Surviving the Guilt

Writer: Shahi Ezz Eldin

Editor: Khaled Mohamed

Waking up overdue

He put on his slippers of remorse

Dragging his heels

Down the shallow oaken staircase

With a frequent death wish

On the sleek crimson Porsche

Downstairs, on an ottoman tray

Lay his breakfast: toast and avocado

Or were they cigarettes

The Winston pack of yesterday?

No wonder he always smelt like tobacco

But with every spray of his stigma scented perfume

The odor faded away

Was it the jaguar man classic regret

Or the Hugo boss penitence day?

He wore black shield sunglasses,

To cover his blood shot eyes;

But the UV rays could never penetrate

Eyelids where sorrows bide 

Though still hung over from yesterday’s martini,

He went to buy some shots

Could never stay sober for a night;

The demons would eat him up.

Tilted his head back

And took his first shot

The burning liquor down his throat

Made the haunting voices wake up

Whispering in his ears persistently:

“it’s your fault they were all shot,

it’s your fault you’re still breathing,

it’s your fault they’re all not. ‘’

Consumed by these inner echoes

Chipping at what was left of his soul

He was stuck in reverse



And his heart was sore

From all the hurtful nouns

That bore a hole in his chest

Our knight tumbled down

Crestfallen to the core

Crawling up to his head,

They shaved his golden mane

Our man, once a lion

Has now forgotten his name

And by his own hands he started carving

The sympathy into guilt

The living into existing

The buoyant life into a routine.

Was for so long

Trapped in a state of trance

A war of sin, from which he couldn’t retreat.

During the mass shooting

Fear swallowed our man’s voice

Screams barged their way from his heart

And got tangled in his throat

Choking him

Suffocating him

More than the nicotine ever did

It was by then he started smoking

To blur his lungs enough

Thinking that by every cough the memory of the event would fade

But the tremors remained 

Especially the ones in his vocal cords

Believing their blood was on his hands

He tried cutting

And before everything went black

All he could see was red

He then woke up in a Johnny gown

In a hospital colored white

Then asked himself


“Why didn’t I die then?

Hell, why not now?

Why the hell is life holding on to me?

It seems to have some sort of vow

That whenever I want to let go of her,

She holds on even tighter.

God, when will this nightmare be over?

I have to blur these thoughts I’m having.

Nurse, could you lend me a lighter?”

Little did he know

His fate wasn’t his to decide

Little did he know

He’d go on another dreadful tide

That life wouldn’t be all ebbs

Nor all merry go rides  

That even as dull as the moon in its first phases

One day

The sun will rise

Illuminating the dark shadows of his trauma

Abolishing his guilt

He will finally live life to its fullest

With all his dreams fulfilled

The demons won’t be sabotaging his paintings

They’re all caged well in the back of his mind

Behind the solid walls he himself built

Dear demons,

Sorrows no longer bide.

For this is the story

Where the shades of the palette get brighter

Our man is the art

As well as the artist

And for the first time in so long

He won’t be needing that lighter.

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