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Tuesday, May 09, 2006


by Shadwynn

Arabian nights, their exotic stories
long veiled in intrigue; Aladdin's lamp dusty,
undisturbed, its jinn asleep
beneath layers of alien archaism
as kingdoms rose, fell,
caliphs came and went;
history's weather blowing changing winds,
invisible currents of fateful foment.

Proclaiming an ancient pedigree, new arrivals
raised their standard, staked their claim;
heraldry of the Hebrew hexagram
asserting its upstart hegemony
as Zionist zealots and sons of Saladin
pursue their checkered destiny
in a tit for tat tournament of terrorism,
power players pushing pawns
on territorial squares
of a Palestinian chessboard.

Religion, real estate, revolution:
volatility fueled with blind-sided vision
ignites the flesh-charring firefight of battle
as armies occupy ancient memories
in a desert doomed, domes of gold
glowing brilliant like flashing mushrooms.

Soldiers' boots dream the dust
of fallen heroes, forgotten victories,
retracing invisible footprints
on surreal expedition into spiritual minefields
where jihad bloodies
the other cheek of best intentions,
orphaned dog tags
crushing compassion's resolve.

Prophetic paranoia
insinuates its apocalyptic awareness
into struggles for justice
as judgment manifests
from the Temple Mount to the Tigris,
an End Game eager to eradicate us all
while we wait for the ashen phoenix
to rise and fly.

For a conflagration of flaring jinn
to escape the magic bottle
corked by our collective sanity
bodes well for the arrival of Armageddon
as sinister inklings of Iblis inhabit
incendiary pronouncements
from imams and ayatollahs
gore-hungry for the glory of Allah.

A lingering menace,
this iconoclastic impulse,
sharp as the points of Mohammed's crescent
contrasted against peaceful purples,
muted shades deepening a dying, desert sky.
How deceptively restful, this prelude
to a dawning epiphany of the true believer
upon billions of glassed granules
dune-rippled in iridescence,
melting reflectors for atomic fire
shimmering, scorched
with unrelenting, intolerant intensity,
medieval certainties triumphant.

Iblis is an Islamic name for Satan.
Jinn are shape-shifting spirit entities prominent in Muslim legends.

Shadwynn is the author of The Crafted Cup: Ritual Mysteries of the Goddess and the Grail (Llewellwyn, 1994). His poetry has appeared in the online journals Lily, L'Intrigue, Farsight Magazine, Ithuriel's Spear, SubtleTea, and Seeker Magazine. He is self-described as a wordsmith and heretical contemplative currently residing in the urban environs of Richmond, Virginia.