Our storytellers (the bards, Scheherazade) are famous, and renowned
in all of literature.
I'll try to conjure up their style. So come and gather around. It's
Yaki boud, yaki naboud... Children grow up with these fairytale phrases.
Es war einmal; once upon a time are the first lines I heard abound in
A Frenchman relates Sinbad's adventures (acquaints us with monstrous
creatures like Roch)
Sir Burton's bird's classic; Henning's a match. A transnational plot
to astound us with literature?
A man who thinks that a whale is his fate; a woman who kills her own
A king who gouges out his eyessometimes I'm more than dumbfounded
Follow the shiny pebbles back home. Crumbs in the woods will never
They are eaten by birds and glass-hearted beastsearly this wisdom
I found in literature.
80 days and one balloon to circle the earth and to learn peoples' mores.
as they sailed. I cried when they failed. How I hate when problems
compound in literature!
See the pale girl with drowning eyes? She read fantasias from light's rise
to night's fall.
She's been silent these past years but now she's loud. She oracles words
found profound in literature.
First, the horse, and then the hounds, crossing the heath under graying
With them, the Master, tall and Byronicbolts into my skull unbound
"Study, my child, and study hard. There is medicine, business and
law to consider.
Let poetry, art and the theatre be. Even to sing is more sound than
Is this, then, your admonition, dear Sire? Dear Madame, I implore you
to give me leave.
How should I hope to gain ground in real life, if I cannot even gain
ground in literature?
Let me be Dunyazade, a sister who scouts out fantastical treasures.
hold emeralds as glass; a lamp holds a spirit; a square may be perfectly
round in literature.
I will not die! I will spin like a Dervish. I will spin you tales like
the Sultan's wife who shook
off the scimitar by the skin of her teeth and skills of the tongue she
unwound for literature.
She humbly offers these tales to you in pairs of two, her face to the
ground. If you have frowned,
forgive her! Soheila can't sing. This is her voice's sound in literature.
Her eldest, tucked away,
fast asleep these last few hours
on her belly, the younger boy
breathes in the innocence of his home,
feels its rhythm and skin folds heave.
Twelve years since I left. Twelve years
between her birth and mine. We sit
barefoot, facing age on her old sofa
whose cushions grouse under our mutual pounds.
"Once I held you just like this," I say,
"your body propped on mine, our hearts echoing."
"I always thought of you as fully grown," she says
and easy from her amniotic eyes, I slide
head first, limbs curled: her perfect third.