NOISE & NATION
By Leyya Mona Tawil
Noise & Nation is an accumulation of transmissions in literary, performance, sound, and visual form that attend to diaspora, temporality and the post-border body. Lime Rickey International’s Malayeen is a performance score, accounted here as a dream.
She is still, in a triangle surrounded by gold.
Kings fill time with their shadows and sounds.
BEHOLD! I put my words into your mouth.
The vibrations enter your organs before they enter your eyes
She prepares by scrolling ripples through her bones.
Her hands meet behind her.
Her heart bends before her.
Her exhales define the sanctuary, the geography.
A hymn for the weeping prophet pours onto the ground.
Jeremiah We weep
Jeremiah We wrath
Jeremiah We burn
City and world
City and world
It falls to the ground, like faith. It is called nation.
Porous and deceptive as skin.
I make murderers look like saints and saints look like thieves.1
Roll call for togetherness.
Where are the millions?
Where are the millions!
Where are your voices
Where are your forces
She traces the ghosts, she drops to her knees.
She trembles out.
Her spine strikes the beats, shrieks, sheiks.
The land like sky like ocean/ infinite and rippling.
We duck underneath her arms for cover.
Pray for more distance from here
Noise or silence, choose your weapon.
He tumbles into her legs, this horse.
It’s best if her feet stop touching the ground.
The winds speak.
She sat on a cement bench in the courtyard surrounded by vines and dogs, the winds spoke to her with sweetness she could taste: we got through, we got through.
This vaporous tone
The voices approach from behind.
Take your hands, make staffs
Take your legs, strike them enfolding in time.
Your hair harkens dreams and ancients and lovers, lovers of love
Your hair erases the past
The ice shirt melts.
There is a star whose light is the fence of what we call world.
There’s got to be a better view.
There are melodies we don’t know.
But we believe them anyway.
She is king.
We shake with purpose.
The waves begin again.
CODA – BEIRUT
The sea explodes, the smoke is red and her lips bleed.
I ask the saints. What would you have us do?
CITY AND WORLD
CITY AND WORLD
CITY AND WORLDS
She is underneath the slipstream of the sea.
The waters weep with stillness.
Which way is home? We ask for Darwish.
The absence of waves shocks her spine.
We hold together and watch from afar, all times are simultaneous in these songs.
When there is no one else
To hear. Tell me in a voice the sea
Would have, if it had not a better one: as it lifts,
Hundreds of miles away, its fumbling, deep-structured roar
Like the profound, unstoppable craving
Of nations for their wish. 2
Leyya Mona Tawil (Lime Rickey International) is an artist working with dance, sound, and performance practices. Tawil is engaged in the world as a Syrian Palestinian American. She has a 24-year record of performance scores that have been presented throughout the United States, Europe, and the Arab world. Tawil was named the ISSUE Project Room Suzanne Fiol Curatorial Fellow for 2020 for her project “Nomadic Signals.” She was also a 2018 Saari Fellow (Finland). Her work, Lime Rickey International’s Future Faith, commissioned by Abrons Arts Center and the KONE Foundation, was nominated for a 2019 Bessie Award in Music. She is the director of Arab.AMP, a platform for experimental work and ideas from the SWANA diaspora.
Read next: Poetry section
1. Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You, Frank Stanford
2. Strength of Fields, James Dickey