Tanka # 197

Hamatoura, Lebanon, November 23, 2019

Filled with longing
my heart cracked open,
its many jeweled chambers
crimson with the fire
of my beloved’s lips.


Searching for You

The poems I write to you
escape from my books
and go searching for you;
they become birds in the forests,
clouds sweeping
over the mountains and fields,
they become stars in the nightsky
and whiffs of summer flowers
enamored with the air.

They go searching for you
and find you everywhere,
they blend themselves with nature
to always stay with you
and so fire up my heart
with the knowledge of why
the whirling dervish turns —
he turns because of you, beloved,
who are all around, at all times, everywhere;
everywhere, through you,
the world’s axis turns,
you, the divine contradiction of love.

Letter, October 21, 2018

How should I describe my feelings for you?—a fire burning wildly, tearing through a blossoming garden, yet, somehow, leaving it greener and more fragrant than it was before, budding with new varieties of trees, fruits, and flowers!

The cedar tree has three to four times its height above the earth as a root spreading underneath it. I, in my visible form, what length does my root have, and what is it spreading into? Who would believe me, beloved, when I say that my root is invisible, that it does not stretch directly from my body, but rather, somehow, extends through the inwardness of my heart? Who would believe me when I say that through my heart it spreads into your earth and sky, and that the poem is the most accurate tool to measure its length and the most valuable proof for its existence? Who would believe me? Yet the ultimate truths cannot be heard or touched; they can be only felt and understood through the medium of the heart. What are you, then, you into whom my root spreads so deep, and what is the nature of the desire that propels it into you? You are the eternal moment of love; you are the openness of the heart.

You, Beloved

who lives inside of me
though I keep looking for you
in the outer world;
whose fire immolates my heart
without completely killing it,
threading it, instead,
thin and empty
like the rose of the sky;
who loved me
before I had a name,
before my parents bore me;
who will subsume my being
as I surrender my breath and die;
you, beloved,
crushing me with longing
and making sure
that I won’t survive
unless I become a thread
in the book of love.

Du poème je suis…

Du poème
je suis ce qui lutte
à te toucher,
cette lumière
qui approfondit sa pureté
dans son désir
à fleurir dans ta peau ;
du poème
je suis ce silence
qui écoute
ton cœur battre
dans la chair du monde,
je suis cette voix
qui s’est perdue dans le vent
il y a des siècles
et qui cherche à jamais
à se dissoudre
dans l’intime de ton souffle.

Du poème
je suis cette attente
qui déchire mon cœur
et le remplit du silence
de ta voix.

Letter, August 13, 2017

Tell them I spent my life banished amid the pages of books, reading, feverishly, fluttering like a firefly amid words of darkness and light. Tell them that in the pages of books I found myself entangled like a bee stuck in honey, like a lover’s fingers in his beloved’s hair. Tell them that, contrary to what they think, it is no wasted life, it is a life of solitary abundance, a life of living at the source of what makes humanity great, and what makes life worth striving for, worth living. Tell them that I have been blessed, to read, to be able to read a fragment of that which is truly, spiritually great. Tell them that in an age of anxiety, of spiritual crisis, I have dared, through books, to gaze at the future, to imagine a different future, and that through these visions I strived to birth and live my life, my present, my spirit and state of mind. Tell them, beloved, that amid the pages of books I have loved and been loved, made friendships the likes of which are so rare on earth, shed tears, oh so bitter tears, rejoiced and found a joy that is simple like flowers and grass growing in a fallow field. Tell them, beloved.

Letter, October 16, 2016

What is my heart?—A garden where each flower whispers your name. O beloved, my heart is garden drunk with your name. And what the flowers whisper like a prayer charged with incense fills to overflow the sacred cup of dawn. My heart is no longer a reliable mirror to hold up against the world and behold its face, for it is now fashioned with the fires of your name. So my heart sees you everywhere, in each nook and corner, into the widest sky infuses your presence. Through the hidden door you have come into my life and have swept me out into a place without roof and walls. And now, as autumn sets in and as the leaves begin to fall, as the lesson of transience and ephemerality is given once more, your love carves a deeper truth in me, and gives me back to the world as a man born to live the ways of your love.

Evoking the Beloved

My poem
tries to evoke her,
but silence cannot fit
in the mouth of the sky.

Thus my inked birds
go fluttering about senseless
like embers escaping
a raging fire,
their burning wings searing
the face of the air.

My inked birds
flutter about senseless
but who deciphers their song
as it rains over the earth?

A learned mystic once said
that the beloved is too great
for this world to contain
so existence tears at its seams
and her waters spill
soaking up this world
and all others,
becoming in all things
their inner vibrancy and life.

