Holiday from the Perfect Crime $15

Somehow the resonance for me during the entertaining of this title as an abiding albeit background theme for the poems, was the perfect crime of our existence: perfect because created by a perfect Creator. A crime because we get up to such malfeasance all the time, at the lower end of it, and a crime at the higher end in the sense that the Sufis often mention, that any existence of theirs before Allah ta’ala, any flake or residue of their self-ness, is a crime, a flaw, an obstruction before the Light of God. Only when you have known a saint (wali) of whatever spiritual practice do you get the sense of a personality honed to its finest before the divine consciousness, whose actions and words and thoughts are soaked in divinity to such a degree that the person is truly human in its essence and effaced before God in His ever-present and infinitely Merciful activity.

Poem Selection from Holiday from the Perfect Crime

The Bullet

The bullet sped through the air
going nowhere

Aunt Martha was ironing
ironically enough

On a high balcony
in Barcelona

Larvae take a few hours or days
to mature and then
look out!

The clothes were neatly pressed in a pile
and then piled in a press

Time has a way of keeping still
for important events

Nothing greases silence better
than an important event

Time was winding down
and space was sharpening to a point

Travel from A to B is often sudden
and brutal

A direct consequence of a true
concatenation of events

poising a conclusion on the
head of a pin

which punctures the silence
with a bang

heard round the world
from balcony to bridge to battleship to
bathysphere bobbing in the bath of life

The bullet sped forward and
didn’t look back

With grim determination
it didn’t know where it was going

Though where it landed was the
end of all knowledge itself

As many waves as crest on the open sea
or clouds in the scudding sky

Or something whistling through the wind
to deliver destiny’s personal blow

like a signed love letter dipped in scent
and sent through the perfume of the air
to a fair beloved

Though we don’t know it each blow is a
love blow

The children were playing on the terrace
hoops and jacks and hopscotch and clue

The president was signing documents at his desk
flags of all nations furled and unfurled
behind him

Like a kiss it landed where it
needed to land

Sent from a serious hand

The young soldier in mid-sentence
put a period to his life sentence

Though he never finished his last sentence
sentenced to eternal transcendence

Aunt Martha ironed another shirt
he’d wear only once

on a balcony in Barcelona

On a hilltop overlooking the sea

On a day without clouds

Above the noisy city

2/12/2005 (from Holiday from the Perfect Crime)

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Love’s Pebbles Thrown


One day Love came to town to see if he’d
missed anyone

There was a river he swam to refresh himself

New duck hatchlings in a nest under a grassy bank
needed their natural focus reinforced to the motherly
gratitude of their dam

On the way into town he whistled a new tune
and a farmer boy swooned
and three snakes slithered ecstatically into the ground

Colts got love up their nostrils and moist along their flanks
and galloped over hills until the
sun went down

Even little flames in an oven leapt for joy
and made the bread loaves arranged on their shelves
perfectly brown as if reflecting the sun

Which was high overhead when Love got to town

Three on a road out of town came sauntering conversely along
one to go to school one to kill himself unbeknownst to
the others and one to return home before sundown

They met love on the road conversely going into town
and only the suicide recognized him by the
intensity of the gleam in his eye as if the
whole arctic tundra was wide open with aurora borealis
curtains of rose-colored lights shaking like dancers
over its glittering ice
and his heart melted at the sight

Love left them and went on into town

An anchorite in a cave remembered
the essence of his vows and sang a song

A couple in the hills lay back in wet grass
and inhaled each other’s long sighs
having just encompassed heaven’s paradisiacal throng

A fox bit down on a chicken leg after a week of
hunger and wept for joy inside loud and long

The day entered the golden tunnel of its afternoon

No stone was left unturned

No grass blade failed to shiver in Love’s updraft

And all perfections were as if brought into a
jeweler’s room to be reset and polished to a high sheen
as the sun shone

Love in broad daylight from the depths of night’s Throne

None of Love’s pebbles from their own places on earth
left unthrown

5/25/2005 (from Holiday from the Perfect Crime

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