Women standing tall
Holding the heaviest of hearts
Bleeding the blast of a golden city
Of a world’s divine dream
Wiping tears of scattered souls
Sweeping the ashes of unfinished stories
Of young lost future glories
Trying to resuscitate Beirut.
One thousand dollars;
Have become Christopher’s dream
To fly down to his missed homeland
And spend a spectacular vacation
But this same one thousand dollars
Is now Mohammad’s worst nightmare
It’s his first semester tuition deposit
It’s his mother’s yearly minimum-wage salary.
Fatima’s son; a successful international writer
Spills his homeland ache on endless papers
And in cash-money papers sent to help his mom
But just across the street; Myriam is frustrated
Running in between banks and OMT offices
Begging for an international money transfer
For her own struggling son
Who’s studying abroad … to become … a writer.
Lea and Aseel have been best friends for so long.
Two brilliant ambitious young ladies
Coming from a middle-class working family.
On their senior year; their long-awaited graduation
The pandemic hit, then the economy crashed …
And the “working-class” slowly faded away.
Buying a laptop or an iPad or a cellphone
Is no more an option for their dedicated parents.
Mere survival is now their only choice.
But why should they only survive?
Why should the endless potential of eager minds
Be stopped or suppressed or even oppressed?
With millions hidden in their offshore accounts
Our leaders could not spend only a few thousands
On Aseel and Lea’s hope to rise with words
Igniting flames of freedom that were lost in ignorance.
An invincible invisible curse
This old, rash sectarian divide
Forcing people to pick a side
With endless suffocating rules to abide by;
Ahmad can’t buy more than a baby milk can
Thrown at him like trash in the supermarket
And Charbel can’t get more than a Panadol box
For his terminally ill mother back home.
My people are begging for their inborn rights!
From the greedy roaring lions roaming in a desolate land
Lashing out at each other in ignorant “plays”
Voicing their so-called care in deceptive words
Daily re-defining of “the worst”
While we remain lost, disgusted, and shocked
By the harsh inexplicable reality bestowed upon us.
My love, my hope, my faithful patriots
Are slowly dying to stay alive
Presented with only two
Undignified choices to survive:
The fisherman’s bread
The sashimi of corruption
By Houda Younes
Houda Younes is a Lebanese Biology and Chemistry teacher. She writes and edits science school books, but she has always been mesmerized and fascinated by the artistic aura of poetry. For her, poetry is the brilliant use of language to express the joys and sorrows of life from deep within the soul. To read more of her work, visit: www.venturoushope.wordpress.com