My poem
tries to evoke her,
but then my heart swells so wide
I find my pen leaving silence
to ink the last line.

Free Verse # 323 (in the lonely crowd their eyes met)

In her touch
a thousand years of sleep
fall away like dew


At dawn
the flutter of her heart
in mine,
two birds
on the world’s edge
tracing their own sky.


This poem…
the annulled distance
between our bodies,
our breaths interlaced
for a moment baptized
in the waters of eternity.


Rain falls
and my solitary heart whispers
the syllables of her name,
a poem with the raindrops soaking
the earth to her bones.


A moment’s silence…
catching my breath
on the dew of her lips


Through the rubble
a butterfly flutters
following your scent


The wind at night
breezed through her hair
stroking her bare neck,
and suddenly she felt
welling up in her being
the kiss forged
with her very flesh.


Flower skin soul…
with a soft desire
I yearn to touch her,
in my blood ferment
the nectar of her core.


In a world of strangers,
of hollow hearts and stuffed men,
in the lonely crowd
their eyes met
in an instant that bore
eternity in their souls.


She is nature embodied; between heaven and earth everything is a metaphor approximating her being, her ineffable aura, her light and breath.

Letter October 09, 2015

Rain falls, soaking into the darkness of the earth, replenishing her wells, and an immemorial sigh rises to our lips, spills like a hushed prayer to an unknown god, making our flesh transparent to the floating mist, the breath of creation. This space we inhabit, osmotic bodies no longer called yours and mine, but passion-sealed veins and heartbeats, a skin inwardly fused, pulsating, continuous curves rising and falling into hills and valleys, rivers and springs. The topography of an ever shifting one, breaking, through tension and heartache, through laughter and shared breaths into the ever deepening mystery eternally birthing existence from the inside. We open to the mist and memory carries us into a past, a future, awakening in us the tremors of who we were, who we will forever be, passion embodied, the tangle of inseparable fingers, a poem surrendered in the house of love.

Letter, September 29, 2015

I write poetry, but in truth all I do is gather your fragrances like mist over a lake. All I do is hunt for the breaths that have since long left your lips and harness them into bundles of words. And in the process I turn into a moth whose being has disintegrated in the fire of your flame. Thus, I inhabit the ether of your fire, unlocking the secret that birthed life and all the stars.

Letter July 18, 2015

Long enough, longer than I can remember I have been writing you, a poem whirling a full circle in the sanctity of your womb. And now I realize, with each flick of pen it is you who have been pouring through me, pouring me into you, back into the essence. Now I realize how writing you I was poured out of myself and into your river, decanted in your ocean until nothing of me was left, until my body was no more than the husk of its former self, now a chalice overpouring with the glory of your waters, your radiance, your love. Love, lead me to the bewildered center and there root me, in you, unhinge me from myself, a cloud losing itself in its sky-passion, a poem singed by your fated sigh.

Touch me, once more

Long ago
I was a field
where poems sprouted
as stars in the nocturnal skin;
touch me, beloved,
make it so again,
again let your touch
in me become a womb
pregnant and birthing,
forever bringing forth
the simplicity of your word,
the warmth of your smile,
that paintbrush that paints me
more vibrant and life-filled
than a thousand thousand world.

Free Verse # 264 (the fragrance of her smile)

All I know of the sun
is the fragrance of her smile.


On her collarbones I hew
my breath into poems.


She kissed him
and in his mouth he felt
the budding of a thousand springs,
her fragrance in his flesh becoming
the water that gives life,
the silence that gives
the poet his poetry.


Her face he’d touch
As the spring breeze at dawn
Caresses all the flowers


This dewdrop poem –
a verse on her lips to spill,
etching a lipstick
of a luminous sheen,
a fire birthing fragrant white
each word and sigh,
a poem to flower in the world’s heart.


To pray
the light of her eyes
I distil into poetry;
each verse a luminous flower
into the sky softly whispering
the sacredness of her name.


My poem I lit like a candle,
all night long she kept vigil
into the darkness casting
the firebirds of your name.
At dawn the birds
into water condensed
and the earth was left soaked
in an endless cover of dewdrops,
the sighs of your name.

Letter October 28, 2014

Your dark hair, beloved—is it a river flowing amid the banks of eternity, carrying, in its surge, all the stars towards some hidden shore? Or is it an ocean of mist, a womb deeper than the night, one from whose invisible flesh all the stars are born? Which is it, I cannot decide. Yet by its surge I am carried; in the flick of its wind, born. And this, each minute, each second, right into the timeless sphere that binds me to your core; binds me as a ray of sunlight issues from the source.