Towards Paradise

Today, passing ‘Micon Travels’ I saw
the gateway to paradise, Hasan-i-Sabbah,
jasmine spurting out the doorway.
I thought of East Africa, I dreamt
of swigging flat tonic in a dust city,
Rimbaud’s last post as he limped through
the first days of the locusts

A woman with only a postbox cut
for eyes in a night veil drifts past,
her high heeled shoes stabbing the lichen stones,
or is it chewing gum -
it draws out like elastic.
Her perfume saturates the petrol afternoon,
volatile liquidity in the holy book

Tell me, what happened to the poems of Omar K,
drinking till he was sick, till words
puked out, he overdosed on roses –
one red flower in the drain is crushed
over and over by the wheels
of cars driven by boys yelping
for us to get our tits out

All I can hear is karaoke singing –
timeless, senseless, tuneless
but somehow more sincere than the original.
Muezzin breath buzzes in the heat,
flicking the edges of the stripped wallpaper
to reveal dead stone and writings.
The day turns its slab meat torso spit- wise from the flames

The street has gauze in the wound where house 14
was struck, all gaping limb-sockets, and stray wires -
a refugee with sand-sore eyes.
Next door is Micon Travels,
gateway to paradise, Hasan-i-Sabbah,
jasmine spurting out the doorway -
I palm the dull brass handle, twist and here
we are – dust sparkles in the air. Or insect wings.

Sarah Davies

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