seen Nick on the way here? You look thirsty dear boy. How about a drink of rum?”
I smile, take up the glass from his shaky hand, down its contents and go back to work. On the way back to my office I think to myself, “ADD is a bitch especially when you end up writing pieces of fragmented fiction instead of work! “

To be continued or not …

Blog art:

L’assassin  (Ink on A4 paper, canon scanner and Photoshop CS3) by SARDINE (Mike V. Derderian)

By Homo sapien …. .. ………

– Not suitable for the faint of heart –

Lately I’ve been hitting the bottle a lot. I hit so many bottles last month my knuckles started to ache. Broken glass is never good for your skin, or bones for that matter, especially if you are not wearing gloves.

You’d think I am a boxer!

Well I am not! I am a disillusioned son-of-a-bitch-writer who has been writing for the past six years for an invisible crowd. Does it matter who reads these words? A social media pundit would say yes. I say I don’t know or I don’t give a shit!

For six years he typed words on a slow processor in a disorganized half-empty office. Everyday and like an eager housewife he poured the words that were inside his head, with the visuals he collected from his daily Down Town Amman walks, inside that processor to create the stuffing for meaty stories.

In the end three colleagues moved on, one died from cancer and a broken heart, and he stayed. He stayed there until the very end. It was a great job with great people but he was tired of writing about other people. He simply wanted to write about characters.

Two years ago that journalist decided to pull the plug and flush a six year career down the toilet in pursuit of a Black and White rainbow(C). He didn’t want the pot of gold he just wanted the rainbow; whatever that meant!

Mutual friends tell me that he is still typing words on his spare time; not like before though. Got a call from him the other day; a one minute call.

“How is the bitch – life – treating you?” I asked.

“I have a steady job and that’s something,” he answered.

“So do you have any regrets?” I shoot another question.

“A few … maybe … but you know something Midnight every now and then I’d meet someone who’d faintly remembers my name by association. If you ask me I still can’t get around writing for free. Not that anyone is asking me to write for free, and if they do they want me to write about current affairs, politics and blah blah. Anyway listen I have to hung up! Take care,” he concluded.

I haven’t heard from him since!

“Name by association …” That’s great if you are living on Planet Nepotism a.k.a Amman, Jordan!

Enough talk about writers! Heading to work today I came across what seemed to be an alcohol orgy that was probably organized by two under-aged dipsomaniacs who probably think pleasure and machismo come from the confines of a labeled phallic shaped-glass container the contents of which they swallow like eager prostitutes. A half full beer bottle stood tall next to two empty gin bottles.

Unlike young men whose nights are haunted by Jinn and tonic my nights are haunted by words and sentences.

If you think hitting the bottle is bad for your knuckles think again compadre! Well, if I’ve learned anything from this cruel city in the past few months it is: Excess love and respect are as bad. Don’t love or respect those walking and talking vermin that sell you love and respect between the lines with SpongeBob googly eyes. Bastards! How will you spot them? Don’t worry they will spot you first!

[He lets the cigarette fall to the ground. With the heel of his eroded sole he extinguishes what was the only light in the dark corner of that night.]

To be continued or not …

By Homo sapien …. .. ………

– Not suitable for the faint of heart –

Another notch on the wall. Another cockroach dead. Shit happens especially if you have six feet, a crusty body and can fit under the sole of a shoe. Try to evolve before the next century!

Long time I know. Well I still haven’t found the answer to that cursed question: Why would a cockroach go into a bathroom? Any clue … Thought so! But if you have an idea feel free to interrupt me.

I don’t have a thing against this city: My city. I have a thing against its people. The Japanese are breathing life into electronic chips and here in this part of the world people still argue if the channel settings on your magic box, that keeps you glued to your seat and miss out on the moon, should be in Arabic or English.

Others in this city and very stupidly still play on the race and origins card whenever someone shouts reform. Fuck you you piece of shit lowlife! How dare you play with my birthplace. Who gave you the right to say who stays and who goes you cunt! Born and raised in this city, and in this country, means you are from this city, and from this country. Period! Then again that’s just my opinion and I won’t shove it down one’s throat without a glass of water.

I decided that in order for you to get through this post sane I will limit my word count to 500 words + 100 maybe, more or less. But I won’t exceed 700 words. Don’t want to lose your short attention span.

