13 January 2020

12 ghazals, a Poéfrika list

by Marylin Hacker

They say the rules are: be forgotten, or proclaim myself.
I’m reasonably tired of that game, myself.

I watched some friends rush off, called by the wild,
and stayed home to make coffee for the tame myself....

by Agha Shahid Ali

What will suffice for a true-love knot? Even the rain?
But he has bought grief's lottery, bought even the rain.

"our glosses / wanting in this world" "Can you remember?"
Anyone! "when we thought / the poets taught" even the rain?...

by Edil Hassan

it is dark here & still you have al nur at your neck when fajr does not come
my body is the color of mourning / not dua or dawah / so I say let the day come

my body is fajr / day is mourning / I am still a clot of blood looking for skin
the color of god is a stain / shaped to you like a grief not yet come...

by Rethabile Masilo

They take to the road at midnight, and turn
Toward land that by right we plough and turn.

Their dark convoy passes white-washed houses.
A brake light: the bakkies slow down, and turn...

by Willie Perdomo

We used to say,
That’s my heart right there.

As if to say,
Don’t mess with her right there...

by Jamila Woods

beverly be the only south side you don’t fit in
everybody in your neighborhood color of white hen

brown bag tupperware lunch don’t fill you
after school cross the street, count quarters with white friends...

by Geoffrey Philp

It burst from those lips that I'd adored, "You're just too red!"
The curse of being apart, neither black nor white, but red

followed me through the streets, staining the shadow
of those fires that flared behind my mother's garden: red...

by John Hollander

For couplets, the ghazal is prime: at the end
Of each one’s a refrain like a chime: “at the end.”

But in subsequent couplets throughout the whole poem,
It’s this second line only will rhyme at the end....

by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

I’ve noticed after a few sips of tea, the tip of her tongue, thin and red
with heat, quickens when she describes her cuts and bruises—deep violets and red.

The little girl I baby-sit, hair orange and wild, sits splayed and upside down
on a couch, insists her giant book of dinosaurs is the only one she’ll ever read...

by W. S. Merwin

This is the bridge where at dusk they hear voices
far out in the meres and marshes or they say they hear voices

the bridge shakes and no one else is crossing at this hour
somewhere along here is where they hear voices...

by Adrienne rich

From here on, all of us will be living
like Galileo turning his first tube at the stars.

Obey the little laws and break the great ones
is the preamble to their constitution...

by Natasha Trethewey

In 1965 my parents broke two laws of Mississippi;
they went to Ohio to marry, returned to Mississippi.

They crossed the river into Cincinnati, a city whose name
begins with a sound like sin, the sound of wrong-mis in Mississippi...

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