Sunday, March 29, 2009

Aerial Canopy

This is the second edited version of a "photograph poem", one where we had to describe a photograph with clear details but while still adequately answering the question: "So what?". This poem may undergo a few more edits before I am pleased with it, but the following is one of the attempts:

A tenebrous figure sits on the tawny sand,
as the dusking sky turns from blue to purple,
resembling sweet peas as they age and
wilt. The diaphanous waves, each
oscillating back and forth from the horizon
to the shore, each swell folding a secret to be
unraveled like the thread of a spool,
its release imminent, tightly held by this man—
his emerald green eyes vacant,
his sanguine lips cracked, his shoulders
as vast as this sea. He looks up to the silhouette
parasailing, the white voile beckoning him,
he yearns to seize the braided string of
imaginary hemp, to lift himself up
and flutter away with this aerial canopy,
yet his terrestrial tendencies leave him
grounded, solitary on the loose,
scorching sand, as soft as the underside of
her arm, the ivory limestone rock formations
in the background as he contemplates
his escape. That is when she lost him,
her grip slowly loosening,
the woman whose eye of kohl lay
behind the camera, releasing her grip
from the metal, cool apparatus as
she walks away, burying her cigarette
and him in the sand, the smoke
ascending to the violent sky.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dissolved like Alkasetzer

She had called crying and I had imagined the tears streaming down her face, her mascara drawing lines from her swollen eyes to her chin. She said, “Come home, I need you,” and that was all it took for me to pack my bags and return to the unknown. And thus, I boarded that plane unaware of the blatant alterations I would be presented with upon landing. Two months before we found ourselves at the edge of the depths of the Vaucluse, guitar in hand and Ricki Nelson songs trickling out of our mouths, our vocal cords vibrating and the sound of bliss echoing and reverberating around us. But now, as soon as my feet hit the tarmac and throughout the long train ride from Paris to the Avignon station, the blurred scenery dancing on my pupils, it was evident that during my absence, an entire universe had dissolved like an Alkasetzer in a half-empty glass of water and all that remained were infinitesimal particles of that which we had been. Ricki Nelson, laughter, summer trips along the Côte d’Azur, stopping at each alcove, each place, has now been replaced with a deafening silence and the knowledge of your imminent departure. And while you were contemplating your escape, getting out your scissors to cut the threads that bound you to us, we spent the nocturnal hours wiping the saline tears from our lachrymose eyes and blanched faces, each minute ticking away alerting us of the bomb that would absolve our current lives.

And as you snipped at each thread, severing ties, you allowed us to fall away from you, to keep falling into this somber chasm, our limbs flailing in the air, flesh tearing from our brittle bones as we screamed and cried, the sound muffled, stuck like dust particles in our tracheas.

I scratched, clawed at the film of our past, the images projected onto an imaginary white sheet in the crevices, folds of my mind but to no avail-- we were losing you. We were clenching our fists, our knuckles turning white and cracking and you were the sand trickling through our phalanges, falling to the cold, marble floors and scattering throughout the Provence with the gust of wind that was reality.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Cinder, Dust, Tears and Wails

The autumnal leaves fell
resembling burnt pieces of
thread after a fire and the ashes
was the dust that deposited upon
our doorstep, refusing to
be swept away. And she,
dressed in a red, cotton dress
shivered as the wind of reality
passed by, raising the black
hair marking her peach skin,
and gripping a broom in her hand,
the whoosh, whoosh reverberating
in the French cathedral ceilings, as she
attempted to sweep away the incendiary words:
I want my freedom.
Now, the stone house collects
cinder, dust, tears and wails
where it once amassed Francis Cabrel
songs, Cassoulet dinners, peals of
laughter and embraces. The ancient
green, wooden door has vanished
and allowed for the gales of misery to
infiltrate this once sanctuary,
each gust redolent of flesh tearing,
the acrid aroma of bile permeating our
olfactory organs, the scent suffocating us
as though a pillow was muffling our screams,
and during this slow death,
the woman whose cotton dress is now
replaced by a stain marked bathrobe,
clawed at the distorted face of her life,
scratched at the walls that were turning into rubble,
and I merely observed—helpless.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Marrakech Bazaar

I walk into the market, all five senses inundated by starkly different stimuli; the intermingling of cumin, nutmeg and cardamom synthesizing a scent of warmth and perfection; bright jilbabs of neon green, turquoise and magenta, embroidered with golden threads and fabricated of such luxurious cloths as silk, velvet and Egyptian cotton; and the deafening bustle of the locals, bartering for bread, spices and love. I pick up the heavy loaf of Moroccan bread, place an exquisitely tasting morsel into my mouth and at once I find home again. I spent years running away from this very place, ensuring my feet would not halt, that my heels would keep pushing on like a nomad in the desert in search of an oasis, only to find that the peaceful area amidst the chaos is right here; Marrakech. It is surrounded by this mayhem of humanity, with the stands concocted of grainy wooden polls draped with silk gauze, forming a cocoon of safety from the sun, that I feel rejuvenated. I hear the market women’s tireless chant of “Caftan 5 dirham. Fez, 2 dirham,” and see the lines of age marking their faces, as these women of soil sit cross-legged on the weathered pavement. I stroll the aisles of the bazaar in a stupor, relieved to be an unrecognizable face in the crowd, to be lost in the commotion that is the market. I look up into the sky; see the cumulous clouds disguised as wondrous flying saucers, Aladdin’s airborne rug, all reminiscent of this throng of women, men and children wailing for attention. Even the Marrakech skies are filled with the turmoil of life. Startled from my reverie, a man with chestnut-leather skin taps me on the shoulder, holding a brown-necked raven. This man, clearly a product of this sun-drenched country, speaks in our mother tongue, an Arabic dialect intertwined with French, and urges me to purchase this indigenous bird, one from the desert sands of the Sahara. I explain in my broken- Arabic, a result of my many years of exile, that I am unable to transport this bird, regardless of its beauty, back to the place I left. And, with wisdom only an elder possessing such enigmatic eyes, portals to the soul that that have seen the earth unravel and then reconstruct itself, the man utters, “Here is the only home for the bird… for you.” I gasp for air, having held my breath at such a declaration of sheer truth, and heave onto the cracked concrete floor, the vomit’s odor intermingling with Moroccan herbs. The infinitesimal fissures in the cement looking like a microscopic web spun by an industrious spider reminds me of this inescapable life; I forever will be rocked within he strong embrace of the Marrakech market’s indescribable beauty.


After he died, he came to see me just as he had promised. He talked to me of trivial matters, ardently attempting to evade the true reason for his visit. He spoke of this ethereal world where stillness fills your soul; where children’s laughter reverberates in your ears. Where there are forty-seven sunsets. A world redolent of summer rain with a tinge of pomegranate, added in for bitter-sweetness. He talked of all these things that were pleasant but rather insignificant. His words weaved around the treacherous crevices of our conjoined, quadruplet chambers, but we both were unable to halt our minds from wandering to that place: it was night, one filled with heavy droplets of rain, but neither one of us could distinguish our tears from the storm. He was holding me in his strong, sun weathered arms, and I could not fathom ever letting go. We both knew the inevitable was nearing like a train inching toward its destination. He gently wiped away my tears, kissed my cherry lips and said goodbye— walking toward that infinite light, its glow forming a diaphanous halo atop his head.