Poem: “Eyes of the Skin in the Face of Nihilism”, by Elham Al-Dweik

A self-portrait of the poet, Elham Al-Dweik

This poem is Sisyphean in nature; by rebelling against failure, discomfort, and the Absurd, one can really, truly, be happy. Amidst the chaos, adversity, and inherent meaninglessness of existence, there is a sort of freedom. The poem is meant to capture life’s diverse, alienating, and universal absurdity, and how it is–despite of all this–beautiful.

Eyes of the Skin in the Face of Nihilism

“One must imagine Sisyphus Happy” – Albert Camus.

I blankly stare at the broken mirror in the corner of the room:
Coffee-stained teeth, eyes lost their youthful lustre…
While the other spectator drunkenly laughs, in mother’s womb-
Snug, warm, cosy: An alcoholic maniac reeking of havoc and bluster.

I bombard Him with questions- a soliloquy, unanswered-
A thousand and one sleepless nights:
Think, create, produce- my mind vomiting out cancer.
Still, the bottle and the womb tempt me.

Yet, with every hearty laugh that bellows from his violent, blood-lust chest,
I skip on every other pearly-white tooth that escapes his voyeuristic grin,
Salvation from decay and all that I detest…
Rebellion against the absurd cannot be a sin.

Elham El Dweik is currently a third-year Architecture student (at the American University in Dubai) with a particular interest in Literature and Philosophy. For Elham, poetry is a form of catharsis that aims to free her from the bonds of society and the past.

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