Yeah I am a self righteous bastard who thinks he knows it all. Me against the world. Well let us say when it comes to the things i know; I know a little but not that much but enough to get me by in this rat and roach infested city.

Woke up the other day feeling squished by the weight of an invisible force. I felt tired and exhausted. For the past few months I was running around like a man standing on a treadmill that refuses to stop. I even stopped using blankets so as to reduce the weight of the dreams that are pinning my head to the dump pillow.

I also placed scissors under my mattress so as to clip the wings of thieving seraphs that dare visit my room in order to take me on a nightly flight. “Away with your gilded dreams of fancy and eternity. Why take me to all these tremendous heights of emotional color and light, at night, when you know you shall bring me down at dawn, and leave me experiencing nothing but mortal misery.”

To be continued or not …

The Midnight Crawler: Just Plain Creepy

By Homo sapien …. .. ………

– Not suitable for the faint of heart –

He could hear it burn. Inhale…exhale. He could hear it as it cracked revealing a gray seam through which a reddish blaze filtered.  Inhale…exhale. The heat coming from it is burning the top of his mouth. After a few minutes it no longer burned.

Fling! A faint thud followed. He can hear a needle fall if he wanted but he never was able to hear the voice of reason that constantly and most devotedly beseeched him to live.

After stepping on the butt of what was once a much sought after cigarette the young man gazed through the iron bars, sighed and headed back to the office.

Cigarettes burn a hole through your pockets! He doesn’t smoke out of fear for his health but out of fear of burning his money. They, health experts and the general surgeon, say cigarettes can cause cancer! So they say yet no one listens!

Years ago and before someone blew the whistle on the cigarette industry a cowboy leaning over a horse offering another cowboy a cigarette was the epitome of cool.

I wanted to be that cowboy when I grew up. What happened? I realized Jordan is filled with sheep.

“Howdee mam! I am Mike Midnight! A Sheepboy from Amman.” Sadly, saying your a Sheepboy is not like saying your a Cowboy! Imagine Kid Rock singing, “Sheepboy Baby!”

No need to read between the lines for this one for I am going to say it bluntly here: Life is filled with backstabbing cowards and cowardly sheep that simply make the lives of decent folk harder!

Cowards like the bastard piece of shit no good for nothing cunt idiot fcuk worthless scum sewage water crap bird shit piss sicko man-bitch whore who published a false story about a man, who just wanted to do his job, on a website that supposedly promotes freedom of speech and professional journalism. I hope satan’s lowliest minion takes him up as his toilet brush in the afterlife.

It’s been a while since I crawled around these parts. Been busy running after rent money! “Them suckers are fast,” a little man wearing a sheepboy hat whispered in my ear. He was referring to the paychecks that one has to rope at the end of each month.

Ever seen an anthropomorphic cockroach sipping Amstel beer on a hot day? Now that’s a sight to see. Don’t mix your booze and drive cause you might end up killing someone. Walk but don’t run. Crawl but don’t walk. Keep on walking. What a brilliant ad! As if an intoxicating drink that is supposed to knock you senseless will allow you to walk.

I am not worried about my receding hairline. I am not worried about my deteriorating body. I am worried about my soul.

Burn baby burn! One way ticket to the blues!

I am not the voice of truth, I am not the voice of reason, I am just a voice echoing across a concrete wilderness! How concrete is that wilderness? Pretty concrete!

I am sickened. This city is more and more sickening me. I love it and I hate it more. The more I live in it the more I love it yet I also hate it the same way an angry child would spend the afternoon hating an angry parent, who just broke his or her favorite toy. It will pass!

I am sick and tired of perfectionists seeking imperfections. I just want to type these words and slice open my paragraphs so that words pour out unto the white screen. Finally some piece of mind. I call it imaginary literary suicide. I am filled with imperfections. They say I am human. I believe them. I try to listen to the wall. Nothing! I try to go through the wall. Nothing! I try to look up! I dare not! The silence is killing me. I know! I know! I know!

The wanabees are in control and the has-beens are more and more having it their way.  Crosses and nails are prepared to those who dare oppose them. What does that leave me with?  Less care. What does that turn me into ? Careless. What will that do to me? I care less. I am sifting through everything. I am thinking of breaking the hourglass to collect the running sand into a leather satchel made out of durable human skin.

