Nawar Morelli & Susie Gharib

I have always been interested in ekphrastic writing, writing which is inspired by a work of art, so I am particularly pleased to feature these pieces by Nawar Morelli and Susie Gharib. Shirley Bell

A Drop

Statuesque, he surveys from his bed a favorite scene, his seeds of discord, apparently unseen. The eyes flicker with a gold gleam, a snake’s delirious dream. The bed, littered with the skins of things (chocolate, peanuts, biscuits, peelings on a plate), boasts two colorless sheets, summing up a matrimonial theme. Indispensable, the bottle is the center of an array of scattered means, the tools with which he executes his schemes.  

He had lost his father before his teens and grew up with a mother of three. Selfishness and narcissism might have formed part of the family mystique. A fatherless household was the host of a number of deeds, still well kept secrets after sixty years. He had opted for an ivy’s existence and searched for walls to smother with leaves, with a very rare expertise. A lie is simply a conventional wrap for truth, so nothing he says has any roots. One wades into his lies feeling lukewarm until the ice freezes the bone of every thought that is truth-born. With minimal self-education, he had mastered the art of fabrication, aided by words that conjure up the semblance of truth, but a reserve of disposable tears comes to the rescue on a very weak cause.

To look him in the eye is to risk facing a mirror of his inmost creeds, numerous knots of corpulent worms with no satiety within reach. The looks he darts would numb one’s speech, leaving the tongue in a state of alarm and painful retreat, and though annals of animosities had reddened the irises into murky bloodstains with the most appalling livid tinge, one forgets the stony face when listening to the petrifying screams, the voice so shrill and befitting his vociferous streams. A mild loss of temper entails a soprano’s feast, to say the least. His vocal chords can only resonate to Lucifer’s shrieks when he is confronted by a recalcitrant beast. Triumphant he rides on gales of invective, reducing the recipient to nerve-wracking unease and nostrils filled with disease for he never brushes his teeth. Feeling the urge to check any emotional surge in the bosoms of his mature children, he constantly keeps a vigil. Numerous intrusions on privacy would surely guarantee their celibacy, Minotaurs to guard him at night for dread of darkness and death can banish nocturnal bliss. Guile had endowed him with the lightest footfall, eavesdropping with the ears of a mole and doors had morbidly endured the terror of his glares through keyholes. A pocket left unguarded invites his instantaneous excavation which he performs with the utmost care preserving the folds of a pair of trousers or the position of a wallet, claiming what rightly belongs to him for what is theirs is also his. Amassed in stealth, his ill-earned wealth keeps every member of the family in constant need of his crumbs, which are offered with the air of a self-sacrificial father after the recipient had pledged to play the part of an accomplice in some filial plot ahead. Slicing a poisoned apple each day, he times his portions with the chimes of a rattlesnake. Meals are significant times with the communal kitchen as a potential battleground. A day that passes without a row is a stigma branded on his brow. He views what is to come in his glass-ball, a careful record of one’s weak-points. Skills in the art of provocation have been his full-time education and not even a grandchild, a four-year-old, can escape an equal share of gall.

A thorn bush whose sap is the outpouring of two broken hearts shoots out from the middle of his bottle, the well-worked-out fruit of a single well-fermented drop. The eyes dart a look of a python’s content for each ship he lures into his cove will founder and sink without a trace.

Nawar Morelli, a Syrian painter and photographer

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