Friday, January 31, 2014


Here I mourned you,
And now it’s over.

A wall of brushed concrete—
How I hated its birth;
A breeze squeezing its last breath
Through the cracks.
An angel in the mud,
Smiling from below
To a chime that keeps sighing.
Here, on these steps,
With the azure flanking me,
She told me.
Here, in this hallway of a room,
Over salad greens,
I wept.
And there you still hang,
On top,
In the row of the deceased.

I’ve got cat hair all over my sweat,
A furry smile,
And eyes that squint like yours.
I’ve got rooftops aplenty,
And branches to match,
All of magnolias in bloom.
I’ve got skylines to give,
A blue open wide,
And insinuated stars.
Here, at the heel of the world,
I’ve got similes run amuck!
I’ve got graffiti, and Tupperware
Filled with yesterday’s blood.
I’ve got you running in circles
Under my breath.
Here, where you ended,
An immense yawn began,
A treetop, a squirrel, and a humming bee.
Here, in the silence,
You still crumble down the wall
As long as my cat chases ghosts.

(Originally posted on June 16, 2005)


Maya said...

you're a genius.

Anonymous said...


The first part, really, is the most awing. Amazing. The tension between the painful certitude of the first two lines and the fullstopdidness of the last is brilliant.

Until “To a chime that keeps sighing”, I did not amaze me too badly, and I was rather busy figuring out whether this is taking place in our cemetery or in the States. Maybe this is not the best way to go about a poem, but this is what really happened.

Continuing with associations, the three following lines struck me incredibly as Khalto Samar’s (I bet I swept you off your feet here huuh?). Those too did not sweep me off MY feet.

The three lines that followed were quite good and it was clear to me (though it may be not the real thing) that you were in our Keyfounne house. I pictured you very vividly, like out of memory.

The latter three lines proceed in a mixture of a person; me and Teta.

Like I am interpreting a dream.

Until “All of magnolias in bloom”, I thought of your imagery as brilliant but hollow, though there is something happily real about your first two lines. What stood out brilliantly to me amidst those lines was “And eyes that squint like yours.” There is so much love and faith in the act of likening ourselves with the features of an other (“where does the otherness stop or begin?” you might ask at such a point), and a very childlike innocence, in that I am the child of the other, if I am her child only by carrying that squint in mine eyes. I would like to ask you if she is not her, whom I am thinking of.

The three lines that follow are also (or so I felt) more aesthetic than children of what is there, but they are so aesthetic that I cannot resist praising them. Lovely! Wonderful! Delicious!

From “Here, at the heel of the world,” till the end, the poem shifts into something very pleasing and tangible, in that I could relate to it. Maybe it is because of that that I felt that its aesthetic power lessened. It is such a shame that I hold this shameful polarity between realism and aethetics!

One last thing, your last line is very good. It attacks an immensely mundane image and takes it into another “unrealistic” dimension. I really liked it.

But now I am depressed at discovering so starkly this polarity in me!

Ton frère Ahmad

arch.memory said...

You are just too precious! And I am so glad you're back :)

I won't "correct" you by telling you what I "meant" or was talking about, because I do believe that that act of "misinterpreting" (i.e. the gap between what the poet meant and what the reader understood) is an essential one by which the reader makes the poem theirs. And it is kind of irrelevant, really, what I meant. I think one of the measures of success of a poem is how much it allows the reader to claim ownership over it as such. But if you still want to know, I'll tell you in an e-mail so I don't "spoil" for other people (if there's anybody out there...).

Anonymous said...

Of Course there is, reading you so quietly.