Excerpt: 'Today: 101 Ghazals'Suzanne Gardinier takes a centuries-old poetic form — the ghazal — and injects its trademark themes of love and longing with words, references, metaphors and images that recall a more modern age: Manhattan, a country house, her lover's bedroom, the daily news.
Today: 101 Ghazals By Suzanne Gardinier Paperback, 193 pages List Price: $13.95
9 I've lost my shoes Have you seen them The winged ones that used to carry me I've heard that when people die they remember their mothers and call in the night Carry me When my son used to say I can do it myself he was whispering Could you carry me When the quick rain soaks the shoulders of my shirt it's saying Just for now Carry me There's a tenderness around your eyes Have enough tears said Carry me All day in this new dream I walk on gravel and the words you didn't whisper carry me When my mother arrives at the end of something it's to faint in my arms and say Carry me I've known how to walk since before I was born It's useless to try to carry me What the dazzle of light says as it touches the wave swelling Cresting Breaking Carry me What the secrets say as they line the edges of my eyes Your eyes Carry me What the shoeless stammerer doesn't say as she doesn't step into your arms Carry me
11 Put your finger to my lips will you Before I say something past forgiving Tell me where your hands have been Tell me what you've done that's past forgiving I know someone who's free but not here Past touch Past memory Past forgiving The guards in lines try to take off their flesh and put on steel Past death Past forgiving Your voice A clear stream over gravel Laced with trembling A hesitation between orchards Past forgiving Your ankles pale on the couch The day fading Did you mean to show me what's past forgiving The way your hips used to tell me the truth that is not the truth and is Past forgiving Those the guards touch strapped in ice and plastic The faces on street posters Past forgiving The emperor's loyal ones cheering Is this how our children will learn what's past forgiving A woman with a photograph Her mother's face Which of them is past forgiving Who's here Your trespasser Blinder of witnesses Past purity Past famine Past forgiving
45 Wasn't that your cheek against mine last night Gin Streetlight When somebody loves you Impossible When you reach the broken paddock fence the sign will say Impossible The color God painted my eyes A cross between storm and ewerstream Impossible All your wrong lovers without certificates Stamped across their foreheads Impossible Dear Torch Received your kind invitation Regret conflagration impossible You must mean a phantom Your hand at her waist Your ache at her absence Not mine Impossible A holy place in the emperor's city A peach in a stone Impossible You the mask of a ram I the mask of a bull Horn chips Mischling Torn doors Impossible Dance without footprints Dance with no name in a room with no lovers not touching Impossible Your eyes One protecting your sleeping son's dreaming One torchlit and trying to close Impossible Dear Lion Here's a gazelle Hold her in your teeth but no biting Yours Impossible
Excerpted from Today: 101 Ghazals by Suzanne Gardinier. Copyright (c) 2008. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from Sheep Meadow Press.