september 2021


                  (i) dear, shy habibi

I have seen your wounded looks many times


and many times I have felt you pass

through the reticence of my soul


a shadow among shadows

healing yet hurting 


this bitter transcendence

of never having known you


your breath as my breath

your hands as my hands


for without words, without touch

I was bereft of air


and left to cherish

only the wounded universe of your eyes


and so as I lived I died

stanzas choking my heart


watching the horizon

in case I missed again some chance to breathe


to love far beyond myself

this marriage to an impossible conceit...






...just how far can this

intuitive counterpoint go


expletives, for example, fill the mind

and flies warm themselves in the sun


perihelion approaches 

and these specks of dark matter


these liver spots on the backs of my hands 

mark the end of immortality


clearly then, ribosomes are simply lost stars 

and these trees, they too, are just signs of lust


of slow, unending penetration 

expletives that rage and rage


at this massive helix warming itself in the dark 

toying with extinction


a protein for vice

a lipid for the underworld


in vivo, in vitro 

my hands crumbling


filling my mind

with some invincible, everlasting free-fall...





...I ask why, why this brooding expanse

this white melancholy, this desert


why do they goad me so much

what is this vacant anatomy of my soul


where everything is truly nothing

and nothing truly everything


the so-called dust of inspiration

burning in my throat


this monstrous, monstrous act of caprice

the universe sweetened by violence


by pages covered with verse

weightless, blowing across the desert


the very last book

turning into sugar


and me, again, down on my knees

watching the blank expanse


this whiteness of some passing galaxy

pushing the earth


further and further from the truth...







...this is the veil that is written

and this the mask that is sealed


this lava, this syntax 

oozing from the earth


covering the seas with gold

with words for love, for transgression 


with thoughts beyond even human reach

this gamble with the unknown


for to live and to be

are like ways of reading the air


of trying to discern immensity

from just some marks on a page


that terrifying space 

where the seraphim still dance


hiding behind their fire 

every hieroglyph, every sound and translation


of words becoming meat

of meat becoming air


this illusive choreography 

of all that which is written in gold...