Desert Son

Some hidden memory,

of your time in the womb –
your small thoughts flashing, dreaming
of desert dancers and gyring dust.

A soon to be birthing majnūn,
A mum’s janīn, the bitter surprising result
of tousled sheets
and nights with a nomadic bar back…

The brooding, bastard boy –
restless hands, like his father,
curdled naivety, like his mother…
faithless heart

Hands that lash, beat, tear…
almond eyes that hide
a dancing tempter,
a whisperer,



Hidden, such hidden
the brooding boy, the failing scholar,
with a drunken tutelary spirit
whispering nonsense,
a broken old thing, best heard in the Latin,
lost in the desert
beneath the brilliant son

who pounds
and beats
and spins to dust.

-Martin Burns


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