Sunday, November 29, 2009


Given the long history between me and my stomach, I'm not surprised that I made it through this day. The holiday called Aid al Adha, where the entire Muslim Nation slaughters sheep in sacrifice to God, was certainly a shock to my system.
I thought I had become accustomed to most things around here, but waking up this morning to the two sheep on my roof being prepared was eerie. There was a feeling in all the house of tense excitement. Visiting neighbors and good friends would remark on how it sort of felt like Christmas.
I found myself culturally interested in watching the King of Morocco cut the sheep and also the gutting of the sheep on our terrace. I did help in the clean-up process, sweeping and rinsing off the rooftop.
The iron taste in the meats was still there. We had the lungs, heart, liver, and stomach today. Fat was used to flavor everything but the stomach, which stood well enough on its own merit and texture! Right now, my eyes feel like they are drying and falling out of my head and my stomach is just turning over and over in efforts to pass the tough organs.
Mutton comes tomorrow after cous cous for lunch. I may try to be out for a large portion of the day! ;) It's a fantastic tradition, but all the same, I'm simply not accustomed to so much meat.
My good friend and neighbor Kaamilah was facing honest fear when we began eating the stomach. She had just come from a decent nap on the couch dreaming about her previous 19 years or so of virtual vegetarianism!
I leave you knowing that everything's gonna be alright. Mostapha, formerly Sam or Edna, the fish needs a change of water, but he's going strong too. Til next time.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Riff

Riffi Berbers are supposed to be some of the toughest people in Morocco, but in my trip to the North of Morocco, I'm pretty sure I didn't run across any of them. Instead we saw people with a lot of peace on their faces. People who had less on their minds or just a more ordered way of keeping those things in stock. Rabati people are hardworking stress machines. Up there near Tangier, mountains and skies and sea all mix for a great melange of landscapes.

Ceuta was a shock of infrastructure and order, the lack of which I had become surprisingly quickly accustomed to. The border control was odd since there was roughly 200 meters of no-man's-land. Also, thanks to our procrastination, the authorities were quite skeptical of our reasons of staying. We never took the ferry up to the mainland, because of the pricing. But we did see great and beautiful things on the bus rides from Tangier-Ceuta and Ceuta-Tetouan. The clouds were trying to claim their spot on the maps and steal a piece of history.

Taxi drivers were always a source of entertainment this weekend, speaking Spanish, English, Arabic, and of course French. Tetouan's beach town, Martil, is one of the best known beaches in all of Morocco and even on that cloudy Sunday, was impressive. We crossed two camels on the beach and their tenant.

Turkey Day is tomorrow. I thought I'd be in Agadir on the beach, but it looks like I will, in fact, celebrate with friends and colleagues in Hay Riad, Rabat. Saturday is the Eid Al Adha, Festival of Sacrifice to honor Abraham's sacrifice of his son. I hadn't made the connection between the two holidays until just yesterday in a conference call with friends back home. The holiday will pass nicely, I hope!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Marrakech aftermath

On a passé le weekend a Marrakech. Fia j3e!
I've never seen such people in such a market! Jemaa El Fna was BA enough to give you dreams. The lighting in that square is phenomenal thanks to the smoke pluming up high into the night's heavens. From one of the many rooftop cafés, one would say the ascension is like an escalator in a mall of wonders! HAHA.
Yeah sure, beware guys following you through the medina. This is becoming as common sensical to me as stepping around a raging fire. You avoid that which makes you uncomfortable. Be sure to go out of your comfort zone though, when you see cats eating the stray heads of chickens or if there is a monkey on your shoulder!
Don't forget the inevitable charm of Marrakesh's rich history and it's oh-so-calm riads(bed & breakfasts). One hidden gem I got wind of was near the Palace Bahia. A half Moroccan-half Italian man named Younness owns this tranquil, well-kept, beautiful and blessed riad and can put all your worries at ease. We simply knocked on his door to see if we could find a guide, but it turns out we made a friend that I personally hope never to lose. He made us the hospitable Moroccan green tea and called a friend of his to give us a guide of the monuments. Younness has been the world over, seemingly; with plans to go to Madagascar in the making.
Simohammed, our new-found guide, had acquired a British accent from time spent in London. He also happened to have a motorbike accident the morning of our proposed meeting. What he did is indicative of the kind of person Younness is and the company he keeps. Simohammed called a friend of his and sent him on forward to our meeting and said only, "I have something important to take care of, I'm so sorry I can't come." He disregarded himself and gave us the help we needed.

