against nature – Jalal El-Kadali

Huge Golden Sun


The one potato two potato

Of love and death, which is strongest 

Which would win 

If they had a fight

A lion or a bear

An eagle or a shake

A woman with the figure of a snake

That swallowed a weasel

Biting its own tail


There were also many grouse

Onyx     buffalo     zebras     the first

To take advantage of the young

Shoots     tails flapping with pleasure 


In the loosening mud   the scent

Of the teenager’s curiosity about life

The predator outside 

Her enclosure

                           By now the sun

Was really about as yellow as gold

The sky was as azure as

Cerulean (the pigment painters use when

They want to capture its proper colour)


              To say that frogs turn 

Into princes is blasphemy 

Against Nature; Salvador Dali, however

Was a painter who painted the things in his subconscious

The world of his dreams; at least

He didn’t expect anyone to believe that they were real


At least he wasn’t telling lies to children



The Rule of Threes


Here she lies on the front lawn on her side

Head and knees severed

By the posts of a gate that stands without a fence

As if she were too tired to make it inside

Where identical rooms on either side 

The front door of this little bungalow

Each have a light lit

And now she triangulates

One of her staying where she remains horizontal

The other two getting up and going inside to stand 

Before each window on the inside looking back 

At herself and us, all of us

More numerous and still more identical

And by the time she lies down to sleep inside 

And outside gets up to walk backwards through the gate

Her hand finding the latch without looking

And our arms after that

It will have been three thirds as long again



Where the Olympic Torch Once Paused


On its round the world journey

Step by step and as a whole

Just going forward to assess what’s still

In the pipework for things

An imaginary business

Cannibalizing its own market

A reasonably efficient modus for

Moving matter around on a small-medium scale

Enhancing the communication channels

Puts on a virtual gastric band

Under instructions from Hypnos, god of sleep

Complains about the lack of public amenities 

Drinking fountains 

While the lake in the middle 

Perhaps obscenely

Drinks its own fountain 

Again it’s uncharted waters



Career Change


I had once, in a good mood, patronised a homeless poet

Who had a technologically quixotic business model

Original hand-written poems by donation

Which if you cared to wait he would compose impromptu


The next time I saw him was at a job interview

On the top floor of the city’s tallest building

His office, like the surrounding ones, was empty

But for a computer terminal and his sleeping bag in the corner


He was minding the office for a friend in Singapore

He said, before subjecting me to a battery of tests

Psychometric, occupational and soft-skills-based

Was he getting paid at last? The evidence was mixed


First, sitting cross-legged on the floor, he rolled 

A cigarette with fingers sooty from butts, then opening

A window, took the coins he had collected selling poems

And dropped them onto people’s heads, crying


“The meters keep on moving and

I can’t seem to remember where I parked!”



Astral Projection


First the fine detail, nothing else, that all 

Else borrows its glamour from

Then mockery of the ragged poor by 

The indescribably rich

And finding it funny in your own rags

Just a bunch of obscure concepts 

Failed references, bits of gristle

Going it knows not where, failing

As though one were made 

Immortal in a youthful body

To be protected at all costs from injury

The only alternative being

Rank growth of bones well into maturity

Bursting out like canes

Out of your body everything looks 

The same but different: proof 

Of veridical experience

Then you return and everything’s 

Just the same, reportedly



The New Circumcision



The birth of my second penis

Is now occurring

Thanks to years of astral fucking

Dry throated clucking

At every theoretical temptation

The foreskin of my entire 

Gross body now worn away

And what is revealed is smaller

At first, but its growth is annular

Exponential and unending



It was far otherwise for the criminal 

Who dressed as a woman to make his escape

He lived on the lam for years, hiding his great hands

Fooling everyone except the detective

Who never quit

                           Finally to escape detection 

After tangling with a razor wire fence

He underwent reassignment surgery

So that the two of them finally met, fell in love

Got married and had a baby