Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Heartsong" by Khaled Mattawa


A bird sings from the tree. The birds sing
sending waves of desire and I stand on my roof
waiting for a randomness to storm my days. I stand
on my roof filled with the longing that sings its way
out of the bird. I am afraid that my call will break me,
that the cry blocked by my tongue will pronounce me mad.
O bird mad with longing, O balancing bar,
tight rope, monkey grunting from a roof. Fortunate bird.
I stand on my roof and wave centuries of desire.
I am the Bedouin pondering the abandoned campsite,
licking the ashes of the night fire; the American walking,
walking miles of dresses, blouses, and skirts filling them
with infinite lovers, the mystic feeling the pull swirling
in his chest, a desert of purpose expanding and burning
and yellowing every shade of green. And I stand on my roof.
And I say come like a stranger, like a feather
falling on an old woman’s shoulder, like a hawk
that comes to feed from her hands, come like a mystery,
like sunlight rain, a blessing, a bus falling off a bridge,
come like a deserting soldier, a murderer chased by law,
like a girl prostitute escaping her pimp, come like a lost horse,
like a dog dying of thirst, come love, come ragged
and melancholy like the last day on earth, come like a sigh
from a sick man, come like a whisper, like a bump on the road,
like a flood, a dam breaking, turbines falling from the sky,
come love like the stench of a swamp, a barrage of light
filling a blind girl’s eye, come like a memory convulsing
the body into sobs, like a carcass floating on a stream,
come like a vision, come love like a crushing need,
come like an afterthought. Heart song. Heart song.
The pole smashes and the live wires yellow streaks
on the lush grass. Come look and let me wonder. Someone.
So many. The sounds of footsteps, horses and cars.
Come look and let me wonder. I stand on my roof
echoing the bird’s song: Do not sleep. Do not sleep now
that you have housed your longing within the pain of words.

Source of the text – Khaled Mattawa, Amorisco. Keene, NY: Ausable Press, 2008, pp. 10-11.

TJB: Lush earnestness. The poem draws energy to itself with momentum & anaphora like a lightning rod & unlike many litanies, sticks its landing.

No comments:

Post a Comment

About Me