Thinking of you
a prayer, silent and lunatic
settles on my lips.
Memories circling overhead
I interpret, I guard, I construct
a thousand & twenty narratives
tied together at the wrist --
stories adrift in an oil-slicked sea.
Ghosts intensify with time,
and the one who haunts me comes alive here.
I've seen the earth burn --
that same layer still burns within me.
we're not the only victims
of love and memory
The sturgeon & other enormous roe-filled fish
swim the depths, brushing the ruins
of love and devotion carved into stone.
They say the Shirvan Shah loved his daughter too much;
he destroyed his own art
his psyche melted like paraffin against flame when he lost her.
My version of this myth is factually inaccurate -- I do not care.
I taste the salt of the Caspian and the dust from the ruined calligraphy:
I ask, must we always witness the destruction
of our own life's mission, of what we have loved most?
in life? in love? in art?
The loss the inverse of the first miracle of meeting --
two spirits woven into the same, thick carpet
of dreams, desires, and unfading joy.
We wanted to test the limits of meaning
as our words joined the narrative of the carpet
complex patterns & infinite repetitions
of the name of God;
the intricacy gave us hope
we someday soon could know the power through the name.
The design comforts me in its complexity
and I know
the carpet trains the mind to dream.
I am not of this place.
I am a blonde and I do not speak the language well.
Freedom came too late for me --
I thought words were enough
to curl into cold, hard metaphors
as precise as razors, as bright as steel.
Now they coil my wrists behind my back;
my own words make me helpless
as I enter the waters slicked glassy by tears and oil.
It is a vast mirror
of the moon and the moon's own mirror;
the face is of fire.
My own desire is monitored
by a western helicopter circling overhead
assuring me that my words are nothing more
than acceptable aphoristic phrases;
a friendly but false cliché, if you will,
because I've trusted images in computer screens
and not the bodies woven into wool
by those who still have faces
in this faceless, rusting lost empire of souls.
The helicopter is not new, but its rotors
chop the air into layers
as thick and lush as the days
you spoke to me, you wove me into your heart;
a carpet too complicated for me to comprehend,
newcomer that I am --
and doomed as the warm Caspian waters close over my head
my hands helplessly wired behind my back.
I am resigned but joyous;
the fire still burns in the moon's pale mirror
and I know I will emerge from my helpless depths
transported on a carpet
that has taught my mind to dream.
Susan Smith Nash
January 1, 2000