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Youcef Louaar on Etienne Dinet gouasmia on LETTER TO ST-AUGUSTINE
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To you my Grandmother, my true only Mother; please forgive me for not being of your last moments.
May your soul rest in peace.
Brain of this earth, so hidden and bright,
Blasting the sun, flooding every sight;
The owner of my journey, master of my both,
In grief I do have a wish, a need for an oath;
A letter to Paradise, would it gate?
Grand Ma is waiting, and I can’t be late;
She blew a moan, Son I’m up to a ride,
And went alone, I wasn’t by her side.
Grand Ma, I miss you and I miss it all,
Your laughter, your bread and your call;
Grand Ma, I miss the stories and your pride,
Crawl in the early and gather by your side.
Grand Ma, your cough stirred to never,
The sound of your broom, faded forever;
Grand Ma, I miss your eyes and the face,
That whiff of yours, I need to embrace.
Candor made the scent of your shawl,
Truth twined the bounty and the drawl;
A school of life, a candle in the gloom,
Your words of wisdom, guide of my doom.
Smell of goats we prized, muttons fowls and cows,
Ancestors made the rules, bounty pride and saws;
Your soul in my lungs, your blood feed my vein,
Gone without your son, in grief I’ll live in vain.
Where was I, when you sighed the call?
Where was I, when pain sapped the bawl?
Far in deep vanish, no hearsay no traces,
With fate I took a ride, of oceans and spaces.
Now that you’re in Yovna, for death I shall crave,
Ramble in bareness, and rove by your grave;
Will I ever hear your voice, will I see you again?
Drink from your smile, and ease the killing pain?
I seek for a nap, a deep dive in the gone,
Join my beloved, and revive my throne;
I wish for a sleep, close my eyes and rest,
Set my soul free, release body and chest.
My glass of fate, my buddy in the throttle,
Keep an eye, the grief may drain the bottle;
My tears will tide, throat will gulp the scream,
My eyes will close, for she will own my dream.
I love you Grand Ma until the end of never.
A cry of pain escaped from her thirsty bleeding skeleton and she turned around trying to receive the suffering jolts on some other parts of her weak stem. The fierce aching flooded her mind and enrobed her soul to vibrating her sweating head in all the directions. She could aim and wonder to trade the rest of her moments with a glop of death, but death was not around. She could wish and hope to spare the little child crawling at her scratched feet and sink in a furnace of ferocious burning heat, but the child is still holding tight on the edges of her torn dress in an attempt to stand on his little innocent feet. She could talk to the brain of this deserted earth and ask for a tiny moment of mercy, but the place was wearing a strange silence and empty of any breath or smell of any living creature. The hope to find a way out of this naked desert of life is all what she could taste around her dry thirsty tongue. Words of madness paraded in her ears and the whisper of a lament filled her lungs. Is it an event of sacrifice and blood has to flow to clean her forgotten destiny? Is it a dream that will end at the edge of a happy awakening moment and happiness is going to overcome the fields of reality? Why it is so, that only agony and pain can comfort the circle of days and set free the words of anguish out of her chocking throat? Are those tiny footsteps that have been following her in her way to the nowhere, the signs of a cry of birth or they are just a flow of a stream rushing toward its ocean of death? The woman has to endure the atrocities of rejections and the child has to drink torture and feed from the roots of revenge.
