Venetian Magicians / Prayer

Note to readers

These poems are begun by an inspired first line or two, and during this particular development from poem to poem you might find ones of cheerful and imaginative transcendence or darkening recognitions of a more perhaps serious actuality (mortality, health, its shadow, its return to wholeness, etc.). I know that my intention to see cancer as a spiritual experience (hopefully everything that comes to us, heavy or light), without wallowing in, say, self-pity (surrender to Allah, the Merciful, Living, Sustaining, the Light, is really the only course, this rocky climb of purification) keeps me in a basic cheerful state (not always, last weekend after the second chemo, was hard, and Allah knows what’s to come, known to often be somewhat dire), so these poems are ones of need, throwing the heart line out to attach to God’s harbor, even if in a sizzle of pain and deep down general dolor…

It may be a kind of course in poetics also, what is appropriate to sing of, as poet, as Muslim/Sufi (insha’Allah)… as well as a Pilgrim’s Progress through the interweave of body/spirit, flesh/soul, dunya/achira, that is each of our mortal lot.


Venetian magicians in their
satin pantaloons conjuring

flames out of ferns and fountains out of

against a backdrop of Vesuvius

Rolling roils of ocean boiling
over us in rare rags of surf bubbles

until we swirl with dolphins and
speak their squeaks and trills

The earth itself opening up and
swallowing us whole

Ah this life with its flags always at
half mast and wild winds

blowing them to tatters

and the cups in our hands with their
soothing liquids and the

windows we look out of and the
windows we look in

Is it between our in and out breaths that
Paradise inflates and all

darkness expires?
At the moment of

each eyeblink when
our lids are closed that

a near vision of the Next World’s
garden drapes its vines and

opens its opulent avenues?

The Venetian magicians take a bow
and the curtains close

The roiling ocean pokes its waves in the
air and flattens them at our

feet as we walk earth’s lateral beaches
looking for gold

God’s given us a door that we
only need open when the

need arises which is

And the road abruptly ends

which is now




Oh Allah

Let me have no fear
but only love for You

with every blow

5/19/12 (from Down at the Deep End)

Categories: Poems