Where the Compass Rows

                    i. East

In like a wind, out like a breath, the thrill descends;
taking what love was within—death the thrill transcends.

Almonds and impatience flavour an oasis
where moments and men undress as the thrill descends.

Eating of sweating flesh tainted with hesitant
thirst, parting legs open dry earth the thrill descends.

Inside the mouth, as in a swollen gourd pregnant
with a need to pause, seeds rush as the thrill descends.

Down mercilessly into midday’s miracle,
the will God has given feeds guests the thrill’s descent.

                    ii. North

Strength hits my face hard like a handbell ringing truth,
rubbing through my skin noon’s burning swell singing truth.

Out of shallow puddles of denied youth, tears pool
as regret’s liver-spotted claws pull at sin’s truth.

Beards longer than their bearers have been forgotten
line riverbeds men sleep in until waking truth.

A pearl hears wisdom wishing on a fallen star,
asking if fame matters in heaven where all’s truth.

There is a magic in wandering up and down
one’s own mind, laying waste to blindness which kills truth.

                    iii. West

A palmful of dates grows in groves where reaping doubt
employs all of a soul’s weight, sowers reaping doubt.

Enemies are to travelers most generous
hosts, feeding them and feeding on fears, reaping doubt.

In midnight’s garden, evil follows in silence
as its whispers slither out zephyrs reaping doubt.

A deaf minstrel and a black eye shout the same hurt,
whining of a wound both must endure reaping doubt.

Creation cannot show itself its own worn route;
its fingers like artists’ and mothers’ reaping doubt.

                    iv. South

Perilously drawn to a poor kingdom’s lower
quarter, a beggar travels far to get lower.

Over quarrels and misfortunes, love’s enormous
efforts convince a meteor to hit lower.

In a prickling shower of thorny flowers, flesh
peals from its bawdy tower sin’s score played slower.

Widows are their husbands’ weavers, choosing to keep
or unravel what folklore death’s hand pulls lower.

When tired crews abandon ship, their compasses row
on, Jono, calling near angels who fly lower.