Three Poems in The Recluse


Remote-controlled explosives strapped to two women with Down Syndrome detonated in a coordinated attack on pet bazaars Friday. Local police said the woman in the first attack sold cream in the morning at the market and was known to locals as “the crazy lady.”

Police initially said the bomb at al-Ghazl market was hidden in a box of birds but determined it was a suicide attack after finding the woman’s head, an officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to release the information.

“I just remember the horrible scene of the bodies of dead and wounded people mixed with the blood of animals and birds” said a pigeon vendor named Ali. He noted that the market had been particularly busy because it was a pleasantly crisp and clear winter day after a recent cold spell.

Two weeks prior, during the worst of the bad weather, a long-eared hedgehog, two Turkish hamsters and a white-toothed shrew roamed the frozen brush at Amatzia Woodlands, searching to restore their depleted winter reserves.  The air was thin and dry, and the ice crystals suspended from tree limbs were wholly without brilliance. To the foragers, death seemed imminent and all four turned their faces skyward as they were gripped by a staggering vision. The dull clouds had parted as a golden head revealed itself. The eyes, nose and mouth flickered like the spinning emblems of a slot machine, without ever resolving in an identity of form. Each rapt animal saw the hovering apparition as a perfect representation of his own genetic type; hedgehog, hamster, shrew, respectively transfixed by a luminous mirror image; the self presented as pure schematic ideal; a universal physiognomy with an unmistakable suchness suspended between the brittle webbing of trees. The forest was still as its inhabitants from all corners paused on the depleted earth to gaze up at the unintelligible face, its celestial fur smoothed to the texture of cream.

(Click here for a link to this and two other poems published in Issue 11 of St. Marks Poetry Project’s online journal, The Recluse. Click here to listen to my reading (starting at 30:00) of these poems  in April of 2015 at St. Mark’s Poetry Project.)


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