Simply Darwish, II: Black Rain Storm
The sky suddenly wreaks havoc upon us
And pours down clear from blackened clouds
Flooding the heart’s lingering drought
The outside torrents rap bus windows
Matching my wild heart beating your name
And I take a volume of Darwish out to read
The golden street lights after dusk
flashlight the window one by one
And crystal glow worms drip down my page
Perhaps the couple seeking shelter has
A brittle love made small by passing rain
Or one so strong and rich it expands the sky
Now the heavens are grey and blue and orange
Like cedar forests burning the distance,
Devised by a brilliant craftsman
Black scraps of cloud criss-cross the sky
Like skinny wolves charging at the bloody moon
Suddenly stabbed by a jagged sword
I wade home through water and mud
past brand new cascades dashing down
Water always binds me to your name
I walk behind a singing soul diffusing
into darkened mystery, but Darwish whispers:
A simple black rain storm, no more, nor less
Rumi, or, My Heart is a Vagabond
Rumi is the master of love.
He sent me to you.
He said, “Here is your journey.”
And I lost myself on the way.
You never came to look for me.
Because I am not the purest of the pure.
I am not Absence.
I am nowhere near Tebriz.
Because you are too busy searching
For your enlightenment,
Even if it only is in my love.
You look for the palace of the Sultan,
But my love is an overgrown maze.
You search for agates and coral,
But my heart is only flesh.
You wake the troublemaker
And then let him play next to me.
You search for your soul in a sea full of pearls,
And I only offered you crumbs of bread.
You look for eternal pleasure, joy, and life,
Even if it is only in my love.
You grow wings in your heart,
But I am a white sparrow stuck in mud.
Now my heart is a vagabond,
And if you look for it in me today,
You won’t see a trace of it.
Go, put your head on your pillow.
Leave me burning.
I am already turning to smoke,
Rising toward the sky.
Toward the sky that was supposed
To expand your heart.
You are beautiful,
Even if only it is in my love.
Go, rest your head on your pillow.
Leave me to my own night.
Some Observations in a Coffee Shop in Suzhou
In a cozy café in Suzhou
One can browse The New Yorker and Doris Day.
(Both old, incidentally)
Greece on the wall,
America on the table cloth,
Russia on the liquor list,
Hungary on the phonogram,
And a whole territory on your plate.
You put Mukherjee aside
to watch the trash man drop it all outside.
99% of those on motorbikes are female,
Plus one male with a boy.
They light an oil lamp for you,
to illuminate your continental feast
and your Darjeeling tea.
How many worries you have swallowed so far!
The shop owner lectures you on brown sugar versus Splenda.
You choose headache over hypoglycemia.
The printed table cloths tell humble stories
of Midwestern proprieties.
None of them is your story,
not even the one entitled “All things grow with love.”
Some grow without love.
And some in spite of love.
Suspended between clocks and visions,
you know what is out there.
Red incense burning over grey skies.
of the kind life does not grant anymore.
The sugar twirls in your hot tea.
What has not settled now,
will not settle.
What has been done, cannot be undone.