Where You Are

I saw you
Kicking cans along Makdissi Street
Turning right and
In a geometry of angles
Hurling epithets
at the walls of the Mayflower Hotel:

Kiss my arse

The chickens will come home to  roost                                      

Piss off you taciturn travellers: moon and star

But when I look for you
among the nerve nets of my mind
I see only remnants of tattered coats
and threadbare shirts

Hanging like bats
Like the lost orphans
of bombed out days
And nights

Or the hapless fledgling
Thrust from its nest
Who drops, to be greeted by the
Trap-jawed feline
Preening itself like Leda’s swan.

And I think of the sea anemone
whose venomous arms beckon
But whose everything goes inside
Like snakes who lie unraveling,
Dehiscent and defeated,
A cadence wound backwards
To end where it was begun.

The city’s vapors envelop the living.
The night is translucent cold
And full of angels flying
with sheaf and sword, curses and a prayer.
Shops are lit, bells chime
Under the trees, rustlings and whisperings.

Peter Williams

Peter Williams teaches Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Balamand, Lebanon. He has published critical essays on literature, the visual arts, aesthetics and some poetry. He has spent seven years in Lebanon, more than he ever thought possible, but still awakens every morning thinking, yes, he really ought to leave...

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