For Zardasht Osman
Who has died?
Not from the sharp angles of my succinct metaphors
nor the poisonous shimmering of my images.
But from the brutal blade of silver
slicing through muscle.
A copper-nickel bullet plowing its path,
piercing the pulmonary.
A white-knuckled fist wrenching
Violence is not metaphorical or lyrical.
There is no song to it,
no rhyme nor clever meter.
Only the low guttural groan of sudden
grief, then howling a keening loss.
Violence speaks its own language
babbling nonsense to the living.
Who has died but from my absence?
From a failure to connect
words to the act of living,
to connect living with meaning.
In Northern Iraq, a man is murdered
What stitched his heart to rhythm?
What rhyme rasped from his throat’s final breath?
Surely not regret for sense and sound
but perhaps a lament for the empty
hands sweeping over the burning
sands. Perhaps a sighing for his kin
before he took flight over his homeland.
I have lived on lips,
died on tongues.
My words wend through speaking
breath—inhaling, exhaling the desire
to be heard, sounding out the syllables
of living, blocking out grief’s moan.
I cannot stop gruesome death,
only speak of it.
And poet’s die,
not from my melodies
or tenor, but
from my lack.
Flickr photo courtesy of e3000