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Three Poems


the voice of the qawwali singer
lifts off your wig of poor listening
habits you meet with a stack 
of ice cubes in an exploding
fridge spin across skies like
a valley rediscovering its dervish
wings the ceiling becomes
an empyrean of parachutes quivering
like the fountain of his chubby
throat he sings from the slender
disc above the bread board
like an accidental messiah and
the musak of the century takes to
its sickbed; arcane perfumes waft
over from the plastered walls your eyeballs  
roll across the windowpanes like
surprise pearls you set fire to a
thousand travellers’ cheques he
sings of the secrets in the ancient
library of your sleepy heart

how to sneeze in peace

the burden of dreaming, the bed a huge net dragging the monster octopus of story that lunges through the head at night: the corpulence of the drowning psyche. who, what, are these people, these shades, these feelings, places, likenesses, that tangle one up like a bad load of washing. this shamozzle of the long night.
tentacles shoot out new episodes, plots and subplots in the hours before dawn. who is the octopus – the dreamer or the dream. grubby stories, leviathan lore, cheap little anecdotes. you turn in the bed, and its creak documents another story. the glare, the smirks of strangers, familiar places, rearranged by the psyche’s cruel interior designer. you know the loci by name but they look different. as if you are awakening from an anaesthetic.
in dreams irony does not exist, even suspicion, perspicuity is a struggle, you suffer physical pain if you try to break out of the dream. the dream and its fleshy, multifarious burdens insists you remain naïve, compliant, committed.
but for those who have been blessed with dust allergies there is a way out. if you find yourself near dusty spots in one of your dreamings try to get as close as you can to these sprinklings or mites. within breaths you will feel it coming. a huge sequence of sneezing that will blast you from your deepest slumbering, with a shower of clear ink, writing invisible gratitudes across the lightness of air.


his body a paradigm
of tattoo husbandry he
glowers on the street dreaming
himself to be an award
winning website hawks
the phlegm of his
rhetoric towards the ground
as he poises like some
ancestral reflex to peer
into a bookshop window
jeering as if it’s a
vitrine in a fusty museum
till he sees a picture
on a cover looking like
himself with a front
tooth missing so he
fists himself through
then wanders along to
an internet café
where it’s hotmail
time his night
vision goggles strapped
to a hip

qawwali – Sufi Muslim devotional music

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