24 November 2015

Le Parisien

The blood of Paris blends into the Seine,
whose days have been flowing here to die.
I make room for what’s to come in, and then
spirit out of me, unstoppable as man’s strife.
In the end I get to the bottom of its root:
domes of this city are like scabs on flesh
bared by the bad thing. Inside of the tube we go
through interiors of bone and then back again,
till we become that Parisian of forevermore.
People follow the cortège through streets
like blood cells in a vein to the body’s end,
then back again to the heart of our city. Like
a pall bearer, blood also transfers the dead;
we are fidels who go to prayer, when the voice
of our imam from a minaret calls, subjects
whose heart of the matter has been abused,
though not enough for us to know we intend
to come out fighting, to see this to the end.

21 November 2015

21 November 2015

My mother holds in her right hand
a cane that holds her up, mum herself,
and weight from the memory of 1970.
Long after the sun has gone down,
even as death weighs and smells her
like a buyer in the fruit section
of a hyper-store, among the melons,
grapefruit and mangoes trucked
from another country’s summer,
she shuffles through the corridors
of the mind, opening every door
to rooms to make windows in there
let air in and chase all torpor away,
aware of the presence of the buyer
of lives. At times she just peers in,
or stands in the doorway to taunt them;
the empty rooms hide in corners.
It will be tomorrow when she awakes,
life’s hyper-store will be closed, iron-
curtained against a thief who roams
at night, and dozes during the day.

14 November 2015

When the fire dies down (image)

When the fire dies down

First, you don’t know, you just see, and hear, your eyes
are blinded by light, your ears deaf, their drums ripped;
and then, then when the fire dies down, and the sound
of gunfire is an echo in the head, we count our dead.
Last night at the Bataclan alone the gendarmes found
more than eighty. There’s our president on the telly. All
the assailants had belts on, yes, to hold their moralities
in place, make them stay up so everything else could be
by-passed, the same way the jack tricks a car, a pacemaker
the heart. This thing is their sagging pants, they do need
a suicide belt each. A man walks by me with his right arm
in his left hand. A terrible word, ‘right’, it sees through
everything, through us. When the echo in the head dies
there is a movement to today, as tomorrow feeds from it.
Time doesn’t stop; it cannot; it glances over its shoulder
to see if we’re keeping up. There’s a kamikaze in the race,
running next to me, we both see it’s a sprint to the death.
Every lap is the last, every athlete the leader. Time, time
is of the essence. But after moving to today, nothing else,
except this drrring of the telephone. Then a whole day
that is numb, incapable of any regard for this… thing.
Tomorrow waits like a finish line that keeps receding.

~Paris, 13 November 2015