Sunday, May 30, 2010

After Mutanabbi

(second draft)

For you was named that
which after you are

called and cast
what before you was

planetary dark
you followed it as if

the severed part of you
lay on its shadowed side

They called you Golden
Golden not after the ungodly

sun that burns above
our days and burning nights

but Golden as in blood
bereft of kin

endless circulation
My gilded son go blind and be

that whose name
you intermingle with

My orphan gold lead
me from dark bringing fire

Thursday, May 27, 2010


I kiss the tongue that slips
your accent through my English, in remembrance,

& lick the ledge’s fault, where your
foot slipped towards your fall. Once

wet, the page doesn’t part, but stays
open to that city grid, where the speck

of you remains; tribute
to a place the ink was

run. Father, abi, they are coming
to kill me; demanding my left hand,

& all the ink I squandered on it
dragging over their script,

has found itself back on my skin.
Your running name, my blackened

thumb, will make a mess of us,
or else, a map.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


كَتَمْتُ حُبّكِ حتى منكِ تكرمَةً
ثمّ اسْتَوَى فيهِ إسراري وإعْلاني

كأنّهُ زادَ حتى فَاضَ عَن جَسَدي
فصارَ سُقْمي بهِ في جِسْمِ كِتماني


Until our love was honored I concealed it,
so that what was held equaled what remained without:

it grew to overflow my flesh, turning
into toxic for my hidden self.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


لمّا نُسِبْتَ فكُنْتَ ابْناً لِغَيرِ أبٍ
ثمّ اخْتُبِرْتَ فَلَمْ تَرْجعْ إلى أدَبِ

سُمّيتَ بالذّهَبيّ اليَوْمَ تَسْمِيَةً
مُشتَقّةً من ذهابِ العقلِ لا الذّهَبِ

مُلَقَّبٌ بكَ مَا لُقّبْتَ وَيْكَ بهِ
يا أيّها اللّقَبُ المُلقَى على اللّقَبِ


When you traced your name, you were fatherless,
so you ventured forth, throwing out decorum --

on this day you were dubbed Golden*
after the flight from sense (not the substance of the same)

and named, woefully, for that which after you
was called -- O name cast over name.

*The word for "gold" and "go" are the same in Arabic. Though the link is uncertain some propose it is because gold is a substance that passes from hand to hand -- endless circulation.