Then again maybe not! Who knows when the wind will blow and scatter the pebbles.

In case you’re wondering! I still haven’t found out why a cockroach would venture into your bathroom. Voila. No verdict—for the time being. They seem to be in it just for dabbling in shit.

“Vague were my visual recollections of the vicissitude of thine visage after our first verbal encounter. I realized how vibrant and volatile your character was. However, virulent are my thoughts of that day you referred to me as V as thine vivacious smile overshadowed thine venerable manner. True, at first I was lost by thine velvety long locks that vie with that of fair Venus but no sooner I heard the velocity of thine voice I was left with ease and pleased to have met with thee valiant Evey,” V declares to a distraught Evey Hammond, while they are dancing at the eve of his revolution, at his secret hideout.

I am no Alan Moore. False humility prevents me from declaring that I wrote the above paragraph in one sitting but it does not prevent me from including that previous line, “I wrote the above paragraph in one sitting” here. Confusing right! Ask me to recite it by heart I will tell you to F off. I have a very bad memory. If I had a good memory I would have become a renowned stage actor six years ago.

What was that! A short interlude to allow you to shut your computer screen and go microwave some popcorn, while the bullshit  I write continues a few paragraphs more.

Now to the tragic part of this literary vomit and diarrhea of a midnight crawler!

Why would a Homo sapien put a chair and sit in a bathroom serving other Homo sapiens? Livelihood! A way to become invisible!

People, men and women, alike pass those men whose morbid eyes are focused on the frayed ends of the mop with which they are mopping the wet floor, the shit-covered tissue filled receptacles they are emptying, the soap bottles they are re-filling and the toilet seats and sinks they are cleaning.

Do we greet them or wish them well-being and health? No we pretend like they don’t exist or are part of our lives.

Now that’s a shitty job if you ask me. So here is a line for those who constantly complain about life’s fairness and how their lives are hard and their jobs demanding: Stop bitching about your JD 450 – JD 500 – JD 600 – JD 1000 – JD 1500 desk job you pieces of shit and shut the fuck up. Shut the fuck up!

You think your lives suck! Look around and see the hundreds of people who are less fortunate than you and who dabble in shit for less than JD 180 – 200.

You think a hemorrhoids suck just because a doctor gave you the thumb up; well wait until that very same doctor shoves a cold metallic object up your nether hole.

Why would a young man or a woman, more like a teenager, withstand such a situation? He and she probably don’t have much of a choice unlike you, my dear reader, who has the luxury to read this.

If you’ve reached this far I wish to thank you and ask you not to be offended by my words for I assure you that you will be offended more by people you love and care for. It hurts when the knife is pushed by a familiar hand.

Remember the above are the words of an imaginary character living inside the head of a deranged Homo sapien that you most probably don’t know and will never meet.

To be continued or not …


The Midnight Crawler: Creepy & Chattery Crawlers

By Homo sapien …. .. ………

– Not suitable for the faint of heart –

A cold boney hand slips down my bare back. I wake up. I suddenly gasp for air. I find myself being sucked by a vicious whirlpool in a sea of red. Fragments float around me. It is night yet the water is warm.

A camera pans over the hairy hand of a sleep deprived man, who is expeditiously stirring the contents of a white mug, from which the medallion of a cheap tea bag is dangling.

Cut! Do I now have your attention? I don’t know, and I care less as your tired eyes have already jumped to the next line to see if what follows is worth the read.

911 words in one sitting; not too long and not too short as my gray and wise former editor would say.

It has been a while. For an imaginary moment the white piece of paper rejoiced as my hand that held the pen brushed against its smooth surface. The piece of paper moaned. Every single pore in my weathered hands gasped for air.

It was…

It was…

It was just writing…

Well, it seems that I am imagining things again: The flickering bar turned into a pen, the blank Word document turned into a piece of paper and my handwriting was still intact.

Give a headless chicken a quill that was taken from another, whose dismembered body is now in the boiling pot of a gluttonous man, and it will turn out to be a better calligrapher than I.