The face pale in panic, the eyes shredding the traces of layered dried tears, and the body in torture struggling to make a move and reach up toward the beyond of what the eyes could barely reach. Nothing was above and nothing was around that could bring a beam of hope; nothing that she could even forget and nothing that she could still remember. No wonder that the brain of this existence is absent from her deserted world, and she has been left on her own for an eternity. The child kept on trying to stretch the legs and stand on his feet, but if he only could miss a grasp and bulk down to ease her weight and set her free. Bitter desperation and a tasteless feeling of hopelessness invaded her heavy bosom, filling her nostrils with the hot and dusty wind of doom. She felt her head falling into a heavy weight of illusions and vague dreams colored the dryness of the stony path, which was rolling down its tongue ready to swallow each step of her path. She felt a strange pulse of warmth covering her lower legs and she felt the need to make a step. She smoothly pulled her left leg in a slow motion driving it away from her tormented past and in the same way did with her right leg in a gesture of an escape. A cloud of dust evaporated behind her like if the dust was trying to keep her from moving. The little child, who was holding up on his safety embryo and failing to anticipate his mother’s move, was not able to hold on his twigs and fell all the way down crunching with his teeth deep into the dust. The child body bounced once and rolled twice in the middle of sharp layers of dry mud that made his body bleed in several parts. He was lying down with his right arm imprisoned under his bleeding chest, his belly hugging a parcel of dry mud, and his left arm was fully extended in an attempt to reach up the mother of his lost destiny. But at his deep deception, there was no sign of her that he could see and no sound of her that he could distinguish. She left him there and abandoned him in the behind leaving him thriving in seclusion without any glimpse of her shadow. He was lying there in the middle of the nowhere and the Angels of his spirit came down to flock in a dance. While the Angels were waltzing around and in the middle of his dreadful panic, he could hear the bells of his requiem. He reached his moment of truth and the brain of this earth clogged from counting the days of his story. The doors of the past have just closed his final moments of existence and the gate of wrath opened wide marking the moment of a new birth. In his deep innocent silence, his eyes were changing their colors and his heart was readjusting the rhythm of its beats.
In a slow motion, the child little flimsy body tried to turn around itself seeking for a more comfortable position. He awakened each part of his corpse one at the time pulling them toward him in an attempt to find the position he used to have in his mother’s inside. That was the only place were he did enjoy warmth of safety and a secure shelter. His mother is now gone and forever her milk will fade to dryness within his childish teeth. He rested there for what seemed to be an eternity not willing to abandon the place that still hold the memory of the escaping mother. His bare remains layered the covers of the dark days, and he was no more able to discern any familiar sound striking the drops of his silent tears. She was at large away from his empty space and her breath of life is still echoing in the vanishing beat of his dreams. The little innocence is now alone and every living creature in the vicinity joined his felt senses to compile a world of threat around him. The song of fate rhymed in his ears in a melody of weeping, and a burst of hums gulped the finest from agony notes. The end has reached its beginning and the start is about to shiver and quiver for that first step toward what will never say it all.
The child tried to send a sound of a sob in the direction of his lost world, but the hills and the mountains of purity stood up all around to narrow the gap in his sight. In an attempt to ease his panic, he dug into the ground with his soft nails, then took for a bite of fresh earth and led it to his crying wide open mouth. On his hesitating weak elbows he deepened the hope, and on his bleeding scarred knees he built up the first stones of a survival legend. That is how the tragedy had to sew its invisible web, blinding each blink of an eye in his way toward what he will never find. He will spend his days trying to remember the music of his mother’s footsteps and take them for a target in an effort to catch up on his lost destiny. He could crawl on his bare knees and try to build up a story with which he would play and remain forever in his innocent world. He could try again and pull his little lean body, reassemble it to rest on his buttocks, and extend his left hand around to sweep the tears that are blinding his eyes. He is a child, and what could a child come up with when his little brain is still in his waiting room? The little whispering of his moaning echoed in the eastern cliffs and resonated in the western hills; but nothing came to ease his fatal panic and no sign of hope showed up to ease the pain of his fear. The brain of this earth was in an ecstasy of a mockery and the little child is now lost in the harsh wilderness, where his deserter mother has deserted him. He will grow up feeding from his sorrow and he will walk in the light of his lost moon. He will stumble on the unknown and learn to be alone. He will throw his legs wherever they could take him and attain the limits of all the beginnings. He will fight the lizards of his wrath and feed his days from the heat of the revenge. He will start at the bottom of that survival hill and go on climbing all the heights that will ask for a challenge. He will hold up on each dry stem that his bleeding hands will grasp and pull up his legs to add another step in his way searching for his lost fate. He will close his little tired eyes and take a deep breath to fill his lungs with the breeze of life. He will caress the burning soil that he will be sweeping with his skinny thighs and pay the price of an unknown deep struggle. He will struggle and fight hard to grow wise and fill his belly with wisdom. He will look higher than what his eyes can ever percept and fill his emotions with the rain of his fertile dreams. The olive tree on the top of that hill will remain his sole target and he will never rest until his back will collapse against its sacred trunk. Each time he will think of his mother, he will find her in each thing he will fall in love with, and so will be it.
