د. صلاح الدين الحريري

event against eventuality

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All characters and voices in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to persons (and voices) living or dead is purely coincidental.

EVENT AGAINST EVENTUALITY (a drama of voices) by Salahuddin Hariri © All rights reserved by the author

"He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you."(NIETZSCHE)




"He's always been like that. His childishness

 And boyish tendencies remained intact,

 Defying all the saddening laws of change.

All his potentials in the cradle lulled

Themselves to sleep – their sleep their anchorage.

When we were married I could see the point:

The jealousies, absurd suspicions, all

That could evoke in man madness and rage.

But he, the swelling egotistical,

Could never see the child, and so the child

Insisted that I treat him as a man,

A man whose presence should excite my heart

To ecstasy, my limbs to nothing less

Than purging agony. The bastard! How

Could he expect a miracle when he

Would shrink away from me as from a curse,

Disgruntled by the smell of blood? How queer

He made me feel about it every month!

And now, though separated we have been

For twelve or so months, every time we meet

To talk about a finalized divorce,

He drops maliciously the names of men

He'd always thought, suspected I should say,

I'd slept with, cheating on him night and day."




"Unfinished yet or has it just begun

 This morning walk I take day after day

 Along the beach to keep my twirling blood

 At peace with its own will and with my heart's?

 A heart condition could mean anything:

 Your heart is failing you or you your heart;

 An act of disobedience, nonetheless

 Self-calculated, self-declared, while you

 Stay dangling will-less between wish and act;

 Or could it be the poison she'd instilled

 By walking out on me, or could it be…?

 I'm tired of these mornings and these walks

 Which doctors say will help me hang around.

 Around for what they never say the fools.

 But hang around and hang such are the rules.

 This walk like every day is just a walk,

 A conscious trip towards my lonely grave:

 My shoes my own gravediggers…"




"Last night I had a dream, a sweet nightmare,

About your mother walking everywhere.

So proper and so righteous was her stroll

You'd think she filled her shoes with her own soul.

And on she went, unheeded by the rain,

Between the drops she walked – which was insane.

And bit by bit, it's awful to recall,

She turned into a turtle, while her shawl

Transformed itself into a turtle shell

So thick and hard not all the flames of hell

Could change its nature. So I blew my nose

And ran away as always on my toes.

As long as she's self-righteous and upright

Cucumber sandwiches will serve her right."





"The wave begins to gather force.

In time she starts to heave a sigh.

She swells in perfect harmony

With her conception of herself.

She runs her course, she hunches, then

Begins to slant and slant along

A field of hissing memories,

(Volitional or otherwise).


But this is all in summer time.

In winter, her portentous rage

Seems fatal as she strikes against

Her other raging images,

As though conflicting with herself.

But not for long. The summer comes

(Volitional or otherwise).


Tamara, running like a wheel

 In circles, can observe herself

 And nothing else. What else? What else?"





"Had he been here to watch 'Caligula'

With me tonight, since mother's at my aunt's,

He would have drummed his head against the wall,

Or touched the ceiling jumping up and down,

Excited by those haunting scenes of lust,

Of beastly passion, of the hungry mouths

Of lesbians burning with the Roman wine.

His passion is so strange it frightens me

But what a thrilling fright! And what a scare!

His fingers whisper magic and his gaze

A serpent sliding eating at my flesh

And being eaten by him is a thrust

Into a state of wakeful shatteredness."


Upon the blackened screen of her TV

 Her private visions marvelled. Colors, shades

 Melt, merged, convulsed, subsided, flickered out,

 And in a minute flushed with life again.

 She saw all what she saw, but did she see

That what she saw was not reality

Or what she would have liked it then to be?

Were those tinges and hues vague promises,

Hints at the future evenings yet to come

Once her divorce was finalized? The thought

Was more than thought. Her dulled eyelashes kept

Their secrets to themselves as tight her hand

Was getting round her empty glass of wine.





"The closet's not the proper place for man.

My flesh and blood are real. You always did

Admit the truth indulgently.

