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Entente Arabica

October 18, 2011

A waft of frankincense, she sinks
cross-legged: Bedu coffee hour.
Cardamom pops with pungent ink,

warms space within the greeting gyre
of hands around the silver pot.
Eyes flicker date-burnt umber.

Unspoken questions press and clot,
lost in swift replenished cups
as spice infuses saffron-shot

communion. Seconds drip, elapse
in canted chinks of bangled grasp.
Henna’d fingers cuff and trap

my mute undowried wrist, unclasp
and shrug, a drifting gulf away.
Pistachios seal smoky pacts

across the soundless rope-bridge sway.

……………………………………………
Linking to Shawna’s word challenge: http://rosemarymint.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/monday-melting-week-5/

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44 Comments
  1. Patsy permalink

    Double like from Meg and I.

  2. Becky, I know I sound like a broken record but my heavens, your language is immensely gorgeous (Bedu coffee (so wonderful so say and imagine); cardamom pops (brings so many wonderful memories and smells to the forefront of my mind); pungent ink (wonderful crisp ending in the eloquent sounds); date-burnt umber (the painter in me is swooning!); saffron-shot (another stellar pop); canted chinks (leaves an echo in the mind); and the ‘unspoken questions that press and clot’ is what poetry is for). The contrast here, that you bring full circle in the wrists (yours mute, unadorned – hers bangled and henna’d) speaks volumes. The rope-bridge and smoky pacts are beautiful and affecting, a real work of art.

    • Anna.. you amaze me.. I love how you drench yourself in what you read. Thank you for that total enthusiastic immersion.. πŸ™‚ Brilliant.

  3. hedgewitch permalink

    Beautiful and evocative, and Anna has done it full justice above so i won’t repeat, but I honestly had a visual as well as literal experience from your words, like watching a film or being drawn into a painting–mysteries and spaces, as well as uncannily good description. Fine poem.

  4. As others have said, this is visually vivid poetry… “Cardamom pops with pungent ink,”
    And the last line rings out silence and pause perfectly.

  5. Each word iyou choose is like a descriptive picture in and off itself, another wonderful piece.

  6. you make the words dance and create pictures within a moment to be savored…love the descriptors engaging all the senses…nicely played…

  7. Carries us away, to a scene and a place amidst both spice and sand…evocative visuals, held aloft on beautiful and engaging language. It’s like a lovely dream.

  8. This simply sings! I’ve said it before, but because of your writing, your ability to absolutely submerse me in another place is going to have me strutting about acting like a world traveler….and I am so not. Fantastic imagery assaults every sense…bravo!

    • That’s what writing’s for… great to hear your thoughts Tash. Thank you for your warm words..

  9. Awesome poem that touches senses of sight, sound, smell and warmth. I feel like having a coffee break like that now. πŸ™‚ Enjoyed this read. πŸ™‚

  10. Astoundingly beautiful music in this poem– exquisitely deft language and intense and evocative imagery. xxxxj I’m actually at http://parolavivace.blogspot.com . xxxxj

  11. Lovely! Amazing imagery πŸ™‚

  12. It is amazing how you find a way to perfectly express your thoughts in beauty. I’m starting to believe you could make anything sound evocative.

  13. excellent how you take us there…right into the heart of arabia…the cardamom, the saffron, henna…this oozes warmth, color, smell and sensuality..

    • Shawna permalink

      Ironically, I think the opposite is true. The only warmth is in the coffee.

  14. sensuous, colorful and artistic rendering of the links cultural, religious, and gender across the world caught in the mutual link of coffee and its preparation. lovely

  15. Your words are better than the coffee I’m drinking now, and it’s pretty darn good. This should be sung, perfectly measured, perfectly blended.

    • Thanks Mark! if you’re a coffee-lover that’s a lovely compliment…. πŸ™‚ I like what you say about the music… that did require some work.

  16. Brendan permalink

    You write poems the way my wife decorates – creating intimate environments that is welcoming and unlike any other. Very sharply carved, exotic and yummy. – Brendan

    • What a great compliment Brendan… happy to hear you enjoyed the visit and felt at home.. πŸ™‚

  17. So many exotic and incredible sights and sounds…… truly an excursion from start to finish… lovely word visions…….

  18. What can I say that hasn’t been said? I have to agree with all the comments but mostly the one about you creating an intimate environment then inviting us to partake. This is rich and vivid sensory poetry. Fabulous.

    Beth

  19. Becky your poems are totally amazing and your word usages is unbelievable I love reading your words
    http://gatelesspassage.com/2011/10/18/farewell-my-three-legged-friend/

  20. cute, very enjoyable read.
    πŸ™‚

  21. great terza, as I mentioned I think… suits your style well

  22. Shawna permalink

    Phenomenal title; really sets the scene well.

    Love this coloring: “date-burnt umber” … I also like the foreboding created by the hyphen, as if the day/date is burnt in its heaviness (along with the color of the fruit, of course)

    My favorite line: “Unspoken questions press and clot”

    This is also quite powerful: “as spice infuses saffron-shot communion” … I’ll have to remember “saffron” in the future when I’m in need of a great word for “orange.” … I love that “communion” is broken from the previous words, separated (the opposite of its meaning). Ironically, she has never felt more separate than when she is being bound to another.

    “canted” is an excellent word, packed with assorted meanings

    This too is so full of meaning: “Seconds drip, elapse in canted chinks of bangled grasp” … love “seconds drip,” like a leaking faucet, drops slowly falling but over time filling the whole tub and perhaps running over; that drip could be the undoing of the mind in its ever-increasing fragile state as she awaits her undesired fate

    “Henna’d fingers cuff and trap my mute undowried wrist” … This is so sad; clearly the only choice for her family, since they are poor. She feels the impending doom of marital bondage, yet she cannot say a word or do more than shrug.

    Thank goodness for the pistachios; otherwise the poem would end on a very sad note. But those are my favorite nuts, so all is well. πŸ™‚

    • Shawna.. I really appreciate that full commentary. Very happy to hear you created a scenario to fit the words. It’s not exactly what I was writing, but of course that is immaterial and I can see how you would create that meaning.

      This one originated from a chance encounter when I was travelling in Saudi with my husband. We were invited into a Bedu home and the women and men had separate quarters.. the women spoke no English, so everythign was communicated by body-language. I will never forget how she grasped my wrist and expressed how sorry she was for me because my husband had not bought me sufficient bangles… a cultural gulf.

      Thanks for the wonderful word prompt, which allowed me to link this to your challenge.

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