| Poetry


Anis Shivani



I believe in licking riot grrrl power beads.
I believe in ring-around-a-rosy to move
the Mensheviks’ frozen mercury. I believe,
Soraya, in Roman candles whose eidetic
effusion kills the licensed goose. I believe
in rodomontade among splashy waterfalls,
cold water the spitting image of Thomism.
(Thoth, messenger of pins, screw the waves
with gray snaps of Valentino.) Whose voo-
doo voters volunteer most often for ex
cathedra evulsions? Whose ewe neck,
Soraya, exceeds the prayer wheel’s quack
oscillations? Whose quantum of shivering
wrecks the form-fitting snows of Shiraz?


Pink lido, cone of feathers in sea lavender,
ducks quaking with the nettle of passing
miles, stool pigeons from Elysium knowing
all about embolisms among freemartins
running out of gasoline or epic sphene:
Thallus you formed, Soraya, of histories
of encaustic empire building, unwinds
like crewel work in the blindness of the
Mercalli scale. Bushido’s forest rules,
bursitis in Arcadia, archangels’ army of
anamnesis, all that goes into Soraya’s
analects of the juddering Judas kiss:
in the end Judith saves nothing but
Meerut’s lucky dip of immovable fruit.


Lucknow, your bearded ludic sum of eyes,
megalithic medusoids of purblind need,
Soraya’s punitive damages are the dark
matter Deirdre’s paint box wisely ignores.
Prosthetic news of the clastic cordon san-
itaire reminds Calliope of the metronome
demolishing the mezzanine code of
mortality, morning glory spread-eagled
before midday. Détente among dicrotic
memorials is like the phony war Soraya
enforces, meniscus composed to maps
of rope ladders ending in root directories,
sieve plate of my sigma cross signed like
sympathetic magic on the traffic island.


Closed targus, trahison des clercs on the
ski trail to the trading post, the gray parrots
imprisoned by Soraya having spoken of the
great divide, de haut en bas minor orders
obstructing their own orthogenesis toward
Stanilavsky’s standing waves: threnody
which comes over the transom like tumulus
written out of the vacuum’s vade mecum.
I ascend the utility vehicle of counterattack,
pericardium pulsing to aboriginal hope,
Soraya’s abscission absent from the glottal
stop, abreaction as wide as camera lucida
mounted on camion visible like overdue
heriot, coheir to perilune bottles of coraline.


Laudanum smuggled in the minaudière you
panegyrized, Soraya, exurban primo uomo,
diphthong among cottiers, like brisk coulisses
in the landscape of beignets, befouls the air
of arithmetic. Atmospherics aside, Mount
Athos welcomes your athletic atman, atop
the atelier of homeopathy’s least squares
moxie: homology in which you reappear
as fainéant corkage, displaced person to
the ten-headed demon king, ravelin set
to the cantos of black market bristlings.
Daily I perceive curvatures in gray mail,
Soraya, the net present value of neuroleptics
reformed to meet the camber of our ID’s.



Anis Shivani’s poems in this issue are from his recently completed book of sonnets, Soraya. Next he plans to write a poetry book called Empire, exploring correspondences between the British Raj in India, the Spanish in Mexico, the Americans in Vietnam, and imperial China. NYQ Books recently released his debut poetry book, My Tranquil War and Other Poems. His other books include Anatolia and Other Stories (2009), Against the Workshop (2011), The Fifth Lash and Other Stories (2012), and the forthcoming novel Karachi Raj (2013). He has just finished a new book of criticism called Literature at the Global Crossroads, while current projects include the novel Abruzzi, 1936, and another book of criticism exploring “plastic realism” in recent American fiction. His work appears in Georgia Review, Southwest Review, Boston Review, Threepenny Review, Antioch Review, Harvard Review, Iowa Review, New Letters, Boulevard, Epoch, Agni, Fence, Denver Quarterly, Times Literary Supplement, London Magazine, Cambridge Quarterly, and many other journals.

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