She hated the farms
reminiscent of childhood
smelly animals to be bred
(she had not
had swimming lessons
I promised compensation
despite her insistence
on unified swimsuit)
night thunder rains push the black flowers
into the fields, star-wept Tunisian vineyards
she is asleep, black curly hair
in my lap
Actors of the African Apuleyus' drama drive
as Tanith, the old goddess
before Mohammad's winged mule,
steps down amethyst staircase
in a one piece bathing suit in the sky
casts off her one piece,
the fields of vineyards
fold in rain
Tunisian wine that Lucius drank
to become free,
in body of mule
POEM FOR SHAMHAT #3
Tell me one thing that I have moved
I write in the shade of tulips
tell me one thing that I have moved
I cannot write the lover poems for her now as she just left
I look at the red crowns
My heart is remembering the shape of her lips
what have I done
LOVE AGAINST THE MEGAPHONE-TOWER
The megaphone man,
his hoarse chant,
In her country, he raps about Husayn and His Martyred son Ali
La ilAh Ll ah ilahaa
La Ila aaaaa
Mhd Rasul Allah
Muezzin hypocrite, he thinks
he harbors an angel of judgment
in his throat.
If the dead still have any ears left—
Surely he has swept
the vineyards to vinegar
( the new cars remain intact
after his diluvian cry.)
Shamhat was not herself yesterday
Was I another refuge, yesterday?
I worry the light of megaphone man's
has reached and corroded the light.
Painters capture light, turning their asylum
Light, that only
happens to fall on the dim here. In a Zoroastrian poem I can state these
words: light and dark
red and black
not changing them to objects, symbols,
the dark into a rabbit, for example,
and the light tricked into a fish of gleaming scales.
The raking voice, humbling the parking lots
wants to turn our wine to vinegar,
I want to save our wine,
He courts vinegar. He abandons the vineyard to the sun and the cats on the roof. The muezzin
himself, is a grand meower.
It is much too early for chatter
for spring stolen by martyr talk
for Eurydice, or Persephone's hate and fear
on the voice-recording answerer machine
fitting in the palm of a hand no longer legible
to gypsy ladies taking money
in more florid ways.
It is too early
for again Sarai and Hajar and their little scandal
birthing two nations
by accidents of love.
Just give me back the shadow of Persepolis,
where she and me first embraced.
NEED FOR NEW NOCTURNES
Today it ended as it began, with listening to Chopin
the light, the force that was compressed, built to a flood
I wear an ark on one foot, the sole scarred
the soul scattered.
Let that tigress drown
How could she have ever loved me
and spoken so cold, her blunt tongue a scorpion
its the smoking of blunts, clever is the freedom-fabrication ensuing:
impulsive opinions, glass cerebral empty onions
Our love was wolfed up.
As if by hunger of invisible soldiers in winter
No, not romantic: as if by hunger of the bin-divers
was walled up and I am the soldier who has nothing
sitting at his night-post, watch on fort wall
chewing on a moon between my teeth
Soon I will feel it:
need of new nocturnes.
SOLDIER for the daughter called LOVE
I have heard the critiques
of the envious and stupid against her, Aphrodite
and swallowed beer, some pride,
I am an anarchist general who will put down the rebellions
kill the rebels who are against her, Aphrodite,
fill my rifle katyusha
saddle my elephant with missiles
inscribed with poems like a hungry soul
and I hope she is not another demagogue,
like Ishtar, or Hera,
or Orcan, Modernity, or all the others
of megalophantasies, fed on shadows and Greek fire.
For I am weary of thinking critically
am filled with hatred and courage and want to fight,
murder the envious who sentenced medusa to rock
I prefer to be stupid before cautious
Aphrodite may your light
not split from the glory of your Cycladic body
I have been a butcher
so I may bring you the meat of the peacocks, the finest bird.
You will walk upon their feathers and not on the dirt road
during the day of revolution.
