A poem a day in April from Rutgers English PhD students and friends.

Friday, April 24, 2015

all I want

I was blinded—she
was the last thing I remember
before I picked up this pen—

the moon waxing anew
sneaks past the horizon late tonight,
and the night chill hurries me home. 

(pack these words with warmth)

I know it comes
when it comes;
goes when it goes:
I retrace my steps,
look back and she's the first,
the first I see in this sea 
of anchors, gold made looks my way
when I don't know what I want to say
but know I want to it to be said—

she was the one,
she knew just the right word
yet had let me be the one, her poet—
and audience was everything just as fair,
attentive to her every movement and look—

"a woman's heart 
should be so lost in God,
that a man has to seek him 
to find her"–by I always forget who
except that it was written on her profile
and it's truth on my heart—
and so now I sing or write 
my heart out in whys and hows
everywhere and anywhere,

over every honest face—
though I was raised to lower my gaze
by my mother, and my father said:
"the first look is ok", the second
is the devil's I thought then
and think now to make sure
the first one really counts

but there was no giving into
her eyes, I was taken
I was born where I saw,
I saw my self a glow,
I saw a miracle and a blessing walking
I saw home honest to god—

there's a famous song 
from Egypt in the 60's,
Umm Kalthoum's enta 'omri (you are my life),
and I remember hearing the song one day;
"what I saw before my eyes saw you, 
my life at loss—
they'll count that against me—how!"

and I remember it,
the moment, driving, turnpike,
southbound sun in my eyes;
"you are my life whose morning
with your light began",
and I understood how language was,
why it works so much better
than we could ever know
and why she deserved the most of me
and even if I never saw her again deserves

postmodernity would never
have it any other way,
but she wouldn't at all,
us poets, leading the way,
or having something less
poetic to say, or more—
and how could I blame her
when she always got what she said wanted

but it wasn't birth
or a rebirth or worship or worse,
it was the crash of two 
star-crossed ideologies,
but before we ever knew of the names
that tear us apart;
we were made for each other
apart from each other, each our own,
for a purpose I told her vainly;
captured my moon in her track—

in Arabic we say ash-shamsu
wal-qamar (the sun and the moon)
and there's no marker for gender here, but
modern majorities regard them in
what becomes opposite to the Spanish:
el sol y la luna; masculine, then feminine,
default mode of description, then,
essentially inadequate description—
but I was hers and she was mine
and, so unfathomably there

"to not grab at water"
she would teach me,
it doesn't work, and
I remember it, and 
everything I can to help me—
she would remind me
to pray, but didn't, I guess
until she wished it all back

I think I would remember things
too much and she would forget them,
trained to cheat off each other—
or maybe heaven was a memory
and we love to forget 
to each remind the other,
with each touch and breath

I could do anything 
in those moments;
time didn't slow around her
I did it, I wanted it all—
in her eyes and in my mind's
each time I witnessed a world
explode into time and space:

a heart beat true
the sun rising
the moon circling
the tides ebbing
stars everywhere,
everything beating its beat—

until only all of me 
is worth it, worth the wait;
trusting in what must come,
not knowing how at all but certain
to the hollow of your bones,
no matter what else may—

the pale dawn's light 
looks like rain now, maybe not;
and there are green buds of a tree
I want to know the name of

and maybe I do, maybe I can remember 
remember everything

but it won't matter,
it won't matter what I know—
it's what we say, today—
I can stare into the sun still

1 comment:

  1. Still thinking about "'the first look is ok'", the second / is the devil's" and making the first look count. Chills.