The sound of anxiety roared its thunder of wrath and the snakes of all the anticipations have now crawled deep in their labyrinths. Over the hill of all the solitudes and on the top of the summit of all what he lived for, the little child stood up and his eyes ceased dropping their warm tears. A new era has begun and the true beginning of what he was born for has just reached its countdown. He is now standing there with his back against the olive tree of his childhood. A breeze of a new epoch refreshed his chest and he closed his eyes focusing on what could be his next destination. His deep thoughts were drinking from the tree wise spirit and his wrath was feeding from the perfume of its singing green leaves. The tree of wisdom had grown up wild and her branches pointed to all the directions. Her shade of emotions covered him with a feeling of a true mother. The olive tree is now hugging him with its majestic presence and a bond of life was established between the child and his true mother. The connection links to the superior layers that rest far above all the revelations that will lead him to that hidden world, where everything is so settled down. He was experiencing a trip away from the fear of this loneliness, a fantasy beyond the relaxation sphere, and an escape far away from her majesty the queen of reality. A butterfly of hope swung up and down around his nose inviting him to fly and move afar. He opened his eyes to realize that he was surrounded by a field of all the wonderful colors that nature could conceive. Wheat green stems were exceeding the heights with red poppies in the middle of a green carpet of life kneeled down in front of his determination and strong will. He stood up and took for a walk of life all the way down by the river of his strong sorrow that floods the banks of his traveling moments. Slow and hesitating were his steps carrying his dirge in the middle of the thrown stones and branches of a new existence. Far above behind him, the olive tree shook its twigs for a saying and whispered a wish:
Flex your legs my cherished son and let them find their way in this empty space, for they are rusty and itching for a move. Leave your grief at the bottom of my trunk and let your senses reach up the ultimate patience, for that is what in the truth you were born for. Listen up to the stories that the winds of destiny will blow on your ears and let it go until you reach the corridors of safety. Let it fall down to the lower abyss of emotions and let it go ever higher to fly above your perception and lead you to the world of the gone away. Bring your pieces together and let your heartbeats drink from the memories of your childhood. Let your eyes drill into the sky of what is forever gone and reach up the stars of those who took your destiny to their graves. You can do it my son and so will be your duty. A destiny of yours, born to fight until the fight will start again. You came to struggle until the struggle will harsh up to exceed what your mind never will expect. You will grow in the middle of loneliness my son and you will struggle again and again. That is in the truth what your nature is made of, and that is what you will always be to mean. The mother is gone to forever and among the wilderness, you will stay alone like never ever. Single in your solitude my lovely social butterfly, alone in your own paradise now; your words will be salty and your breath will suffer a throttle. Tell about the feathers of your dreams and the colors of your horizons. Talk about those faces that walk around your bed and the voices that keep on resonating in your ears. Drink from your soreness and run across the fog of your lost destiny. Wash your face with the rain of your freedom and melt your revenge with the tears of your determination. Run and cover the distances, climb the mountains and jump over the ditches and let the laughter fill your journey. Do not worry about the scars of the time and do not listen to the sirens of your anger. Let it go and turn yourself loose until you reach those of yours who left without a trace; those who went far beyond the end of all the beginnings. There my dear son where you do belong, in that land of the brightest light. There, where the song forever will wrap the words of your wounded blues.
