Poetry from Susie Gharib


It all began on a sea-voyage to Egypt during my teenage,
where I fell in love with the Pharaohs and their ancient heritage,
with the eye of Ra and the ankh which their deities held,
with the pyramids,
that I even contemplated becoming an Egyptologist. 

Next came a flight to Algeria where most people only spoke French. 
My inability to communicate made me appreciate lingual skills,
thus an enhancement of the language brought me translation thrills
of Les Fleurs du Mal and other Baudelairean gems.
My own odyssey to Melbourne and Sydney was fraught with hardships.
I thought the status of an immigrant was nigh to that of an explorer like James Cook,
so in the valley of humiliation I learned what it is to be caught 
in the labyrinth of employment agencies and social benefits.

My journey through Caledonia was the most inspiring of all.
I became enamored with kilts, with tartans, with the bagpipe’s call,
with the Sun-Cross that dangled from my left-ear’s lobe,
with the Celtic twilight that permeated my academic work.
Middle Age

He dwelt on his receding hair,
the sluggish pace of a healing wound.
He monitored each wrinkle on his face,
camouflaged the fast-greying phase
with a reddish beard
and a trendy, golf headpiece.

We argued about our difference in age
to no avail,
and though my visage had borne no trace
of corrosive time
or the passage of numerous days,
I assured him that my heart was a sage
with the blows of events that do not discriminate
between the infant and the far advanced in years.

I sat and pondered over my ill-chosen mate.
I though maturity would come with the lapse of decades,
but that was not the case,
for our love began to crumble with every physiognomic change,
and from his facial topography of my fate,
I knew the dissolution of our bond was a matter of weeks.

My first confidante was a school classmate,
who also resided down our street.
Our golden hours were when we sat beneath
their huge Christmas, pine tree,
and in the glow of tinsel, bells, and crimson beads, 
we poured into each other’s ears
our life-long dreams.
She wanted a glamorous husband. 
I desired something more unique
that would take me somewhere beyond the ordinary.

My second confidante was a fellow flat-mate,
who was nearing completion of a postgraduate degree. 
She intimated her wish to marry her current date
simply because she dreaded becoming an old maid.
I told her the idea had never crossed my mind
although I was her senior by five years.
I was only planning a future career
after the completion of my Ph.D.

My third confidante was my first intimate relationship,
a man whose date of birth preceded mine by two decades.
I confided in him my inability to love again
for monogamy was my inherent trait.
He said seeing other women would not alter his esteem for me.
I disagreed
and left him wallowing in his own creed
of genteel promiscuity.