So free me now from all that stinking air

Which but fictitious lovers would enjoy

With beaten souls unlike my own.

What does your mother know? Asexual

As she must be, she must have given birth

To you not knowing what orgasm is like

Before conceiving you and afterwards.

She's never seen you tremble as you do

When you transcend yourself. She's never heard

The "Ah" and "Oooh" and "Ouuuh".

She's never guessed.

So how dare you propose that we should meet

Twice every week and only in the dark

 And never mix again in social life

To please her turtle self? You must be mad.

 If you are not, I am. I really am.

Come let me plunge myself – I'm really sore—

Into the sweating light upon your shore,

Into the pulsing perfume where the dawn

Of human history breaks with every beat,

Where pain engulfs the joys of instincts all

And flutters –wings and veins—to free the soul." 




"Deceptive words deceptive cultures make.

They smell of ancient rot.

 Take 'menstrual' for instance:

 It is hissed

 And never said out loud

 As though to keep it from the tricks of air,

 Encrusted everlastingly

 In misty breaths

 Exuding from the trunks of rust

 We call the channels of the human brain.

 It's maddening, is it not,

 To learn by chance and keep remembering

 That 'menstrual', from Latin 'mensis'

 Meaning month,

 Ironically begins with 'men'.

 Damnation then!

 Damnation still

 For who can tell me why

 That lunar blood keeps pestering

 My nostrils with that lunar rot of smell

 For three four days a month

 And every month

 Although I'm living on the first floor

 All by myself

 While she with all her smells

 Sweeps on the fifth her shards of nights and days?


This unmistaken stench that blocks the air,

 That litters down the stairs oppressively,

 Is nothing but the lava of her soul."





"'Hush, hush', I whispered by the gate of hell

 Hoping the two-horn devil would not tell,

 But having bribed him once or twice before

 I knew he'd nod and let me in once more.


I touched the flames at last. Guess who was there?

 My father and your mother in the blur

 Of my hell-boiling vision were so close

 I could not comprehend. I could suppose

 My father's hand was holding her right hand

 Tempting her trembling fingers to go mad

 For naked like the stars was he. And she

 Was blinking madly trying not to see.

I jumped in, for the knight of hell was I

 And intervened to stop the blunder. Why?

 I could not tell at first, but anyway

 I said to horny what I had to say:

 'I will not beg you by the names of all

 Those wicked wonders since your father's fall

 You've practiced on us men – neither by those

 Intriguing presences of friends and foes.

 But I will beg you by the mellow smell

 Her daughter's skin transmits. Electric? Well,

You know what I in my own clumsy way

Am trying through the flames of hell to say.

It's not the duck, you know, I hope is fine

But if she's saved, the duckling will be mine.'


The devil winked. Your mother flew to earth                                               And for your sake was given a new birth".





It was almost an hour, perhaps two,

Since she had slumped upon her window-chair

That window-chair

 Which she had set there so purposefully

 You'd think it had been there for centuries,

Unwarmed by someone else's heat but hers,

 A lonely chair, a speechless mate, whose task

 Was to pinpoint what went on down the street,

 To reconstruct or just the contrary

 Not visions, oh not visions, but blurred scenes.

 Her window-glass, her window-chair, and she

 Were still inspecting street and pavement, still

 Dissecting thighs from hips, and finger-tips

 From fingers, heads from hats, umbrellas from

The grasps possessive of young hands and old

When he, their lanky prey, flashed by the curb

And disappeared they knew not where and how.


Upon the whiteness of the window-sill

Her fingers cracked their silence, tapping out

A chart of beating madness, maddening beats,

A thunderstorm of mud, a chronicle

Of ill-tuned rivers, subterranean rains,

 And other things of her tormented soul

And other things of what's beyond that soul.

"His will", she told herself, "is not my will.

It's not a rock like mine invincible:

Insensitive to heat and cold and rain.

 These elements, convulsing with the change

Ordained by mother nature, will leave him

As time dies out a heap of helpless dust

Forever lost in its infinity".