There are moments when you will fall down and smash your face on your mother earth and smell its warm breath. There will be days when you will hug the stone of your remembrance and kneel down at its bottom. You will be sweeping your face against its sharp corners and bleed out of your thin front. Do not look behind, and never look back at your shadow. Do not open your eyes and never drop a tiny beam of tears. You are in the land of no existence and your fate was thrown in the flow of what will never be recovered. A deep sleep kept you far in the behind and your people have left the place. You woke up one early morning and all what you could hear was only silence. You rolled your eyes from side to side but only the cover of your solitude was wrapping your fear. Where did your people go and why you are still in the alone? Where did your belong go and why you had to be left behind? Did they leave or were they cursed by the wrath of your destiny? If you cannot be with your own be, why you have to be in this be? Why the sufferings and why the misery? Blow a breath of lamentation in the flute of this moment and let your bosom feel the notes. Let the ecstasy stream in your veins and reach up the far end of your torments. Let the sound of the days cry for you and sweep the tears of your falling face. I know what your feelings are about and I do venerate that look of your green eyes. It is a turn of life and your legs are carrying the weights. It is the end of an era and the clouds are coming for a visit. Drink from that cup of wrath that you save and go out of your refuge. Walk and walk so far away at the extent of the distances, until you arrive beyond the end of the never. Heave your bare feet and let your toes dive into the dry dust of your fate. Do not you ever worry and do not you ever look around. You will reach places that will not welcome you and you will gulp and swallow to your deep bottom the smoke of your twinge. You will reach heights and peaks of sorrow and you will hate the day when your mother went behind the never come back. You will roam and cover the distances; you will run in the sun and count the clouds. You will mark your path on the snow of ignorance of those of yours, and you will endure the soreness until you hate the day when it all began. The day your hands will join around your suffocating neck and your eyes will turn to the white; that day you will see the tunnel and have a glimpse of the way that will lay down to lead to where in the truth you meant to belong. An empty ecstasy and a sterile existence will take you from the hand and will lead you through the darkness and throw you in the catacombs. When your bones smash and mash down; when your head gets drunk of all the stress of the long way and your knees join your elbows seeking for a sleep. Then and only then, the smile of the sun will penetrate your cold bones and your ears will hear the birds of your childhood.
To the Queen of help I dedicate this
Tears of desperation washing her face,
Perfume in the air, hands deep in her purse;
Searching for the lost, trash filled the place,
Taking her time, afraid fearing the worse.
A tick of a clock, time to leave the gable,
No coffee this morning, apple will do the fine;
The few coins she had, spread over the table,
A guest she has to feed, austere holding the line.
Trait of honor, a rock facing the flood,
A chest full of love, always at the call;
Queen of help, ready to offer her blood,
Silent the whisper, eyes telling it all.
From all the world, she only needs a five,
A little money, she could get last night;
The Jobless her guest, fighting to survive,
She gave a promise, to save him the fight.
Lost in her hope, not finding her money,
In Search of her five, not able to find;
She will play the lotto, and count the many,
One half for her guest, the queen of her kind.
Father of her Christ, Pope of her Jesus,
Beatrix the saint, please do recognize;
To the five, add all her golden wishes,
Mahbouba is a Saint woman venerated by
my people, the shrine of whom is in my native land.
Lalla is a form of reverence when calling some much
respected women in the family or in the tribe.
Note: Highlighted words are explained in the lexicon at the end of this page.
My steps were brave keeping the pace while the heat of August summer was topping the sky. There was a mixture of thirst and dryness chocking up my throat, and my tongue kept on trying to come to my rescue. Everything around was so silent and only the noise of my feet was keeping me company. The trail, carved by the flow of the years, snaked in front of me, as I was swept away by my thoughts while the heat of my sweat was steaming from all around my neck. I took up for a glance to the far above to what covered my sight, and I could see the roof of my beloved home shining high to the brightest. My feet, pushed by the impatient that I was, went up speeding the count in a hurry, while my heart was carried away by an immense joy that invaded my chest. She is there and her roof is waving so bright. She is there the mother of the braves. She is there my Lalla-Mahbouba, my true mother of all the time. When you live without mother, you learn to find her in everything you love.
