Jul/Aug 2023  •   Poetry

Four Qasidas of Desperation

by David Jalajel

Photo Art by Michael Dooley

Photo Art by Michael Dooley

i. the heir

will your homesick spirit, knife-healed to your sinews,
be flesh-clothed, then carted, then tipped out in this dump

will they leave you annoyed at your pavingstone poolside
where fleas hop, skinks skitter, & fattened frogs jump

will your bloodless shouts echo, re-witlessly echo,
& bash at your temples with a maddening thump

will you touch silks, or tramp them, or tiptoe on pebbles,
then streak down your driveway where your supplicants slump

will you retreat to your stylised riot of leafwork,
your bas-relief cornucopia, your half-rotted stump


ii. the hustler

naked bones of a flayed high street—
strewn raw cinderblocks bleach in the sun

prefab towers of concrete slice
a gash of blushing sky—a day is done

but you're too keen to call it a night,
best sit it out till the evening's run

its course of tourists hounding the curb,
go humour their jibes, their tired fun


iii. the entrepreneur

in this newly interred wintering valley,
your start-up baulks like a zombie in chains

your erstwhile plebs goad you right to the cliff-edge,
deaf to your pealing heart, numb to your pain

their collarbones winch up their retching heads
tossing lank, snarled locks in blind disdain

but your torchfire sputters the feeblest orange,
& not even your puppydog prowls this plain

as if it could soothe their long-thwarted anger
or charm the assurances you mouth in vain


iv. the developer

each season, you gift the boardwalk chapel
the fresh-painted likeness of a heavenly host

you're so anxious you'll lack the wherewithal to die
with honour intact, you'd leverage your ghost

ensuring your spirits fall fiscally flat—
go redeem your sins with a fiery riposte

& sanctify your words by stirring their drinks
against deep-seated apathy, then raise up a toast

to your beachfront condo on this drab urban strand
with its view of the sewer pipes fouling the coast