She held her breath and tighter drew her shawl

Around her stiffened shoulders, then went on:

"It's true with his support my daughter will

Get finally her long-delayed divorce:

His cunning comes in handy, but I think

He is the means mistaken for an end.

 But not by me. Perhaps by him and her.

 For immature and sentimental both

Have always been in matters of the heart

If heart it be what's binding them so close.

The present is so tight, so let it be

A passing care, true friendship, love affair,

Or any other lie they think it is.

For in the time to come, and sure it will,

My will will master both their destinies."




"It's rather odd, but rather interesting

 That every time I look around and see

 A little creeping thing, instinctively

 I think of instinct as the shaping force,

 The radar, so to speak, the guiding light

 That gives this tiny creature what it needs

 To creep its silent trip from birth to death.

 And when I think of it I think of her:

 That's why it's odd, so odd indeed since she,

 No more an infant, walks on two like me.


Ancient Egyptians tried to solve them all –

 Yes all the problems of mortality,

 The human flesh with its demands, the soul

 With its tormenting longings and its fears.

 Hence their obsession with the pyramids,

 The epitomes of immortality;

 And hence the oddest thing of all

 Their likening of the human soul

 To just a scarab beetle.

 How such a symbol worked for them at all

 Will always be just as enigmatic

 As is the way she creeps into my mind

 When I behold a creeper creeping by."




"His skull (I cannot say his head

 For he has lost it long ago

 Over the trifling urgencies

 Of his hair-thin imaginings)

 Is swarming with a mob of flies,

 Exhortative, persistently

 Abusing. Oh, he'll never be

 Clear-sighted, for it's true, it's true

 A mind too ravaged by distrust

 is mind too blind to see."





"'The duty of the artist is to stir

 Unease and anguish in the minds of men

 And women who indulge in preying on

 His private knowledge of himself, not out

 Of love or out of curiosity,

 But as a sick diversion from the whores

 They keep under the skin – their petty souls.'

 Whoever wrote these lines makes sense to me

 And should make sense to you, Tamara, love.

 Although myself am not an artist, I

 Feel it's my duty to disturb the mind

 Of that steel-shelled old turtle known here as

 Christiana Dior of West Beirut – your mom.

 Don't laugh at this, and when you laugh don't put

 Your fingers to your lips! You're not a child!

 Besides, it's foolish and unladylike.

 But back to Mother Goose, the epitome

Of social graces – and hypocrisy.

She's been in West Beirut, well, all her life.

She's lived and mixed with Moslems all the way.

And all throughout this war she's never left.

There's nothing more admirable than her

Mulish tenacity. Your fingers off

 Your lips I said! Can't you control yourself?

 I'm counting facts, and facts you know so well,

Not making up distortions of her soul.

 I know her reasons for not liking me

And promise to give her more reasons still.

 I'll love you more than she could tolerate

In private and in public. Let her nag

Until she cracks her soul to pieces. Come

And let me share your laughter lip to lip.

 Don't push me off. Don't say no, no. oh well

Until you change your mind, Tamara, love,

Let me indulge my senses in the dress

You still have on for reasons feminine."





"Like Rappaccini's Daughter's element

 Tamara's is all poison," he proposed

 And listened to the echo of his voice

 To hear his condemnation once again

 Of her whose image floundered here and there

 Whenever he was reading Hawthorne's tales.

 It was his Hawthorne night, a Hawthorne night:

 Dubious with sighs and longings, turbulent

 With throbbing hearts and minds, ambiguous

 With contradictions, tensions unresolved,

 Rich with the perfume of her breath whose breath

 Was fatal to the hearts who dared to throb

 For her. "If fatal was her very breath,"

 He wondered to himself, "what would the stench

 Of her oppressive period do to men

 Who hanged around to sniff the sultry air?"

 But Hawthorne was a gentleman. A man

 Of letters from another age. An age

 That bred good manners both in words and deeds.

 That saved Tamara's odors from his pen.




"Don't waste your precious mornings in deep thought.

 Don't rub your angry jeans against the chair.

