Goodbye, Godot

This poem was written in Mexico City on March 25, 2013, as a glad and grateful celebration of my dear new friend, Mohsen Emadi.

for Mohsen


this is a man who embraces snow
he has the juice of pomegranates on his thumbs
he and the snow are always disappearing


this is not a love poem
this has nothing to do with
words or bodies
or things that get put inside them


this has to do with sparrows
trembling on vines
vines that will still be there
in the dust
after the fight
after the battle
after the war


don’t get me wrong
(she says, knowing words can’t keep
even personal wolves
from unmarked doors)
don’t get me wrong
I’m not his mother,
not his lover
(is there time here for an asterisk,
meaning ‘alas’?)


I’m not even his friend
Though that’s a pebble thrown in the right pond
(pause here to hear a Bassho Splash!)


I have no culture
he has too much
I had no war
you get the picture
where he is male, eastern, dark, young
you get the idea
he is a part of what I forgot to remember
I am the shadow of a memory still to come


we are each to the other
the ghost of an imaginary friend
the breath within the wind
which is otherwise a lecture


I will not bore you with the usual
list of suspects
lineups of heavy-set thugs
accused of writing greeting cards
moon june love above
but just one throw of chaff and
what might have been a poem is
stained with blood (Tehran)
or coffee (Seattle)


in Seattle
a waiter arrives labeled
bearing a small glass tray
a mirror
a mirror as round as
a pregnant moon
and on that mirror he carries
a pomegranate even rounder

the mirror falls
(the waiter has been shot)
(insert title here)
waiter fruit and glass
break open
blood and seed and sweetness
mix with shards and he
separates the trinity with
delicate fingers
fruit from fragments

the fruit and the body
are ruined
but he puts the mirror back together
in the shape of a stained glass poem


these are just words from which
we both disappeared

you can find him
lying in long sweet grass
at the heart of a Persian desert

I am that improbable American grass
if I am anything at all


but no (meaning yes)
I still love you
I am still here
a vine in the dust
after the fight
after the battle
after the war-
and any trembling sparrow
is welcome to light on me

(no asterisk*)