Strange and Terrible Weather in The Desert

We communists are dead men on leave.

Eugene Leviné

The clutter-smog of the desert-sky gallops

And this sadness: mountains of grey
Mounting grey – with the one wan hope
Of being equal music for the day…

We are rested here; cosseted by anger,
True. But girded and lifted, too,
By the fallow fur
Of many years living like this,

On leave: quiet, quiet, and deferred…
Here’s the genie again, dressed in lightning-blues –
She asks of me to name, in a minted list,
The Who and the Who of the Who is

Who. I demur,
By levels of mangy loss, made to concur
With anything, all that’s haze
And all the homelessness

Of horror,
Garbed as ever in eye-mote and vapor, tatters,
Ashes, breath a-blur;
And yet, now reprised

By what this dour, sere
The twinge of this, the lay of our
Shared sky prefers: antagonist

To the notion
Of a woundless health,
Of hanging beauty,
The halcyon of gardens –

Sky, like a high pit, pitted against
The normal incumbent terrorist
Music of an otherwise

In the ray-bank and repertoire of Day…
Let us be concise: this bone-hard quilt                                                              Of strange, terrible weather
Clutches the suffering desert,

The clenched, dun-skinned fist
Of an unknown God
Gifting like to like,
And the proud, dolled-out merits

Of salt in a salty pride:
A princedom, echoing her deeds
As echoes, desires –

Though baked and spread as needs.

Omar Sabbagh

Omar Sabbagh is a widely-published poet, writer, critic and, betimes, scholar. Among his books are Via Negativa: a parable of exile, a Beirut novella (and his first full-length fiction) published with Liquorice Fish Books in 2016; and To The Middle of Love, his fourth collection of poetry, published with Cinnamon Press in 2017. He was Visiting Assistant Professor at the American University of Beirut from 2011-13. He now teaches at the American University in Dubai (AUD).

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