A Taste for Martyrdom

Every man’s a planet
and a star revolving
in ablutions of ruby
and refined tar; part filth
and part treasure. Man’s stride
sprawls the breadth
of the poles, distinct and vast
with no equator to measure.

Fallen, angles spill their daggers,
rending his parachute useless
in his flight from pleasure.
Firmament pierced, the Son falls
like a lodestone into the lap
of the desert—inverted pyramid
demanding lowered eyes do obeisance
to his point of censure.

A caravan road swims the scorching sand,
greeting his curse with a new ember;
the Son gingerly transcends heat’s death
and takes the trade route to Forever.
Immortal fists bend shadows so the path
cannot be remembered; but Man, he tends
the tapestry of constellations,
sewing his spent pearls together.

Himself a star and an exile, Man burns
a beacon for fellow wanderers. Rippling
celestial skirts enfold watchtowers, fixing
themselves against the lipstick smear
of the eastern horizon; caressing clearing clouds,
deeming valueless their tender. A currency
of exertion chants its timbre as Man converts
the endless year into seasons punctuated by slumber.

Coursing from this new thing called Summer,
Man, on the back of a blind spider, bears the waiting world’s
pressure. The many-legged traveller dazzles disruptions
as invisible enemies hassle the two; Man, a weaver himself,
looms a yarn knotting his foes into a shroud of myth
leaving them, even still, in a petrified place of wonder.
Man and his riding beast, his dancing accomplice, they part
and Man quests anew; seeking his hidden lover, his perfect partner.

Where the palm bends and does not break—
so the tale always goes, each retelling
strengthening its hold—Man, persevering, peers in part
his heart’s hole. Even Truth takes its rest here,
in the midst of an overworked oasis, awash with faceless
people cleansing their souls. Spying in the bustle a Bedouin
bidding him near, Man thirsts for his scattered portion,
as from his mind’s eye the crowd disappears.

To taste his lush, to fall at the feet
of the Bedouin who led him, Man marches.
Rushing past bulls, parched as kindling,
sparking and willing, he charges at the sickle
glance of his heart’s conquest. Two solitudes
purged from the dust of unrest, Man marauds a storm
of silence; thieving from its dusty treason
the peace the stormy season sought to suppress.

“Are you he?” the Bedouin hazards to address;
and Man, “I am we—for you are part and see
not the multitude, but devour the entire date dangling
over us in this cosmic sea.”
Advancing, his timidity
tamed by Man’s glancing him, “Are you Gibreel,
sent to summon me?”
The meteor menace
of his descent lending its fire to his eyes,
the heavens’ crashing Son bade his reveal.

A wandering heart recognizes
Wisdom as its chosen hand
pulls its cart. An oasis market
mingling Soul with Mind
is the crossroads angels tread;
seeking not rest, but to offer
what they have been sent to say,
and where it can best be said.

“I am Man; an image not unlike Gibreel,
cast from a mould with a silver tongue
purer than battle-raging steel.”
And he,
“What then?” And I, “Come, Bedouin.
I am yours, and you are mine.”
Soft intent
like a cobweb strewn, cleared the oasis
of its mirage; and at that unknown spot,
a love from solid rock was hewn.