The Cost of Living in Daydreams
My adaptations of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Villette, and The Waves
have been adopted by three Hollywood directors for the big screen,
with Hans Zimmer as the main candidate to write the music themes.
My first collection of poetry is a best-seller in numerous countries
and in Glasgow there are endless queues before WH Smith.
I plan to purchase with the massive revenue
a small cottage overlooking some Scottish lake
and a rowing boat that bears my lapdog’s name,
away from sirens, bullets and roaring war planes.
I also intend on the thirty-first of May
to dance away the privations of the last three decades
in a club that plays the music of the eighties
for my sixtieth year.
The constant wagging of Lucia’s tail
terminates my self-hypnosis,
taking me back to another bland day
for we need to descend and ascend flights of stairs
with the absolute absence of electricity.
My mouth retrieves its bitter taste.
My nostrils quiver with revulsion
at the smells emanating from neighbours and cafes.
My eyes dread encountering the habitual, banal scenes.
The cost of living in daydreams is an extra acrid flavor
to fermenting reality.
The Cost of Living in Your Heart
The cost of living in your heart
was the rising blood level that swamped my hearth
every time your eyes encountered a bonny lass.
It was also draughty with your outdoor style,
so much skiing,
so many golf rounds,
chilling my bones on many lonesome nights.
Your heart accommodated so many rooms,
so many corridors and bolted doors,
so lavishly furnished with extravagant halls,
a labyrinth with no exits,
a citadel with rings of moats.
It was always resonating to international news,
to the Stock Exchange,
to the price of oil,
so enterprise had mounted its hallowed throne.
The cost of living in your heart
was a sheer waste of my blighted youth.
I was caught with a surplus of dignity
hidden between the folds of my brain,
with grams of self-respect
that exceed the permissible weight,
with currents of smuggled passion
that the throbs of my heart betrayed,
with psychological and emotional treason.
The PBI, Psychological Bureau of Investigation,
issued a warning that was stamped on my passport
and my ID,
a chip was inserted in my wrist
to monitor my pulse and inward heat
for I was a possible renegade
with my inability to hate.
Heroes in the Seaweed
“There are heroes in the seaweed,” Leonard Cohen sang in Susanne,
whose shortened form is the name I was given as a new-born,
after a character in The World of Suzie Wong.
How can the seaweed whose frailty is an established metaphor
conceive heroes who are usually born of mighty gods
with lineage, immortality, and some aesthetic form?
I always pondered but eventually forgot myself
in the poetry and music that enthralled.
Perhaps the ‘in’ refers to their dwelling place,
inhabiting the deep with anonymity,
performing their miracles and then vanishing
without making a public speech
to win the masses’ acclaim!
Who are “the heroes in the seaweed” of the twenty-first century
“when charity is a coat you wear twice a year,”
as George Michael reiterated
and pacifists are impotent before the wars that incessantly rage?
Hunger is still marching at a strident pace
and persecution is competing with the best torture tools
of the Medieval Age!
Susie Gharib is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde with a Ph.D. on the work of D.H. Lawrence. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in Adelaide Literary Magazine, Green Hills Literary Lantern, A New Ulster, Crossways, The Curlew, The Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Ink Pantry, Mad Swirl, Miller’s Pond Poetry Magazine, and Down in the Dirt.
Susie’s first book (adapted for film), Classic Adaptations, includes Charlotte Bronte’s Villette, Virginia Woolf’s The Waves, and D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
You can find more of Susie’s work here on Ink Pantry.