I can only say that I am glad to have been in great company during this fantastical weekend and to have known some locals who genuinely care about their fellow man(as can be found so rarely around this Big Blue Marble((earth)))

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


In Fez since around 1 o'clock...
We had our way with the medina. At first alone, buying sunglasses and bags. My friend got a free bag from bag man Mostapha. We see here a face of Morocco that is open, enterprising, modest but bold, very old(but so new to us!), charming and forewarning, all simultaneously. We were invited to couscous by a vendor who knew us for approximately sixty seconds. We bypassed a tour from Mustapha, a Hotel Cascade employee, initially. Then after our wandering, random, self-"guided" tour through, we met him on accident near the Bab Boujeloud and sat for tea together. This started the enjoyable culmination of our day where we met others and discussed the most interesting of topics.
The tanneries were a sight, and a smell!, to be acknowledged. The Fesi medina is the largest carfree urban area in the world and is home to Africa's oldest university. These were topics discussed over tea, tabac(extreme sinus opener), and shisha. The medina is a living thing itself; watched from afar, i bet you could see the sways and breaths and frustrations and oneness of it all.
Also premiering here, was a center so devout as this. You feel pure in Fez, the islamic hub of Morocco.


You can't build your house such that it will be taller than the nearest mosque in Morocco, or all of the Muslim world as far as I know for that matter.
I just realized this small bit of culture in America that revealed itself through language. It's that we say, "How much time did it cost you?" This is indicative of our belief that the time "spent" was used or wasted, or exchanged for a good or product. There is not simply acceptance of the circumstances.
All of the construction projects in Rabat are making decent and promising progress. The tramway is supposed to open in December, the building across from school is springing up, and I'm always seeing guys working on the new bridge/marina project, finally the crane is swinging around over the tunnel to be built under l'Oudaya.

Traveling starts ASAP, no matter what.


My host mother thought, like the rest of the family and neighborhood, that one of her cousins had died. Last night they were up discussing it until 5 am. Today it was settled that in fact he hadn't died, but instead that his ex-wife hadn't heard from or seen him for a long enough time to actually declare him dead!


Summer always ends too soon
but that boon and crack can swoon
It puts the architecture in deep relief
and the dust clears
Makes it easier to sleep
despite the drip
Old October was November now September
come full turn still formless
Lenses turn every few yards
tame and peaceful frames
Suits can be comfortable
even under stress with shade
We need a match
construction will allow
Smell commercial ware
beets bleed precious cargo
Suits return at a cheap price
vivid violet visits
Funneling interests drip
soon to be eaten
A word of wisdom
hear trade foreign words
Hungry eyes watch the pistons
greased gate not well-groomed
You're invited to take a new angle
not the end of history
Always one faces the east
it's not only a mirage
3-D glasses prove it's there
a faint breeze takes it all away

The Mega Mall

Like people seen on the beach from a plane
My thoughts are small as ants
From a letter to a sound
To the look on a face

I can't maintain
I gotta cut back or it'll be sensory overload
With every need fulfilled, where do I turn?
It's all nuances and it all matters

So that my eyes don't turn to dust
I ought to wear the right hat
Hope I can fly like a
Only bothered by the big swings

Reserve the electricity
Just around the bend is a delicious morsel
Take your fill, retire soon
Come back again

Warnings of temptation my
Threat a positive test
For suicide, but
If multi-tasking is the solution: then I'm the ocean.

fluid strokes sometimes mend the whole fence
dreamy mallow puff clouds you can almost taste
turn over, rocks bigger than your head
can be confusing

youth is velocity gone wrong

without a haunting there's no manifestation
and it can hurt to wait on standby
change instead and chip away
buy stock in thoughts smaller than ants

j'ai dansé, tu as dansé, on a dansé
move your body like it's on the wire
chant and breathe like maybe this is it
slap and clap a rhythym: important heard

kount your kookies before they kook
kourse you kould kount a koop a kooks
but that sounds kwizical

it takes a dozen muscles to smile
a taxi might be 20 or 100 dirham
three valves make a million tones
three lanes drive me crazy all for naught to bowl

