MARY, MARY, QUITE CONTRARY: A Dreadful Tale about a Dead Anglo Mother, A Dreadful, Avenging Syrian Aunt, A Stolen Baby Sister, and a Hateful, Unfaithful, Defaulting Father.
Mary, Mary, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With people, people who hardly know
Your vices, your intrigue, your lies, and so,
You’ve ruined lives, and now I will show
How demonizing you are, with just your thinking
About your “slemly” self, just linking [Nice in Arabic]
That self to your own, and not us--no one else
You belong in no company, your old-time thinking.
Adopting my sister, without any inkling
Of what it takes to challenge the motherless
And seeing we ended up, also, being fatherless.
Travesties galore made this woman happy
You won hearts, but you seemed quite daffy.
Childhood, telling us we’d never be as good
As your Syrian daughters - such a strange brood!
This kind of “teaching” by a Syrian mom was kinda lewd.
She verily and surely became our ISIS
She thought who could ever, ever be like us
She raved for hours so very against us
To that red-headed family so she could easily best us!
Humiliating us at every stop
We really, really got a lot
From her, the decadent Queen of ISIS
No, she’d never, ever be like us!
Twenty years to a guileless young person
Is a forever herstory an eternity…
A lesson, an identity…
Carried on secretly, destroying our Syrian identity.
She stole that connection, filling it with confusion
She with cruel humor would **** our loving illusion
Stopped it in its growth,
Forever unseating that family oath.
To care - without any rejection.
It was She that was The Great Defection.
Mary, Mary how does your hatred grow
Picked on those who had no Syrian power
But you didn’t see yourself becoming lower
To the ends of the earth, heartless black flower.
In her mind she’d be our Mother
But as this poet, I did not know it
Things would be better if we like sheep
Worshipped Mary, into the deep
Quite similar to the rest of her Keep
Then mayhap we’d enjoy their fully undeserved sleep.
Taught my dear baby sister like her to hate
Would I had the power to shut up her pate
Her mouth was evil to the core
I never, never could stand more.
Her hatred entered me, made me sore.
Screaming at us to keep us out
Stupid Daddy joined her in this falling out
She, successful -as any lout.
By God I thot I must be evil
Their strange behavior was not legal.
Would that she’d accept me, that dangerous eagle.
I lost my sense of self and ‘came very sad
Would that I could be like she so glad.
‘Tis fifty years now, and I can’t stop crying.
No one ever heard this “mother” sighing.
Hell, Mary, full of Face
Recognizing only your Syrian race
Did anyone else matter? Just your primitive face?
Everyone one was hurt, except you and your nace
There’ll be no one, ever, that could take your place.
Laughing to destroy our wanted Arab destiny
Which you did, and did, successfully, with your fantasy.
Mary, Mary, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
Like plants, you lined us up all in a row
One good, two bad - you did the choosing
And what did you leave?
Only us, who did the losing.
You didn’t water those two plants.
Treated us two as if we were ants.
Watered sissa so she would grow
Your dreaded deeds no one would know
Judgement is left only to God.
But you and Dad should’ve returned to your sod.
Your behavior to the motherless seems very odd.
My sister and I two tossed peas in a pod.
Deserting us suddenly knowing only this hateful group
There’s nothing to which she wouldn’t stoop
Her sick obsession to hurt the powerless
Speaks of a very worst yes, cruel foulness.
We lived at a convent school very protected
Visiting weekends this aspiring ****,
Two sisters know she made a very strong mark
She was not our blood, we couldn’t take part
Of this constant coldness on her part.
And another Aunt with two daughters, good
They were always with us, always stood
The opposite of this wicked would-be aunt
This family, Americanized and very sane
Never did play the ancient Ottoman game
These Aunts were our world - our windowpane.
Two aunts - endowing us with a Syrian heritage,
One, the bad one, with too much leverage
The good one to teach a cheerful Syrian beverage
With balance, love, and the length of days
Not like the other, the one who dismays.
We represented that bad woman’s target
What it came from. Could it be her precious Margaret?
No, not at all her peaceful daughter
But the other, gladly joined in on the slaughter
Making serious and even much more, fodder.
We had no tools to breach this hate
I guess that it would have to be our fate.
To live our lives just disenchanted.
Our hearts broke, as if forever lancets.
With Syrians there’d be no more dances
Taking my sweet sis turning her against us
She did truly give strong heed to finally fence us.
What ever could we find for our defenses?
Dad, real Dad, inebriated dad,
Fell in with them: became this negative father
Sought their pity--likening me as a foreign daughter
He was in love with them, weakly turning
But in turn, the two of us, spurning
Back to his Syrian fold back, not farther
Unwittingly, unrepentedly, uncaringly, joining the laughter
Discarding his American daughters to a mental slaughter.
At his picnic - family there - he called us foreigners
Foreigners we were, surely, when with them
They couldn’t ever believe in us,
Dad influenced them, peeved at us.