The outside of the walls, washed by the waves of the many droughts, is still keeping a dim white look of pride. The roof metal sheets, color of my lost destiny, are still holding the word, lifting our brave mountains above the beyond. The temple of Lalla-Mahbouba is now here, and I am in front of it; the icon of my tribe is still alive, and I am now part of it.
As a came to step in through the gate, something attracted my attention. Marks of hands covered with Henna were left on each side of the entrance; they were left by my beloved Lalla. Following the sacred tradition, I reached up with my lips and swept a kiss on each side; that is to write my chapter on the temple of my holy shrine and to smell the scent of my holy Mother.
When I went inside the temple’s sole room, a fresh atmosphere embodied me. The Mother was hugging her prodigy after all these long years and I was so delighted. Once my eyes could clear up the light of the outside and distinguish the objects in the middle of the dimness, I could see a majestic form occupying the other side of the room. The tomb of Lalla-Mahbouba stood up in front of me, filling the time with its presence. A sensation of deep respect and holiness overwhelmed my body, as my lungs were inhaling the perfume coming from the multitude of green and white blankets that covered the grave. Sitting on the left side of the place, I could see that just by extending the left arm I could reach up and touch my Mother. I extended my legs wide apart and bulked my upper back on the stony wall. I half closed my eyes and I took up for a deep breath, since I am now home and I am safer than ever.
As I was deeply sunk in my relaxation effort, suddenly the seal of the doorway slapped the wall, and radiance got conquered; the twist closed up the gate, and seclusion took the right corner of the room. The temple went quiet, and a dim light drilled through the moldy roof with scattered wavy beams. Time was kept outside, and the about is about to be.
Silence, only silence was revolving all around, and I am now part of this parallel existence. A strange feeling of deep safety swept me from my feet, a feeling of relief poisoned my perception, and I gave up to the calmness that covered my sweating body. My heartbeat was cooling down and I could feel the relaxation climbing my lower legs. I took a blink at the tomb, while I could feel my head getting heavier. I felt asleep, and I wanted to have a nap. It is always so when you go back to your mother’s home. The first thing that you do is to lay down in your childhood corner and sleep. It is a natural human way to express the joy of feeling safe, just like when we once were inside of our Mother’s belly. I dove into a deep sleep and time went away.
A fresh smell of a strong perfume prickled my nose, as I came back to life while opening my eyes. I had a thought to look at the right side toward the closed door where there was nobody. I turned slowly my sleepy eyes screening the area in a panoramic motion to end up at the tomb on my left side. I saw something but I was not sure if that was the fruit of my imagination or it was indeed something. I closed and opened my eyes trying to clear them up and be able to focus on the shape in the middle of the dimness. She was there on her bed, while still resting on her left elbow. In a reflex of a random motion, I tried to correct my position to sit down in a more polite way. I could not believe it. This woman that I see now must be Lalla-Mahbouba, as only she can be of this fascinating beauty. The legend was true and in fact her beauty exceeds and by far all what I have heard about her. Her long dark hair was wrapped with a lovely green scarf that had some black decoration on its extremities. Her face was so full of life, shining with unique wonderful penetrating black eyes. From under her red blankets I could see a marveling blue sky dress ornamented with beautiful flowers that differed in shapes and colors. She seemed to come out of a very deep sleep and her eyes went on scrutinizing the surroundings. I was not able to even swallow my tongue for fear to disturb her holiness. I was fighting hard to keep my strong heartbeats under control and I could feel my heart irritating my throat. She pulled herself to the back and took with her right arm two dark brown pillows covered with golden embroidery and placed them behind her back. She adjusted her sitting position and covered herself to the waste while leaving the tail of her scarf resting on her left shoulder. She moved her hands in a slow motion to lay them in front of her and joined them in a shaking position. She put her eyes on me and her face expressed a very beautiful hidden smile.
