Yahia Lababidi, born 1973, is an internationally published writer of Egyptian - Lebanese origin. His first book Signposts to Elsewhere (2006) received generous reviews from writers in the USA and throughout the Middle East. In 2007, his work was included in an encyclopedia of the World's Great Aphorists, by former editor for TIME magazine (Europe) & author James Geary.
Meantime, Lababidi's essays and poems have appeared in journals world-wide, including: Leviathan: Melville Studies (USA), Cimarron Review (USA), Ruminate (USA), Haight Ashbury Review (USA), Mizna: Arab American Literature (USA), Idler (UK), Dream Catcher (UK), Arena (Australia), Montreal Serai (Canada), Bidoun: Middle East Arts and Culture, as well as online literary projects such as MAG and The Other Voices International project.
Lababidi was the featured poet in November 2006 on RAWI: Radius of Arab American Writers, http://www.rawi.org/featured_writer_Nov_1.html
Dawning There are hours when every thing creaks when chairs stretch their arms, tables their legs and closets crack their backs, incautiously Fed up with the polite fantasy of having to stay in one place and stick to their stations Humans too, at work, or in love know such aches and growing pains when inner furnishings defiantly shift As decisively, and imperceptibly, as a continent some thing will stretch, croak or come undone so that everything else must be reconsidered One restless dawn, unable to suppress the itch of wanderlust, with a heavy door left ajar semi-deliberately, and a new light teasing in Some piece of immobility will finally quit suddenly nimble on wooden limbs as fast as a horse, fleeing the stable. Words Words are like days: coloring books or pickpockets, signposts or scratching posts, fakirs over hot coals. Certain words must be earned just as emotions are suffered before they can be uttered - clean as a kept promise. Words as witnesses testifying their truths squalid or rarefied inevitable, irrefutable. But, words must not carry more than they can it's not good for their backs or their reputations. For, whether they dance alone or with an invisible partner, every word is a cosmos dissolving the inarticulate What do animals dream? Do they dream of past lives and unlived dreams unspeakably human or unimaginably bestial? Do they struggle to catch in their slumber what is too slippery for the fingers of day? Are there subtle nocturnal intimations to illuminate their undreaming hours? Are they haunted by specters of regret do they visit their dead in drowsy gratitude? Or are they revisited by their crimes transcribed in tantalizing hieroglyphs? Do they retrace the outline of their wounds or dream of transformation, instead? Do they tug at obstinate knots inassimilable longings and thwarted strivings? Are there agitations, upheavals or mutinies against their perceived selves or fate? Are they free of strengths and weaknesses peculiar to horse, deer, bird, goat, snake, lamb or lion? Are they ever neither animal nor human but creature and Being? Do they have holy moments of understanding deep in the seat of their entity? Do they experience their existence more fully relieved of the burden of wakefulness? Do they suspect, with poets, that all we see or seem is but a dream within a dream? Or is it merely a small dying a little taste of nothingness that gathers in their mouths? Clouds to find the origin, trace back the manifestations. Tao Between being and non-being barely there these sails of water, ice, air - Indifferent drifters, wandering high on freedom of the homeless Restlessly swithering like ghosts, slithering through substance in puffs and wisps Lending an enchanting or ominous air luminous or casting shadows, ambivalent filters of reality Bequeathing wreaths, or modesty veils to great natural beauties like mountain peaks Sometimes simply hanging there airborne abstract art in open air Suspended animation continually contorting: great sky whales, now, horse drawn carriages unpinpointable thought forms, punctuating the endless sentence of the sky. If If there were more than one of me I'd shave my head and grow my beard I'd be a Doctor of Theology In great coat of myth, impermeable to ridicule I'd raise my voice and sing hymns to the Unknown god Another me would come undone voluptuously submit to possessions, deliriously mate with night in vicious delight I would be, in a word, unspeakable indulge an appetite artistically criminal gloriously indifferent to utter: ruin! Yet another me would take to stage part animal, part angel in improbable outfit strike ecstatic pose and fuse with masses Or perhaps, at last, renounce words and self occupy an eye, to better see in silent awe, peripherally But, there is only this ambitious pen, and playpen fencing a mass of miscarriages trembling from time in unquiet blood And I, with reluctant fidelity, am guardian looking over the restless, violent lot for fear of fratricide.Selected Aphorisms
Impulses we attempt to strangle only develop stronger muscles.
The biographer's art is that of confessing through the mask of another's personality.
In life, as in love, graceful leave-taking is the epitome of gratitude.
Just because a monument takes a lifetime to build, does not mean it cannot take a moment to destroy.
Free will is bad advice.
To better appreciate our parameters, we must act as though all were permitted.
Looking death in the eye is like staring into the sun; for a while, you see its impression everywhere, stare too long and you see nothing else.
The notion of family is merely a comforting fallacy. In truth, there are only relative strangers.
Performing human tricks, daily, is the consequence of a lifetime of animal training.
Liar: one who claims to tell the truth, always.
The harshest critics are those denied access to the work; it is the same with life's critics.
Time forbids attachments. Clinging to a particular time is courting madness.
Modernism is to literature what Existentialism is to philosophy: a state of emergency.
Intuition: generous deposits made to our account by an unknown benefactor.
Marrying for looks is like buying books for their pictures - a good idea, if one cannot read.