SAMPLE WORK

ON QUESHM ISLAND, IRAN

first appeared in Vox Populi, 2017

Last night I saw you in the Valley of Stars.

“Ghost country”, you called it,

As you floated through the rock formations like a prophet in love with the loss of gravity,

Or a poet seeking a vanished metaphor.

 

When I asked if you knew the name of the star whose fall to earth had created this miracle,

You smiled and said the name of your favorite poet,

Once,

And then a second time,

Before vanishing.

THE OCEAN IS WIDE ENOUGH FOR MANY TO WALK UPON IT

(For Mahmoud Darwish)

On the night that Muhammad entered the gospels,

Christ was out on the water,

Dipping his toes into the sea.

 

Muhammad walked down to the shoreline,

And, being waved forth by the Fisherman,

Stepped out onto the water,

And slowly began to walk across it.

 

Christ, laughing at his friend’s sense of humor,

Pointed up at the moon,

Said something that Muhammad could not make out,

And then split God’s satellite in two.

 

This went on for the next several hours,

The two young men in love with each others’ talents,

Aware that the miraculous is a renewable resource,

And that two moons mean that there is even more light for everyone to see by.

first appeared in Vox Populi, 2017

BOY WONDER

first appeared in The Innisfree Poetry Journal, Fall 2016

It was on days like this when,

As a child,

I believed the fairies came out,

Emerging from their forest bowers and ocean coves to fly low above the rooftops,

Their presence meant to direct the wind and the rain where to go,

And where not to,

So that the trees would bend but not break,

The roads would slick but not flood,

Everything shining,

The streetlights on asphalt,

The headlights through fog,

And all of us,

Child and driver and mother and poet,

Would know that what was washed away—

Sunlight and flower,

Footprints and color—

Would someday return.

DREAM FRAGMENTS

first appeared in Cultural Weekly , 2013

There is the blue wind,
There is a white poem,
There is a black flower in the shape of a heart,
There is the yellow rain,
There is a red sun,
Afraid to fall asleep at such an early hour.

I have just finished making love to a beautiful woman.
She now stands inside my bathroom,
Drying her wings with a hairdryer.

A boy selling newspapers on the corner tells me that the war is over.

I find a guitar with a broken neck in an alley,
A page from the Book of Ecclesiastes
Tucked beneath its four remaining strings.

I fly everywhere.

I sprain my ankles every time I land.

The moon looks like a giant falling parachute,
Delivering Jesus safely to the sea.

He does what he always has.
He walks across the waves
And greets those of us who have not left the shore.
He smiles easily.

LITTLE MYTHOLOGIES

first appeared in The Green Anthology (Silver Birch Press), 2012

This is the hour of the sundial,
The green lake and the lady who defends it,
This is the hour of the rose and the watercolor clouds,
This is the hour when the angels,
Long crippled by an absence of faith in those they have been sent to protect,
Awake to find that the children are holding their arms out to them,
And the white rain warms its hands by the slow fire of an emerging sun.

Here is where your life becomes a silent film,
Where your life becomes a long poem filled with lovely metaphors,
Where you no longer have to dream about what the days before you will become.

This is the hour that you had been promised,
See your dreams sitting like starlings upon the telephone wires
Across the street from where you stand.

10:30PM

first appeared in The Adirondack Review, Spring 2017

You called last night to say you were standing at the edge of a pool. 
You were already undressed, 
And the only light was the light coming from the large television being watched next door. 
You wanted to say you had never done this before, 
And that you were excited. 
I kidded you by saying you wouldn’t go through with it. 
That even a heated pool in the middle of summer would be too cold for you. 
But you swore that you would. 
You said you’d send me a photograph after you had gone gone through with it. 
I heard the joy in your voice for hours after we spoke. 
In sleep I watched as you moved beneath the surface of the water, 
A backyard mermaid finally, 
After too many years, 
Fully in love with her body. 
When I woke in the middle of the night for a glass of water, 
The moon was shaped like a fin, 
And the stars drew the white silhouette of a nude in the sky. 
You were everywhere.

IN A PAINTING BY MARC CHAGALL

first appeared in AQ Review

You are surprised when your feet first leave the ground.
You worry about altitude,
About whether you will struggle to breathe the higher you go.
You think about big-horned sheep,
About snow leopards,
And what they will make of you floating above them.
You wonder how you will eat,
About whether the stars will be so bright the closer you get that
your eyes will begin to burn.
And of course you worry about sleep.
But all of this lasts only a minute, maybe two,
And then you are just in love with everything,
The houses that grow smaller with each passing second,
Your hightop sneakers that have begun to glow in the dark,
The sound your wings make as they slowly flap,
The playful whisper of the moon as she places her lips to your ear,
And asks what took you so long to arrive.

© 2017 by Paul Tayyar