← Philament 3: Offbeat

‘no one can be quite as good a poet as you are… ‘

Samar Habib


no one can be quite as good a poet as you are,
so clever and disguised in words you dig up
like graves, out of the discord of the archaic
and they have a way of melting or burning
or searing the brain with images of paradise…

But in the after life you never believed
or imagined once that you could be conscious
without a brain of things and being and the breeze –
Funny how life spans the life of things –
how briefly, for instance, insects are on the scene –
funny how there is an eternity for distinguished members
of the diatribe that can crumble and fade as quickly as a black sun
imploding, disappearing into itself, taking you and all the trees and the crickets
and the infant screams with it.

I believe in the inter-connected-ness of things; an overall
influence of mind over nothing.
And I suggest that we continue to deny everything
the maternal beauty of love
and the maternal beauty of birth
and continue to be fixated with words to which we find no equals
and go on without disturbing the rhythm.

I always wondered if nature was as queer as we are.
If it ever felt sufficiently justified, if it was ever the jealous type
and what it means to cause a brothel….Sex should always be freely given,
upon demand, upon command, even when the world is clear of others.

How I love the warmth of your bodies.

And on an arc of biblical proportion
take us into the heart of the wave,
to the other side of the ocean, where we can
fix our feet and wonder how nature could have ejected
so much dust and so many racists from her stellar womb
and how I should love to discriminate against them one day
and kick their ass until they began to like it –
screw the pleasure principle into them

And I always imagined their heads suspended from coconut trees
in paradise, and that the water was clear
and that sex was free
and eternity was full of cum
that no one cared to flavour
or put a cap on, or put a hat on
or disguise or eulogise

When we cracked their heads open we found a shrivelled prune.
We could have gone on forever in this vain,
like a theoretical object in space gliding without Newtonian friction.
We could have paired the racists together
we could have sent them to Columbian fairy floss factories
or to the humble jungles of Vietnam
or to the Nevadas of Afghanistan and unleashed them,
unleashed them like trained monkeys….

Who remembers Fairuz singing of Beirut…?
Beirut my country, my birth, my running mascara
sloshed against her bleeding wrists – don’t be mistaken
there is no pleasure principle here, Beirut never consented
and the wolves ripped at her dress
and bit off her flesh and the vultures came and ate the skull
But she stirred and she always smelled of love
at the junction of her ear and neck
And the construction companies came with giant sewing machines
And they made her a funeral dress, running over old wounds
tying them up with strings and
turning the cake into a gift you take to a tea party to your
refined friends so they could taste the entertainment on the news –
the gravel, the shrapnel, the overcooked flesh, the symphony of battle
and pain……but as always, like the Berlin Isherwood left us to imagine
there was a human place for horror and humour and perfect innocence.

Beirut do you remember when I was four, jumping into the linen closet
in my first home? Do you remember all the chivalrous courtship
that we learned from Hollywood and the flat chested pursuants
and their busty lasses?

I never realized, Beirut, that I was preparing myself for a future
In the industry of sex as a volunteer, and never realized that the other girls
preferred to be taken by flat chests – that seemed pre-pubescent to me, at best.
I never realized the joy early on enough and marched into life with oblivion

My dreams are ancestral and I dream of paradise and
my grandfather’s orange groves that the so-called Zionist
Dream put out and turned us, an entire race, into pests
…all that suffering etched on the surface of the brain,
you liars, you fucking propagandist racists…we could have been
cousins by now you greedy assholes. Sorry karl pan and mirri vanilla,
I’m not letting go until we win or you come around to your senses.


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.”