poetry reading in Santa Cruz, December 8, 2011

Last night I had the privilege of reading my recently finished poems in Santa Cruz. It was a fortunate thing, since quite a few writers-of-poetry were in attendance, as well as old, dear friends and new. Thanks to Len Anderson for attending and giving me his book of poems, Invented by the Night.

I learned which material strong and heard the ones which need some power or clarification. It felt like I’m at the beginning of a new writing time. With the poems that have classic meter – like iambic pentameter – I’m not sure that rocking motion translates verbally as well as it does for the eye on the page. Here is new one about Fatima, the daughter of Prophet Muhammad, that surprised me with its directness, given the strange, surreal subject.

Written there 


One fool for love wrote words where none should be.
Just scribbled on the leg of God’s own throne:
Fatima, guide for women of the worlds ~
This writing: could it be a dream or dare?
Dare mark the throne? Audacious, wild conceit!
A place so deep, so high, what eye can read?


The hadith tells the words but not the scribe.
The throne – it is the heart: and poetry
the pen. Fatima, they say, can intercede


for every woman at her time of death;
demise from childbirth, sickness, or a fall,
each bone-yard bride who asks her – please – please help.


She is the guide, a mercy seen as if
she rides a pure white horse across death’s bridge
to lead the supplicant to Judgment Day


and intercede with God on her behalf.
She’s Best of Women, Adam told Rasoul,
the taste of universes on his tongue.


NOTES:  Hadith (the source of this material on Prophet Muhammad and his family) : Arabic source from a paper on Fatima by Christopher P. Clohessy. Rasul ~ a title for Prophet Muhammad. Adam refers to the first man or “Prophet Adam.”

Just added: excerpt of my Radio interview with Joe Milford, see tab “PRESS” at the top of this page.