Dreams of Adventure

I dream that my host mother wants me to pay for something she bought. So suddenly, I am in Ellport, Pennsylvania using a tape measure to mark a line 11 and 1/4 inches from the end of a fence which isn't there on the sidewalk beyond Patrick's Restaurant, which has been closed for round 15 years.
So then a man is telling me to paint it white. I walk to Patrick's to get the paint, supposedly, but I come across my ex-girlfriend and her mom, who are throwing bouncy balls around. I kick one or two back and we share some words, after which I enter the restaurant. Inside I find my colleague having a painfully plain meal. She tells me of her circumstances and general discontent. I give her a hug and shed a tear. Then my best friend comes up the aisle and wonders what I am doing at home. Then it occurs to me; I'm not really home, I'm dreaming. So I turn to my right and my cousin, my mother, and my mother's best friend are enjoying a meal together. I approach their table and tell them how weird it is to be there in spirit but not in body.
My mom then tries handing me a lit candle to blow out (almost as if it were my birthday). Instead I put it aside and try explaining my former comment. My mother's best friend proceeds to enlighten me to the fact that my current dilemma is the hardiest debate over the existence of God. (Here, the number 7 is prevalent in the dream in a very ambiguous manner) And then I mean to leave the restaurant, but I find another candle. I motion for my mom and show her that I cannot blow it out. After several tries though, the candle goes out, whether of its own accord or with outside help can't be determined.

What lucidness?! Donnie Darko anyone?


Step into the realm of possibility and
Isn't it impossible, all the choices?
Don't ask me, cause I don't even
Wanna consider it!
I love to live fast and forget the
They told you to love like you live
Die like you lived.
Living is easy if all you do is float
Lazy rivers can sway you any way
But there is only one track
Catchin on? Catch up, grab hold.
I'll take you for a ride
Faster than you can imagine
That is how I live.
More than thought can think
That is how I sense.
It's desperate times we're living in
So I'll conform by tightening my
Grip on things like opera.
And piano...
Slower is nice when you sleep.
Rest is at my fingertips but I feel
Maddened when it won't fall into...

My hands won't play piano.
Not like I heard it played, at least.
Can I use and abuse classically?
Or should I have to then open a rose
And smell it?
Subscribing once more to a life that
Is not mine.
I don't think so...
But I can't be sure, that is the status
Quo vadis? I'm right here,
But wish I were there, like him
So let me sidle on over, don't mind me.
Fake lies aren't even real untruths
So get it straight
If that sounds like an attitude, it is.
Abrasive gets the job done, but won't change.
Better to massage and coax
Soften up, then release.

Poetic Soup (formerly Earth in 3D)

The initial awkwardness might at first be caused by my filth.
But when I look her in the eye, there is nothing left similar to a smile.
And I want to be cold. suddenly
I search for solace in the folds of her down-feathered wings.
And for a while, it seems ok there.
But my dream is frightening
Hold the line please, I'll open the door
He wasn't even there, he says he'll be alright.
Simple as a step over the threshhold
Eyes can implicate more than words can say.

Back indoors real comfort comes in nourishment.
I've been betrayed by bliss.
Welcome it in again in due time, to see the changes made to the space.

Nourished senses might reveal truth.
Exercise means discipline though, and my butterflies aren't gone yet.
They swarm, and swarms are impossible in the singular.
Dialogue does not mean one.
Synchronized and syncopate aren't separated by much.
Together is real love in any form
Walls are bad

Alas the cosmos can't be grasped from afar.

Summer Dream

I dreamt last night of a lopsided park in an uneven city with what I first imagined to be a cloudy swath of stars hovering above it. On second glance, it became clear that this "swath" was indeed a domed canopy of a repeating, mesmerizing pattern, which enveloped the whole place. I pleaded with the friends who accompanied me in this strange, dark venue to look at the foreign heavens, but they were much too preoccupied with packing a pipe to do so. The main offender(possessing and consuming the drugs) was ignored by the initial pair of policemen with their drug dogs, which baffled me. The third sniffer, though, found us out. I hadn't smoked a thing; just in mere bewilderment, unfortunately this didn't stop the Pincer from rounding on me and snapping at my face. The hound was restrained lazily by the cop. Its bark was mean and too loud for comfort.