The Twins Ghazals

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Imagine them for a moment our twins
unborn-- those never realized brotherly exactnesses.

Each would have bordered us, an embryonic neighbor,
umbilically fed-- until fragility of pulse failed him.

In far flung mountain towns, you and I were separately
delivered into the wide air-- Appalachia, Sierra--

in company towns which border very different types
of mines-- underground coal shafts; open pit copper.

And we came into months poised oppositely across the
far flung year-- January for you, August, me.

But our years were not the same, through our
unreal twins alike shrank into foetal failure.

Indeed, they are possible likenesses only, whose
non-existence makes our living a distinction.

Their failure to be is not even a death.
We are men exactly distinct against our large sameness.


Imagine them for a moment our twins--
those starkly opposite adulthoods they achieved.

Corpulent in his ferocity of maleness,
hid tight, your twin pendulums his years

from bar binge and baby laden women
to born-again hallelujahs or regret.

Ferocious in his corpulence of maleness,
tight lid, my twin oscillates his days

from sullen six-packs of TV sports
to bursts which batter his wife and kids.

We, however, early somehow chose
a difference which our boyhoods could not name.

Far flung in separate towns, each grew towards
the intersection which enshrines us both.


Consider them, mon frere, our misbegotten twins,
those tawdry doubles whom we denounce.

Sultry queens with cloudy eyes, they stalk
the bars and streets at night like cats

whose heats purr, then claw. Yours
abruptly tosses her flouncy hair and rumbles

deep inside her boy-tight hips, while mine
with bovine legs, gym shoes and shorts

licks her tongue along her upper lip and pants.
Bitchily they pass each other, snarl-- strictly

loyal to sisterhoods of piquant need
where tricks are turned, forgot, preserved on shelves,

then photographed anew as pornographic tales
of extravagantly sad desire. Finally

one morning they awoke across a cafe table
(coffee, grapefruit and croissants) as images

chiselled by a will much larger than theirs,
perfect, pure, resplendent and deformed,

of large mysogynies too tenacious
for their restless rages to abort.


Consider them, my friend, distinctnesses they share
by simply being like, but not like, us.

Indeed, your twin is black, but black as absolute
of blackness. The summer of your face burnt him

to that perfection which renounces name,
his hair a coil of glittering sunlit sparks on coal,

while my twin's hair, indeed, is wind-swept blond,
as blond as Marchen prince or Viking brave.

My own sun-bleach has washed his to archetypes
of whiteness; his flesh, indeed, has no distinction

either, and renounces hue. But yet, my friend,
you're right, his eyes are icy blue. They glow

as your twin's must also glow. Therefore, allow
we cannot even be, except within a web of new-made

differences while they, our twins, within
our notions of exactitude, have simply never even been.


On your grid of notions, speculate awhile, sir;
these twins of ours were sisters. They grew up.

Their infant severances have polarized and stretched
each one between her selfhood and desire,

and so like us, they redesigned the void
with contours of impassioned bold taboo.

Keen sir, pretend this syllogism drives us both
straight towards facts as well as truth,

your Willa and my Donna met one day-- like us.
They fell to romping, fillies in the mead;

at last, headlong to bed, their full embrace
broke loose the naked cooings of wild doves,

the soar and plunge of hawks, the quarried shrew.
Their courtship brought them to reside, as safe as sleep,

in that most all-American of dreams,
the single-family mortgaged urban home.

But now, their silent voices silently converse
within the vacant corners of our rooms;

upon our bed their noiseless passions bloom
the moment after we step out the door.


Consider them as dancers--elongations
of their audience's suit and gray desire.

Ballet invokes the gender norm, vision set adrift:
muscular masculine, fine-boned feline fern.

His is planted solid into earth.
Hers, by his strength is hefted up towards flight.

But what is this, monsieur aesthete? The dancer
wears his nether-stockings tight, his shapely

buns, they ripple in their sheath, and his sweet tease
behind the ballerina's grace, invites.

Therefore within that darkling hall, those knee tight seats,
a world of normative denials, writhes.

For us, however mate, our dance twins
share our privacy of sultry pas de deux.

And into our auditoria our desires create,
the black and whiteness of those torsos bare,

the strength of male hands on male hips,
exchanges of the lifting and the flight,

against the gray suit norms, bloom icons of surprise.
Our sameness is the difference we enclose.


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