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A RHETORICAL THEORY
If words were clothes we buy
to cover our nudity,
If they were flowers
or silent minarets,
If they were bread
we line up to buy
as we inhale its delicious smell,
If they were fish in whose eyes
we search for the lustre of death,
If they were birds whose wings we cut off
to fool around with their impossible flying,
If they were springs in which we put our open palms
so water may flow cautiously through our fingers,
If they were a high mountain that we climb –
a high, solid, and smoothly polished mountain
whose surface we peck at with our breaths
and whose shadows we scratch with our glassy sweat
and from which we fall many times only with our fears
without leaving the chasm,
If words were . . .
She is standing on the wet edge
of a balcony on the tenth floor
on a rainy day in which no birds but swifts fly.
And he is on the pavement, leaning against an electricity pole,
staring up at her
enveloped in the paleness of fear.
The girl has a grey scarf tied round her head
like women who veil themselves.
The scarf is like a dirty window
from which her abducted face looks out.
The boy is wearing a short-sleeved shirt
as though winter does not bother him.
Frightened passers-by have gathered round him
ready to invent their share of the story.
The girl is about to jump from the balcony
and will shortly fall on the asphalt road
and become a smashed and mangled mass.
The boy is in a stupor
as if he regrets having entered into a love story,
as if he is angry at a girl who will insult him with her suicide.
The sky is very cloudy
and the rain falls monotonously,
heedless of what is happening.
The street is crowded with curious people
and those who regret entering into love stories.
The police try hard to do something, they don’t know what.
“The girl has fallen,”
a man says to himself.
Soon afterwards, people talk about her fall,
some point to the spot where she fell,
and crowds rush to be near it –
and no one looks upward to see the girl
stretching her fingers to the rain.
“The girl is practising yoga,”
a woman says as she walks past.
Someone comments reprovingly,
“Lady, Yoga is a sin!”
The girl on the balcony smiles as if she has heard him.
In the street the police siren
splits the air.
The clouds suddenly disperse
as though because of the siren.
A blue space appears
in the clouded sky.
The rain stops.
The girl steps back from the balcony and closes the doors.
As for the boy, he lets the story drop from his pocket
and walks away.
All those around him are moving away, puzzled,
believing wrongly that the boy
is at the heart of the story.
A LESSON IN BITTERNESS
Bitterness is not a strange bed,
nor is it the dregs of a jet-black bad day
or poems with which we escape from our melancholy.
Bitterness, my friend,
is when a train passes, with two dreamy eyes looking out
whose face very nearly tells its own impossibility.
Your heart then jumps, smitten by love,
dewy butterflies flutter in your pulse,
and all ceilings come crashing down,
and distances and floors run from your feet.
Bitterness, my friend,
is when you then return to a room
which receives the echo of your footsteps
and runs away in fear,
while you whip the wind to follow it,
discovering the back of a horse,
which would have been worthier
for racing behind two dreamy eyes
and a face that vanished at the whistle of the train.