Dramatic Clouds

Monday, January 25, 2010

He said to ask for exactly
what you want.
Then to still your wanting
for fifty years.

In between these clouds
coming together like hands and parting like ships,
she stands at a brook of beige leaves,
thinks of three friends who made
a monastery in the woods.

Stag moves through the hillside.
Everything, every tree falls in love with its neighbor.
It’s chaotic and messy — springtime    nothing to be done

Quick — Name three people who make you feel

and special
and extraordinary.
Name them now —— go.

She arrives, sets down her luggage, and smiling, asks,
What kind of soul is mine?
And accepts whatever answer is given.           Jibes
and jealousy go right over her head,
used as she was
to living with them in the other house.
Like a mermaid learning to live on land, she explains
on the stairwell, I was blind as to who to trust.
(Though he loves her, he doesn’t believe her.  None of them do.)

four years later

when she’s

“getting over” her little love affair, it occurs to her.  Comes rising up
like a lake of dark pain.  She begins to see.  Not just about him, but about the other   the                                                                                                                               first man

It was so beautiful, she writes.
He was beautiful but then  totally crazy.  And ugly  bitter
ugly.  Vile.

Crazy love.  We even looked like twins, people said.

But you know  even while it was happening and good, way out          there
I would leave him, inside I would leave, and go flying away
To the outside windowpane of some universe   eternally caught in the furies at Act Two

— and so but I cared, I did —
but I was also there,
barely hanging on
(I mean, I was there when Mother Mary said, “Go to the outer edge of your greatness”)

eternally rush-rush-missing my other-century companions so—
my broken down-on-their-luck bohemians, ragged soul brigade
I barely stopped to look for them anymore—
(it was the one thing I accepted as a constant in this life, my missing them)

And anyway with this wild wild wind raging shaking
the window pane and the universe
its curved howls banging.  Me
in coattails hanging on
and looking in             big-eyed

“The outer edge of your greatness,” she said.   I was there —

Then I wake up and say, Oh, it’s my own Spirit
scares me so.  My own Self.  I have been that mutable and reckless,
streakful and open too.
Like driving in his car the very first time, I knew.
I just knew.  Like magic, he’d showed up at my door.
He said things about dreams, but I already knew.    I knew about the Light.
He held disappointment — my twin
Of some kind — So
my reckless leaving into the Sea of Light.

Always, I knew:  That was the whole triumphant ordeal.

Now, remembering.
Now bleared with tears and love that just won’t go away — it exposes me —
Like a love for those beautiful cryptic ghosts who tell me they love me back

Reckless like stars of joy.
Need I be?

Three swallows just flew overhead.




Katayoon Zandvakili

Katayoon Zandvakili

Katayoon Zandvakili’s collection of poetry, Deer Table Legs, won the University of Georgia Press Contemporary Poetry Series prize, and the book’s title poem was awarded a Pushcart Prize. Her work has been anthologized — American Poetry: The Next Generation, A World Between: Poems, Short Stories, and Essays by Iranian-Americans, Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora, Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia and Beyond, and The Poetry of Iranian Women — and published in journals such asLumina, caesura, Five Fingers Review, Rattapallax, Arte East, Private Photo Review, and narrativemagazine.com.

Katayoon has completed her novel, In the Lap of the Gods: My Eight-&-A-Half-Month Marriage to an Impostor, while working on a second volume of poetry, The Girl King Sings Songs of Epic Leaving, Red-Leafed Shame & Yellow Uprising, and the screenplaysWonderful Her and To Live As I Like: The Marie B. Story.

She is also a painter.

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In memory of Kurt Brown

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