You came back at last.
I was not able to whisper a word and instead I tried to swallow my tongue.
What took you so long? Have you forgotten who you are?
My eyes exploded with heavy tears that flooded my cheeks to join up on my chin. The words crowded my throat but none of them could make it to the free. I tried to sweep my face with my right hand while trying to catch up with my breath.
What will be the fate of this land without its children? What voices will resonate above these mountains if everybody flees away? What people will fill these woods if not my people? Even you my Son?
I felt an overwhelming emotion warming up my heart while listening to her calm voice. She seemed whispering every word that comes out of her red marble lips and finally something moved my tongue and my voice could say something.
Holy Lalla, you were always in my heart.
She illuminated her corner with a brief smile and then turned her face away from me to her right side. She was gone away with her thinking and after a moment of silence she turned her face back to me. Tears were on her face and she fixed her crying eyes on me. It was a very distinct moment that kept me glued on my seat not daring to even move a finger.
Nobody comes to visit me anymore and loneliness covered my time with a thick dust. They all went away and no one cares about this land anymore. The blessing that once was here in these mountains has turned to a silent sadness. They abandoned their roots and they removed me from their thoughts. There was a time when I was the Queen of all and my people were all around filling my world with a great joy. They used to come with their offerings and they never missed any occasion to come and enlighten my candles. The sound of their voices vanished away and I don’t hear their singing like in those golden years. Everything is so dry around my place and their horses died one after another. Where is the sound of the Gasba? Where are those Zorna melodies? The words of their Tabla hushed to eternity and the rhymes of their Bendir got buried in their lost memories. My Henna has faded away and the women of my people have dumped their pride. This wind from the east has brought a malediction to this land and El-Mehiaoui has given his last breath. My world is gone and I seek for an eternal sleep, but now you are here and life is back to me.
My tears blinded my eyes and I was so embarrassed that I was not able to control my emotions.
But I am here my Lalla.
She smiled wide and moved aside leaving some space on her bed on her left side. With her left hand she taped twice on her bed in the freed spot.
Son of my hero, please come and sit beside me.
I was not able to move and a total confusion invaded my thoughts. How could I dare and sit beside the holy Mahbouba? I hesitated for a while when she shifted right a little more leaving more space on her left side.
Come my Son, it has been an eternity since I saw you last time. You were a little child full of energy and I still can hear the sound of your bare feet when you used to play around.
In a slow confused motion I brought all my parts together in an attempt to stand up. I was not able to feel my feet and could not distinguish if I was walking toward her or some mysterious power was carrying me toward her. I came out from my confusion when I felt her left arm around my shoulders. I adjusted my position so that I don’t take more space than necessary when to my extreme joy she put a kiss on my face.
Tell me my Son, how was life with you? How did you find your way to me after all these long eternal years?
Life took me through the worst and a Gladiator I became. My days followed a harsh stream and my nights darkened with lamentations. I went from land to land and I crossed oceans and continents. I opened my heart to the eternal hopes and I gave my ears to the words of wisdom. I turned around and met souls and fates. My world was empty and my heart full of rage. Fear played with my moments and my path went through ups and downs. Loneliness was my only companion and I was a social butterfly. It has been so many long years since I lost the meaning of the word home. The years passed by and the time circled above; the nights come and go and the days followed their stream. That little crawling rock, rocked by the tick of time, has bumped onto a place in the land of nowhere. The blink of an eye, the flash of a shining beam of memory, and a light stroke the dusk. A fragment of a smile from my cradle came to my dreams and high above the heights the sound of our cows waved from these holly mountains. From this shrine so single and unique where it all began, you my Lalla blew up a whisper in my veins. It is the color of my blood, the genes of my beloved father, and the laughter of my childhood. They all brought me here to seek for a drop of a blessing from my Lalla.
