Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore

The Drunken Soldier

The drunken soldier broke downthe wrong door
Inside was a circle of saintslifted off the ground
To the sound of gunfirea really supernal yellow light
shone round them
His jaw dropped
and his heart stopped
In the dark of the room
he saw his place
At the cost of so much blood
so little decency
The saints admitted him
to their convocation
The rest of the world went
dizzily into the background
The rest of the war popped in his
ears like distant fireworks
The young soldier
lifted off the ground
Suddenly his age didn’t prevent him
from becoming ancient
The hearts in that room
were made of bronze androyal copper
In their burnished surfacesthe Face of God shone resplendently
The drunken soldierbroke down the wrong door
Inside was a family of saintshuddled together
In the death of decencyso much bloodshed
The circle of saintsadmitted him to their company
The drunken soldierbroke down the wrong door
Inside theybroke bread


Some ladders go up some laddersgo down
It’s true! Of course all ladders intrinsicallygo both ways
both up and downthough we prop one up to climb out of
somewhere orput one down to climb down into somewhere
But in both cases we’d climb back down orback up unless we can keep
going at the level we’ve climbed up ordown to without needing to return
The tall wind-blasted fairy-castle caves atCapadoccia in Turkey have ladders going way up
then precariously down
We had to climb down to prophet Daniel’s
supposed tomb on Prophet Daniel Street in Alexandria
then had to clamber precariously up
It all depends where we begindown or up and where we need to go
up or down
Oh and take a ladder when you leave this poemwould you?
Climb up there and see ifanyone’s listening?

Pewter Moonlight

Old men are writing poemsby pewter moonlight
They live in different parts of the worldbut their pen unites them
Their blood is as thin as riversafter winter floods and thespringtime dries them
Each of them writes his odeto pewter moonlight
Their eyes ache from peering deepinto lamplight
They’ve seen the comings and goingsand sheep led to slaughter
The night no longer holds anyterrors for them
One ray of moonlight from the windowis enough to save them
The Holocaust is over and slavery andcries of despair
New chains are on their waywith clanking regularity
Humankind often finds its better angelsdisposable
Old men are writing poemson rickety tables
Chrysanthemums wither in thevases before they are done
Everything in reality takes placeby pewter moonlight
The sound of their pen scratchis enough to heal the world

Mouse Feet

Teeny-tiny mouse feet run along my ceilingin rapidly fluttery pitty-pats
God’s dimension is so vast all theticking clocks face sideways
There’s a sound in the universe so pureonly one of us can hear it
Way at the end therethat silhouette of someone
standing against the moon
When you lift pen to paper
the savannah floods with light
If we’re only visiting for a short time
will our echoes elongate behind us?
There’s a shack blown down by the wind
all its nails shrieking
When the scrolls are unrolled
everything will come clear
Will we be there?
(There go those mouse feet again above me
Is he in such a hurryto find my mousetrap?
If he pokes far enough inhe won’t be able to get out
I let them loose in the woodsat the end of our street
Little tiny creatureswith delicate finger-and-toe nailed feet)

Lake On A Hill

Is a lake on a hill closer to God than alake on a plain with its
bright reflective waters?
Is the dial on the watch of a saintcloser to true time than the
dials of the rest of us?
Is the night longer or shorter forone who believes or one who disbelieves
that at the farthest end of it a glorious oasis arises?
(Slender palm trees there bend and tremble in thesweetest wind)
Is the voice of the Belovedlicked inside our ears
clearer than our own voice and thevoices of others on the outside?
Is outside any different frominside in God’s Eyes?

-all from The Fire Eater’s Lunchbreak / Tall Tales in Short Takes, in progress


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