“Howl to the Dying of the Moon”


[from my Iraq suite, “Howl to the Dying of the Moon”]

*
A lean desert wolf howls...

A child is being carried to her grave
her tiny mouth closed forever

but do not weep - do not weep!
just open your mouths and say,
                                she’s gone - she’s gone!
Still the girls of Fallujah
are looking for her in the silent stones
their favorite playmate
with her cheerful laughter and joyful open eyes
but she must sleep
the sleep that quiets all the children now

but do not weep - do not weep!
just open your mouths and say,
                               she’s gone - she’s gone!

And the lean desert wolf howls to the dying of the moon...

*
I hear marching feet on my head during the long night
In the black pupil of my eye the brilliant world burns...

*
Dijlah...

The feather of time alights again
on ancient rivers choked by hieroglyphic mud

Euphrates...

Thick smoke spells the hieroglyph
On undeciphered minarets

Feathers flutter in burning memory
and poisoned dust rises in the dip of doom
                                            East of Eden

*
sun turning
ever and ever
above horizon
blind walls printing
circles darker than eyes

naked body
lithe death dances

rhythm strips and binds

nakedness itself
tumbles into time
bright night light

there...

dogs
buttocks
pile of fermenting flesh
raw genitals

time coughs just once
hear it forever
bound for somewhere
tortured life    shared         

Abu                      Ghraib

*

the oil-wind haunts the fringes

of the tired dunes

and dusty pebbles whisper prayers

deep in the dip of a dying moon 

*
On the death of Al-Zarqawi and the unknown child

No one can claim to know death
No one can say what it is

See the mosquito become oil
In the dissolving whir of the cosmos

We stream into the mystery
The infant-mouth opens to mother-milk
The breast swoons into giving

(A solitary vulture circles in the empty sky)

Billions of things are here
In the middle of all our sorrows

Things break into pieces
In the nowhere of day and night

We stream into the loving nowhere of silence
The devouring worm turns to the child’s mouth
After the glide of the guardian-angel bomb
Mother and child are dissolved

He who came out of Jordan
The land of ruling dwarves with a taste for americana

He is surrendered at last to the indignant aftermath of battle
He lives now only in the endless babble of the image

In the utter desolation of the guardian-angel bomb
The desert sands trickle into the freedom of our madness
And beheading desert swords unite with the burning metals
                                                          of night strikes

There is no soft focus in our world for the unknown child
Her annihilation fits not in the catechism of our days

A night of stars shines through the empty socket of the evil-eye
And blurred visions try to frame the black comedy of the t.v. screen
Politician-arms cradle the screen and rock the world into blackest sleep

Here conversation is the void where madness is the nearest
Where those tired enough to sleep perish in the darkness
                                                         of an overmastered world
Unable to hear vague desert tongues or feel the full desire
                                                         for an empty desert view

The wind stammers and dies
and dusty dunes glide slowly in white mirage

sparse grass
tall eucalyptus trees
small wooden shed

And in Haditha a child lies stone dead with a bullet in the temples

Marines move out-of-place in the desert living in their separate graves
Here there is no victory and crying and failure join forever in the going-down

Hewn arab faces pray in the sun-heat and ancient words pierce fading sun-mist veils
The dust swirls wildly amidst painful broken words in the deafness of the night
And guardian-angel bombs come gliding down over nothing but an unknown child

“You will not see me...”

“You will not...”

“You...”