My Father’s Nine Lives

    Never before has an attempted suicide led to an obsession with life. As Alexander, the 13-year-old, waited at home whilst his comatose father was driven to hospital, he wondered what made his happy father turn on himself. A traitor to himself and us, a deserter, and deserters deserve to be – no, that…

Before Emigration

      September 1964, a week before Independence     The summer was bright over the rocks and the sea. A seagull dived into the water. A young boy watched it and thought of German bombers diving over ships and cities during the war. He was young and he wanted to jump into the…

Never Forget Hope

  Zeus was an old man. Still a god but not the indestructible lord everyone on Olympus and on earth thought he was. It happened all of a sudden. Last year, as he travelled to one of his temples in Sicily, Zeus passed out. His son, Apollo, the god of music, truth and most importantly,…

Beauty and Impermanence

  He first noticed the girl the day after her mother died in a car crash. It was such a perfect day. One of the first days of spring that fills the sky with screaming brightness. How such a tragedy could happen on such a divine day was a mystery that hung heavy in the…

The Games Time Plays

  A game of chess played under a Maltese cherry blossom. The spring was new and Sofia was young. Her father was a fluent chess player in his day and now he was passing on his un-fulfilled potential to Sofia. “Did you know, Sofia, that if you put one grain of rice on the first…

I Want My War

  Dedicated to the survivors of Srebrenica   “The local soldiers didn’t even have a uniform. A lot of them were just kids fighting in their Converse and jeans. When they weren’t at the frontline I saw them surviving like the best animal, and every night they’d be gather around a burning car tyre trying…

The Belly of New York

We need to start talking about why you look Mexican. Being Maltese I am – we are – sufficiently mixed with Latinate blood to pass, especially with the right facial hair, for something resembling a Mexican. Buy, my daughter, why you have to look like an Aztec princess gazing down on a queue of sacrificial…

Doubt and Apostasy in Golgotha

  A golden-faced Christ looked down on me from the dome. His Byzantine face was sterner than the blonde countenance of the European Jew that gave us Christmas. Like some Andy Warhol print Jesus’ face has been replicated like rain-drops in a violent night sky. Growing up I have seen him in musicals, churches, key-chains,…

The Chilean Diaries

      What are you to do, what are you to do when your father is the most hated man in the country? All because of something he didn’t do. A poster-child of alleged child-snatchers among neo-liberals and their political shadows. The “man who kidnapped his own daughter” (newspapers in Malta don’t have the…

A Home in the Mountains

        The plane flew over thousands of feet of emptiness. A dark ocean of nothingness. It’s nose was pointing to the clouded horizon; a million miles from home. It was the first time Alexander had left Europe. Everything was exciting for him: the popping ears; the fresh blue air of a new…