Poetry from Susie Gharib

Rachel Corrie

In the time that I have been here
children have been shot and killed,
declares Rachel Corrie, who was appalled 
by the Israelis’ occupation of the Holy Land.

Having borne witness to the persecution of Palestinians,
to tank shell holes
that fill their walls,
to discrimination,
and displacements,
she stands before a bulldozer to prevent
the demolition of a pharmacist’s abode,
waving to the driver in fluorescent clothes, 
who ignoring her calls,
proceeds adamantly with his goals:
to demolish farmland, 
and an American pacifist’s voice.

As a child, Rachel had publicly voiced her dream
to annihilate hunger before 2003
but died bulldozered by the Israeli authorities, 
aged only twenty-three, 
a brave heart
that was not intimidated by autocracy.

Silence II

I recline upon my bed and sit still.
This silence will not last for more than two minutes,
for yells, sirens, and vociferating mobiles
will shortly resume their daily dialogues.

I hunt for fleeting spells of quietude,
mere bubbles that burst
within fractures of seconds,
since noise has become an integral part
of the fabric of our private and public lives.

Most of the people I happen to know
fear silence,
a much-dreaded foe,
and associate it with death,
or some psychological problem.

Ears are plugged,
flooded with torrents of noise.
Some TV sets are switched on throughout the nights
as if the angel of death is denied entrance
where music, dramas, or arguments are at work. 

I envy the Buddhists their moments of peace
who look like daffodils in oases of green
and think that even a monastery 
is a heaven I cannot attain.

What Might Have Been

You wish you could revoke a thousand decisions that derailed your life
and imagine a paradisiacal existence had you chosen otherwise,
a pathetic line of reasoning
for nothing can alter the course of your stars.

We were taught that our fate is written above our eyebrows.
Others believe it is visible in the lines of our palms.
I saw mine in the eyes of every enemy
who twisted their knives in my mind.

I indulge in no regrets
and avoid dwelling on the past,
avoid erecting monuments
for tragedies that blasted my paths.
I look ahead with a cynical smile
and expect the worst to come.


Dethroned and crownless, the convicted queen
has beckoned her subjects to kneel and pray
not to the skies who its children would claim,
not to the gods who torture and enslave.

A communal prayer of a wordless fabric
commences with a soundless tone,
a dirge for years of diminutive stature,
for frenzied hours that dissonance bore.

With interlocked fingers many awkward forms
betake themselves to swim to the coast.
The perfidious clouds that languish for havoc
now zestfully disband to open a door.

One streak of red that dilutes the streams
zigzags its way among pebbles and stones.
A pair of eyes that are petrified
look on at a scene from a severed throat.