Two Poems by Gerald Zipper
Night of the Sahara
Blood of Sun declines over scorched desert
hoisted onto the braying camel
she gripped tapestried reins
pitching and swaying
shuttling into the night
this was her dream
aeons away from hard asphalt streets
slid off the beast
wading through dissolving sands
tides of Africa
ocean of grainy bits turning to hard rock
Berber tribesmen smirked
these crazy women
who pay to suffer
straggling up to mudhouse Inn
cold drinks ordered
for sneering Berber tribesmen
crazy exhausted Western women.
Hear My Story
The room heaved under the weight of people and words
grainy smiles sharpened by old knives
voices too large
laughter too pungent
ice cubes sounding like tiny bells
insects performing their rituals
sharp face poking through haze of gin
eyes of an almost dead man
searching the room for some missing piece
“Listen to my story”
pinning me in his cell of narrow space
“My wife ran away with our best friend’s husband”
waiting for an answer that would never come
the same story played out endlessly in many guises
I struggled to move away
refusing the pain
she slipped into the same space
“My child drowned”
should she go on living?
travel around the world?
do shocking things?
impersonate another life?
I again refused the pain
refusing the pain everywhere
to grapple with the pain everywhere.