chamelier

Excerpted

This poem won Honourable mention in the 2008 2-Day Poem Contest

My proof of choice was moonshine

a fermented sugar that could parch every last hydrogen

pearl from the sky.

Lost to fire spirits, memory is porous,

earthenware,

the mind a kiln.

 

Beyond the dunes

are huts of adobe slumber,

muted rows of baked sienna

that will someday crumble, return to their origins.

 

The chamelier has retired,

tented by goatskin,

supine upon his nervous carpet

a village of fingers still alive within the tapestry.

 

I have never seen so many knots within a square inch.

 

Do not fear the spiders you have killed

he says today.

I revulse over the hairy thorax

crushed behind a feather-budded tamarisk tree.

Eight guilty mutilations, one for every leg

that crawls me into civilized panic.

 

Upon the ruminating dromedaries,

Garbo and Simoom,

we slow-step,

the Saharan floor pressed turmeric.

His few words are never arid but botanical,

vining lush through me.

 

The storm sand-mackles our eyes, saltating,

I wrench forward, reach for the rein.

Wishing for eyelashes camel-long,

he pulls me down from the humped saddle.

Desert talcum makes a rattle of the skull,

abrades the amygdala,

until every particular article finds its settling place.

 

He is a mirage-blue man, a free man,

wearing the ocean upon a scarf that seems to quench him.

He wraps it around my mouth and I drink.

 

The night becomes tungsten, a filament of want, of wattage

that can buckle you under and other.

With the jam of dates upon our fingers, and minted tongues

we steep a new devotion.

 

He calls me Tagine,

a vessel of nourishment,

for here love settles in the liver

and instead the land is jaundiced.

 

Within a moonshine we are knotted together, every square inch.

Published online June 01 2008.

This poem was a winner in CV2’s annual 2-Day Poem Contest. Every April, CV2 challenges players to create a new original poem that uses all 10 words of our choosing. It’s poetry under pressure for prizes, publication, and personal bests. Learn how to sign up for the next 2-Day Poem Contest.


Poem as Travelogue cover image

This piece was published in ‘Poem as Travelogue,’ the Summer 2008 issue of CV2.

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