Zabbaleen

& like any god
-forsaken thing, I want nothing more
than my breaths
– Ocean Vuong

Signals traverse spines & veins.

Eyes dilate.

Tracing ancient patterns,
the sinuous ribbons of memory
renewed through constant sacrifice

                rise:

another performance

of terror & necessity.

Some animals survive & others die,

while through it all

the light plays games across the spectacle,
watched over by gods
who know nothing of mercy.
 
~~~

Here though, there are no gods;
here the wind touches glass & concrete trees
fells greasy cardboard leaves,
plastic carrier bags,
cigarette ends,
empty cans &
people.

~~~

The Gazelle has broken limbs,
has lost it's noble frame
& the grace of such delicate movements

between jaws, claws, teeth &
brutal muscle;
adrenaline, instinct & chance.
 
The Gazelle searches for a place to hide

somewhere to die in peace before
scavengers arrive to tear away meat
from the warmth of life.

Such an ugly fate for a gentle beast:

watch the blood draining from a dead-eyed dream.

~~~

The Zabbaleen
have been forced to become human garbage.

There are many others like them.

It need not be this way.

Here there are no gods but
mercy could exist. This

makes me ashamed to be human.

What about you?

Enough

You have a favourite tree in this city,
& the one he hung himself from
is in the same public garden.

You took me there once:
                        2 am.,
we were drunk.

You climbed the trunk & sat on the branch
where he swung
for hours, years ago, until
the grounds-keeper found him in the morning.
& quit their job soon after.

He is always somewhere in your mind,
the memories you want desperately to survive
come flooding back to you sometimes
& the pain in your eyes is unbearable.

So much trauma.

Every year
you plant flowers at the base of the tree.
Every year
you despair as age reminds you again
just how young he was.

So much trauma.

I asked permission
& you let me sit on the branch with you.

Looking down on the ground,
every suicidal thought returned &
I realised I wasn't ready;

                        I wanted
to lay beneath a cherry tree
& bleed, buried beneath fallen blossoms:

no,
I wasn't ready then…

was your friend?

You asked me & the only answer
that I could find
was that some of us need more

than life can provide,
but we search
                    until the searching

becomes too much.

Alive

Here we’re
            alive.

Here we are as we love & complain,
orgasm & menstruate;
vomit & piss & waste our hate
on the smallest of things.

Here we are
            with or without
mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters;

comrades or enemies;
consumers or revolutionaries*,
            attack or defence,
for or against:

reasons so solid yet insubstantial
at the same time.
 
An accident upon infinite accidents,
so improbable
as to constitute a miracle,

here we’re alive
                to the glorious light:

your life is not a cage, a stage
or a performance,

                it’s just an accident.

You’re alive, & one day you will die

So…laugh until we burst**?

*Those Anarcho Punks Are Mysterious – Against Me!

**Idioteque – Radiohead

Sand Mandala

For once on the face of the earth
let’s not speak in any language,
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines,
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness

Keeping Quiet – Pablo Naruda

 

Using water to gild wild flowers with gold leaf
for hours.

The technique requires practise that few will ever
master,

                            yet still you keep trying,
while the world around you ignores all that you
want to
                            give: a delicate gift;

desperate attempt to prove that you still exist,

before a silence, so intense
descends, just as you have been dreaming of
                            ever since

your first fascination
                            with gold leaf & flowers.

Unsaved Document

Returned now to habitude & ugly
old attitudes resume.

Refrain from razor-blades against
                                the skin
but now place them instead between the teeth
so during sleep the mouth
fills with blood

forcing shame to keep
a silence unredeemed
by graceful movement or delicate features;

eyes that do not see the open,
                                absent
of the pulsation, the differentiation
                                separating
life from death, death from dying.

Until, once again, the morning comes when
a mother bends to brush against
                                her child
& the animal rejoins the wild challenge
of existence:

begin a new day, with
different hunters, different prey yet
always the same ancient struggle
                                despite
the panic, the shit, the pain that afflicts
all living things.

Grace is acceptance, grace is
defiance;

for the hunter to eat the prey must die,
& for each to drink
the gaze must sink down toward the water.

There, where the reflection resides.

There, where there is nowhere

                            to hide.