066.1: Saba Razvi:: Dusk Intermediary & Nor Equinox Nor Promise & An Architecture for Mystery & At the Lotus Tree Beyond Which There Is No Passing & Leonid Shower Above 360 Outlook 066

Years ago, a fellow poet confessed that he wanted his poetry to be like an abstract painting. I remember the conversation set up an ideal that tempted me beyond my own poetic practice. Could words evoke instead of describe, gesture instead of point? Saba Razvi’s work in this collection emanates from that ideal space: like the abstract expressionism of Gerhard Richter, Razvi’s poetry somehow evokes natural and fantastic environments without resorting to mimesis. Perhaps Razvi accomplishes this feat with compound words like “spaceshape,” achieving musical and intellectual combinations reminiscent of Paul Celan. Perhaps Razvi accomplishes this feat with a keen sense of rhetorical repetition, as in the anaphora of “Nor Equinox nor Promise” or the obsessive quality of “small” in “An Architecture for Mystery.” Perhaps Razvi accomplishes this feat with the juxtaposition of common and cosmic elements, like the doll peering down at the fall of heaven in “Leonid Shower Above 360 Overlook.” Of course, Razvi’s poetry is all of these details and more. In trying to write about the variety of these poems, their many compositions and colors, I have had to focus rather than take in. And these poems are most definitely meant to be taken in. Ryan Winet

Dusk Intermediary


Through the peacock’s moonskilled eye, I can see the harbor,
its waterspent wavelength of boatsails in the breeze–
a harbinger of nightlonging.
Through the bluing green of the feathering, the thrumming hum
of a heartsong in the throat slips
into space, hangs like a wave
in the water, a chant exhaled beneath surface tension
into the matter of the gulf.
Through the circled circling spins the vibrato
of molecules, of dendrons, of neural machinations
moving–
through,
ruh
move the atom, move the mind’s thought,
move the mind and matter moves, manifesting
the vibration of the singular energythought
through spaceshape.
Through.
Through the resonance of the hollow, see
the infinite spaces between
blood cells, bonds elemental, breathing
distance expanding and contracting like a long constant in the knighting
that can never stop pulsing
through the strands of circling, finger-light skimming, marina green,
millslick and rough, impassable, but beckoning.



Nor Equinox Nor Promise


If the tide is right and the moon is high enough to carry these waves to shore,

If the boat’s tether is knotted loose and its anchor is gone and its oars are wide enough to part the crests of these waves as they reach the shore,

If Kilbirnie Kirk there is full of light by stars and by candles and by lanterns that skim off of these wet peaks and part the dark enough to carry this boat along to shore,

If the green of the hills falls through the moon’s reflection in the loch and opens a passage on the boat for those who might travel these waves to shore,

If the high ways are clear of men in the hillshades and the boat seats two in secrecy, their shadows discretely long along the moon’s light as it moves along these crests that reach the shores of the other side,

If the rope is untied,

            If the boat is still, without broken boards,

If,

            If the boat’s wood is dark as the loch, If the oars fit rough hands,

If you come to this green place, sung by the gone, by the there where the wild roses grow and the moss blankets the stones, beside the sound of the waves and the waves on the waves on the way high along the way to the shore,

If you wear your mourning black and your beads of jet round your darkening throat and your darkling hair, shining darkly the moon and the mossy and the roses back into the night,

If you shimmer in your rosy skin, in the thistle-bright sheen of the moon’s milk face on your moss-given stride,

If you cast your glance aside, behind the fae hum of the night’s dark shade, If you rose, stone as cold by the fair bell of the moon’s light across the way,

If on the other side of that shore is a new tether, a new anchor, a new rope, nae a footpath made of old stone and rune stone and an archway not to a land of bones, if…


