Monthly Archives: February 2011

“The Rose You Left”

“The Rose You Left”

The rose you left scotch taped on my front door
Was there for me that night when I returned;
I smiled, and then, of course, the tears began to burn.
My eyes; my God, my eyes! I dropped in that sweet moment on the floor
And felt so warmed, so gifted, honoured, blessed, and while
I knew you’d placed it there, I also knew
From Whom it truly came, and so, it seems, did you.
The several days had passed before I saw your smile
Again, but I was sure that when the moment came,
You’d probably forget somehow you’d placed
The blossom on the door and summarily effaced
The memory and the deed. I thanked you, just the same.
You left this world some nights ago; I wasn’t there—
Too many guests—but, here, alone, for you, Shapoor, I’ll say a prayer.

“The Well Is Dry”

“The Well Is Dry”

The well is dry, the residue of ink explores
The walls of silence, crystalline in isolation from the roaring pen.
Surfaces have all been cleaned; shelves are empty now, and when
The hour dies, the index finger traces symbols, beads of inspiration born
Of ingots grown from sediment as saline prints–fingers
Soil the complaisant innocence of a parchment that never rests;
Rich papyrus–stretch marks in the margin–attests
That I am ever drowned in possibilities where wonder always lingers.
Surely, then, there is no pause to speak of in the daily common look
Through possibilities, the slumbering leaves of future chapters,
What exists and for the moment merely cages what’s been captured
Reveals nothing to or from me, yes! but for another time, another book.
My pen stands ready to offend not so much as to enrage
Itself. Not all that is and every crimson serif finds the page.

“One Breathes to Read”

“One Breathes to Read”

One breathes to read the ancients say, and what a mighty wind perfumes
The nothingness of air and thence to wit? The writ; certain proofs,
And so on, and so forth, and notwithstanding that, far beyond, to refute
What dross may be forthcoming from all natural luminaries in the skies
in no time flat, fumes
From either, pure hyperbole. Perhaps, it’s true, but then again the books
Bear genesis from breezes while the wise collect the residue.
So great an urge to be at one within oneself cannot be soothed
So easily nor guided nor delayed for want of kairos. The gods took
Their ease of access from Eastern mists to proclaim the roof
Of life to be a satisfaction gleaned from lust and table scraps.
For Greeks,
The holiness of Eros tendered resignation to disorder;
the source of creeks
And icy streams in time gave form to Mighty Ganges
and the Mother Truth
That we are not what we so loudly claim. Its light ignites the flames
That burn away the veils and we ascend to God by way of holy Names.

“I’d Like to Think”

“I’d Like to Think”

I’d like to think I am kind to all
I meet in every second season, selfless
Possibly; a distant reason alike to those who, though helpless
And veiled from hope still pick up the phone and call;
They must know that I’m enough to offer nothing of myself in words.
These angels only think they’re weak; I hear them when they read
The lines they’ve rehearsed like nursery rhymes and furiously feed
The mouths of meters of the rush hour, tokens only, fleeing spirits, birds,
forgotten souls encircling, kneading darkest manna in the night.
The ego rarely sees the joys of dawn; not prayer but breakfast comes
Between because their instincts make them fodder for the daily run
To close the open windows tight, and block the calling sun. Purity of light
Without, they prefer the fire within; the eyes are screened, by choice, preferring stations in a Conga line to eternity that knows no fear nor flight.


“Blind My Eyes”

“Blind My Eyes”

Blind my eyes; I see;
Stop my ears; I hear.
The heart is stopped in time but beyond these arteries fear *
Has no chattel, no sycophant, no subscription; there is no fee,
No talisman, no cross to bear, and no man, no thing to flee.
The ancient blessings are lost at Eden while the chrysalis, the seer
Is not here, but for moments in a journey through eternal tears
To the shores of endless seas of re-creation,
barred forever from what can be
Seen or heard, he is not changed, nor removed
To where he goes but by the leave of his Creator; rendered
Moot, notwithstanding, and though it involve the death of all he knows,
He cannot remain long within a tomb. His future only grows.
As every Prophet knows what came before, so every man’s reproved
Until the last syllable is pronounced, the will at last surrendered.

* “And thou mightest have seen the sun when it arose, pass on the right of their cave, and when it set, leave them on the left, while they were in its spacious chamber. This is one of the signs of God. Guided indeed is he whom God guideth; but for him whom He misleadeth, thou shalt by no means find a patron.”

If a man could know what lieth hid in this one verse, it would suffice him. Wherefore, in praise of such as these, He hath said: “Men whom neither merchandise nor traffic beguile from the remembrance of God….” *

*Qur’án 24:37

This station conferreth the true standard of knowledge, and freeth man from tests. In this realm, to search after knowledge is irrelevant, for He hath said concerning the guidance of travelers on this plane, “Fear God, and God will instruct thee.”* And again: “Knowledge is a light which
God casteth into the heart of whomsoever He willeth.” **

* Qur’án 2:282

Wherefore, a man should make ready his heart that it be worthy of the descent of heavenly grace, and that the bounteous Cup-Bearer may give him to drink of the wine of bestowal from the merciful vessel. “For the like of this let the travailers travail!” *

