“Galaxies” and “Notes on Art and the Implications of Executions”


In art history I learned ghosts sneeze when they hover near paintings   The ectoplasm
on their skin turns green   People tend to hoard seashells from abandoned beaches after spending

an afternoon with me   We sit on the patio next to a building flocked with pigeons
and drink tea darkened with bourbon   I’m kidding   I’m sober now   Ravens are fantastic

translators of human speech   After a day with me the dark stone in my guest’s pocket
will be the one pulled from my shadow   Now my reflection has a limp   The eye blinks

twenty times a minute   My last lover broke up with me   She had blue lips green teeth
She said I could taste the filaments of your dream after we made out   Her doctor reported the coloring

is due to chemicals in her sleep remnants of memories   I suppose Blood quantum
She said it tastes like salt   Side effects of antidepressants: tactile hallucinations

Last night I found a slice of hair in my mouth   I don’t belong in this place   The television
in my house speaks Farsi   We have an illegal satellite on our roof   Yesterday on Persian Live

TV a man in a dark green uniform stood before a podium and recited a poem   It went like this
“I am an empire of sadness   I have not been the man you wanted me to be   The Young Turk

inside wants me to drink a cup full of poison   These days I keep my head down and my veins
covered with a long sleeve shirt   I came to you wet and hungry   Rosewater dripping from my soul

can you hear the desperation in my joy of living   The sound of a duduk carries enough ecstasy
to sadden the trees blowing sand over the graves of my scratched-out ancestors   This is why

I will light houses on fire   I am a flower with a register of exile ready to exonerate my war dance
I wish they could see us now clothed in a hundred prayers I meant to send you”

The FBI considers stolen art more valuable than a forged signature   My ex says
she doesn’t recognize my green card   I’m joking   I’m a citizen now   I’m also contagious

Counterfeit writing is the shape of a missing painting at least in its sadness
I know loss   But my last lover would tell you that a teaspoon of a neutron star

weighs six billion tons   She says this without breaking her smile
drawing galaxies on the side of my face


Notes on Art and the Implications of Executions

there is panache in the general’s signature amidst a pile of bodies
in the center of a blown-out church

war notes unsettled in a red notebook tucked in his right back pocket. a diagram
of a torso half-eaten by an atomic shell

smoke escaping his resinated pipe. the scent of small apples and ash. a sour fume
swirling in his mouth

at least the children of victors will sleep well in their new cities. at least they will keep a house
with new paintings

someone put the hex on my imagination were the last words of an artist hanging from a rope

the body of the artist hanging in the air like the general’s flamboyant signature

a child turned seven in a velvet suit the first time she witnessed a bee land on a sunflower moments
before the guards burst through the door

why do we choose to ignore what connects us was the question that stank the camp

the general’s breath smelled of pistachio on the day he ordered the death of 107 artists. small
chunks of nut meat in his teeth when he smiled

the child held her father’s painting to the light and the invisible words “help” surfaced to the canvas

a family sips tea from imported china across an enormous painting of a woman holding a yellow
letter. the artist is unknown.

I have lived as an empty theater hidden in the thorax of a fly were the last words of an artist
hanging from a rope

the auction was thick with the smell of cigar. landowners raised hands and battled at the auction
over the mysterious painting of a woman from an unnamed painter

how much for the yellow letter taunted a tall man in a white suit

the scratch on the bottom left side of the painting’s frame was visible to the family sipping tea

the silence in the room about the scrape, the blade, the neck, the screams, the family before. the
silence around the scratch and the way it was stripped from the wall

a century later, students doodle little pieces of art in their notebooks the world will never see
while a historian lectures about the tragic death of 107 artists

at lunch the historian pulls out a bag of pistachios from his book bag

Image: Photo by NASA.