We called him only ‘Maestro’:
Nothing as common as a name would do!
He would talk and we would listen,
Stars and sea bound willingly
To the thrum of his voice, and the infinite
Gorgons produced by that throated violin.
They say he died, somewhere
In the California desert of 1986;
But man says many things, and so I set
Out to witness his rebirth.
A body they exhibited—what clever replication!
Even the broken capillaries upon his cheeks reforged! And yet
Why did its mouth hold still? Where went
The air besides the nose? Abhorrent thing! You possess
Less than zero of His being. Can you reconjure
A boundless night from nothing
But the force of your belief?
Inspired by Alex Gibney’s excellent documentary on Scientology.
Companionship’s kiss left all alone
Befriended so long
Thoughts subtle-shaded rose all in black.
Mythological age passed but unsown,
Mortals so mere
False-bidden flung on div-ine track.
Thus king ignoble sat on the throne
Judgement so daft
Satanic refusal broke deviled back.
So gilded god arrived much postponed
Purpose so straight
From side unseen slipped last attack.
Stay a month longer, Jin-dynastied sun…
Too eager you signed unfounding breath.
Greeting came carcass-gifted,
Calamitous cause leaves unsaid?
Enlighten then your parapeted subjects:
Sixty-thousand they stand, suicide-shawled.
Where erred veneration,
When fell celebration?
The horsed horde at our gates know not love
(Their language lacks the rhyme).
At those hands
Are we to be skull-split,
Rent from family and form,
Rent for silver and sex?
It cannot be!
Your claims I disavow, your shapes I abnegate.
To my disciples I say only
Adopt, in final moment,
The butterfly’s art.
I often (re)write poems. A dramatized re-telling of the original.
The city golden loathes all maps,
Owing existence eternal
To that certain peculiarity of geographical magic:
It cannot be found—
And once found cannot be left. If ever
You find your feet upon its sand,
Stay a lifetime longer; listen evermore
To Celebration’s glass sound, morning lightness;
Marvel until tomorrow’d tomorrow at triplet guardians,
Horizon-erasing waterfalls of stone and lavender marble.
Only that you forget.
There are no visitors in El-Fasaan:
Its language lacks the word.
Between the little spaces of their ambition,
Voice unwanted, undeserved,
As sunlight snatched from sketched-on-black winterday:
Valorous not in victory,
But ceaseless action against defeat divinely-destined.
Repent, else descends that endless night?
Let it come. And when, kindling-crushed she sleeps
Within destitute maw,
Swallow and taste naught
But the vast limbs of your words,
For judgment was never yours to hold:
Long ago she escaped, already to the moon.
He led an accidental life, paramour from first
To fortune’s fortressed crown. He dwelt
Within an indefinite age, its poetry penned not
In battlewon ink but long-rested silence. Nature too
Stood serene, famin’d word forgotten
With the passion of indifference. Thus fled madness,
Soul-shaken—what pauper throne remained
In world so luck-loved? Its faces, in four,
It cast through corners, uncertain curves
Bent straight for the blind.
His shadow stumbled upon one on the day of his death.
“Why only Seven Seas?” he wondered,
The condensation of childish impertinence
Dusk-drawn on moustached promise.
Serves better exploration’s edict?”
No echo gave answer (much less acquiescence),
Sand-swallowed by canvas dune-dotted.
So onwards he drifted, ever-orphaned
From Odyssean pusuit. Never would he kiss
The blue mother’s waveworn lips.