 Don't count your kitchen tiles and uncount them.

 Nothing of that will ever help you solve

 The riddle of the oil spilt at your door.

 Don't look so pensive, for as you'll agree

 The Greek philosopher upon your face

Looks like a mask of sheer stupidity!

Relax, relax, I'll tell you all the facts

Since at the moment I feel tense no more.

It's I and no one else who did it all

After midnight of every night. You see

The riddle's not a Greek one. Better say

It's of the day, the now, intrinsical

Its end and its beginning are the cause

And the effect, the tearful eye, the smile,

The hell and heaven of all modern times.

Again I say no riddle should you see

In wine, in ink, or oil spilt at your door:

Neglect as you intended days ago

Did make me madder. Now you know my flaw:

At night I smell your skin, and in my haze

I tremble up the stairs to spill the blaze."




"Nobody's asking you to like the church

 But go you must and go you will. How can

 I face the gentlest minister of all

 When he starts plaguing me with 'Never will

 You keep your promise, madam. Where is she

 Our dear Tamara? Still engaged in drawing?

 Her drawing lessons must be promising

 To keep her occupied for weeks on end.

 Picasso's not a bad example, but

 We'd like to draw her nearer the church.

 That certainly will give more peace to her

 Still anguished soul than drawing does. Indeed

 There is some comfort in Picasso's world,

 In colors, lines, fine curves, and formless shapes.

 But there is too much stillness in that world

 That only helps disturb the soul. You see

 The crisis of a marriage breaking down

 Is crisis more than what the human soul

 Can bear all by itself engulfed by heaps

 Of poisoning stillness and ensnaring shades.'

 A hundred times I've heard the minister

 Insinuate that you should go to church.

 Why don't you go and learn how to protect

 Your interest in the bargain? Isn't his

 Among the voices that will plead your case

 Two months from now? The jury will be kind

 When he starts pleading for your freedom. Go

 And sit and smile and pray if you feel like it.

 If not, just sit and curse me in your heart."




"Outrageous exercises of a mind

 By its own power ravished; festivals

 Of brutal hunting-games where hunters kill

 Themselves in sport, in sport revive again;

 Incessant wars of passion, love, revenge,

 Of serpents of the soul unkillable

 By age or poison or forgetfulness –

 That's what mad Nietzsche's ravings are about."


Such were his musings as he mused in awe

Of what he was remembering. The night

He had gone through had been his German night,

A night of writhing mists. Today the sun

Has been so gentle as to clear the air

Of mist and dust alike. So finally

He took a breath as deep as the abyss

His mind had pondered all alone last night –

And pushed his weakened feet and pushed again

To stretch the distance of his daily walk

A little farther. 

                                             "How imperiously

 He hammers his maxims and interludes!

 But lies he tells and nothing but more lies

 When he declares that in revenge and love

 More barbarous is woman than is man.

 What might apply to Germans, dear Nietzsche,

 Does not apply to me. Just wait and see.

 If ever does Tamara flap her wings

 In Celebration of her freedom, you

 And her blood-sucking jury will all see

 Who's in revenge is much more barbarous

The I I know or as you thought the she.

You've read too much into the soul of man

But mine, in secret hatched, will hatch a plan."




"There's nothing like the color of the night:

 You wear it at midday, the blazing sun

 Can only stare at its integrity.

 So trust the falling dark and closer hide

 Your tantrums in its layers and in me.

 These layers are not mine but also yours

 And his and hers whose wakeful eyes

 Tell tales forbidden (though most natural)

 To ears untuned to joyful sounds – like Mom's.

 I pity her. She's too much in the light.

 She can't enjoy what we're enjoying now.

 A spinster in the soul, she's never hugged

 Her image in the mirror or caressed

 Her skin to blazing as some women do

 Tempted by secret voices of the night.

 Nor has she ever loved a man. Her man

 Was father of her children, not the man

 Whose passion clicked an echo in her own.

 You won't believe it, but for years on end

 My father was denied his right to joy.

