Sean Francis Han
From a Mass Grave
Awake, but rather not so and with
sleep still staining the eyes with
dirty yellow crystallised sleep.
A thigh a pillow
an arm a bolster
and the warm funk a blanket.
I am the iris in this convex lens
in the hole of the eye.
There is a hole in me, several,
all with the sclera of clotted blood.
McArthur is at all times covered
by the trees around.
The shade of palm trees
adds more bodies to the pile.
I blot out the kept hum of flesh flies
on Tom's cheek,
the other ear to the sky to hear the kongs.
It's probably windy back home.
Water breaks above me,
Ted I think,
and it reminds me of the protean taxis we rode in on,
lacerating the water,
opening to palm beach and a zipper line of guns,
opening up to trench upon trench upon trench - holes to shoot bullet holes.
So, I remember, I dug my own hole to dive into,
like a deserted pool with no water left.
I left a bible of poems at home,
which was my literary will,
a black book of thoughts.
My poems, my soul!
So I crowned this hole America,
and went back to sleep.
The Persian who discovered perfection.
On a most fated day, a young Persian awoke to find himself inside of a barren cube, completely nude.
Straight lines of light emanated from the straight lines of the box, climaxing in the corners.
Being a learned man, and a poet at that, he was not alarmed but sat still and absorbed the situation for 10 hours.
Being a learned man, and a poet at that, he also knew from his extensive reading of Ghazals and Nasheeds this was the work of a playful Djinn, so he did not worry about anything.
“This is most peculiar,” the learned man, and a poet at that, said to himself. “How am I to write poetry with no nouns about me?”
He spent the next 40 days masturbating mostly, and occupying himself with silly songs – the kind that comes unformed from the heart, like a litmus paper curling out the mouth indicating a man’s current mood.
Being perfectly barren a cube there was neither pen nor paper for the learned man, and a poet at that, to write his poetry.
Until he remembered his silly songs and how he had still the clearest of memories of his favourite ones.
“By God! I shall write each poem by and into memory!”
It was tiresome at first, requiring the most dedicated memory for even the simplest of opening verses.
“This is most tiresome! How I miss my pen and parchment!” But he carried on, because he was a learned man, and a poet at that, and that is what such men do – write poetry for the sake of poetry.
By the end of the first year of his confinement he had finished only 10 lines of his new poem, but had realised that every word was perfect.
“I shall call this piece the pedagogy of nothingness itself!” Indeed the learned man, and a poet at that, was most pleased with his work thus far.
By the end of the second year he had finished the poem, which was now 33 lines long.
He took a step back (for there was not much room in that barren cube to take more than a singular step backwards) and admired his poem etched with molten gold on his mental parchment.
It stared back at him with eyes that were rainbow prisms of clandestine beauty. “Indeed she is a not only a masterpiece, but she is perfect and wholly so!
The playful Djinn, who was named Sufian the Djinn, saw this and was tremendously pleased, so he opened the barren cube and let the learned man, and a poet at that, back into the world.
When the learned man, and a poet at that, returned many of the townsfolk asked him: “where have you gone, learned one?” or “have you brought us many new poems from your prolonged time in a place far away?”
But the learned man, and a poet at that, was now a wise man, so he said: “I have only one poem for you, but I have also something far more important – I have learnt to write the perfect poem!”
The townsfolk clutched at his hallowed dirty robes and cried out “share with us this majestic poem oh learned one!”
The young scholars of the town, who were the learned ones, and were poets at that, asked instead “teach us how we too may write the perfect poem!”
But the wise man shook his head beaming and said “I cannot my friends, for this knowledge has been gifted to me by a Djinn most kind and most playful; I dare not meddle with his intentions!”
And with that the wise man began to recite the pedagogy of nothingness itself and the townsfolk wept at its beauty and celebrated for the next 99 years.
Being a Persian, the wise man spent the rest of his days with his dusty sandals forever on, never stopping to rest or sleep, for being an Persian he loved enlightening his fellow man, and so he did just that – through dunes and deserts – until it came time for him to slip into the tapestry of night.
When the wise man arrived in Jannah he met the playful Djinn named Sufian the Djinn and they laughed and laughed for 999 years – for time works in a most peculiar way in the fields of Jannah.
Once they were done catching up, as old friends in Jannah do, the Djinn named Sufian the Djinn turned to the Persian and pondered, “whom next shall we put in the barren cube?”
The Persian chortled heartily and replied “Sufian the Djinn you are most playful! But I think I may have found him!”
Then the Persian pointed right at you.