A year passed. The olive wood colored bodies of Hamadryads sadly swayed with the blistering wind as the axe of the man bearing David’s star, treacherously struck. Silent stood the failing and cowardly gods as they watched an unholy war waged against women and children. When will this bloodshed of innocence stop? Damn the gods and the unjust world for if such is the way may the Mighty Atlas soon relinquish his worldly burden and eternal darkness prevail!

Months have passed since my last diarrhea yet the asshole is still feeling awkward; must see a good doctor soon. I pity the medical lab technician, who like a clueless cockroach, will dabble in shit.  Then again is a cockroach venturing into your toilet clueless?

Next time you see one make sure you ask it a few questions before you shoot—ehem—I meant step on it.

A poor cockroach is lying motionless on its back with three of his feet crushed, one severed and a half open lower part. The disgusting little creature sums up its courage and before the sole of a black shoe delivers the coup de grace it yells, “Stop!”

“You can speak?” a young man, who clumsily reaches down to pull up his pants and underwear to cover his shame, yells.

“If you weren’t busy listening to your own voice you would have heard the thousands of pleas that my race blurted before being cast into the dark Chasm of Evermore,” the cockroach retorts.

“Do you have a name?” the man asks.

“Yeah my name is Clint?” the cockroach, with confidence, answers.

“Really, they call you Clint?

“Fcuk no you idiot. We don’t use names to define ourselves we go by our charming characters,” the cockroach with mean sarcasm answers.

“So what were you doing in my toilet?”

“It’s not you it’s the human race?” The cockroach answers.

“Us? How can you blame us for what you do? Venturing into our toilets and violating our excrement is our own fault?”

“No! I mean it is the human race that your race have long ago created.  Sadly time is of no value anymore especially that now everyone else is chasing after it. We are all running around like a frenzied and rabid white rabbit whose hand is stuck in his pocket. The golden watch is slowing it down. It should cast it away and embrace the signs of the Lord and Lady Light on the one hand and the Duke and Duchess of Darkness on the other hand,” the cockroach with much eloquence explained, “you run after money to buy food that you ingest, digest and dispose through your anus. Why burden yourself with such a daunting task? Do as we do…”

“You see we cock…” the cockroach was about to say when a sudden and swift thud was followed by a slow disgusting crunch. The sound of clasping steel echoed in the cold corners of the white tiled bathroom before a strong flush followed. The man folded the newspaper and went to bed.

“Talkative little bastard,” the man said to himself before slipping under the warm sheets that sheltered him from the cold hands of the night. The cracks of a triumphant smirk formulated over his pale face like the ones left behind by a seismic activity that no one seems to notice.

And the nude crashed bodies keep on piling up.

One day…

These bodies will dissolve into the earth, the very same earth that once withstood the weight of their mighty footsteps, where they will be absorbed by a golden seed that in time will grow into an enormous tree that will for certain go through the pearly tiles of Eden the same way a fig tree will one day bring down a large wall built by bricks molded from hatred.

To be continued or not…


The Diarrhea of a Midnight Crawler: My New York…An Ode to Amman

By Homo sapien a.k.a …. .. ………

July 24, 2009

Anyone turning the pages of a tourism guide would know that Amman, spelled Ammann, is the capital city of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

But to many Jordanians it is the city, where they were born and raised, where their lives thrive, and their stories are exchanged and written.

In the past few years a new term was coined to describe the dwellers of Amman, which has always been the center of unity for many Jordanians, including the one who is writing this piece.

The term is: Ammanites. Those are the brave men and women of the city, where they live, happy or sad, earn a living after shedding many a blood and sweat, experience their own colorful culture with a mix of Western influence, and eventually like everyone else raise their own offspring within its mountainous boundaries.

But what can a person visiting Amman for a few days or more do? Easy, when in Amman do as the Ammanites would do: Visit all the places they grew up around and that they cherished over the years; and most importantly mingle with them.

The first place that one should visit in Amman is Al Balad (Down Town). There you must visit Hashem’s, where a hot Fava Beans plate along with Homous and a platter of chopped tomatoes, onions and mint, would most certainly tickle your palate. There you can also read the dozen framed articles hanging on its walls, and that describe its unique place in the hearts of people passing through Al Balad.