I have bled from my flamed wings
to un-shroud you from filth, cigarette pocks
and hocks of hot spit they cast upon you
before hurtling you over the miracle bridge near Larissa Station
like some cardboard, to be recycled into Peace and Justice.
SHRINE OF BLACK MADONNA ATOP THE STONE GATES OF DAWN,
The stone arch overhead
with its carved rainbow triangles containing
the staring Trinity Cyclops Eye
contains the temple of the Black Madonna,
like a carriage of a noblewoman
with a lacey veil
All the slavs,
discriminated plebeiat of
Lithuanian Vilnius, en masse struggle to see her
dark lips smile
the Black Madonna Ikon
the Polish pilgrims visit
bringing offerings of moths they carry
in their mouths and spit like coins of the apocalypse.
They pretending she is a black
But the ikon is
The queen of Sheba, dark skinned among her Jerusalemite sisters,
Shulamite, she seduced the playboy poet, Solomon himself,
made into a Slav believer.
in her gold-sculpture-adorned bedroom
Shulamite un-virginizes the Polish street youths,
young laborers and orphan
curva-mouthed boys that are brought to her,
to have their first lay
in the divine chamber of silver and gold and wood amber-egged.
Her chamber spits out converts, like sparks.
Men like duck-bones,
Men like peach-seeds
Did they notice the red hourglass tattoo
between her thighs,
also cut and dyed into a red hour-goblet?
They file out of the bed place of honor--
only integration or grace they will enjoy
as Polacks in Vilnius,
Chins up at the bleak and cold sky,
feeling handsome and like real men,
now dare walk upright,
buy the Marlboros, (packs red and white
not red and black which means poisonous, like the river serpent
who no one may crush, lest they spell banishment, by Dvorak)
This honor, however is not for the unclean,
though both the clean and unclean slav-believers
have the right to hear voices. Voices without
bodies clean the ears. Beyond that shared right,
the unclean and outcastes,
stand and sit, lean on staffs or crutches, rocking under archon keystone
the city Gates of Dawn, A seat reserved them
at each juncture of the triangle
the holy trinity eye
and with it, the Knowing of Sophia.
At Gates of Dawn in Vilnius
reptilian-ocher-skinned, but just not leper thanks to despised traditions of Soviet medicine
stretches his arm from lyra-formed ¥-crutch
coins sun-lit and un-lit
and cigarettes, ether-lit or un-lit
won't suffice any time soon
to pay off ancient Debts
in the pagan eyes of the ferryman, pusher creditor
who takes the shades, of those like the pigeons without radiators fell in the poor winter
With a reasonable small checker-stack of Littas coins,
the afterlife carrier
will water-ferret the shades across
the river of the Snake.
they still shove the Littas under their eyelids,
under their tongues, like apocalypse coins to be spat in hell for avarice.
Desperate, those who are run out of eyelashes,
have run out of shade
in the radiant bulb of Judgment.
a tourist walks by wearing
jackass-like scream frozen and tethered on his shirt
and what he thinks are
hip souvenir glasses without lenses.
He bought them from Belarussians, at their market tent.
He is wearing eyes and keys, once lost.
The ogre spits out his coins
rips the glasses of the tourists' face
and runs hobbled'y hob hob
to dawn door
hoping for the canoe
of pagan life, after
Arturo Desimone's poems and short fiction pieces have previously appeared in Counterpunch, New Orleans Review and The Missing Slate. A recent artistic collaboration with the Netherlands-based Iranian film-maker Atousa Bandeh, brought his poetry into the video art film The Apology Triptych. Arturo was born and raised on the island Aruba, in the Dutch Caribbean, and is currently based between Buenos Aires and the Netherlands.
The poem "Oufa Hind" is from thee book, About a Lover From Tunisia. The poems "Shamhat" and "Need for New Nocturnes" are from the poetry book about the courtship of Shamhat Shirazi, the exiled Persian-miniature-painter from Shiraz.