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Like breath to suffocated hyperventilation, you are far.
With ontological uniqueness to creation, you transcend.
You flow like hypothermic cave-streams in pervasion immanent.
Youre ancient, old, antique — and yet no degradation lessens you.
I weep for you; I wait for you in deep anticipation of your love.
My scripted song for you turns wrong; improvisation convolutes.
I lone consume your glory; forty days starvation kills my pain.
You prowl, you hide, avoidant of my installation pantheon.
I never deem the moment come my loves occasion to redeem.
You more than argue back with me — your prime persuasion woos my thoughts.
Beyond orgasmic chaos comes the rent sensation of your love.
You swell around me, Love, and prove eradication of dis-ease.
I never touch you, yet I tickle supplications and you laugh.
Yes, you are far — so far I rot in desperation, far from you.
You know me: second son of second wife, my station poor and passed.
The toaster between them told both sides of the story —
He left with shades hiding his eyes from her gaze
Seated on his Harley he waved goodbye
The moon stared at his reflection on the dark
Next morning rays of sunlight revealed him in a world
He skipped a carefully chosen stone across the water
The candle she placed in the window doubled its flame
Rushing to answer the tapping on her window,
Next morning a preying mantis sat quietly on a leaf
Tom turkey preened and posed before pecking
Fire angel baby hides beneath a car,
Desperate to conceive, fire angel baby
A goblin shows fire angel baby how
Fire angel babys skin withers
A nuclear bomb incinerates St. Petersburg,
Criminals race to steal fire angel baby as the gun
Lakes ripple like steel silk;
A grandmothers heart stops; she licks
Leaves cascade on jungle
The flight of ravens points the way
Joanna says: Believe in that
Systole, diastole, telegrams
If the spleen could speak,
Cells howl and oxygen answers,
Beasts in chains prowl the basement:
When returning from the underworld,
Systole, diastole, the pumping
I fill my hands, but lack you yet, and wonder just to whom belongs the rest?
He mourned his soul, he fell — and hurricane and gust and spirit righted him.
Than all your sleepy paradox of life and dust, Ive comprehended less.
She cut and hid each blemish stain away like crust no sandwich ought contain.
I saw the moment come and — unprepared — I fussed as I am wont to do.
Tue Jan 1 11:04:48 2008
Here are six ghazals, two in Persian form, and four in free form. ("Free form" means no radif or qafiya.) I know there are readers who will feel that the free-form poems are "not real" ghazals. Read all six carefully, read other formal ghazals: don't the free ghazals have more in common with the traditional Persian form than with other free-verse?
"Reflections," "Roads Home," and "The Human Animal" suggest that the title may serve something of the same function in a ghazal as the radif — if the shers each allude to the title, express it in some way, well, that's what the radif does. Yes, the form is different (in detail), but the structure of meaning and image seem very much the same.
Joel NeubauerJoel Neubauer presents us with the two traditional Persian ghazals in this issue. In "You are far," the second person plural vibrates between the intimate human "you," the less personal address to the reader(s) "you," and the divine pronoun, "you." The English pronouns allow this ambiguity, multiple reference, to resonate throughout the poem. "I fill my hands" does something similar with the dative "whom" in the radif. To whom does "whom" refer? Identity is volatile in both of these ghazals.
Margaret Bell"Reflections" — the title is the implicit radif throughout this ghazal. Each sher implies "reflection," even though only three of them contain a form of the word. Each sher is a crisp image that reflects the theme of the ghazal.
Joanna Gardner"Fire Angel Baby" does have a radif, albeit one that floats to different positions in each sher. Thematically, this ghazal presents vividly the subcurrent of violence — of apocalypse — with which we've lived for decades. In "Roads Home," each sher maps a road, leaving the reader with the question, "To what home do these roads lead?" On a frigid New Year's Day, I find myself mute before "The Human Animal." Each sher resonates with significance for the reader to unpack (or follow or elicit . . . ).