Just across the street from the Postal Office one can visit Al Istiklal Bookshop, where time old notebooks, pens, erasers, rulers and drawing pads—my favorite buy—are found. Next to the bookshop’s steep staircase lies Jafra, a cultural café frequented by Jordanians seeking good food, hot drinks, nargiles and a shelter from the hustle and bustle of Down Town Amman.

Search the Greater Amman Municipality’s website,, and you will find out that Jordanians used to refer to Amman as Al Madinah, which is one of the twenty-seven regions constituting Jordan.

According to GAM’s website,” it is region number one in the Greater Amman Municipality. It is located in the center of the Capital, and consists of several neighborhoods or residential concentrations. The residential area amounts to 1120 dunums, and the commercial area is 1500 dunums. The total area is 3014 dunums, i.e. a percentage of 3.1 km2 of the total area of Greater Amman Municipality; with the number of residents amounting to 38465. Organizationally, it is bordered by a number of regions such as: Yarmouk, al-Nasr, Basman, Al-Abdaly, Marka and Zahran.”

Amman has always been a center for arts, culture and literature. It is now filled with over 30 cultural venues, ranging between art galleries, cultural centers and art-house-cum-cafes. The new generation is more and more realizing the necessity of chronicling the tales of its old inhabitants and examining its unique architecture.

Now back to our walk through the crowded streets of Al Balad. Traveling Al Balad should be done on foot so park your car somewhere between the 1st circle, Rainbow Street and Jabal Amman and start walking downwards.

Once you get there you will be amazed how the old embraces the new. There you will see people from all walks of life crowding its streets. Some are there to do business and shop, while, others are there to enjoy what a simple walk in the street has to offer: A crowded sanctuary amidst faded facades that surround old streets, where the scent of vegetables, spices and Jordanian air greet one’s sense of smell.

If you find yourself facing an ancient Romanian edifice surrounded by haphazard buildings then you have reached the Roman Amphitheatre. Mind you it is not the only one as Amman, and its surrounding areas, was an ancient Roman colony. If you have the time you must visit Jerash, and of course the non-Roman historical and archeological wonder Petra.

After ascending the steps of the Roman Amphitheatre in Al Balad a person can visit the Folklore Museum, where one can learn about the old faces and traditions of Amman’s people. I remember visiting it back in the 80s part of a school trip. It is until this day unchanged; even the artifacts and the wax puppets are still the same. Sadly the museum lost its past glamour and is almost forgotten.

Facing the silent stones of the Roman Amphitheatre that echo of voices, whenever a concert or a festival is held there, is the Citadel. Perched over a flat hill the white stones of this area can be seen from anyplace in Amman. Artificial lights accentuate the whiteness of its stones no sooner darkness spreads its cool blanket over our skies.

The Citadel is a magical place, where one can stand and gaze in bewilderment at the cascading edifices of Amman’s asymmetrical buildings. There Amin Matalaqa’s Captain Abu Raed, the main character in his celebrated 2007 movie, sat on a large wall to tell his fascinating stories to enthused children, who were eager to grow up and travel the world the same way he did, and become accomplished storytellers as he was.

From a distance Jordan’s largest flag can be seen moving to the voiceless tempo of the wind that sweeps through our nights. Since its erection it became part of a fascinating ancient background.

Now, what really amazes me is how some Jordanians storytellers fail to acknowledge Ashrafia, and other areas around Amman, as a center of fascinating stories. Maybe they just haven’t lived there to know any story. For me this area holds Hay Al Arman (the Armenian neighborhood), where Armenians lived upon arriving to Jordan after their Diaspora back in 1915. It is also the area where the first Armenian church and school were built.

Every Friday my parents used to send me and my sister to one of the Armenian clubs that exist there to be part of the Armenian scouts. I remember the warm Friday afternoons that I’ve spent there playing basketball and buying ice-cream from Abu Majdee’s grocery store that now evolved into a supermarket.

There we used to have verbal fights with neighborhood boys, who came for a friendly game of football and basketball. Losers simply cannot tolerate the bragging of winners. Why brag winning when you commend a good game. I cannot remember how many games I lost but to tell you the truth it never irked me as I always had more fun playing basketball than actually wining; still that doesn’t mean I didn’t block people thanks to my good jump. Gone are those days.

