For Rafi

It is all like a winding staircase
Not as in an elevator -- up-and-down -- where we meet
But it is as if we met before
Before the four years ago when I first saw you
And there in the vertigo, the whirlwind, the fever
                                        was freedom
'Nothing in this world is without obstacles
Except love but only at its beginning' -- Hafiz
Or 'We first thought love was easy
and then came difficulties'
I wrote poetry for four decades
            And then they finally paid me to sit and write
And Faiz was in prison
And Lorca, gay poet, was made to dig his grave first
                            then shot between the buttocks
Look up and see the hole in the sky overhead
Everything rains down from there: Love and invective and mercy
And the vertigo starts again
As Han-Shan must've felt winding up Cold Mountain
Did he not smell Lorca's orange blossoms?
Know the feel and touch of Faiz's Urdu brocades?
                    The touch and smell of your chaste kisses
If I should be asked to talk of Sadhana
    I smell the rust of the gate behind which she was sequestered
Of Saira, the rustle of her black chic chiffon
                                    bride dressed as widow
And the height of her high-heeled golden mules
But you, my darling, my Taliban
                            my Afghan
                            my Moslem boy with the fire of the young Dilip Kumar
You have become a kafir for the love of a Moslem lady
Become a kafir for me!
I wish to write you the love-songs boys will sing in the streets
And recite while storming barricaded prisons and universities
And I, I will die like Lorca, a bullet between my thighs
Or, like Han-Shan, know that I really did not exist
Or, like Faiz's hole in the sky know that your song pours forth
                                        from it
And that I live and die only through it.

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