She took a very deep breath while turning her face away to the right side and dove into some deep thoughts. She moved her left hand and gently pulled my head to make it rest on her left shoulder. Her fine hand was caressing my head while we both kept on silent listening to the shrill sounds of cicalas singing outside behind the walls of the temple. She took another long deep breath and went on talking above my head.
Our fate is the same my Son. I myself was born and raised in a far land. My people are not your people and there among mine I was respected and venerated for my leadership. I was the bosom on which the tears were poured from the weak and the oppressed. I was the word of wisdom that guided them in their daily life. I was a Queen without castle and my voice reached the elderly and the young. My little home was the shelter of the poor and the destination of all kind of visitors. I was ruling with the words of my ancestors and my heart was open to the rich and the deprived. I gave everything and I had nothing of mine except for my blessed white horse. They venerated me and made of me a Saint all along my days among them. One night, as I was sleeping in my little room, I had a dream. It was more than a dream, it was a vision. I saw an old man wearing a white Burnous standing at the entrance of my room. His white clean beard was well maintained and his eyes were shining green just like yours. He had his right arm behind and with his left hand he was putting his weight on an olive tree stick. I asked him to come in and be among my guests but he apologized and said that he must go. He went on talking and told me that he came with a message that I have to listen to. He said that my time to go to the other world has come and I must prepare myself for the trip. I asked him about what I am supposed to do since I am within my people in my native land and I should be buried among my ancestors. He kept silent for a while and then he continued. You will ask your people to put your dead body on your horse and let it walk away through the tribes and the woods. When the horse reaches your place he will lay down and rest. They have to dig for your grave at that place and there you will rest in peace. I was moved by his words and kept on weighing the extent of his message. I wanted to say so be it but the old man was already gone and I came out of my dream.
Early in the morning I called the wise of my people and told them about what I saw. They were so unhappy by the news and tried to convince me to take it just as a dream. I was determined to follow the prophecy and asked them to fulfill my wishes. I went back to my bed and tried to take a nap. That was my last moment in this world and my soul went back to Yovna our mother star.
My people were brave and followed my last wishes and so my horse went on carrying me in our final trip to the land of the unknown. My people were following the horse in a deep sorrow and no one of them felt tired or whispered a voice of a word. After seven days of a long trip my horse came to this place and exactly at this spot he bulked down. My people did not know if that was it or the horse will stand up and continue his trip. But after a long day of waiting the sunset illuminated these mountains with a majestic red orange sky and the night invaded the corners. My people fell asleep and each one of them leaned down and rested under the weight of the tiredness of such a long trip. Early the next day my people started coming out one after another of their deep sleep. They were surprised to find the horse still in the same position but his soul went away with his beloved Queen. The older of my people made a requiem speech and asked his followers to be ready for the burial. At this same moment voices came out from these woods and your people showed up in a massive number of brave men. They looked so concerned by the event and they were rushing down to join my people. Your grandfather was leading them and he was the one who talked and asked my people about what was happening on his land. Once he heard the story his eyes became red of emotions and drops of tears covered his face. He kneeled down in front of my dead horse with my body still over him and said his famous words. This woman is from us and we are her people. This day will be my tribe’s day and by God we deserved the right to burry her. He asked my people to be his guests and the two tribes together buried me and my horse side by side as you see now. He then built for me this shrine and both of our people spent the night around my temple celebrating the event. Since then, the same day of each year, your people came with their women, children, and guests from other tribes to celebrate my day. They became my people and I became the Queen of their hearts and their holly Saint. They kept me company and they never failed spoiling me like one of theirs. But since few decencies now and after that wind that blew up from the Far East, our tribe left the land and I stayed alone with my loneliness. Nobody comes to visit me anymore and even their goats and their cows have disappeared forever. This place was once a temple but now it is just a forgotten grave of an ancestor.
