TCE Poetry: Instructions from One Immigrant to Another (How to Cram a City)

don’t forget, Food Basics on Highland has the cheapest vegetables, and a couple of blocks east, Kishki sells food from back home, the fresh bread comes in Monday mornings. Ammar stocks better variety, but it’s a little more expensive, and you can’t get there by bus. once you get a car, everything will be easier anyway. let me tell you, you can’t live in this country without a car. 

do you smoke? oh, smoking here will make you wanna quit. you step out into the cold six months of the year. zamhrir. you start to feel your lungs freeze over, wallahi I can’t even get through a cigarah without cursing this place. anyway, you need a good jacket, you can’t use the ones you brought with you, there is an outlet mall in Mississauga, good jackets there for you and the kids. ya zalmeh kids here love the school, they get little cubbies with their name on it, and they play more than they study, it’s good for them.

anyway, the food here is not the same. sometimes we go barbecue in Waterloo Park, by the gazebos, we get the charcoal fire going. you know, once you have kabab on a charcoal, you cannot go back. there is couple of soccer nets too, we kick the ball around a little, but I am getting too old to compete with you young kids. we will go on Victoria Day inshallah, I will make sure to call you habibi.

ya’ani if you really want, there is a soccer league that plays in downtown Kitchener, but let me warn you do not visit Victoria Park, especially after dark. I heard there’s a stabbing nearly every night, and some kids sell mokhdarat by the bridge. there is a lot of nice places around the city, so you don’t have to go there anyway, this country is so green, you can drive for hours and the trees never end. alhamadallah life is good here, especially for the kids.

tayeb listen, cigarah died out, let’s get back inside, I want to get in a game of tarneeb before we go home.

– Bashar Lulu Jabbour