Thursday, November 3, 2016

Song at Luz

"Argaman in Mexico"
© 2016 David Prashker
To listen to an audio recital of the poem, click here

I wrestled hard for many years
There was a ladder of fire
   and the tongues lashed like women gossiping

There were ropes for tying
               and for untying
   some that bound me to my own arguments
others that pulled me free of them

There were women whose tongues burned my body
   and women for whom my own tongue burned

There was Ayishah
               waiting for me
                              far from the roof

There were the endless arteries of roads
   over which rivers ran
               thicker even than blood

It was hard to resist such fireworks

I found myself in Galilee
   lost in a wild
               outrageous war

In London
         working as a slave
              to someone else’s bondage

In France
     teaching children
               how to educate themselves

In Poland
          bound to the futility
                    of saving the unsaveable

I kissed a woman’s fingers
   in the fields of Bangladesh

I queued for bread in Addis Ababa
     in Sri Lanka
          in the shadows under Cotopaxi

I lay in the long grasses above St Nazaire
     and dreamed the fall of the Fourth Reich

In Mexico
          during the second month
                         of the feast of Xipetotec
I watched a convict being shot through with arrows
     and then the rains came
               and we danced beside the body

At Troy
     I was given the honour
          of polishing Agamemnon’s shield

I fled the ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah
   and found myself again in Galilee
      and in Jerusalem
but there was no wine
                          no wine
                                              only broken promises

I washed my hands of the river Ganges

I disguised myself as a deer
   and hid in the Cave Des Trois Frères
      and painted a wounded bison on the wall

Now I sit in this shabby room
   blowing dust from ancient parchment
      watching the orbits of the hourglass
drawing pictures
   where once I drew conclusions

My eyes blistered by candlelight
   my hands chafed with longings
      I climb upon the flaming ladder
and resume again the struggle

Hard? -
              it is very
                             very hard
     to resist these fireworks

What if I should make my nest with scorpions?
     The fire would still burn
          the children would still slip on stones
 the page would still grow black

And sometimes I despise the colour of the mountains
   sometimes my nostalgia drives me wild
      sometimes I touch the mask which is my face
      and know it would be better
   if the glass were sheeted

(and know that I would still love you
     even in eternity
                              even in Hell)

So I slip on stones
   I blacken my page
      The scorpions have destroyed the habitat

     Better than God -
                                      and no less colourful!

Fire works -
                      it could almost become prose statement!

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Copyright © 2016 David Prashker
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The Argaman Press

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