Wednesday, August 31, 2011


God wool, spun inward, gathers
what it broke off from; unwearable

monochrome where this green
heart flags as if sailed too far out.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Adhem: How does one have patience with a violent man?
Hallaj: You die, so you can be patient again.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Islamist parents see their progeny smitten
by CIA eyes that say that it was written

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Particles, ya Musa, are indivisible. We breathe them as we sit here speaking of the True; we've a part in them & know not that we do.

They coat our tongues like a womb-left film; left by whom. Ya Musa, our language searches for a whom; O there. We sing the particles in the name of a smother; in the name of a moth air; in the name of ammo -- fire. Whatsoever we sing for aims there.

O, you of water, what can you know of mater; how the undivided open their mouths to say "I'm there."


What’s said’s said Sayedi
what’s aid to my Lord that

said What Is to unsaid what
till it said What Say You

what’s A to U but a vowel of
a love between a lif & a loof

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mawqif of the Unutterable

He stopped me at the unutterable & said: “Through the unutterable, you join in the utterable.

“If you didn’t witness the unutterable, you’d be left scattered by the utterable."

“The utterable turns you to utterableness; the utterableness is utterance; the utterance is letter; the letter is inflection. The unutterable makes you witness to My Self-Avowal in everything & its sites of gnosis."

“Expression is an inclination; when you witness that which doesn’t change, you don’t slant."

“Utterance turns to ecstasy; ecstasy, through utterance, turns to ecstasy for the uttered."

“Ecstasy for the uttered is disbelief, by definition."

“Don’t hearken to me in the letter & don’t get word of me from it."

“The letter can’t give word of itself, how can it speak of Me?"

“I'm the maker of the letter & the word of it.”

“I'm word of Myself, to whomever I give it.”

“My word shows sign through witnessing; it isn’t found in any other sign & doesn’t show itself through any other form."

“You’ll stay writing as long as you figure & stop when you figure no more."

“When you don’t figure or write, I’ll assign you a portion of illiteracy; for the illiterate prophet doesn’t write or figure."

“Don’t write or intend, don’t figure or examine."

“Intention writes true & false, examination figures taking & leaving."

“He is not of me or my line -- whoso writes the true & false, or figures taking & leaving."

"Every scribe recites his script, and every reciter figures his recitation.”

al Niffari


موقف ما لا ينقال

أوقفني في ما لا ينقال وقال لي به تجتمع فيما ينقال.

وقال لي إن لم تشهد ما لا ينقال تشتت بما ينقال.

وقال لي ما ينقال يصرفك إلى القولية والقولية قول والقول حرف والحرف تصريف، وما لا ينقال يشهدك في كل شيء تعرفي إليه ويشهدك من كل شيء مواضع معرفته.

وقال لي العبارة ميل فإذا شهدت ما لا يتغير لم تمل.

وقال لي القول يصرف إلى الوجد والتواجد بالقول يصرف إلى المواجيد بالمقولات.

وقال لي المواجيد بالمقولات كفر على حكم التعريف.

وقال لي لا تسمع في من الحرف ولا تأخذ خبري عن الحرف.

وقال لي الحرف يعجز أن يخبر عن نفسه فكيف يخبر عني.

وقال لي أنا جاعل الحرف والمخبر عنه.

وقال لي أنا المخبر عني لمن أشاء أن أخبره.

وقال لي لإخباري علامة بإشهاد لا توجد بسواه ولا يبدو إخباري إلا فيه.

وقال لي لا تزال تكتب ما دمت تحسب فإذا لم تحسب لم تكتب.

وقال لي إذا لم تحسب ولم تكتب ضربت لك بسهم في الأمية لأن النبي الأمي لا يكتب ولا يحسب.

وقال لي لا تكتب ولا تهم، ولا تحسب ولا تطالع.

وقال لي الهم يكتب الحق والباطل، والمطالعة تحسب الآخذ والترك.

وقال لي ليس مني ولا من نسبتي من كتب الحق والباطل وحسب الآخذ والترك.