As you see my Son, our fate is the same, as I was abandoned by my tribe and you were left to yourself without any roof to give you a shelter. I escaped and buried myself within a deep sleep and you my Son, rebel like your father, you went away beyond the oceans and the continents chasing what is gone forever. Today you are here and your presence is filling my world with happiness. So my little Son, stay with me this time and never leave your Lalla alone anymore.
I was listening to her words enjoying the warmth of her lovely hand playing with my hair. My eyes felt heavy and I closed them to enter the world of dreams. A large wide heavy wooden door opened in front of me and a blast of strong light blinded my eyes. The sun was so bright, the sky was a wonderful clear blue, and the field was waving with green wheat stems. A little breeze came over and the field waved in an angelic dance of freedom. I was attracted by the presence of a Man far on the other side of the field. The Man was waving to me asking me to join him; but due to the far distance I was from him, I was not able to distinguish his face. I walked faster toward him and went through the field wheat stems that were covering me to my shoulders. The man did not move from his place and I could now see his smiling face. He was my beloved father and he was there waiting for me. A loud scream came out of my throat and my voice bubbled the word I never had the chance to say:"Father!!!". My legs were running and I was trying to fly. I was not feeling my feet while running toward him and my crying eyes never went away from him for fear that I loose him again. As I had him in my reach I opened my arms and jumped in his wide open arms. While he was hugging me so tight and my face kissing his face, the voice of Lalla-Mahbouba whispered in my ears:
"Rest in peace my lovely Son."
They say that there was the woman and the horse, but now they will say there is the woman, the Son, and the Horse. My holy Lalla is no more alone. The place is indeed a temple and it is now more peaceful than ever.
The words talk about a dream, but when will the
dream become true? The words drop them blood
and agony, but they will never say it enough.
Tabla: A traditional drum used in the Algerian folk music.
Zorna: A wind instrument played traditionally with the Tabla.
El-Mehiaoui: A very famous singer and dancer in my native land.
Bendir: A traditional music instrument used in Algerian Folk music.
Yovna: A star where I believe all my family souls will converge.
Burnous: An Algerian traditional dress for Men.
Gasba: A bamboos wind instrument (a long flute) used in the Algerian Folk Music.
I don’t like this sound that prevents me from closing my eyes and go for a share of dreams. My heartbeats are making a horrible noise that keeps on taking this heavy stress into a continuous progress of threat. They are the drums of a false promise that send their vibrations to shake up my head and exhort it out from its final rest.
Tell me about that appointment with my path and I will pack my anxiety in my way to go out for my ultimate trip. Tell me about those stories that left me alone with my hopes and I will listen up until I fall asleep. Shake up my sorrow and display out the wonderful colors of my childhood. Twist hard my fate and send out a thunder of wrath for the storm to pinch up the events of my promised tomorrow.
No truth in my sight and no life in my thinking. No murmur of that creek and my world is dry of emptiness. My door is open and I see shadows in a clear moon light. They are jumping around with faces of a big smile greeting me with a satirical ignorance. My body is cold and a fever of homelessness is scratching up my left hand. The sound of frogs is escalading high the hills of darkness. The whisper of silence is taking me from my right hand to step into this muddy path that is caressing my bare feet to a sensation of pain.
Wake up dear myself and go out to face up the howling of all these enchanting voices. Follow the traces of your people and enter those holly woods. When you reach up the heights and you leave your empty home behind all your remembrance. When you look around, to find out that you can no more hear the voices of your ancestors. When you lack for a drop of affection and you can’t find that chest of your first breath. When your eyes reflect the sky of a starry night and your throat sends out the hushed sound of your desperation. When you feel your head so heavy and rest your back on that brave old rock. When your tears find their way to the free and you cover up your face with your cold hands. Then and over that little tiny break of time, you will receive a moment of freedom that will embody you with an eternal sense of nothing. What is it? Why I am here? Where are my moments? Why I can’t sleep?