*Qur’án 37:59

And now do I say, “Verily we are from God,
and to Him shall we return.” *

* Qur’án 2:151

—Bahá’u’lláh, The Four Valleys

“He Bides His Time”

“He Bides His Time”

He bides his time because there is no hurry,
The bus has come and gone, the traffic
Fought and conquered, the car beyond the static
And stifling rush to the open sea; the flurry
Of attentions and careful intercourse–the blur he’s
Experienced, the awful triumph of arrival, ecstatic
In the sense of high achievement, high above, emphatic
Victory, but odd in quiet self-composure in his daily journeys
Insofar as he’s survived to see his destination far beyond initial
Expectations and well honoured as the drone
Of choice, untouchable, beyond reproach, buttressed by success,
Thrice crowned, thrice recessed but ever honoured as the guest
Of all the hive while the competition still sits bewildered in residual
Reticence. Cynical, at the pinnacle, no fear, no grief, but very much alone.

“Where the Sun Has Risen”

“Where the Sun Has Risen”

Where the sun has risen marks the edge
Of all that’s been but, offering no offense
To what is evident in the primal disk, an evidence
Of what has been and not what is, a hedge
Against rebellion in the ranks; a wedge
Deliberate, a proof, divine, that in the imminence
Of being and in having been, an eminence,
Is occluded like the stars at noon, replacing every absolute with the pledge
Of probabilities within a sacred zone of time. Masked against the periphery,
The matter, more the consequence of having largely come
From nothing and ascended to even less, dissent expressed in helplessness
Addresses issues of existence as if they were a wilderness
Of weeds for the sake of worlds below and well beyond all mystery
Of galaxies, a Lilliputian sovereignty beyond the banality of the sun.

“No Hurry Here”

“No Hurry Here”

No hurry here, my friend. We’re good.
Suns rise, planets phase, the stars occluded
In eternal night for us, denuded
For the spectacle of the age as well they should,
Arranging, rearranging, fires aging, and would
It not be so, we stand here drowned in light, deluded
In the glories of the senses; the curtain down, the play concluded,
No more weighty moment waits than any stage could
Bear before the audience and the players notice
Satyrs in between the acts, their gains and winnings never noted
In the dusts of righteous critics in the press save to meet their deadlines
Like haughty dandelions and crabgrass choking fallow fields consigned
To be the wonder of some future generation’s panoply in the cosmic lists
No more nor less erased in time, no more nor less devoted.

“Hitler’s Mother’s Eyes”

“Hitler’s Mother’s Eyes”

The finer strokes are hardened now, abandoned, put away
With fine tipped pens and rich rhetoric delicacies
Of touch that dance in satins in the margins, intricacies
Of form no longer sharpened somehow blurred in recent days,
An odd obscurity cocooned in saffron moods of comfort.
I linger now behind
The door before I join the others in the queue if I am there at all.
I shall not be missed, nor will I keep the lists of midnight calls
That come too late to birth an interest and not at all on time
To make a difference in the greater scheme of things.
I’ll not expire, no. But, what exactly do you say
I’m missing in the fray, my friend? I’m no one’s “by the way.”
My house was sold some time ago; I rent the coterie of my days.
So if the sentiment’s removed from hill to shore and back again
to claim the right-of-way
Tomorrow, or in some new guash and interplay
within a Chinese fan― speak gently to the hand
And when it dries, you’ll find me sitting where I was
when all of this began.
But then we always knew the score. The hidden wars along the left
Of pages in the history book, the marble records etch so little
Of the terrors of the kill, the whim and wanderlust,
the spin and spittle
Of the needle pointing to a second Khan or city states bereft
Of arms to hold the tide and teeming hoards
That threaten Po or Elbe; the Pyrenees or just another Hannibal
With elephants. Attila drives his chariots south
inspiring concert halls
Of future profiteers and Shermans
with a thousand bonfires to the sea.
The streets of Ord,
Nebraska rest with apathetic sycophants that speak of holocausts
among the Czechs back home while calmly nesting through it all.
To they who will in time read pages to the right,
We see the facts and figurative interpolation for a future night
Of chimæras distracting wallflowers at the mall with outraged calls
To arms against a swarm of pharaohs
that were never there to drown
Or talk of how a string of street gangs
brought the tallest buildings down.
Hitler’s mother’s eyes were modestly disguised
As she was wont to gaze at him intently―
Someone dear forgot to tell him something. Veils we re rent
At last in her and visible restraints she’d only vaguely exercised
Along with patience at the table―a little late for her and most of us.
And in that first November Kristallnacht,
there came the tests, malevolent,
The spark and germ of newly minted acolytes of thunder
scarcely banning headlines of a covenant
Between their suit of clubs and diamonds over hearts
and using spades in all that fuss.
No one knew, of course, but all applauded;
wreathes in memory hang proudly now on every door
Along with ribbons and a vision of some future August mushroom
there along an Asian shore.
Dissent, perhaps, but as King Richard found
when Bolingbroke was crowned,
“The truth is one, the ignorant have but multiplied…”;
the stage is primed for clowns
And living puppets, the genuine anointed;
the exorcised are those who’ve gone before
Disguised in crowds and adulation,
what amounts to flatulence within the masses
Pulling strings to serve a braying herd of half a million asses.