وقال لي كل كاتب يقرأ كتابته وكل قارئ يحسب قراءته.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Upon the land, I stare, as if I stood
behind a glass; looking from Love's Waters,

my eyes occasionally drown from weeping, so I
go blind; sometimes they bare enough for me to see. 

Though no tears pour out from this eye,
it languishes and leaks just the same.

Qays ibn al-Mulawwah

نظرت كأني من وراء زجاجة
إلى الدار من ماء الصبابة أنظر

فعيناي طوراً تغرقان من البكا
فأمشي و طوراً تحسران فأبصر

و ليس الذي يجري من العين ماؤها
و لكنما نفسي تذوب فتقطر

قيس بن المللوح

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A wave moved through his vertebrae
leaving an ape behind. The animal

blues got him down 'nough
to ponder on the Lord’s great work & wonder

What do fish worship? Being less
upright than him, do they love flotsam

like heavenly equivalent? Or are their thoughts
bent towards some unbreathable

bottom? Adhem's in it deep; can feel
the pressure of it, too; a bit of bone stuck,

like a fin, out his prostrating back, till
CRACK one day he’ll finally be free.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The only fragments are those that do to their creator what he intended for them. The visual equivalent to this is the self-photograph; with the reluctant look of its subject turned creature, before the lens & the laughter of the image, reveling in its resilience over its assembler.

Yet in the moment of the shot, who’s to say the scene isn’t invisibly touched by the hand of its master? A river wrinkled, a staff blurred mid-motion, a light refracted in the lens's eye; all seem signals of a hand that says, “If I’m no god, then let me hold this image up to one.” For this, too, will be remembered on the Day of Judgment.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

"No" said the Sufi to his Love, because
he knew his way was long & lone;

I could once put more words to this
song, now all I've got's a moan, -oan:

noone follows Adhem & he follows none.
Strange. It's as if somewhere

the road went wrong, leaving his sole
Nobody farther than he could say.

God to Niffari: "we're strays for one another."
Let the starving animal among us nay.

Mawqif of That Which Appears

He stopped me at That Which Appears, but I didn’t see Him appear; he could appear concealed & not concealed. Substanceless, He could appear & there would be substance.

He said: “Stop at the inferno.” I saw that that with which He punishes is paradise & that with which He eases paradise is punishing.

He said: “One undivided & impenetrable, everlasting & merciful, is He."

He said: “Stop at the earth & sky.” I saw that which descends upon the earth to be a scheme & that which ascends it was a snare; that that which ascends includes that which descends -- the two summon themselves.

He said: “That which descends is your horse & that which ascends is your journey, so consider what you ride & where you go."

“You descend through distance & ascend through distance; a distance of a length of a length that doesn’t speak."

“How can you be with Me, if you’re caught between descending & ascending?"

“I haven’t brought out any matter from the earth that I assemble Myself though, or any matter from the sky. Only this: I’ve made all matter appear & divided Myself from it. I veiled Myself then I began, assembling Myself. These were the ways; the ways were a trajectory.”

He said: “Stop at paradise.” I saw His manifested objects all assembled there; looking just as they did on earth, behind the veil of matter. I saw that He made naught appear behind this matter, for 'Behind' contained a limit. I saw that He made naught appear so He could stay concealed, & make appear, so substanceless He would be what there was substance for.

He said: “If you dwell on the throne, you’ll remain in flight. If you dwell in recollection, you’ll remain veiled.”

“If any other than Me be your stray, vanquish him."

“If I’m your stray, you err from Me & are bewildered by anyone beside Me."

“Consider -- why haven’t I ever made you my stray, or turned to you?"

“You’re my stray & I’m yours; there's no one absent among us."

“All that shows itself & other than it, through itself, has wound you with itself & other; & it shakes you free from itself & other."

