I live in Tucson with my wife Jane, a watercolorist, and with our dog, Irish. Our son Chris, writes for screen in L.A. My more recent work has appeared in The North American Review, The French Literary Review, Verse Daily, and others. FutureCycle will publish my selected poems in 2016. www.michaelgessner.com
The Poet and the Four Brides of Syria
Under a towering arcade of the grand souq in the country’s capital, the center of all things, a poet leaned against a shop’s doorway when the four brides walked by dressed in white, married to Peace, having put away the black abayas for the sake of their new Spouse, and held the blood banner with white lettering imploring all to cease violence, then stood in silence. Someone took a shaky video. A few moments of quiet, and one bride began that trilling ululation the Mediterranean has heard from its women since the ancients, that rapid high-pitched lee-lee-lee-lee-lee-lee, over and over again, the gathering crowd joined in like a flash mob, until the store windows, the street itself, vibrated with the sound heard at wedding celebrations, and so the bands of radiance expanded outward until security forces came to take them away, and the poet stepped back into the shadow of the doorway with his pocket notebook and his pencil stub to write, “from this, daily at high noon, from the dome of the Great Mosque of Damascus, four white doves of Memory will fly forever upward.”
Author's Note: The central banner reads: “For the sake of Syrian human beings, civil society declares ‘Stop all military operations in Syria.’”
After learning about the Brides of Syria and their non-violent protest; the fact they were imprisoned for months, subjected to violence, (one reported a beating with an electrical cable,) they were released only to face continued harassment at home and loss of income to the point of leaving the country, the idea of an uninvolved by-stander came to mind, the doorway poet who imagines, and perhaps creates for them, a pataphysical justice.
©2016 Michael Gessner