I do want to do something.

She is going to Istanbul (and changing her haircut)
May 21, 2008, 6:27 pm
Filed under: Beirut notes, love stories

This is the story of an image that moved from place to place, met different people and looked through different windows. Now it’s time to leave she said, but before doing so she would like to share with you some of the episodes of her journey through different rooms.

She found me, I think, among her stuff. I was made for a passport renewal, or for a visa (it might have been the renewal of her Venezuelan passport, or her student visa for London. It was in winter I remember and she was wearing this red-brownish lipstick that she still has, use to suit her although now she prefers to go for plain red. The other three of me are lost, who knows where. I don’t miss them anyways, and if they would have been here, I probably wouldn’t).

He asked if he could keep me but she said no. I got scared for a while, I mean, although he had some good records, I didn’t want to leave her now. But I met him again in her room (see entry push and pull)

this time, he looked like me but, as usual, he always had to do the big show and look dramatic; he was covered with trees and had a gun in his mouth, or in his other mouth. His eyes looked the same though, as if he just had seen something and had stopped for a while, apprehensive but inviting.

We stayed together for some time. She had decided that in that white frame, we belonged to each other. Then C. came along. Things were a bit breathless with him. C. asked if he could have me, and again she said no. This time I was really happy. I wouldn’t have like to stay in C.’s room, wallet, drawer even worse. Although he was nice, I don’t think things would have worked out with him.

We came back together and ended up in a beautiful new room. with this view.

she decided that me and him should stay together, in that same white frame until she saw Jacques Doillon’s movie, Une femme qui pleure, and realized that hippy love is sometimes sick that it was better to close windows to be able to open up others. That was Fin de Copenhage .

“Parmis les etres qu’il a pu rencontre sur sa route, cinq personnes seulement ont pu frapper son esprit « ceux l’a, je ne pourrai jamais les oublier, dit il » (Guy Debord –or was it Gitte? – and Asger Jorn). Wasn’t quite convinced. She changed her screen savor and decided to remove his photographs. It felt good because my corners were starting to slightly bent while he was comfortable behind his shinny glass.

Then S. came to Beirut and showed her the ID picture of her Jan Van Eyck application. She really liked it. S. had a kind of 20’s or 30′ s

“yo takin’ to me ” Look. Witty and elegant, always. We stayed on the table together for a while. She wanted us to stay next to each other but didn’t want to put us in a frame. The table was the closest object she had and she would look at it everyday, almost.

Until she finally decided to go to Istanbul to meet this window view. He was standing at the corner. Patient with a small smile and gentle eyes, waiting as well.

She needed a visa, although she thought that after 500 years of domination, Turkey should not ask for visas, but that is not what the ministry of foreign affairs said. She got this letter.

So I’m leaving now, with this letter renewing Lebanon’s friendship to Turkey. I’m going to end up on a visa for Istanbul. Nice destination. Her parents were living there before she was born and she recalls that her mother use to talk about Turkey as if she was very much in love at that time. I will miss her but I think that it’s time to go. And to all the people that wanted me, if I would have stayed with you, I wouldn’t have been able to tell this story. Sometimes it’s good to switch image and change haircut (I don’t think she will ever have that fringe again).


Chasing Ghosts
November 11, 2007, 10:51 am
Filed under: love stories


In “Rumor Has it” another american romantic comedy with Jennifer Anniston, playing, as always, the bourgeois not quite bourgeois nice American girl, a bit funny, not quite a sex symbol but nettle sexy, there is one scene. Jennifer Aniston wants to know “who” she is since she can’t identify with her family’s life style. She researches her defunct mother’s history and discovers that before getting married, her mother had a fling with X (Kevin Costner) one week before her marriage. Aniston suspects X to be her father. She finds him and discovers that he is not her father but a charming man with whom, this time; she ends up having a fling (which puts her own fiancialle in danger). I am coming to the scene. After having decided to break away from X, X comes back to look for her. They start discussing what ties them; Anniston’s mother. X remembers how she walked away from him to marry Anniston’s dad and Anniston realizes that her search of who she is has been a search for her mother. Both end up concluding that they had been “chasing ghosts”, which leads them back to their respective regular relationships, which are, of course, not ghostly because based on their marriage commitments and their engagement towards their partners. The ghost against marriage. ( 0/ 1 and probably a cheer leader team celebrating…).