“All that shows you that which is beside itself, & not itself , has schemed against you. All that shows you itself, & not what is beside itself -- you shall see all its luminousness alights."

al Niffari

موقف ما يبدو
أوقفني فيما يبدو فيخفي ولا يخفى فيبدو ولا معنى فيكون معنى، وقال لي قف في النار، فرأيته يعذب بها ورأيتها جنة ورأيت ما ينعم به في الجنة هو ما يعذب به في النار.
وقال لي أحد لا يفترق صمد لا ينقسم رحمن هو هو.
وقال لي قف في الأرض والسماء، فرأيت ما ينزل ما ينزل إلى الأرض مكراً وما يصعد منها شركاً ورأيت الذي يصعد هو عما ينزل ورأيت ما ينزل يدعو إلى نفسه ورأيت ما يصعد يدعو إلى نفسه.
وقال لي ينزل مطيتك وما يصعد مسيرك فأنظر ما تركب وأين تقصد.
وقال لي تنزل مسافة تصعد مسافة مسافة بعد بعد لا يحادث.
وقال لي كيف تكون عندي وأنت بين النزول والصعود.
وقال لي ما أخرجت من الأرض عينا جمعت بها علي ولا أنزلت من السماء عيناً جمعت بها علي إنما أبديت كل عين فقسمت بها عني وحجبت عني وحجبت ثم بدأت فجمعت بي وكانت هي الطرق وكانت الطرق جهة.
وقال لي قف في الجنة؛ فرأيته يجمع ما أظهر فيها من العيون كما جمع في الأرض ببدوه من وراء العيون فرأيته يبدو لا من وراء العيون فيكون الوراء ظرفاً ورأيته لا يبدو فيخفي ولا يخفى فيبدو ولا معنى فيكون معنى.
وقال لي إن أقمت في العرش فما بعده فابق فاراً، وإن أقمت في الذكر فما بعده فابق محجوباً.
وقال لي إن كان غيري ضالتك فأظفر بالحرب.
وقال لي إن كانت ضالتك تهت إلا عني وحرت إلا معي.
وقال لي انظر إلي لما جعلتك ضالتي ألم أقبل عليك.
وقال لي أنت ضالتي وأنا ضالتك وما منا من غاب.
وقال لي كلما أراك نفسه وأراك غيره به فقد ربطك به وبغيره ونفضك عنه وعن غيره.
وقال لي ما أراك سواه ولم يرك نفسه فقد مكربك، وما أراكه ولم يرك سواه رأيت كل شيء في نور نورتيه.
من كتاب المواقف

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mawqif of The Sea

He stopped me at the Sea, where ships sunk & planks floated, then sunk. He said:

“He who sails isn’t saved."
“He risk himself-- whoso throws his body in & doesn’t sail."
“He ruins, whoso sails & doesn’t risk himself."
“In risk there is a shred of rescue.”

Then came the wave, raising up what lay beneath & swelling on the shore.

He said: "The surface of the sea is an unreachable glow, its depth an impossible darkness; between the two are untrustworthy fishes."

“Don’t sail the sea; I veil you by the instrument. Don’t throw yourself in it; I veil you by the act."

“The sea contains edges; which one will harbor you?"

“When you give yourself to the sea, & drown, you’re a creature of it."

“I mislead you, if I lead you to any but Me."

“If you ruin in any other than me, you belong in your ruins."

“This world is for him I’ve turned from it & whom I’ve turned it from; the next one is for him I’ve turned it to & whom I’ve turned to Me.”

al Niffari

موقف البحر
أوقفني في البحر فرأيت المراكب تغرق والألواح تسلم، ثم غرقت الألواح، وقال لي لا يسلم من ركب.
وقال لي خاطر من ألقى نفسه ولم يركب.
وقال لي هلك من ركب وما خاطر.
وقال لي في المخاطرة جزء من النجاة، وجاء الموج ورفع ما تحته وساح على الساحل.
وقال لي ظاهر البحر ضوء لا يبلغ، وقعرة ظلمه لا تمكن، وبينهما حيتان لا تستأمن.
وقال لي لا تركب البحر فأحجبك بالآلة، ولا تلق نفسك فيه فأحجبك به.
وقال لي في البحر حدود أيها يقلك.
وقال لي إذا وهبت نفسك للبحر فغرقت فيه كنت كدابة من دوابه.
وقال لي غششتك إن دللتك على سواي.
وقال لي إن هلكت في سواي كنت لما هلكت فيه.
وقال لي الدنيا لمن صرفته عنها وصرفتها عنه، والآخرة لمن أقبلت بها إليه وأقبلت به علي.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mawqif of His Reality

