Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Long ago
Long ago
In the days before phantoms and phantasms
In the eons before endless nigrescent vistas
In my innocent fertility
fearless to the importunate siren
You beckoned, I came.

Istanbul had left its mark
And though I appeared unmoved
by skin song delectables of obscene plumage
Such decadent deliverance!

You had me, Kanuni,
Ah, Tokapi, your diadem spires
so impaled my Occidental contempt
I felt the imperial ghost forms
The Mighty, the Munificent, the Majestic
splayed prostrate
on lucullian kilims.

Oh, I had heard the tales
of an Eastern mosaic conflagration
of the gilded Safavid conurbation
where geometric and mathematical zillij tiles in
blinding cosmological landscapes
made you look the gilded buffoon.
And I had to laugh at the arrogant impossibility:
“Esfahan is half of the world”

(…and there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree…)

For though Shah, Abbas
you were first the Shi’ite potentate
and I knew your family tree.
Death to all who did
not sanctify the meaning of Muharram
or beseech the Hidden Imam
by scourging backs to blood meat supplication.
Such impeccable Western revulsion:
Where could Beauty possibly fit
in such sanguinary marinade?

(A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!)

But ever the ravenous pilgrim
There came a time
Although it now seems
long ago
long ago
When I had to behold you
When I had to know
If beauty could
congeal in blood.

At the foot of Hasht Behesht
The Palace of Eight Heavens
O’er stucco kufic supplications
To Allah and His Prophet
And all the Blessed that followed.

Oh, how
Your tiled Peacocks and Your Angels
Devoured me
There in
the brilliance
of sun-shattering portals
pendiment miracles
achingly etched archings

Drenched by
your blood-soaked beauties
that would ne’er
set me free.

Now time’s passage
caresses my numbered days
and soft! Lone the moonless vista
mocks my buried heart.

But there is breath
of mystic verdancy
and on holy dread
of nights of fire
I dream, Oh I dream…

(Where Alph, the sacred river, ranThrough caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

…And on her dulcimer
she played…)

Oh my carnivore lover
Such insatiable splendor
….I return
I return…
to impress infinities
of such succulent ecstasies

Embrace me
Consume me

1 comment:

John Rossi said...

lots to take in- i am 'blown away'///whatever that means...