POETRY:  “Kings destroy a town when they enter it.” *

“Kings destroy a town when they enter it.”
27:24

by Karima Omar


Simply smash it to bits.
It’s all this
heart stuff, you see,
all smoldering ash
and well-ordered
smithereens.

In love and war (they say)
all is fair .

In war and love
all distinctions dissolve
into howling
absurdity
and shrieks
of deathward inclinations.

Love and war both
are so patently unfair
that a single qualification
becomes screechingly redundant.

Now:

they’re bombing out the baraka,
spewing blessing bits,
razor sharp and timeless.

The gutted tombs
were once mobbed easily,
by dusty desperate pilgrims,
pushing kicking clamoring
(frightfully physical!)
to be the first to brush
cracked and aching lips
on the grate of some blithely dead saint.

It’s appropriate,
this destruction.

It’s where the saint
wanted to take us all along. 

Listen to the commander:
retreat into Basra.
There is little more exquisite to do.

Originally published in the print edition of The American Muslim, Summer, 1992


Google