If you are passing by Wadi Abdoun on a Firday just take a look to the overhanging facades that are built on cascading cliffs and you’ll see a dozen or more kites adorning the clear blue skies. Children living in areas like Al Ashrafia, and who haven’t forgotten the taste of handmade toys, go through a lot to get these colorful kites, made out of paper, wooden reeds and strings, up in the air.

Why am I not referring to the so called divide between Eastern and Western Amman that so many Jordanian storytellers refer to in their stories? Well, that’s another story but I’ll tell you this: I did not live under a tin roof like so many veteran Jordanian writers claim. I grew up in an apartment situated in a building on the first leg of Wadi Abdoun and I used to fly kites like any other Jordanian kid from Eastern Amman. Does that make me any less of an Ammanite or a storyteller for that matter? No…

Now Al Ashrafia is hardly a walking area as its steep serpentine streets would tire the most experienced pedestrians and walking enthusiasts. Ever tried walking uphill from Ra’s Al Ein to Abu Darweesh mosque? I remember a boy, who didn’t want to spend his allowance on a taxi fare, so instead he went uphill and enjoyed a very grueling climb.

Our Amman was originally built on seven hills, but it now spans an area of over nineteen hills, each known as a Jabal meaning mountain.

Speaking of Jabals, if you don’t visit Jabal Amman then you have hardly visited any place in Amman especially Rainbow Street. Around each corner in Jabal Amamn you will find an art gallery or a café adorned with paintings.

Back in the 80s Rainbow Street was the place to be. There you can have an enjoyable stroll through its narrow, very recently cobbled, streets. If you smell something good on your way then it must be the smell of Falafel Al Quds. All you have to do is buy a sandwich or two and continue walking in any direction as on your way you will stumble upon an array of cafes and interesting hangouts like Books@cafe.

One should not forget to visit Souk Jara, which must be the niftiest flea market in the world, on Thursdays and Fridays. If you want another flea market, with a different feel, go to Souk (market) Al Abdali or Al Joura, which translates to The Pit, on a Friday morning.

Now let us move on from familiar places to familiar faces: Ours. If people want a Jordanian character study they must see Emad Hajjaj’s caricatures that will assist them in knowing more about us.

Hajjaj’s work tackles everything from daily life, social norms, art, government performance, parliament, love and hate, taboos, the do’s and don’ts, and of course what it is like to be a Jordanian.

His main and loud mouthed character Abu Mahjoub is most certainly one of us but as they say in Arabic not all your fingers are the same. To the chagrin of foreigners Hajjaj’s work is in Arabic but maybe one day he will eventually translate his valuable canon to English.

Over the years the Jordanian cartooning scene witnessed the emergence of amazing Jordanian caricaturists and cartoonist like Omar Al Abdallat, Mahmoud Hindawi and Osama Hajjaj with works that also reflect our inherent nature.

It is hard to sum up all the places, alleys and neighborhoods that you have to visit in Amman. I’ll be doing that in other pieces for

What you can do until then is to allow your eyes and ears to guide you through our streets. If you are not able to do so ask a friend, who knows the city by heart, to show you around. Wish I had the time to accompany you but I walk alone; sometimes accompanied by my Canon AV- 1, which is hanging from my shoulder, waiting for “the” right photograph and its elements to fall into place, the same way the right words find their way into a paragraph.

An ex Jordanian journalist, me, very recently wrote the following introduction for an article for The Star Weekly about our city:

The mild wind breezing through the city caused the new flags adorning the streets of Amman to flutter. With the sky, clouds and sun rays as a backdrop Amman’s new insignia (logo) has finally arrived. It was time to celebrate Amman’s centennial.

Seven hills of seven different colors interconnect within a square surrounded by white space. The upper half of the word Amman, which is white, appears as silhouette at the foot of the hills, whereas its lower half disappears into the white vastness of the fabric. A Shaddah, an Arabic stress punctuation mark, shaped like a bird, hangs over the Arabic “M” in Amman.

In addition to being a new year 2009 had another meaning for Jordanians. It was time to blow out Amman’s 100 candles, to wish it a happy birthday.

If you are here, and most probably reading this, why don’t you celebrate Amman’s coming of age with us by reading its stories and of course creating your own the same way I am doing.

