SPOTLIGHT: Zen Tao Ghi: DNA Untangled by A. Summer Javadi


That Black Book

The edge of each page
     stained red,
Once whitened snow,
Pressed flakes of a day  
     now laminated with a grayed,
disgusting film.

Is this your worth?
The latticework
     of iniquity,
Hugged at your bosom,
Like a day’s wage,
You wrought
     in charred soot,
Refusing to let go of dirt,
Of spoiled food.

Yet, you deny, still deny,
That you toiled
     in stale sheets of filth,
Plundering with your smug boots,
Unleashing serpent beasts
     that roar,
Louder than any train,
On beaten, wooden
     tracks, whose dirge is heard,
Echoing off droplets of hardworking
      man’s sweat.

And you are allowed the gift to remain
     with that book,
The blackest, tarred binding,
Cradled at your arm like an aborted baby,
Lying still, a mucous filled
     drowning,
Waiting for the beat of your heart’s drum to cease,
I see ashes, falling silently
     upon your chest,
I smell rot, you never have
      given your best,
Or at least, I never knew it,
As I never knew you.


I am thankful I had not,
I had never thought beauty,
Eyes in full focus,
I see that black book, the one you cherish,
Plunging me into a cesspool,
Drowning among the fatherless,
Cherish not I,
Just your black book.

If Music Were Boxed

Chiming pins pluck
     the serrated, steel teeth,
Amazingly prodding,
That subtle affair; the combing
     for softened mixtures,
Bled through dyes; Tyrian purple
     and rose madder.

Egyptian layers and layering,
That comforting chemise
     cleverly hiding the
discontented memories.

Consistent bells tolling
     loft-fully aware,
That the sudden impartment would always
     be the decompartmentalized.

The unwinding
     wind up of centuries
     of echoed voices in the hall.

Cement whispers as cold as the grey sky,
Absorbed into granite quarry,
We met a bargain
     on the foot of a flower bed,
And a locket kept hidden about my breasts
     was my only recompence for
     your absence.

The Naga & the Mirror

A testament
     of a forked-tongue,
green scales
     line the bellies
     of the people
     waiting in line,
each etching out
     their defining right
     to plunder,
kill; any maned source,
“wait your turn,”
     knaves shout
     their vain manhood;
     yet folly
     is heard rising above
     their impotent domain.

Slithering sorts
     caught between,
     the naga and the mirror,
an image blackened
     by stagnant blood,
used as tar and
     feathering
     the outside hull
     of a crowded vessel,
the mirror cracked,
seven years bad luck
     is coveted more
     than staying
     wedged
     on this damned,
     near wreckage.


What is Truth?

Life is a lesson,
Graded on a curve of grace;
Mercy follows Truth.

Heaps of Hues

I helped pluck the pictures from
     the wall.
They had hung like a
     schizophrenic haze,
Canopying the brilliance        
     of a time
     when the flying amari
     swooped heaps of hues
     upon our heads.

But now I ached deep,
Pulling each nail from them
     from the wall.

I envisioned hanging myself
     from his clear shower curtain rod,
Because the scent of his departure
     left my body writhing in sheer madness.

He had kept me from the booby hatch,
Taught me the inner markings of
     Enocian and sage work.

He had taught me jealousy
     had a name.
She moved with ease from
     East to West,
Traversing satellite waves
     to find myself stricken
     with blue shades
     from the dried caps
     still metabolizing in my brain.

I was smitten.
Even Alice leapt to her grave.
And when he left that summer day,
I knew another Wednesday grief,
Another June heat sadness.
Mandrake root had backfired
     that day.

Those Days

My nose is awake,

Awake to the beaded oil memory of

     coconut draped

     over the freckled hamlet base

     of my Mother’s flour colored skin.

It was hot.

The chance of
     her tan increasing

     as blades of crisp grass

     pricked at my bare feet.

Brother and I took spoons

     to the fresh dirt,

Scooping up mounds to

     toss the cores of our finished Granny Smiths.

We had hoped a tree would grow,

Not in Brooklyn or anything.

But in our coal mining town,

Whose beginnings were marked by

     a dream that mining and fishing

     for buried treasures would yield supper:

     tuna fish sandwiches and

     crunching off brand Cheetos against

     my short, planked teeth.

That was the true highlight of

     those days.

Those magnificent days.

Lost to time and required space.

I am left to dilly-dally.

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