About The Narrow Alleys, When I Was Alive

The marginal flowers, with fragrances that become more redolent under the rain,
with unknown names, they were,
we used to choose, after devouring one of each kind, lovely names for them, mostly the names of some “delicious snacks” which our parents could not afford to buy.
Soil too .. any close soil,
was becoming, after the rain, to a free shop for a “mud chocolate”.
we eat it by naked hands in the midst of passersby’s insults whose their clothes were sharing us its favourite balls.
we paint with it our faces and the upper half of our bodies after taking off our “sweaters”, imitating the “ancient peoples” then we start hunting in cities:
Cockroaches that we inject them into the back with boiled water by used injections, which we collect from the rubbish of government dispensaries.
Lizards in the holes of buildings that have not been completed, we cut off their tails,
set them free to run groggily, in the midst of our laughing, while they are staggering like a car toboggan on ice.
we make them lose the balance,
Wasps’ nests and bees, we attack them with sticks, stones and flammable materials, the battles continue for hours to end with swollen faces, pain, and a head of garlic that we share with each other, to each one rubs his wounds with his share.
That head of garlic been stolen by one of the guerrillas from an elder seller of vegetables, who lost most of his sight and mind;
who shouts at any sound or movement he hears, in the name of his only son, who was killed early with a roustabout’s sickle when he was trying to break a fight in a popular vegetable market,
That elder, was our clandestine doctor, an ancient warrior, whose presence always reminds us of the curse of time that will take us out of this, our kingdom, one day.


Anything with delicious smell was a prey for our hunger,
Our hunger, which was not specifically for food,
mysterious was, like all what we felt towards the universe.


gnarled, gluttonous, yearned for astonishment and experiment toward anything, that’s how we were,
A Children,
in those alleys that compacted as depots of a fiasco and slow boredom,
everything, for us, has a special season.


“Oh God, I am fasting”*
In the months of Ramadan,
those phrases were inciting us to increase the insults against each other, so we can repeat them,
increase drinking water and eating, pretending “forgetfulness” to say it.

In the months of Ramadan, that long as a famine,
to kill the slow time, until the fast breaks our false fasting
a Children of all alleys meet at the largest park in the area,
then the tournaments of Ramadan, which became a close friend of all called ” Summery Ramadan”, begin:
the earth, during it, watches the sky from the ants’ dens,
small ants, large ants, winged ants, they will all be involved in battles and bets that end between us, as they end between them, with fights and blood. 

The small coloured glass balls that we used to call “Dahl or Kalul**”
we start like a mole making holes in the dirt’s flesh, to play with that balls,
throw them at each other, and towards the pits.
no one wins most of the time, Dahlahels become a repertoire for battles and fights that follow each game.

Playing with the animation cards that they put with a chewing gum that suitable only to throw it at each other,
or chewing it a bit then stick it in any public place suitable for sitting, or on the hair of young girls.

Everything was guiding and walking, with secret steps, towards the fight.
we used to play all the games, not for entertainment, but to fight the battles after, to try the pain early.

We were a forest children, born by an existential mistake in cities.


The relatively small public garden, the garden of our neighbourhood,
our garden, which we took off its shrubs from the roots and threw them on the doors of the houses so we can play football in it,
it was our main operations centre,
especially the monthly fire ceremony,
every month, each of us saves a full week’s pocket money to buy glue cans that are enough for a hundred of shoe repair shops,
after that, in the middle of our garden, we gather the whole garbage of our alley and its neighbouring alleys, for three or four consecutive days,
a mountain of strange odours, that stinky and good smells were mixed in it, to give a smell, not that good, but lovely for our noses,
then, when the night comes,
a night with no moon,
we pour half the glue cans onto the “mountain of truth”, as some of us liked to call it,
and the other half extends from the mountain as a wick for a long destination between dozens of alleys along a kilometre or more,
half of us stand halfway between the wick and the mountain, while the other half stand on the closest building’s roofs to the mountain, armed with slingshots and balloons filled with dirt and urine, 
to meet the firefighters when they come and disabled them to extinguish our fire,
while the “stirrer” waits at the end of the wick, for our signal, to ignite it,
and the “stirrer” is one of us, who deprived watching the moment of the mountain’s ignition, for that we periodically exchange this task,
the signal is a firework’s rocket, launched in the air,
our legs, with its explosion in the darkness of the night, start the running alongside the rapidly burning line of fire, with hysterical whistles alerting all those who live in the region to imminent danger.

we get to the mountain at the same time with the fire’s wick,
and always,
as each time, we stand there, with the first time’s astonishment and imbecility, in front of the mountain’s sudden ignition,
black clouds attack the windows of the neighbourhood amid a hysterical dance and primitive rotation of us, around the fire,
“This is the punishment of everyone to throw their trash in the streets”
this is how we were justifying our action to ourselves,
all inhabitants keep in houses, staring from behind the window curtains, just as if it’s the war,
it is the war,
the sounds of fire engines begin to reach our ears,
the battle will begin soon
the snipers of slingshots and the urinary balloons’ shooters are on the roofs of the buildings just ready to fire.
we were needing a real army with all its equipment to stop us,
but we were stopping voluntarily after the ammunition of the roof finished, and the mountain of fire becomes a small fire that we would leave to the firefighters to feel a false triumphal’s ecstasy, having obtained their share of gravel and urine.
then we all go home,
to each one of us receives his punishment, with a pride and an ecstasy.


the margins: 

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