 His bed deserted, he deserted both

 His children and his wife and flew away

 As far as wing and wind could carry him.

 He's now a happy stranger in Quebec,

 Or in a ghastly city like Detroit,

 The one with million factories and smoke

 Haunting the streets eternal as a curse.

 He could be anywhere. I'm telling you

 All this to make a point. We're luckier

 Than either of my parents. Don't you see

 Why we should wear the color of the night?"




"The beast in me is cornered, nothing left

 Except imagination for a cure

 And curse alike. So not at all in vain

 Are all these silences that creep within

 Between one beat and beat, one pulse and pulse

 Perhaps to regulate, perhaps to weigh

 Event against eventuality."




"Evasion's not the proper remedy

 For such a monstrous familiarity

 That grows beyond my hateful tolerance

 And calculated patience between these

 Two fools of kind, intensified by their

 Secret arrangement to meet everywhere

Except under this roof. The mischievous!

They think I'm blind to their atrocities?

Not for one wink. Oblivious I am not

Of social facts, of what is proper, of

The binding ties of what we are. We are

Not only Christians with a privilege

But chosen Ps. as well. Or am I wrong

In saying so? Correct me, sister. Do."


Her dear old sister now was lounging there

On one gigantic sofa, not a chair,

Fighting against her superfluity:

It wasn't disproportion of the flesh

Hanging in formless bundles from her arms

That made the room look like a slaughterhouse.

It wasn't just the arms. The legs and thighs

Tumbled against each other when she sat

Or walked. She was in all sincerity

Nature's revenge against Divinity:

She was an insult to the very Lord

In whose own image she was made ten-fold.

So thought her Christian world of her although

The world had never favoured less the flesh

She had perhaps been saving for old age.


Whatever was the case, she started thus:

"I've never had the slightest intention

To tell you you are right or wrong. In time

You'll see all for yourself. Whatever I

Believe or disbelieve will never do

You any good since you have set your mind

Against the truth, against all common sense.

But just to pass the time I'll speak my mind:

There were no Protestants in Lebanon

Until American and Birt'sh schools

Invaded us say one two hundred years

Ago. Which makes us converts as you know."


Tamara's mother's eyes froze in protest

Against the mocking voice of her own flesh

Whose reading of the history of the world

(Their world) was condemnation of the mind

And soul of every one who hanged around

By chance or choice to listen to her voice.

The mocking voice went on diligently:

"There's no denying we are converts all.

Our ancestors or some of them at least

Were Muslims – poor, unprivileged, and lost,

Ripe with despair and ready to convert

To Christianity which promised hope

And education free of any charge

For their unpromised children. Future swirled

With blinding colors in their tearful hearts

When Christian schools with humble ministers

Whispered the gentle word "prosperity"

In tone that spoke no superiority

Though rich in power and humility.

Salvation was a paradox. And still…"


"Had you not been my flesh I would have charged

Your disrespectful tongue with blasphemy.

But that will never do, so I'll be brief

And tell you straight, as straight as I can be,

 That once Tamara's free, once her divorce

 Is finalized, she may be tricked again

 Into a blind attachment with a freak

 Whom she knows well to be a Muslim. Come

 Will not that be a degradation? Will

 Not that be my undoing? Pray, no more."




"It's useless to pretend we cannot see

The other pointed edge, the sharper one,

Of that same weapon we've been fighting with

Our endless battles – for we always learn

All weapons are a spindle, one, the same,

That wears the mask of multiplicity

Perhaps to please the eyes perhaps to blind

The hearts of different men of different wills.


It's useless to pretend we can't foresee

Our actions' counter-actions: now and here

 Are always then and there, and then and there

 Are always now and here: the pendulum

 Foretells its falling motion as it sails

 To touch the highest point of its own curve."




"That course of tablets never worked for me

 No matter how sincere you tried to be

 When you yawned out your feminine advice

With absent-minded lips, when once or twice,

You breathed your drunken wisdom in my ears

And made me all oblivious to my years.


