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from the January 2004 issue

An Alphabetical Formation


You're not beginning . . .

It's an eternity, you know . . .

I mean, the ever-after, you know

No matter, then.

Raise your cavalry

But do not leave behind the horizon,

Or the sea . . . or the soil

lines for beginnings,

finish me off on a wire.

You are not beginning now,

watch out . . .

anyone who begins is deceived


We haven't yet finished the elegy for the century,

We haven't exposed blood,

flowing from poetry,

or a tear from prose,

and there are no windows

through which to see them, the others

and the others are ourselves . . .

Do the dead epitomize the living?

Well, then . . . does captivity test the

wings a bird uses to

swoop down freely?

So that it has not discovered significance far

From their twin meanings.


That's a mirror,

and this a woman,

the woman rises . . .

So let the mirror be shattered, and the ruler,

and the secret between them

The woman rises . . .

to see the before and the after

from the inside and the outside . . .

We have disregarded the sky

and performed ablutions upon rising,

then prayed at its knee until noon

the sultans passed by without their dreams,

they were dragging coffins

we call thrones!

Do you really see? . . . we ask ourselves

and how is it they've triumphed?

Only defeats have been victorious


The beginning of wine is the shadow . . .

And it is not content with the volcano,

we've raked the languages of serenity,

to raise a glass

the naked trees . . . our remains

for he who gathers enough

of the silence that extinguishes an ember

we no longer grasp, we've returned

and raked letters

whose eyes have lost their lashes in sorrow,

for a glorious silence

they have pierced its seclusion . . .

the silence indicts armies

and judges and turncoats . . . and titles . . .

It does not forget . . . So discard it from your master's resolutions,

or from the binding of the threads that remind.


Oblivious to design, this tomorrow is baffled by intent

and the yesterday that moans

from our first humanity.

Rather, baffled by our first blood,

for this I search the night

for a new master

sowing wheat with his palms,

singing from our songs,

and quenching his thirst from our casks

and if fury remains, then an invasion is



A palm tree is my rib

And my spirit a brown horse

And memory my pavilion

For to whom do I leave my belongings?

And to whom do I entrust my desire

For a mirage that doesn't betray its master

One day as the capitols

have betrayed their natives


Has he finished . . . ?

No . . .

He does not know this verb,

and he does not accept its conjugations,

it embarks within us

and if he arrives to shore,

he says:  Apologize to it for me.

Around me is a vaster blueness

out of your dreams

Imru al-Qays

was straying from it

and so, it strayed from him.

The poet has finished and as for the poetry . . .

We said no . . .

And we say we'll try.

March 7, 1992

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