2014 Poetry- Esther Kamkar

Arrhythmia Diary

Wait, later this will be nothing.

-Dieter Roth

with a compass
and a straight edge
she draws hexagons
like Euclid of Alexandria

she cooks kitchri
Lauren’s Baghdadi
buttery lentils

names the hexagons
Breath of Bees
Resilience of Reef
Breathing Metal Facade

she floats in wheat grass
wades to the river
shortens distances

she stirs the fire
her heart pump is audible
she is also a hill



Appendicitis (inflamed):
He was
her cul-de-sac
her blind alley
of glass shards
hack and cough.

Vermillion boulevards:
She listened
for a man’s laughter
any man
one who still
how to laugh
who did not disappear
in the melancholy fold
of his own arms.

She followed
his dulciana voice
and moored
the rubies
of his laughter
to her throat.



Love’s Spare Parts

I bring you ears
of corn in their husks
we put them on the slanted
kitchen table in rows
of five or four.

You photograph them
and ask Why so many?

Eat plenty, I say.
The season is short.

Why this sudden
tenderness for the body.
Map of the body’s legend:
Shifting Sand    Cave Entrance
Heel    Spleen
Dotted lines of boundaries
disappear in time.



Morir Soñando

So, I gave you my eyes to see
milky-orange delicious
Morir Soñando;
to die as you dream,
to die as you sleep,
a hall of colors
under your eyelids:
Picasso’s dove
Orange peel
Wild iris
Houses in Oia
Apple Flesh



Two Dreams

Tony and Me

When I saw Tony Curtis on the trapeze
his body in white tights, airy light

and fluid, his hands holding the ropes
swinging back and forth on the screen

in Cinema Moulin Rouge in Tehran
I was twelve years old.

I watched him and gasped with every leap
dreaming my own two braids in his hands.

Sigmund and I

I was eighteen, lonely and homesick
in the hills of Jerusalem, where I dreamt

a house made of blue water, and I sat
at the open window holding a red rose.

My friend, the painter from Yugoslavia
said I must read Freud to understand

the meaning of House, Water, and Rose.
All I wanted was my mother,

teller of our dreams, who knew
the meaning of each and every thing:

Muddy water stood for confusion, a bead
for a baby girl, a horse for success, a tooth

for death. My patient mother, who unraveled
knot after knot, I wanted her to tell me a house

stands for hope, water for love and rose for home.



Postcard Poems: Wish You Were Here

When you said
I’m glad
you’re out there
in the world
I imagined
your hand
on your chest
you saying
I’m glad you’re
here, right here.

This is the house Tagore lived
in the year he was 18, at his window
thesky turbid, the light lacking luster
like a dead man’s eye, he wrote.
Such loneliness and longing
for the eye-kissing light of Calcutta
for his mother, for India’s salt.

Honey, barley and wheat beers
Soaps with potash and oils
Indigo-dyeing of wool
Recipes on clay tablets
in Cuneiform.

Herdwick   Suffolk   Swaledale
Roughfell   Cheviot   Blueface Leicester
Ryeland   Texel   Blackface Northumberland
the sheep in the center
Josephine Dickinson, the poet
shepherds in Cumbria.

Agatha Christie’s favorite tools:
Face cream
Orange stick
Fine knitting needle
to scrub and polish five
thousand ivory carvings
her husband dug up in the three
thousand year-old ruins of Nimrud
near Mosul, before they took them to London.
Paula Rego’s muscular woman
or a man in drag?
You have to hurt the dog
to give him his medicine
Cruelty and tenderness.
Like a wind coming through
the door sideways, a dream
makes you think of other things.

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Prose, Poetry and Art