when the lights dim in your head

remember, if you can, my name

and if my name becomes too difficult

remember my face and my smile

and if my face becomes faint

remember my voice and my rhythm

and if my voice becomes distant

remember my hand and my touch

and when the lights go off in your head,

and all else fails

remember my love in the deeps of your silent beating heart.

‘My name is Jose. This is how it is spelled (J-O-S-E). In the Philippines we pronounce it the same way as in English (Hosay). And the Arabs pronounce it is as do the Spanish speakers (Khosay). And the Portuguese speakers, they spell it the same, and pronounce it (Josay). But all these name variations have nothing to do with my name here, in Kuwait. Here I am Essa.’

‘If I were to be like the bamboo tree, a tree of no belonging.  Break a part of its stalk and plant it, with no roots, in any land. It does not wait long before its new roots break into earth. It grows all over again in a new land. It lets go of its past. It lets go of its memories. It does not even care that people have not agreed on its name – kawayan in the Philippines, khaizaran in Kuwait, or bamboo in other places.’

An adaptation of two beautiful excerpts from a beautiful book. The Bamboo Stalk by Saud Alsanousi.

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