V ash mo(ve)ments

i. She asks: Why does the sky turn ashen in the evening?
I say: Because you have not watered the flowers.
Mahmoud Darwish

ii. The Azimuth

an answer
retold by
quarantined ash
wise, evangelical, behind
my ears - this
          vocation to stay
          this animal bard    ness
          azimuthal frozen split a
noun so many times it is infinite-

iv. What does old ash say
when it passes near the fire?
Pablo Neruda

iv. ye kaali havis
be-chayn in aahoN ki ye talab   be
shaaKh umanDta chehra tera   sub
log yuNhi dohraaeN ge   ye kaali
havis, ye dopehraiN   hum kyuN
umang se ghabraaeN   hum kyuN na
falak ko sharmaaeN   ye manzil
paththar ki shaaKh sahi   ye dukh
dard mandir masjid raakh sahi

v. jala hai jism jahaaN, dil bhi jal gaya hoga!
kuredte ho jo ab raakh, justujoo kya hai?

Darwish & I

when playing by rules of fire rue
the gods

to make you another stone spin out
of orbit;

this god whisper, this animal skin
touch of

ribald, ring; the true-stone spurns
an other

“Just being there, by yourself, you become a tribe.
I sang only to balance the rests between notes of the doves’ mourning, not to
interpret what God says to Man.
I am not a prophet claiming revelation, or that my abyss reaches heaven.”
– Mahmoud Darwish

It is this tome of poetry
that spells out your name

with the veracity of an old
rhyme, the thrust of vessels

of blood bold enough to stare
you in the eye and say, “this

here heart of meekness is ash
now, and it is here that I will


Seeking an impossible resonance; the
improbability lends

Credence to flow; seeking an irreverent
wobble that steadies

Each pebble, each stun of faith –
seeking the individual

Common, communing with whatever is
there: root, mist or

missed – anything will do for now.

“One day, I will be a bird, and will snatch my being out of my nothingness.

One day, I will be a poet. Water will depend on my vision.
My language will be a metaphor for metaphor.”
– Mahmoud Darwish

You celebrate the flower but
desist little

In calling out biology that
stems the stamen

From classifying; you talk of
hive, bark, sap

But the sky is absent so the
view is scrap

“The echo, utterly tired of my incurable hope
and of arguments about the nature of beauty, asks:
Who is next after Babylon?
Every time the road to heaven becomes clear,
every time the unknown discloses a certain end,
the song shatters, prayers decay and turn into prose.”
– Mahmoud Darwish

When you beguile, you: i) tress
Pass, ii) dev

Our the grated unnecessary, iii)
in the

Promissory temptations of grass,
iv) Lie distempered,

Calling in the aged whispers to
Fly as if imagination

Has left its abode, and v) grow
Each tail of ague

In proportion to its volition,
The thud of its anvil.

“What wind brought you here?
Tel l me the name of your wound,
and I will know the roads where we might twice become lost.”
– Mahmoud Darwish

How much further do you have to go?

"How much further do you have to go?"
"All the way"
"Is all the way far enough for the traveller to arrive?"
"No. But I see a fabulous eagle
circling above us, flying low!" - Mahmoud Darwish

How much further do you have to go?
Take the riven road, the salted
peak, the molten snow as your
guide; take the eagle’s tangled
vision and the child’s eye – now

If only the young were trees

“When a tree becomes a boat it learns to swim. When it becomes a door it continues to keep secrets. When it becomes a chair it does not forget the sky that was once above it. When it becomes a table it teaches the poet not to be a woodcutter.”
Mahmoud Darwish, “If only the young were trees” from “A river dies of thirst”.

The poet teaches the sky not to fall,
the ink not to dry at 
                    each drip of the woe-man's
                    sorrow; and it teaches
    not to withdraw 
                    its love for want of a tiny
                    thunder waiting on the other side.

I am here to complete you

"Say to those who are distant: You have reduced me.
I am here to complete you!" - Mahmoud Darwish


Take this anger sold on a nail's
   Coffin; take it will you and
   Snuff it past your gullet
   And singe & screech till the 

Hoarse will cart each syllable
   In slices of emancipated
   Effulgia, evaporated bulbs
   Reading parchments of smolder.

the embrace of the worm is
in the same measure as the protest of love;
the horse

power of disdain matches
the exigency of care; the green of this patch
of grass is in the same measure as my dark
as your dark

grows immeasurable;

but it
does not, does so
only as


Say to those whose lives are chalk, I 
    am here to slip the sleep of oil,

The bark of night and the untold shriek
    To soothe the wail of dust, of the

Hurried chalk; I am here to complete you.