Every time I wake up, slowly the realization comes back screaming
“THERE’S A WAR HAPPENING WHERE YOUR FAMILY LIVES! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!”
I ﬁnd myself catatonically atwittered in the middle of many nights.
Deciphering my native tongue from squiggly pictures to stories of the latest ﬁghts.
Hashtags, lies, trends.
Propaganda, the same old tired lens.
My name is Layal, which means inﬁnite night. I hope it means I can see in the dark.
I dwell in a state of in-betweens, feeling like I’m walking sideways, slipping off the surface.
Gravity cannot hold my thoughts.
I solemnly resolve:
Laugh, play, and be happy
Tell sorrow, I am not its servant.
I vowed to Aleppo I would go back and help someday, as the Taxi came, to the only home I knew, to take me away.
I was to lead an army of space ants to give hugs and food to everyone. Is it any wonder I’m an activist now?
I’m a breaker in the circuit and also its electric pulse.
A twinkling electron at once inside both a killer and an infant who only got one breath.
This well of emotion bursts at every one of my seams and loses me so many sleeps, I’ve always been an exposed nerve, but this one really hurts. Maybe they’re all drunk and can’t hear me screaming.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll wake up and it’ll turn out I’m dreaming. Can anyone hear me? Can anyone hear me?
Just ask me a question about back home and I’ll talk at you about it until your eyes glaze over with your asker’s remorse.
Let me grammatically abuse the many languages held in this one heart.
I’m Syrian and American on my passport.
My mother’s father is Chaldean from Mosul/Nineveh in Iraq.
Related to a Prince of Hama who was removed 638AD. I’m 1/4 real princess!
His family owned one of the ﬁrst petrol stations in Syria.
My mother’s mother is Armenian from DiyarBakir whose family were merchants.
Most of them were murdered.
She survived a genocide.
I exist because of genocide!
My father’s parents are both Syriac. Their ancestors created the ties for the ends of rugs.
Our ancestors have inhabited Aleppo since anyone has known of them inhabiting anywhere.
They’re probably Amorites, Amirite?
Ok. I’ve been saving that joke for a while.
Indigenous to many lands, a survivor of many genocides, this immigration thing feels like suigenocide.
I come from all of the ethnicities that have passed through.
All the languages pepper my brain soup.
Rituals of no origin make up the fabric of every village.
I fantasize that some of my ancestors came to the Americas and they’ve been waiting for me in a new desert home somewhere this whole time.
I’m a third world child in a ﬁrst world land.
I live inside the monster that feeds itself on outreached hands.
I run all of your sweatshops.
Produce your goods.
Frack your land.
Drill your oil.
Destroy your woods.
All so we can get what you don’t need.
It’ll numb us for a moment. Feed our greed.
After they’re laid to rubble, you’ll wonder why, absolve your guilt by sharing youtube videos of their cries.
But don’t ask me again, just watch world corporations move in when the dust settles into every blown up nation.
I used to send paper boats down the river in Aleppo, ﬁlled with well-wishes, and fantasies.