Made us feel like little fools.
No, we never had the tools
To fight this ignorance - Change these mules?
Punishing, punishing us as wedded women
Accused of all that they gossiped about
What did they say? And this truant dad a lout
Speaking of us in downing tones
I’d feel far better had they broken my bones.
Closing his relationships to his
Two lesser liked non-Arab sisters
Would there would be a better mister
He considered us two a mere sinful blister.
We ran away from this horrible drunk
He hated his daughters and he stunk
And then we suffered the worst of any they would dunk
Uncomfortable at their Arab-speaking home
We stopped visiting long before their moan
We were “no good” said our Syrian family
Would that we knew that we’d be anti-Family.
They had something to hate and did they do it
We had no idea we were just a joke
Their words, their disgust, far more than a poke.
Their anti-American provincial views
Made little sense - such perverted mews
All we loved, we would really lose.
There was never any right to choose.
That Family didn’t speak, avoided us
At sissa's Syrian wedding. It was all mined
That scene returns to me all of them lined
Winding its way into my unbidden mind,
They were so, so truly unkind
We always would be to them the “Other”
Yes, us, us, us, without a mother!
We lost three mothers, our real one gone
Also our good step-mother quickly on
Add Mary to that three, glad she is gone
Perhaps Dad guilty of the first two deaths
I shan’t continue - you’d lose your breaths.
But Hail that Lady, she would change our world
Sending us suddenly into a whirl.
How to change the young with screaming?
She’d not change but destroy our dreaming
Waking horribly from our Syrian dream
We just didn’t fit their shady crème de la crème.
Everyone was fooled by this greedy witch
She and her daughters I’d deem as *****
What was in them, caused their making?
Taking away, taking, taking, taking.
Good cousins now, have seen an awakening
My work of writing revealed Mary’s faking.
Hail Mary full of Face
Only using her charms to erace
The sisters she wished not to embrace
With threads of lies an unrevealing face
Syrians’ acceptance of her goldarn place
No one ever will she replace
In every way she used her mace
A clever poison to keep her place
Successfully, she’d snidely hid her dreams
Wearing a mask to hide her themes.
She’d always hated us through and through
We didn’t know it till she did what she’d do
Her masque did work, from dusk to dawn.
Hatred of us was what she would spawn
She would definitely **** our spirits
Would that I could reveal all her lyrics.
Our Syrian sissa’s wedding put us in place
That even there we could have little space.
No other family events could we be included.
Engagements, baptisms, we would be excluded
Their intentions now were completely nuded. deluded!
You stole our little baby entering the world
Through our Mom’s Death
You stole my Dad’s affection
He also her straw man, worshiping Mary‘s fiction
Her stand could only be that of affliction.
Hail Mary full of Face
Face that faced nothing exçept winning the Ace
Did no one ever tell you - you were a case?
Using your screams to stuff our mind
And even more shrieking to clog our mind
No other Syrian family could be so unkind.
Always filling us with her delicious food
Only to turn against us, trussing our good mood.
I’d like to regurgitate all that poisonous food
Anything about her became totally lewd.
She bragged of her daughters - were they really that good?
When we were children, told us we’d never be like them
We never wanted to be like those hurting us.
Took our Dad’s affection, he also deserting us
We never but finally saw that they were into hurting us.
She has attacked us screaming, screaming on end
Never an explanation, never to end
She took money, stole sister too, not a lend.
With this cruel treatment, we were not able to fend.
I’ve never heard such venom in any human voice
It seared through both my ears, such an odious noise
Those first twenty years were so very splendid
But later with her actions - all was ended
With her allotted time this is how she would spend it.
Sister, affections stolen, obeying by fear
Couldn’t counter - with a mere
Stand up to this fraud of a Mother Dear.
Our baby sis had became her clay
She would remake her through many a day.
She owes us much, this lying thief
No family tree would know, not even a leaf
She stole and changed our beautiful blood
Returned nothing except a bad bad flood
Of making our names into family mud.
She then gave out inimical messages
The taunting that came from her mealy mouth
From Damascus, that lousy mouse.
Couldn’t discuss, but only scream
What ever, ever, did she mean?
This Family into which father bought.
Their apathetic “reasoning” I was never taught.
Her daughters conscripted to the Mary core
Following her words, her iron ore
Inflated us with much heavy criticism
To fill our sissa with a lack of witticism
Lying, lying she always, always hated us
For twenty years, she consistently slated us
For slaughter, just like little lambs
Motherless, she took our little lamb
She won, didn’t she, in her sham?
Mary & dad really fated us with their sick flim flam!
She’d tackle anyone, anything in her path
And she did, with her oh so dreadful wrath.
What powered this extremely devilish mind?
She had never, ever, been really kind.
Our sodden father turned to her
She was Goddess, he deemed Something
While we were nothing, nothing, NOTHING!
It didn’t happen till twenty years after
From kindliness to hypocrisy
One would not believe.
