I stretch out on the shore and think of you

Happy summer solstice, dear readers. Here’s a bit of verse from the great Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani (1923-1998) to celebrate the longest day of the year.

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Pigeon Point Lighthouse. Photo by me. 

“In the Summer”

In the summer
I stretch out on the shore
And think of you
Had I told the sea
What I felt for you,
It would have left its shores,
Its shells,
Its fish,
And followed me.

(Translated by B. Frangieh and C. Brown)

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It’s how I discovered this kind of hunger.

There’s so much going on in this breathless, breathtaking prose poem from Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib‘s collection The Crown Ain’t Worth MuchGive yourself time to read it slowly, and then once more.

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“DUDES, WE DID NOT GO THROUGH
THE HASSLE OF GETTING THESE
FAKE IDS FOR THIS JUKEBOX TO
NOT HAVE ANY SPRINGSTEEN”

& and it is the end of another summer where I have slept on my couch
for days only allowing another body to interrupt long enough for
our limbs to tangle like weeds up the side of a brick house,
reaching for something impossible. I promise there have always
been dishes spilling out of the sink, love. It’s how I discovered this
kind of hunger. Last week, Rick lit a cigarette & yelled across the
bar that the only difference between smoking & kissing someone
who smokes is the way mouths collide before death sits in your
lungs like an abandoned city & everyone laughed while I tried to
wipe another’s lip gloss from my cheek. Most people I know
cannot sleep until they crawl though someone else’s hollow.
There are nights when I wish we were all still children, but then
again, I suppose we may be or at least there is no other way to
explain how we make every doorway our own. The way we stain
ourselves & anything else that moves. The way we scream into
the dark like a siren & the weeping, yet another thing we never
mention in the morning. I think I am starting to vanish slowly
from head to toe. There are ten different ways to say sunset. The
bartender says my face is wearing all of them.

We aren’t in our bodies these days.

Hello, dear readers, and apologies for the radio silence. Today a friend introduced me to the work of Lilah Hegnauer, and I wanted to share this particularly gorgeous poem that captivated me from the title onwards.

“I am the city and you are my work of great mischief.”

The way the summer lasted, the way we flung our bodies on the bed,
the way you said in the morning, I couldn’t sleep because my neck

was touching my neck, the way our grief flooded under the doors,
the way we whispered through the fans’ motors. Such mangoes

en flambé we’d meant to mark this summer, too, excruciating.
And then, tonight, so tipping in our chairs, at last, so chilled,

so shutting windows in a flurry, the way you heaved your
weight against the sills. I was alone. I did it myself. I called

you to say finally and you said yes and I grew sturdy in my chest.
We aren’t in our bodies these days. All those babies in your

womb were never real. I was there. Their tiny bodies dropped.
The way, even in summer, chill pooled in the iron tub & spouts.