Hussein Shariffe : Ash

As the city girds itself

For the fires of April

And the riot heat of May,

I walk on crutches;

Pretend – legs;

Rasping breath,

My one propulsion.

Oblique dust motes


In the web of light,


And crushed crystal.

Ramports and pyramids

Of dead cars are

Stacked high

As Belsen cadavers,

Or lined side by side

In friezes

Of obscene tortured metal,

Bending the wind.

This is the place

Where the light is buried.

This is the new necropolis

Of old forgotten Gods

And lost passions.

This is

The aftermath

Of the barricades

And the stifling

And the killing of the shout.


The night is somewhere else.

And the day has packed its lamps

And crept away

Towards its own local cemetery.

And here

Amid acres of corpse-scented rubble,

Dark, serpentine alleyways

And bleeding stones,

The city sprawls;

Nursing its hernias,

Licking its wounds.

Salt lick of wounds!

This is the weeping wall;

Scratched and bloody.

This is the terminus

For the cross.

And for the gnawing rat

To eat its way

Inside the brain.

The heat is psychopathic.

We lie close

As two faces of a knife.

And the river that rushes us

Neither feeds nor heals.

Our eyes are burnt cork

And sightless.

Among the shards

Of sourness and static

We slip

Several links

In the chain of being.

And we receive the legacy

Of the void

And the ash.

This is the dying season,

Petty and fettered;

Waiting for the sound of guns.

Where there is no argument.

No consensus.

Only the voice

Of the silence

Ending the dialogue.

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