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Friday, January 29, 2010

Fast Day 139 January 29 2010 draft 1

Fezzan Oasis

The Thief of Water

I smell a flower,
a mallow stem bleeding, perhaps,
then the queen's lace,
and finally lavander and rose,
and I step into Cairo's perfume shop
of street, eros, and imagination
to think of her.

I taste water
dripping on my tongue; reading with my eyes
old hieroglyphs
that trace the course of vanished rivers
and tell the stories of the god-like lakes -
libraries of Alexandria:
scattered and gone...

I see the geese,
a group of males in the wetlands,
then wonder where
the females spend times of intimacies;
I fend into the reedy bottomland,
finding nothing but the track of drought...
then yearn for her.

I feel the virgin palm tree
bend beneath my over-eager grasp,
then wonder why
I am so angry, so perplexed...
so I go mad within the oasis
to prey, then drink nakedly from the spring
of her lips.

I see a mirage of flags
fly from imaginary forts within
the dry lake bed...
suddenly my hair whips, running gazelle,
dust clouds, spit flying,  and panting mouth...
not pennants of warlike bedouins, but
her wet dress...drying!

...I arrive at last,
out of breath and dirty as an eland -
where have you been?
she asks, eyeing my drooping fidelity;
Up and down, I gasp, up and down,
questing Afric's paleo-lakes and streams!
they are no more!

she laughs -
like sparks from the Minotaur's flinty hooves -
takes me down a notch! -
phantom symposium of thirsty eyes!
How could the eternal lakes be gone?
And sacrament streams? Or extinct
my hart and hind?

naked gazelle -
go to the window, look about, and tell
me whatso you see!
Forgetting luxuriant nudity,
I strode - all dusty, a  palm tree,  verdant
papyrus - I was numb catastrophe!
I saw the lakes! ... and then sat down, bare skin
on alabaster.

Her rain was love;
we replenished entire aquifers!
from my dust came clay
mixed with eros' sev'ral peculiar sweats;
Will one tumble th'Atlantean towers?
Or intercept and bind our Mother Nile?


the offspring of Minos' Queen Pasiphae and a Bull. Anyway...Minotaur is half human, half bull, lived in the Labyrinth, and Theseus killed him/it.
Daedalus designed the Labyrinth, if you're interested; his son Icarus was the first to die in a flying accident.

Afric's paleo-lakes...
anciently the Sahara was a verdant area, having dried up recently in geological time, destined to be green again in 15,000 years. "paleo" is a Greek prefix for "old".

phantom symposium
she says I have seen illusions, caused by thirst...phantom drinking parties ( in this case, drinking water) caused by thirsty eyes.

Some say that within the paleo-system of lakes and rivers, from the Chott el Jerid in Tunisia - in the North- down to the mega-lake of Chad...and even beyond, when the drainage of the Mighty Congo went eastwards, to the Rift Lakes of Victoria and Tanganyika...there was situated the city of Atlantis...and its destruction came with the Great Drying and plate tectonics within the Rift Valley.

The lady of this poem and I live in the magic time to come - or the time past, when the Sahara is green, and mankind is at peace. We interrelate with the present, and she cannot believe the drought that has overtaken her land in the past, which is our present.

stanza 1:  I sense a wondeful scent
stanza 2:  the waters of Africa are drying, and are ancient as hieroglyphs...gone like Alexandria's library
stanza 3:  animals are disappearing...yet I remember Her.
stanza 4:  within an oasis, my passion bursts out...
stanza 5:  a mirage of flags reminds me of Her, and I run, for the flag is her dress drying in the wind.
stanza 6:  I arrive and She asks me where I'd been...
stanza 7:  She tells me the disappearance of the waters is the mirage
stanza 8:  She tells me to look out the window and see for myself...
stanza 9:  Rain Storm!


Ruth said...

How beautiful, and imaginative, to write such sensual language in the context of Apocalypse.

In the manner of the ancient poets, just lovely.

Montag said...

Thank you, Ruth.

This poem obviously is not finished, and seems to be headed somewhere...
It started just as sensual longing, then longing for the splendor of the lakes of the Sahara...and now we have lovers in the midst of great change...

Very mysterious. I am anxious to see how it turns out. I may just work on it on the blog: leave the original and have a copy I edit over time.

Ruth said...

What a great idea! A blog where you revise and post revisions.

I am intrigued by how writers revise. I was very bad at keeping revisions, and I wish I had now.

Somehow, the thought of writing poems on a blog and posting the revisions seems that it would offer impetus to revise (such a gruesome task). If you had readers who would "workshop" it with you, how grand!

Montag said...

That is an interesting idea: to keep track of the original and the revisions (I have them, only they are not on view any more.)
Then to workshop with others is even more interesting. Have to look into it.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Cool photo.

Lots of knowledge reflected in these words.

Montag said...

Thanks, Mary.

I have never been exposed to any "knowledge" that I did not turn into a drama...

Those lakes and their evanescence are so real that I could live the life of lakes....arguing with the clamor of the seasonal wadis - flourishing madly after a storm - or just floating on my back on the surface of an ancient waterhole.