Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Two Poems by Veronica Golos


Who am I that I sit here at this door?
In my dream, there is a long alley, a place I learn Want.

The city is a mirror. Inside my reflection, old men are on fire—
Flaming like red kaffiyahs.

Litter ignites into funeral flares; the bread of the dead is baking.
Above the moans of children, soldiers warm their hands.

Avenues widen into downpour, detours unfold, flower into cemeteries.
Into this narrow place, two rivers clash.

Am I the one covered with brine, smelling of tides?
Or am I the stone, lifted like a flag?


Love, what is your other name?
Who rides the red horse, the one that is smoke?
Who tramples the fields where words are tinder?

What makes us? I want it to be Love.

Come near
the naked man. A hood—over his head. His hands—tied behind him.

How to utter it?
What word could open my jaw?

Tanks bullets drones air-strikes starvation sanctions structural adjustment programming poisoned land police truncheons torture harsh up collective punishment cigarette burning water-boarding

My tongue splits.

From the Red Sea, from its salt water, in its warm shallow shoals,

Here are my good…dead

They rise between river and river, between sword and sword.
They rise between the hour of song and the hour of work
between the echo and its saying. They rise inside
the cup-shaped hollow of pelvis—they rise and ripen and never grow old:

Mohammad Omar Jawad Ali Selma Madia Fatima Suhad Hussein Ahmed Salam Azad Aysha Maysoon Nuhad Faisal Raad Zaid Widad Nuha Haifaa Amal Kifah Souad Fallujah Ramadi Diyala Basra Gaza

My day is a froth out of which the dead rise,
these particular dead, the ones who come every morning in the middle of prayer.

They cushion my knees and follow my hand movements.
They are residue in all that I drink.

I place my forehead to the floor.
I fumble with the lyric, move my finger as a blind person

along its calligraphy.
It is written: I am cause—and comfort.

Veronica Golos, who will be reading at The Inspired Word on Thursday, March 31, won the 16th annual Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize (Story Line Press) for her book, A Bell Buried Deep (to be re-issued by Red Hen Press), and is the author of Vocabulary of Silence (Red Hen Press, 2011). An award-winning curator and teacher for Poets & Writers, Poet’s House and 92nd St Y/Makor in New York City, Ms.Golos’ work has been published and anthologized nationally and internationally, and adapted for theatrical productions in New York City’s Theatre Row, and the Claremont Theological Seminary in California. Her poetry was the centerpiece of My Land is Me, a four-artist multimedia exhibit in Taos, NM that questioned the western view of the Veil. For more info, please visit http://veronicagolos.wordpress.com/

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