Our real selves never to retrieve.
A sweet child, sissa, full of love
Knew they were cold and she let us know
After those years, sadly though
Turned into another hateful *****
Forced to be like them, else be ditched.
Dad, dad, the precious Syrian lad
Embraced the family gatherings that they had
Youngest of the Ikmuks - he was mad
Allowed them the desecration of our pad
They could say anything--made it their fad.
He wouldn’t speak to them of their travesty
Worshipped them, and ever drastically
Wanted to be Them, lest he be
On the Outs from the Family Tree
Ousted, married out of the Tribe
Hardly now, when this happened, few are alive.
He refused to tell them we both should be here.
He would never, ever, play it fair.
“Dad, if you go, I’ll never be the same.”
He would never, never take the blame.
Of his paltry stabs at being a human
Go stuff him in a jar with more rotten cumin.
Never defended us, never, never
Always took their part like a mismatched lever.
Usually a Dad with a daughter would stay beside her
But then, he gave Mary a far wider rider.
Gatherings went on, by the family Mare.
All our lives had been spent with them before
But Iron Lady with Iron Ore
Came through later and before.
She would win, so well connected to her vile kin
Change, girl, change, you’re just an Anglo fem.
Don’t, please, don’t pay much attention to them.
Sudden hate - my thoughts now were dashed.
I changed - they took all I had and then they smashed.
They brought us into their sickly Ottoman lives
But all of them acted as if we had the hives
They, centuries‘ habit, it was the mid-1950’s why so bold?
They were too much, too much very, to behold
We were stricken, treated as in days of old
We would never be part of their unhealthy mold [Mould?]
Regular at Church. What kind of God could she worship?
You know who should have been told? The Syrian Bishop!
The She-Devil not even relishing the Church script
Eternally, she would always, rip, rip, and then grip!
Instead looked to those after Church who would serve her!
She did just this with a total fervor.
No Communion, no worship, but her only feats
To seek and add to gossip in the streets
Afterward. When-Where everyone meets.
Se enjoyed the Devil of Power over those she knew
Verily, she should have been thrown in the loo.
Few new. Only the rejected two.
Mary, Mary full of Mace
You never did achieve much grace
Wish you could have finally
Fallen on your ignorant Face
There’s really not going to be any space
To explain your bad translation of a very good race.
The Syrian families I always know very well
Would never have made this kind of hell.
The Syrian race is good, except for this “mother”
I speak from my place as the dreaded ”Other”
You are and were a terrible, mother
You’re a crude example of this Middle Eastern race.
Very few of them did see through your face.
In that family I barely gleaned this toxicity
But, never, ever, did I witness much felicity.
They llaughed and laughed about any Other
Played well their acts as if they cared
They knew Syrian-like we would not fare
We, Dad, all sisters three - fell for her snare.
What think you, God, of these poor children
How il-ly this Family thoroughly tilled them
Two non-Arab daughters’ given bad repute
Their shocking beliefs really made us mute
All that came from her demented mind
All that encountered Mary’s “kind”
She destroyed our conception of self
This hypocrisy would make one melt.
She infiltrated us, her daughters, and my Sissa
That we were not as good as she - but she lost her mister
Had Uncle [our blood] lived, this would never have occurred.
But Auntie [not our blood] surely had demurred.
Her hooked-nose criticizing, and simple daughters,
Psychologically--against us-- they joined in on these slaughters.
Kindness for two decades to rent, later they spent
Hell on the motherless, but hiding that intent
Taught her daughters: “Don’t be involved with them”
We really do know some of what she did, or said,
This is the kind of meal that she constantly fed
Her masque nearly hiding her evil bent.
Too bad she wasn’t forced back into her Syrian tent.
Mary, Mary quite contrary, How does your world work?
You won, you won, you ignorant, piece of work
You demanded respect from all of us, treacherous,
She got it, didn’t know it, then she brought down the two of us
Sneaky, low-life, hypocrite witch
We always thought we had a niche
But lost kids like us did never snitch
We wouldn’t, didn’t open up about that *****.
We had a twenty-year comfort zone with her
Deserted at last by her flying fur
Stolen, deserted at last by Dad--that foul mister
Stolen, deserted, lastly by our pretty baby sister.
This left us changed by this She-Devil
Would that there’d be a way to counter her evil
We couldn’t - she was always far too strong
An ISIS for us - this would last too long.
After these years, I could not grow
Was I a real woman? - I didn’t know!
Being a mother couldn’t show
That this Family created a list of woe.
When Sissa had babies & a mom to help
We did this alone - all this we felt.
Her faulted hatred never did melt.
I didn’t know how to take a stance
Nor could I find out how to advance.
We had to oppose Aunt Mary’s dance.
That Sissa could not bo
This poem represents many years of my life. It is all true.
Carol Rae Bradford, M.Ed., Author, "Mayflower Arab: A Memoir"
Thank you for accepting my poetry. April 16, 2015