Books have become my butterflies
alive for just one day or less
before the surf of routine comes
crashing down overhead
raising my feet
from ocean bed
the pages soaked
These beings are reincarnated
every time I snatch
released from their oceanic
open, new again
the plots and connections
different this time.
Books have become a bus stop
scratched with teenage loves
willing the passerby to want
to flee their own lives for an hour
a day, a night journey
to foreign towns, a round trip
when the back page flips shut –
but I always miss
Books have become my hoopoes
trilling some way off, a
flash of black and white
too fluttersome to stay whenever
Perhaps I’ll catch a feather.
And on one feather I can fly
hit thermals so high even one line
would make me a kite and glide
over terrains no-one will ever see but I.
On just one letter I could ride to
caverns, canyons, cascades
altitude lakes blue as eyes
dry, red-streaked rocks and corporeal dunes
spruce forests so dense sounds
would fight to reach our ears
clearings where stand in moonlight
roundhouses of polished wood
in which I find circles of lovers
of the Word.
They must exist!
And I am going
by any vehicle
to find them.
Cold winter night blue snow crust on the ground
colors bleached out to only a few from the usual spectrum
even multicolored things in black and white now
palladiums of xylophone ice cabinets in a near dimension suspended
just above ground level played on by angels using
devilish mallets to make long low echoing plongs of sound
reverberate among skeletal trees housing the few birds
left in their snow coats trying to snooze heads deeply
buried in wing-pits like tight
feather balls for a sport frozen in space the pitch
suddenly stopped in midair until spring thaw
when all will float freely in space again against
flittering green backdrops and uncoiling scarlet splashes and
a soft golden ubiquitous light even in the middle of the night
it seems with earth’s blood flow pulsing so
youthfully again through the vision screen
and everything again like a golden
ocean in motion with all its leaping arcs and arches
not like the
present suspended animation of the silvery ice-world held in the
center of planetary star-space like a single round teardrop frozen on its
sad descent to nowhere from no particular
origination to no clear destination but dear God’s good
pleasure through all His various weathers rapidly
shifting from hot to cold and
back again in our
1/7/2001 (from Blood Songs, The Ecstatic Exchange, 2012)
This poem was posted on AH Moore’s blog on Jan 7 2014, during the rather poetically named Polar Vortex that has plunged temperatures on the East Coast down to unimaginable lows – and this poem was written on the same day 13 years ago. As AH Moore added, ‘prayers for the indigent and the needy’ during these freezing times! AH Moore will be giving our first talk and performance on the subject of Sufi poetry at the April Zende Creative Retreat, as well as being our general all-round Zende zeitgeist and talisman.
On a bus stop bench today
opposite Crystal Palace park
a sphere of silver appeared
and passing buses warped
the metal melted, ads peeled off
bystanders blasted, eyebrows singed
the trees flashed sauna-hot
a curve of grey and drizzle lifted
I hid my laughter that
nobody seemed to notice and
the orb of clutter-thoughts
that dangle round my head
like strips of ripped skirt tied to branches
vanished. Oh! How they’d obscured the view!
Now it is clear those shabby tokens,
gifts given in hope of something else,
could never reach the Giver.
He does not do cupboard love, a
worship born of wanting –
‘Take this time of mine but
give me what I wish for,
with all due respect. No, not that one –
I said I wanted it in red!’
But on the bus stop bench
around me grew a secret:
This is always here
while we in earth robes walk
as though we’re mountains.
This is always here.
Once you’ve been shown it
you cannot unknow it.
This is always here.
Medina Tenour Whiteman, Jan 2013