Friday, September 20, 2013

Yahia Labadidi...3 poems from "Barely There"..."a glorious metamorphosis"

Poet Yahia Labadidi offers us remnants from silks and linens used to create longer forms. Poems in Barely There (Wolf and Stock, 2013) may be, as advertised, short, but many are evocative, some haunting in the way fine poems can be. Silk is silk, full dress or suit, or patch.

For instance, courtesy of legend and the history of western painting, St. Sebastian is usually imagined as visibly pierced. but here, it's the not visible that marks him. I'm always afraid to talk muses (superstitious me), so moving to the third poem below . . .  the acknowledgement that a nation's metamorphosis is ongoing. Currently that change, invention, reinvention is obvious and painful to observe in Egypt, but look at Egypt's mighty, varied history, look at America's steps and missteps; look.  The poet's history as Egyptian and American, hovers.

On a personal note, Yahia has a good sense of humor. That's high praise, right there. Three from his latest collection:

St. Sebastian

Sometimes, he found it difficult 
to dislodge the arrows 
preferring to keep them there 
reverberating in silence
along with his invisible wounds. 

Defiant Muse

With myth and parable, the defiant muse 
reminds us of the art of being present 
and then, how to vanish without a trace. 


You are the deep fissure in my sleep, 
that hard reality underneath
a stack of soft-cushioning illusions. 

Self-exiled, even after all these years, 
I remain your ever-adoring captive

I register as inner tremors
—across oceans and continents -
the flap of your giant wing, struggling
to be free, and know I shall not rest until 

your glorious metamorphosis is complete. 

Barely There, Short Poems (Wolf and Stock, 2013) by Yahia Labadidi.

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