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Three Poems

Pass It

 

Pass it to me, I said.
I want to make long and delicate incisions
in which these gathering clouds can sleep –
they’re hoarding up fatigue
as they travel from one end of themselves
to the other.
Pass me this hazy bit of sky
hung
above a sea that’s been dead since forever,
though no one knew it.
Pass me this pit in the earth
from which the singing of a hopeless people rises.
Enter the next room
and pass me my death.

 

 

 

 

 

On a Train to Aswan

 

I’m not dead yet,
so why are the mourners here?

I’m sitting in the dark and writing.
Here, the purebred horses on display
and the mules kicked by their riders as they race down the
hills
are equals.
Here, Lord Byron confronts a train full of men
who are heading to Aswan—
the vultures are waiting for them
at the Suez Canal.

It’s 2014 now, and the letters they never wrote
are still reaching me.
One of the men places a hunk of damp bread
on the table in front of me.
How many lives have I lived?
How many must I die?

The sea breaks over Haifa.
I died so many times,
but the mourners never came.
Must I arrange
even my own funeral?

I’m sitting in the dark and writing
the letters they never sent.

 

 

 

 

 

An Obituary

 

He hoped his obituary would read as follows:
He fought the invaders as best he could.
He wasn’t victorious,
but neither was he defeated.
In oblivion he made a life
for a thousand years to come.
He died fulfilling his poetic obligations.

 

Image © Jim R Rogers

 

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