He stopped me at His reality & said to me:
"If I made my reality a sea, you’d cleave to the ship, and if, at my word, you left the ship, you’d cleave to the journey; if you surpassed the journey, you’d cleave to the shores; if you spurned the shores, you’d cleave to the designations: reality & sea. These designations call forth, but the ear gets lost in their terms. So, you couldn’t arrive at my reality or journey on the sea."

I saw, then, the shimmering as shade & the water as solid rock.

He said: "To him who doesn’t see this, my reality’s no duty; to him who does, my reality is. He whose bound to my reality -- if he speaks to any other than me – is an infidel. All limitation is a veil I don’t appear behind; there’s nothing in the vision of my reality, but reality."

I saw all that’s immutable. He granted me the wisdom of mutability, and I saw all created things.

He said: "What’s created doesn’t last, no exceptions." He divided the vision into parts: optic and mental, & said "Behold, the whole of creation, moving and speaking."

He said: "how did you see things before My reality?" I said "moving and speaking." He said: "Beware the difference, so as to not stray." Then he turned me from his reality, and I saw nothing. He said: "You saw everything and it all obeyed you. Your vision of everything is a trial, just as everything’s obedience to you." He turned me back from all of that & said:

"All of that I don’t regard & isn’t good to me."

al Niffari
from the Book of Mawaqifs


موقف حقه

أوقفني في حقه وقال لي لو جعلته بحراً تعلقت بالمركب فإن ذهبت عنه بإذهابي فبالسير فإن علوت عن السير فبالساحلين فإن طرحت الساحلين فبالتسمية حق وبحر وكل تسميتن تدعوان والسمع يتيه في لغتين فلا على حقي حصلت ولا على البحر سرت، فرأيت الشعاشع ظلمات والمياه حجراً صلداً.

وقال لي من لم ير هذا فما وجب عليه حقي ومن رآه فقد وجب عليه حقي ومن عليه فكلم سواي كفر والحد كله حجاب لا أظهر من ورائه وليس في رؤية حقي إلا رؤيته، فرأيت ما لا يتغير فأعطاني حكماً يتغير فرأيت كل شيء خلق.

وقال لي لا تستثن، فما هو بقي خلق وانقسمت الرؤية عينية وعلمية فإذا هو كله لا يتحرك ولا يتكلم.

وقال لي كيف رأيته من قبل رؤية حقي، فقلت يتحرك ويتكلم، فقال لي اعرف الفرق لئلا تتيه. وعرج بي عن حقه فلم أر شيئاً، فقال لي رأيت كل شيء وأطاعك كل شيء ورؤيتك كل شيء بلاء وطاعة كل شيء لك بلاء. وعرج بي عن ذلك كله.

وقال لي كله لا أنظر إليه ولا يصلح لي.

محمد بن عبد الجبار بن حسن النفري
من كتاب المواقف

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


Where Babel's sentence once
asphyxiated, we place a comma
cautioning the followers who think
their lungs can outblow its.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

A Sufi writes with hands cut off with
memory of a head gone like his says
This because it's all it can
Reality is something accidental & overdone. Like a long take of Adhem, ahem wheezing, after his speech, or Musa’s hunger, over by the river; it is an itch, exposed by godly Eye, that makes its objects say No more. What the blind man once committed on guitar.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Made a deal with the Devil
& the Devil come
said "Pay that fish no mind
let the river run"

Paid my mind to the Devil
let the trouble come
so a part of me is fishy
for the rest that run