POETRY - The Square Root in Beirut
A Land Starved Of Caritas

Janus-faced, a rabble at work and play.
There are no witnesses to say which way
Their stark Caesar went, their evanescent
Leader dolling out the black and the white.

Legends without a mind to guide them
Hold sway. The people are starving at the seams,
From which ill-fed, grim-faced monsters
Riot, feeding on the grey of the poisoned air. 

The land is a land of metal, cold to the touch.
The land is a land of clouds, from which
Meaning is sieved, as at the end of a smoky gun.
At the pierced midriff, chaos spills and runs

Instead of crystal-clear, cool water.
Lebanon is not found where I sought her,
On a hip-shaped hill of chunky Cedars.
Her breasts are dry and scrawny, wilted members.

The Hiding Place

Bleed this pointing finger,
Let it suffer to be scrawny and conquered,
As the picked-out objects of its beam and desire
Go to make a sum and sea of what she is, of lucky her
Ubiquitous in the dying blur
Of a dying sun,
a sinking sunken one 

At the beginning of a star-decked future
And a night sweet as rum and dumb
When it comes to talking and totting figures
Of love, the giant numbers.

Wickedly, I surround myself with clouds
And callous words,
Hoping only in the above, like a leisured lord,
And dreaming a dream’s absurd
And un-pick-able lock,
More jagged in its secrecy than feral rock:

As if a desert had nooks
And crannies,
as if the endless sand were
A hiding place like the heart.

Bearing Witness

The youth, Café Younes, Hamra, Beirut

As wonder lost its genital verve,
The stream spoke to the rocks
And briefly curbed its flow:

Was I ever so young
Or so close to you, my navel,
So ready to be hit to tears
And plundered, hoodwinked
By such tender years
The wool of the ewe’s yet to know?

The rock spoke in a low voice.
Said many things, and many things twice.
The water listened
And pleated itself, slowed
So nothing would be missed. 

Fold after fold of clear water
Turned drapery like the rocks,
They conversed
And so they still converse.