← Philament 3: Offbeat

‘I’m sorry, don’t turn around…’

Samar Habib


I’m sorry, don’t turn around

There’s an elf behind you.
I wanted you to tamper with the idea of being larger than life
Picking your teeth with a spear

I have bored you with empirical evidence since then
and impressed psychedelia on you like a frog
your rainbows adorn my country, my flag, and you won’t
find it on the map—It is the colour gradations of fog around here,
in the empty spaces of the unconscious—it’s the colour of
our breath and the ale of choice and the coils of dog shit
on Christmas St, at 2.44am when you’re gutted…

Seeing the spectrum doesn’t buy you a coat, or a place to lie
or a place to die and seeing the spectrum does not cause the
earth to shake with revelations and the beasts furrow undisturbed.
Seeing the spectrum is a daily agony of insight that grinds you down
out of your bones…

How many golden places have we conjured up and how many cows
Sacrificed?

“o ye of little faith… I just like to screw with your mind, make you think
I’m not watching one day and snap you out in the blink of your Mediterranean eye.”

They should have eaten more ergot infested bread, it should have rained
Spiders—it has never rained arachnids,
or their eggs,
or their friends.

You left me standing at the alter today Jesus,
with both Marys coated in solid egg yolk
that some youth aimed at them. Well.
They only bothered the tips of your crossed feet and frankly I think
they never meant so much as that—their dispute was with the Mary’s
Solely, I think or so it appeared.

I couldn’t yell at you in front of all that desecration
and I didn’t think it mattered
or that it changed the world—
and it was sad to still be trying.

I think of being in the wrong movie where the hero
dies early and everything about her is in retrospect.
I always wanted to be a she-hero, and now I am.
Ever notice in Bollywood how heroes drop off
like flies and the movie goes on even when you don’t expect it to?

I wanted you, dear poem, to be commentary on the world.
I wanted you to be added to laying Teflin
or giving thanks in Ramadan along the Mediterranean
I wanted you to be an ambassador or a delegate
or some sort of fairy helping creation along
on a fine cool morning, with condensation setting the mood on the leaves.

But you never charged like a frustrated bull,
unluckily born in Spain, where they confuse slow murder for sport—
I rejoice in a stitched human ass,
delivered at the horns of a determined Castrato,
burrowing the oppressor into the ground.


Two years prior to the Israeli invasion, Samar Habib was born and raised in Western Beirut as a Palestinian refugee. She is currently living in Sydney where she is now a recognised citizen. On her writing she comments: “Poetics. The rhythm is interrupted, sometimes the beat is regular and sometimes it arrives too early or a stress too late, sometimes it doesn’t eventuate at all. It’s an ECG tracing of the poetic breath, a register of tones and emotions.”