Improvisations for Khaled Al-Saa’i
Language breaks forth with alphabet demons,
the divs and devas whose spiral
nebular orgasms generated wheeling uncials,
cursive minuscules. Ah the tongue wars
in Cro-Magnon night talk, the pain of firewood
felt by an erect iris voiced
as vowels like aimless planets coursing
the consonantal ink of libido carving outward.
Language starts up below as a root
discontent—as a human sphinx
peers out of a maned cave,
a queen force generates bags of letter fodder
becoming the breasts of masked amoebic engineers!
Al-Saa’i sees nature as intelligible word lore mortal scored rims
or rhymes, a lingo ribbonesque with inner din
(questers sounding themselves
off stone in a darkness sparkling with
ghoul-infested whirligigs, Sheela-na-gigs, the jig of the mind
in torque about the bud of self).
Through Al-Saa’i’s swervy, granular latticeworks
I see the world of the Shah-nameh. Transport to rocks
blushing with vegetation, peonies swelling
with crimson joy, leafless twigs seething with bio-remorse,
the oyster-fresh eyes of rocks, rocks
pecking their way out of their shells—
then I return to Al-Saa’i’s calligraphic airs
in which light can be sensed praying,
I enter its minty densities, its reptilinear interlocking sway,
its alpha radiant omega drone. I witness the caravan departure of
a great octopus rising from the waves,
transforming the tentacle water shudder into
a lacework of letter flavor cometary clover!
I hear you close the bathroom door.
An absence weighted balance lifts into presence.
Is the source of human bondage the fear of loss?
Now that you are showering, cables of water convert, ghost-loaded
suds, Rabelais’ mane furls from Aphrodite’s thigh…
The patter of my tattered tale, swirled drain. Rising like a sewer
of precognition: Is the real death the death I am preoccupied with
here and now?
The sound of drying, the clay in the cloth, the veil that will reach me
before I reach the end.
To accept loss as it looms larger, to pull out the last part of myself
left inside, to get all of myself born.
Thoughts of Gorky, Looking into Vermont Woods, at Tinling’s, October 3, 2004
One stands on a creaking,
October leaves like cobra hoods
waltzing, wattled parasols..
My eyes focus latrines—
a putrification is under way.
Warm bath of heart re-obtained.
To inhale, to be in the columnar density of
that now takes on global contours.
Leaves as reefs
birch-white with amber pink
the molten under-yolk,
the sphincter of mayhem
Gorky breathed in, staring at gnats adrift,
an ever-exiting bruise, burst
flagellation of a pyre
drummed on by ants
possessed in elfin serenade.
Cockscomb and marigold are thistled in
a graphite legacy
recalling Crane at Melville’s grave.
Monody of a line
picked up at Pech Merle.
The supped russet totality