Amman is my New York evermore… I am one of its children and no more…

To be continued or not…


The Midnight Crawler: Crawling

By Homo sapien …. .. ………

– Not suitable for the faint of heart

I left my big rotten apple, my New York, for a glossy one. No visa is required I was told.

Don’t worry for I haven’t turned into an Arab expatriate. Well, not yet…

What happened? Finally someone realized that before the bloody Brits and Frogs cut the cake there were no borders between us; between the countries that once were known as Bilad Al Sham.

After a few hours ride, a day’s rest, and another few hours ride I found myself wondering in Al Hambra Street.

I left my hotel room keys with the redhead that had a big heart tattooed on her arm before setting out into the unknown.

Al Hambra? Yes, Al Hambra! No, I wasn’t in Spain, and I don’t speak Spanish for that matter but Al Hambra sounded exotic. From a two years minor Spanish course Al Hambra is one of few Spanish words that stuck in my mind. There were other sentences like Hijo de puta, El madre de es idiota una perra de un perro rabioso and La hermana de es tonto es puta; don’t be offended as these are the sentences that spring to my weary mind when I am driving around my New York, my Amman, when I am thinking of Parliamentarians who are not only screwing light-bulbs. And there was light…yeah right…take a hike…

I sort of was in an exotic land: Beirut. The women there looked different than our women, the men looked different than our men, and the children looked different than our children.

Even their bookshops looked different. The letters were in French.

Would you blame them for having French letters inside such marvelous books?

They had a different experience than ours; they have experienced; they are still experiencing; they are experienced.

A veracious reader broke down in tears as he found himself surrounded by thousands and thousands of books that were written in a language that he learned for six years but barely remembered.

Must go to the French Cultural Center and revive a dead tongue. So what was I doing in Beirut?

The young man whose mind is my loft, where two more characters live, went there to learn how to draw successive panels with a team of nice salamanders and a samandalena.

I am proud to proclaim that I happen live in a windowless loft. No view at all: Yes, I am referring to the bleeding scab that exists in civilization’s head, and which is known as politics.

Good fences make good neighbors a colonialist often said or was it Robert Frost? Well, someone took this sentence very seriously, and out of context and mended a wall; a separating wall decried by a sheepish international community.

On the same level good lines separate one panel from the other. It was a good experience, my trip to Beirut, and very educational: I discovered that I understood French but could not speak it. Merde!!!

Upon my return to another big city, where I covered my cold body with a length of Damask, I discovered that I caught Dysentery from somewhere. It was probably from that delicious four thousand pound salad.

At 3:00 a.m. past midnight an unfortunate doctor awoke from his deep sleep to gaze at an asshole upon the request of a frightened spouse.

His name should have been mumbly as all he could do was mumble angrily at me. If I was in his shoes—he was wearing slippers—I would have done the same. Only I would have shoved more than a finger up there.

“Who is this idiot calling at this hour to reveal his asshole to me? Is this why I learned medicine for!” he probably thought as his eyes lazily searched for a pair of latex gloves from an old black suitcase that he nervously rummaged through.

Well, I left him to his thoughts and headed back to the toilet where I shat not only shit but blood.

No cockroach in sight. The bathroom must be clean or why would a cockroach venture into a bathroom devoid of shit. It needs something to dabble in like many idiotic humans, who make our lives shitty.

“La Cocaracha es muerto con la bien ideas des hombres valiente,” I thought in Spanish as I wrote these words. You go get a Spanish-English dictionary now!

Ever upgraded shit? It becomes shitty and some say that with a shitty online ADSL connection provided by a shitty company it becomes shittier.

Never complained about the net or how slow it is. I worked with Windows 1997 for two years on a lousy PC at a lousily painted office, where my own paint was scraped to reveal a tough metal by a gray and wise reader between the lines called: Good’ol Wylie Kal. If I learned one thing as my computer took 9 whole minutes to boot it was patience.

Impatience drives me impatient especially when I am around impatient people, who end up being patients at a hospital ward suffering from hypertension and blood pressure that I am going to end up with as a result of my impatience from such people.