'Drink never mix with tranquilizers', I

Repeated after you while gulping down

My tablet with a glass of wine. But no

Passion is passion uncontrollable,

An ever-surging force, of its own will

 It poisons, kills, and recreates as we

 Thunder against it, lost and never free."





"What's that in him that makes my life a test?

 That keeps the colors howling in my breast?

 What magic serpent is this quality –

 His phallic demon or his intellect?"




"You can't unlock your heart and feel the same

 About yourself tomorrow. Barriers

 Of soft suspicions glazed with furtiveness,

 Of verbal non-commitment when the wild

 Aggressions of the hearts of youthful men

 And women glow to lighting, are the thing

 You need to keep your world intact, to lean

 Again against your window-sill to breathe

 The air unmystified by sultry fogs.

 I'm not a born philosopher, but life

 Has made me wiser than those pretty books

 That teach unlucky minds unlucky words.

 I know it all, dear sister; you, no doubt,

 Know just as much, if not a little more.

 We both agree in principle, don't we,

 On all the troubling questions that beset

 Our blasted minds, our tortured hearts, although

Your lips keep drawing and re-drawing signs

 Keep drawing and re-drawing signs

 Of gentle doubts - - your doubts your constancy."

 Tamara's mother blinked and blinked again

 As though to free her vision from the ghost

 Of her unblinking guest (who never came

 But who had never left the sitting-room

 Since sunset of the day before.) Tonight

 Tamara's mother had to speak her mind,

 To fight her battle in the gasping wind

 Against and for her logic – all the same.


"What wrongs have I committed, oh, what wrongs

 Against Tamara or against the world

 In which she staggers her ungrateful feet

 Or struts in youthful foolishness – what sins

 To be so punished by your silent lips?

 I'm just a cautious mother who intends

 To wipe away the blur, to show the light

 To her self-blinded daughter. Never will

 She for herself see what I can foresee:

 The hell that Moslem toothpick of a man

 Will raise the day she's destined to be free.


The ghost could not but venture a reply

 (Is not the ghost an agent of the soul

 Compelled to rise from caverns not unknown

 In blind response to calls he can't ignore?):

 "Your attitude, seditious as your tone,

 Will only aggravate Tamara's wounds.

 Her freedom from her husband, when attained,

 Will be her second coming, a rebirth

 Of anguished tensions startled all at once

 By unclear visions of the future. Your

 Free love should be the potion and the cure,

 The breeze that brings the peaceful drowsiness

 Not to the eyes alone but to the whole.

 Therefore, don't let your motives be the rein

 And harness, not again, not anymore –

 She'll run the course of life against your will

 And leave you chained by your indulgences

 In pure self –interest. Freedom is the choice…"


"And self-delusion I may add. Your words

 Are ripe with truth but truth is more than words.

 What if Tamara chose to sin against

 Herself and me and Christianity

 By falling into marriage, not in love,

 With that unchristian…"


                             "Toothpick of a man?

 What then? He's been indeed more than a friend.

 He's always been around and always will.

 Believe you me there are worse things in life

 For her to do than choose to be his wife.

 More perspiration! Still..?" 


   "Should this be done,

 Not all the Kleenex tissues in the world

 Could wipe away the shame, for shame alone

 Will be the perspiration of my soul."          


"You're luxuriating in the very sweat

 Your angry skin has summoned in response

 To your high-toned theatricality.

 But that will never do. Your strategy

 In ten more days will, like an octopus,

 Strike every where in mad confusion. Now

 Is just the proper time for you to save

 Your will from its own monsters."



 You call my love and my precaution?! Damned

 Be I if ever once again I turn

 To you for help in this affair. I've lost

 My only husband, and my only son

 Has settled down somewhere abroad. You seem

 To have forgotten how it feels to be

 Alone and doomed. Old age is by the curb,

 And so is he, my daughter's lover-friend."




"Ten days, ten nights, ten monsters to be slain

 Before she flaps her wings. I know she will

 Although the flippant minister has dared

 To comfort me by lying. Venomous

 His very breath and very promises!

