At the 2015 Aegean Arts Circle Writing Workshop, nestled in the sand beside the glittering sea, workshop leader and brilliant poet Adrianne Kalfopoulou introduced me to the ghazal. A form which originated in Arabic poetry, the ghazal favors repetition and charged imagery to create a mosaic of emotion, exploration, and metaphor.
I'm often hesitant with formal poetry, but the ghazal captured me with its focus on visual expression and vivid description.
A cherry and plum colored bruise, shining
Dark blue at the end of a fuse, shining.
Breathe in a lie, and then heave it back up,
Easy-to-bend, weak excuse, shining.
Thin crack down the middle, a broken-jewel island
Reflecting in pale, scar-pink hues, shining.
Gather these things: feathers, twigs, rusted nails,
What pain from the hunt will you use, shining?
An insect or human swan dives off a ledge
Does it notice the sun in its view, shining?
That which you keep locked in a black velvet box—
What there are you willing to lose? Shining.
Erika, tell, what grey smudge in the dust
Will be left where there used to be you? Shining.
Tying— Without Pause
Sweating, trying—without pause
Gulls are crying—without pause.
Sand dusts my palms reptilian green
Bare skin frying—without pause.
How much longer can you take it?
Slow motion dying—without pause.
Cats with ribs just barely hiding
Wind storm of sighing—without pause.
Where clouds depart, can I go too?
Diseased from lying—without pause.
Up too early hearing songbirds
Are they crying, without pause?
Erika, wake up, it’s your own
Noose you’re tying—without pause.