Complicated, hah! Nah, it is pretty simple. Just shoot the idiots. Then again I don’t want to go to jail so I just shoot them with my mental gun using my mental bullets. Mental blood is splattered on the mental white wall along with a few mental bodies. Better then ending up in a mental hospital if you ask me.

Why waste a real bullet on an idiot when you can shoot him or her in your head with a thousand mental bullets?

The bodies keep piling up and the silence becomes less and less audible.

Yesterday I reached down to my pocket. A jingle and jungle of coins silenced his monotone plea. “For the love of God help me,” a teenager wearing nothing but a t-shirt in a late November night pleaded.

Did I give him the change to make him feel good or to make myself feel good? Will he change by my change or the change that other sickened individuals gave him or will he remain the same unchanged?

Will I change and stop giving people change? I have no idea.

I curse the bastard who impregnated the poor whore who gave birth to this youth, who is not blessed with a better life like so many of us.

You are probably wondering at this point if anything this guy is writing is real or fiction. It is a little of both as the line is thinning the same way the black and gray hairs on my head are.

A guy on television swings his head boastfully showing a head full of gleaming hair. A sad young woman sitting behind a design desk on television discovers that the only way to move ahead in her job is by lightening the color of her complexion; apparently climbing the career ladder with both your feet on the steps is possible again thanks to Fair and Ugly.

Never knew how some people were able climb such a ladder with their legs uncrossed and wide open!!!

How about you let your own work speak on your behalf instead of your itchy and moist skin?

An asshole sitting at a photography shop plays with the color degree of my newborn daughter’s photo.

“What are you doing?” I ask.

“I am making her skin fair,” He says.

“Why you piece of shit motherfcuker son of whoring bitch who was raped by 900 hundred horny bastards conceived by a demon impregnated by a flea that once lived on a three headed dog called Hades, the II?” I thought.

Wish I could have said it in his face but I couldn’t. Why does my little girl have to have a snow white skin complexion? So that one day an envious witch of a bitch offer her a poisoned apple.

No sir. This is one man who won’t yield under the weight of the artificial velvety crucifix that we all have to bear as a result of gluttonous greedy jesters, who try to bleach our skins, fill our heads with hair, dress us up in designer clothing and drown our natural odors with exotic bottled perfumes the price of which is over 50 JDs.

I shower and shave! That’s all that a man needs to do in addition to being a gentlemen at a time where greeting strangers sadly is no longer in fashion.

Two men standing at the opposite sides of a corridor are paralyzed by fear. “Should I or shouldn’t I” one man thinks.

“Should I or should I not,” the other man thinks.

As they pass each other a sickening feeling overcomes them.

“I am beginning to feel sick. Something is coming out of my mouth. Oh God,” one man thinks.

“What is happening? He is looking at me. Will he do it? Should I do it” the other man thinks.

As their heads align like two orbiting planets a meteor of words rush out of their black holes that are lined with stars made out of yellow ivory.

“Good morning …” one man says.

“Good morning to you too,” the other man says.

Now that wasn’t so hard was it! Damn…Exchanging a greeting is becoming harder and harder with the passing of each day.

“Al Salam Aleekom…May Peace be Upon You,” was a sentence that strangers used to greet each other with.

The hypocrites refuse to even look in the eye of each other even as their shoulders collide. They seem to forget that they are all related, and are next of kin by one thing, which is the will to live.

It is the will to live. It is not religion, not nationality, not ethos, not race and not blood but the one thing that is more inherent in us all than any other thing in this worldly and ephemeral existence: Humanity.

Then again some wills never see the light. They are buried under the rubble and metal debris left behind by cowardly A and Z fighter jets that only bomb buildings filled with families and individuals, who believe they are safely tucked in their moderately warm beds.

An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth that’s what an ancient forgotten god dictated to an ancient Hemar-rabi (Mind you the exact spelling in English is Hammurabi and the one that you just read before the 1st bracket in Arabic means an Ass).

Times have changed Sam proclaims and you are not supposed to go around gouging out the eyes and breaking the teeth of other people!

You are also told that you must not turn the other cheek. Hmm, well, if a sleepy mumbly doctor asks you to do so as he shoves his finger up there…where…there…turn both cheeks and don’t press so hard for this will only take an embarrassing minute.

Now what was I saying? I forgot. Alas all is lost or is it?

To be continued…or not…