Almost Majnun


Dedicated to the missing children of war, 911, United Nations Day, 2002. The word majnun means mad or crazy in many languages.

I am almost majnun—majnun
searching for you in the cinders of cement
in the limp of wounded pigeon.

Rat fowl of urban rot
Have you seen my daughter?
Are you pecking her remains from hardened asphalt?
I am lost without her.
Her lungs were my lungs were my throat in my eye.
Have you seen my daughter?
She disintegrated into a sky burial of trade.

I am almost majnun—majnun
detonated propellers spiral into my cabin
exhaust roars raining flesh
gray human paste covers Manhattan.
This puddle is my husband.
He was renamed the falling man.
He has joined the blood river of twisted carcass.
I am almost majnun—majnun

Have you seen my sister?
She was tortured by a regime that looks like you
Lacerated in the spin of piano wire,
she is bleeding oil
a lily pad sinking in the Mediterranean.

Have you seen him?
You did see him, your brother.
You swallowed him in the gasp of television.
He is branded to the inside of your eyelids.
Descending in the blink of horror, he lives in you.
He is a tear gland squatter
a perpetual spiral down a landscape of eye.

The Fallen Man is
falling through the broken smoke of a fireman’s net
falling down the chimney of swine and coriander
falling up my nostrils into the mushroom stench of
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
falling across consciousness spinning
toward the grinding mouth of denial
falling beneath the choke hold of profiling snipers
falling over hallucinations of them falling
over hallucinations of me falling
beyond the debris of ethnic sterilization
I am skinless and blue—almost majnun.

Have you seen my daughter?
I am lost without her.
Her picture hangs from my neck like a stethoscope.
Her eyes are of Christ, jeweled mocha orbs.
I am looking for her in the dusk flake of air,
in the incidental pauses between words.
A morphine drip pats time silent.

I am looking for her in the dehydration of African bush
in the diarrhea of Zanzibar
in a vial of Pedialyte.
She died the death of a sanctioned Iraqi girl
no boundaries in sand dug outs
no penicillin on Acacia trees
no united way for a sickled tarnished penny.
She has joined the blood river of twisted carcass.

My eyelids are screens to
the backdrop of his tumbling tomb.
The fallen man is falling.
Some anonymous cadaver is falling.
He is the rain of descending graves
prostituted bird droppings
falling vertical assembly line
stock falling into a Korean labor of child heap
falling into the noise of majnun
crowd space crashing skulls of shattered mosaics
into the open cave of zero
falling down into the urban scrotum of Harlem
into the closed palate of chocolate slavery
into decapitated Taser breath
into forgotten blankets of small pox
you know those forgotten blankets of small pox
Trail of Tears—Trail of Tears
heart falling heat fixed into the stain of microbes
into an anthrax wail of crows
falling up the vertebrae of post-modernist architecture

Have you seen Mary, Maryam, Malaika, Marta?
Ah, Marta

Her hair is rain forests, each strand a disciple of its own.
She is almost majnun.
The plague of chemical lake pumps her veins.
Her nipples are a leaky dioxin faucet.
Her baby is a dowry traded to the North Star.
It is a unicorn born deformed in the raw sewage
of Guatemala.
I am almost majnun.
a displaced monsoon/scarf poetry blowing in soot
Have you seen?

From Bleeding Fire! Tap the Eternal Spring of Regenerative Light (Broadside Lotus Press and Health Collectors LLC, 2019) by Semaj Brown. Copyright © 2019 by Semaj Brown. Used with the permission of the author.