sitting by the window,
making dark deals with the shallow twilight,
venomous promises,
that sear purple welts upon my naked arms;
while the half-light rustles Rumi’s clove scented words;
I will the wind to open a page,
a random vial of bitter antidote,
his robes whirl white against the glowing slate,
drunk on the wine of an ingrown truth;

but mystic water cannot drown
the endless thirst of a ripped out throat;
so he pours it into fifteen bronze bowls,
his feet skimming their tones,
a jal-tarang of buoyant rapture;
I stare at his wing tipped soles,
waiting for the bruises
where his toes turn over the silent waves;

he can’t negotiate with a dim hour
that is devouring the last of the sun,
cueing the ungracious night,
that lacerates those wounds
with its purple tongue,
its five-edged crystal teeth,
drawing chimeras
with granite eyes and blue poisoned veins
and scaly pink legs
dangling in circular swamps of wine;

perhaps only the new day can heal,
grinding its jaundiced sunshine
into a turmeric poultice,
scratching into my burning eyes,
the camouflaged mediocrity
of an unreal morning;
filling shapeless bags of shade
with secret talismans-
the sigh of a poem,
the lilt of a wave,
the arch of a spotless foot;
venomous deals
to haggle with
yet another toxic night.

Linked to Poets United

48 thoughts on “Unhealed

  1. Heck, if Rumi can not be the antidote, it’s a toxic night indeed. I like the suggestion that we contain our own cure in poetry that results from our own experience/suffering. Powerful sounds. Tight!


  2. This is powerful writing. So many amazing lines, especially “I will the wind to open a page”, and “drunk on the wine of an ingrown truth”. WOW!!!!! The mystic water and fifteen bronze bowls is an amazing image…..this poem needs reading more than once. A really brilliant piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like a pretty brutal night.
    I guess if you make morning, even if it burns your eyes
    you know you made it. And making perhaps
    has a bit of hope that you will out last them.


  4. Toxic nights are often more painful than the purple welts themselves…and yet we must always hope that the next day brings light..possibility…a powerful poem that really resonated – may all be healed in time


  5. This was a painting, Rajani, that I want to explore again and again. As I study it, new details emerge, rounding out something I can’t quite understand but can only feel. Hope you are well, my friend…

    And thank you so much for the intro to jal-tarang. I looked it up on Youtube and fell in love with it immediately. Such a beautiful sound! The earth’s marimba…


    Liked by 1 person

  6. With such an uncompromising embrace of night, Rumi’s clove scented words will be as unconvincing as Deepak Chopra attempting to soothe the wounds of post-colonial alienation. Your longer, un-formulaic renditions continue to probe honest, dark depths brilliantly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Different leagues..different leagues those two!!! Thank you Huzaifa but.. I wonder if anything one writes is truly honest though… at some point between instinct and keyboard I think things are reshaped or there are no words..so maybe it is all formulaic in the end. Maybe. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂 The comparison is unfair, yes, but deliberate, if only for the sake of iconoclasm.
        Regarding honesty and formula, it is always about the degree: both Picasso and painting by numbers follow certain forms and rules (or if you like, formulas), but to equate the two would be dishonest 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hmm….I can how you feel a strict form constrains the truth, but I’d say the Jisei I posted a couple of days ago has more layers of truth in a sense…perhaps a poem’s truth is a function of the reader’s mind after all 😀 😀

          Liked by 1 person

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