An Architecture for Mystery


Inside the size of the word small can you find small Sarah Winchester and her small door and her wonderland of a house meant to make her smaller and smaller than the small she already was, so small she might not be able to feel the grief anymore that was too big for her to keep feeling without falling into pieces. Her stairs led to nowhere to hem in the aspirations of her undeserving fantasies, undeserving dreams when her baby girl, small baby girl, shrunk to a smaller life and died within her arms, undeserving dreams dead tethered to a million ghosts bound to keep her company after her husband’s wild ambition brought their caught souls to an end with his long, stiff, hard barrel of a cocked gun. Inside the guise of the word small would be a woman so small she could fit through her keyholes, who could cherish the bigness of a house that never had to boast that it was big, of a woman who hid from flash photo and flash warning guests alike, preferring the long meandering puzzle of a labyrinth to live in, like the minotaur of despair weaving its way through the vessels inside her flesh, trying to hide, to find a home that didn’t echo of blood, of a blunt gun, of a blood-spill anything but small.



At the Lotus Tree Beyond Which There Is No Passing


Say: What is God’s Returns to God.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajeoon.

Beside the edge of ether is a tall tree, rootless, floating with its base spreading open and closing as a downward-turned hand. Its tough bark, a veneer over sweet green sapling. Above it floats a round bubble, a pearl crowning the branches, resting, instead of a bird’s egg, a round lens of a pair of eyeglasses, lens of my mother’s mother, through which I can see her across dimensions of existence. Still. Inside this pearl. She is. Iridescent as the dew shimmering on a dawn’s lotus, crowning this tree. She is. Above the tree over a cage of birds. Lovebirds. She is. A bird, winged like a bird, not a bird itself. She is like plumes of plum-hued smoke, slipping freely from the bubble’s burst edge, expansive in the ether.

She. Watches me, as if to say she knows what I have been up to, along, knows, I see her as she sees me, say.

Are they birds in a cage or are they the fish of paradise with vibrant colored fins and tails, slipping through a stream? Arising from the stream’s rush are foaming bubbles, lifting off into atmosphere. A lily pad, a lotus petal, a waterfall, a prism-split band of light. Caverns below and long stalagmites, dripping, beads of water, iridescent as dew, the dew of a dawn’s lotus, into the still surface of the stream, still, unrippling but returning. Still.

At the ether edge of my heart’s cardiac vessels, at the eithered edge of the vessel’s walled room, is a sorrow purple as a plum, puckering like the touch of a persimmon on the tongue, like the purple seeds of an untranslatable fruit, sometimes berry, sometimes bruised. A hand’s skill that I do not know, read from the sounds that make up my skin. Still. Her soft hands, silken skein along longed arms, her silence like colored stones, glimmer in the light’s stealthy song. And. In those sounds, the eyes of girl, widow, mother, long lost daughter, sister, woman, leaving love of the body long behind. A leaf, longish, longing, wrapped around, taken into teeth.

Blood cell, body, blood-red mitochondria, building a frenzying case against a country of slumber. I remember. I, asunder. I shuddering at the taste of my own, tongue, the quiver of it on my lips as I learn the speech running under my skin as something beyond.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajeoon.

Say: What is God’s Returns to God.



Leonid Shower Above 360 Overlook


       i.
Crisp November hours. Still.
And the stone beneath my back is softer than sea
or river reflecting beneath.

Wide before me stretch mist and textured sky.
Quick bursts of sudden glitter, thrust
swift through cloud cover.

Night breeze thrumming a stiff chorus of leaf
sounds, muffled whispers in hidden faces.
And rock cradles arm cradles head.

Dark pulls down my eyelids, full
of the blush of the gloaming. Then silver
streams like marionette strings to keep me watching.

       ii.
The Sijjin weighs heavy on my low left side
and I grip my right fist, to balance deed with desire.

The shades of night are slipping
over your fingertips,

                  velveteen like the green whispers beside me.

No moon sickle sweet to threaten my high neck in the dark
of sky, but the crescents of nails digging into my palm will
scar like stone under ice water.

Are you counting how many per moment
little slips of falling fire?

                  demons sent flailing from heaven
   with broken bits of gossip.

I measure the silent angle, the trajectory of stone.

It is only me here:

cliff face an empty plateau holding
my splayed fingers behind me,
my sprawling legs before me,
and my knees locked flat.

Doll on a bookshelf, glassy eyes dreaming
of something more real than faith,
watching the fall of heavens beneath her feet.