The reason why I have not started chasing ghosts is because I know that once I will start, the ghost won’t leave me. Rather, even if I think I have not started, the ghost is there, more present then ever. It is a matter of recognizing it and walking along with it. The film’s final scene is not very ghostly, or probably it is. The marriage scene where Anniston celebrates her “return” to her former partner. That’s what kept haunting me.

And that’s where I see the choices not depending on the dichotomy between marriage or not, the ghost or not (to be or nor to be). The ghost is always already there.Sometimes it hurts, sometimes less. I don’t think it ever scores.(0/0)

On black polished shoes
October 22, 2007, 6:39 pm
Filed under: love stories

In my attempts to understand my last relationship, I’m back to my previous previous one, trying to bridge some bits and pieces; what I took and what I left-and economy of the self-what remains and how it remains. The point is not about the love that is gone, it is about how I relate to the distance that it left. I see it now as a particular distance, not only the one between ex-partners, but one that is radical in a perceptive shift, an aesthetic one (this would need more investigation and discussion. To come…), of the way life is looked at.  I told him love was a social thing, he started talking about personalities. Not only, would I say, also black polished shoes.

In one interview I had with the artist Lina Saneh about the private and the public sphere in Lebanon, she mentioned “love”: “Love: how do we love, who do we love, what are we looking for in love, what do we expect from love and how do we handle it, etc…All this also depends, among other things, on ideologies, often dominating and belligerent ideologies. How to talk about love in Lebanon, for example.” Today, now, I think I have abandoned a certain “love” (the one you wanted me to hold on to, “because all men are selfish”, you said). I am looking at/for another one. Not more “real” and more “sincere”, but another construction, another aesthetic (hoping that there is something else).

“I do love you, though” (from My own private Idaho)
August 26, 2007, 9:16 pm
Filed under: love stories


When Mike says to Scott that he loves him, Scott replies that “two men can’t love each other” and that he only has sex with men for money. So money and love are seen as exclusive. Mike answers that he could love him, even if he wasn’t paid for it. The only love he knows is the love he gets paid for, he discovers love beyond economy with Scott: “I mean, I love you… and you don’t pay me”. The same non economy that makes him a non “well- adjusted person” ( “that’s alright, I don’t feel sorry for myself, I feel like a well-adjusted person”), this same love, probably that doesn’t give him the right measure to fit. Whereas Scott, in his de-measurement, always fits. In fact, “he can’t” love a man. But the sterility of his measure is not that he can’t love a man, but that he can’t love Mike. That Mike is “dying to” kiss him, and that “he knows it” (Mike: “You know that”),  but can’t love him. Mike, however, repeats his love twice. Then Scott does the worse he could do, he melancholically embraces Mike and invites him next to him “just to sleep”. Judith Butler would argue that this is precisely how genders are constituted, through the melancholic repudiation of the ‘other’. Being ‘masculine’ or being ‘feminine’ , “demands the loss of certain sexual attachments, and demand as well that those losses not be avowed, and not be grieved.” (Judith Butler, “Melancholy Gender/Refused Identification” in The Psychic Life of Power, 1997). It is through this melancholic (according to the Freudian reading to melancholia, as an incorporation of loss) repudiation that the subject is formed. This disavowal is accompanied by a set of social norms that one identifies with. Scott chooses not to love Mike because he is the future inheritor of his father’s fortune, and that there is a position waiting for him. However, Scott is fucked (or wishes he was!). Although he then fully embraces the inheritance of his father’s position and fortune, marries a beautiful Italian woman and denies the friendships of his past, at his father’s funeral, he can’t help but look at the ‘other’ funeral taking place simultaneously, the funeral of his ‘spiritual’ father, Bob, where Mike is also present. He knows that Mike is there. But what he knows also is Mike’s love, and he probably also knows his love for Mike to, but can only be haunted by its impossibility.