 My only comfort (he will never guess,

 Nor will Tamara, blinded by the free

 Sensations of her triumph) is to plot

 And execute an ending to this farce

 More brutal and more farcical than she

 Or her unthoughtful jury ever could

 Imagine if they were to live again

 And plot again to screw me in the face.

 I'll wait ten days, but after those ten days

 The beast will haunt the jungle of a time

 Untamed by love, unregulated by

 Sweet, old, old mercy. Creep and hold your breath.

 Wear nothing but the color of the shade,

 The blanket of invisibility.

 Move every where but gently like the breeze,

 Leaving no footsteps for them any where

 By which to track your heart's intentions deep

 And deeper in the jungle of your time.

 But that's enough, my mind, hold nothing now

 In store against tomorrow. Sleep entranced,

 For that's the way to sleep in peace, then wake

 In peace again to take the journey back

 Each day a step into Tamara's mind,

 The nest of her green conscience. Vengefulness

 Disguised by gentle immobility

 Will be my master and her demon. I

 Should first of all plan not to leave this house

 To join my parents on the eastern side

 Of this blue city. Strange as it may seem

 To all my neighbors in this building, I

 Will make my home and tomb of these two rooms,

 An ever-green reminder to her eyes

 And conscience of my plight, my weakened heart

That has betrayed its function, that may not

 (Perhaps will never) drum the beats again

 To healthy regularity. This done,

 I should have fits – like shaking my four limbs,

 With my chest heaving as I gasp for air,

 Or fits of tumbling or of falling down

 The stairs. (Almost). For never should my neck

 Be risked in such attempts. Immediately

 Her help, her gentle kindness, should be sought.

 (Am I not here all on my own, no wife

 No parents, no God-fearing brothers, no

 One else but she to lend a gentle hand?)

 Who else but she will buy me medicine

 Or drive me to my office every day

 When I'm depressed like hell after the fit

 Has struck and left me prey to pure despair?

 Oh, she will cook for me as well. She'll wash

 My dirty socks and underpants. In time

 Guilt makes eternal slaves of weaker souls."




"I'll never catch a wink tonight. The dream

 I had last night I've had tonight – the same

 Nightmarish swelling in my abdomen

 With both my nipples hard though lavishly

 Streaming – in white surrender – with the white

 That made all liquids lurid to my sight.

 I know it cannot be, but what if I

 Were not to see the blood again? My fears

 Are stronger than my will and so before

 This week is over both my eyes will have

 Betrayed the secret of my womb. Of course

 It's only speculation on my part

 Since I have missed it more than once before

 And for more different reasons than can I

 Remember at the moment. I should laugh

 And laugh again indeed at my own thoughts,

 Undergrounded as they are. But just suppose

 That I were pregnant and he sensed I were,

 Would he, the silent egotistical,

 Not seize the chance to fix me in the court

 By saying he suspects my pregnancy

 By an outsider? Would not he demand

 That I should be examined? Count on him!

 For he would do the vilest thing to harm

 My reputation. That should quench his thirst

 For humiliating me in public – not

 Forgetting that he would secure the house

 All for himself. Oh, God, it's seven nights

 Between tonight and that appalling day

 When we'll appear in court. It sure will save

 My life to be a tampon girl again."




"The pendulum has lost its rhythmical

 Assurances for neither left nor right

 It dances its own distance as before.

 Measured by distance, time is time no more."




"Is that you there? Or just a glimpse of you

 Sifting through twirls of fog immovable

 In their self-centered motion? Gravity

 Has cast a spell. But, hark, what's there?


The coffin shakes (almost triangular

 Pulled by three panting turtles back and forth

 And in that third direction, here and there)

 Declaring distance nil and wiping out

 All human possibilities that wake

 To active being in the pulse of time.

 Distance and time are dead, forever dead,

 So tells the moving coffin still unmoved,

 While you transfixed, though sifting through the fog,

 Held tight against your breath, your eyes upon

 The trembling coffin and sometimes

 Upon your feet, counting the steps unstepped."


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