Chased Beasts

I make perpetual the term of delay for
the satisfaction of the calls of hunger,
until I kill it. I then turn away
from noticing it, and I forget it.

Phœnix of a father scattered
like fallen feathers, ashes instead of
weather troubling the water with
grotesque reflections of his soul never
getting into heaven, burning
open a hole in the red horizon,

impulsive ulcerative messiah
coming down again crashing hard,

an apple-green susurrus of
tragedy’s death-sweetened breath bends, twisting
in its plangent scent a braid of
paradoxes, tacitly proclaiming
the slick logic of fallacy,
a gasp that holds you like the cold morning

after the wedding night scorches, the way
a grave’s mouth and a bed’s purchase

unsuspecting victims each wound
purges, gives up its ghosts, but not before
they intermingle their lips in
the same gaping kiss, an eclipse, this is
a son’s damage handled less-than-
tactfully, unclaimed baggage declaring

its emptiness to profess publicly
my utter unaffectedness,

art makes love your war, makes you love
your war, makes you love harder than your heart
ever has before, even if
never seen or left unheard it rewards,
dying alone knowing the dark
miracle of your own work hurts less than

being ignored, the loudest criticism
I face on a daily basis

is your silence, deafening in
its blank-faced taciturn assessment of
my debased articulations,
its intangible condemnation of
my actions, yet, if language is
a virus, it’s curious the only

ache with which you’ve infected me is this
pain in my heart, harshest honesty

of your loss’ lost words no longer
a cruelty but strangely, lately, more
a soothing balm than a loud bomb
shaking my bones, hope insidiously
blowing apart my soul, a cure
scattering shrapnel throughout the chasm of

its microcosm’s little interior
world, martyrs feel this way when stoned.

1al-Shanfara, “L-Poem of the Arabs”, [Stanza 21], translated by Sir James W. Redhouse in Arabic Poems: A Bilingual Edition Edited by Marlé Hammond, published at New York by Everyman’s Library in 2014; page 67.