september 2021


                  (i) dear, shy habibi

I have seen your wounded looks many times

and many times I have felt you pass

through the reticence of my soul

a shadow among shadows

healing yet hurting 

this bitter transcendence

of never having known you

your breath as my breath

your hands as my hands

for without words, without touch

I was bereft of air

and left to cherish

only the wounded universe of your eyes

and so as I lived I died

stanzas choking my heart

watching the horizon

in case I missed again some chance to breathe

to love far beyond myself

this marriage to an impossible conceit...


...just how far can this

intuitive counterpoint go

expletives, for example, fill the mind

and flies warm themselves in the sun

perihelion approaches 

and these specks of dark matter

these liver spots on the backs of my hands 

mark the end of immortality

clearly then, ribosomes are simply lost stars 

and these trees, they too, are just signs of lust

of slow, unending penetration 

expletives that rage and rage

at this massive helix warming itself in the dark 

toying with extinction

a protein for vice

a lipid for the underworld

in vivo, in vitro 

my hands crumbling

filling my mind

with some invincible, everlasting free-fall...




...I ask why, why this brooding expanse

this white melancholy, this desert

why do they goad me so much

what is this vacant anatomy of my soul

where everything is truly nothing

and nothing truly everything

the so-called dust of inspiration

burning in my throat

this monstrous, monstrous act of caprice

the universe sweetened by violence

by pages covered with verse

weightless, blowing across the desert

the very last book

turning into sugar

and me, again, down on my knees

watching the blank expanse

this whiteness of some passing galaxy

pushing the earth

further and further from the truth...





...this is the veil that is written

and this the mask that is sealed

this lava, this syntax 

oozing from the earth


covering the seas with gold

with words for love, for transgression 

with thoughts beyond even human reach

this gamble with the unknown

for to live and to be

are like ways of reading the air

of trying to discern immensity

from just some marks on a page

that terrifying space 

where the seraphim still dance

hiding behind their fire 

every hieroglyph, every sound and translation

of words becoming meat

of meat becoming air

this illusive choreography 

of all that which is written in gold...