For Ed Said
I like the way you wrote about bellydancers,
Tahia Carioca, who couldn't tell you how many men she'd married.
When you asked her,
She could only utter a shrill
And I love the way you wrote
about those who wrote badly about bellydancers,
Oriental feet and jingles
and finger cymbals.
Edward, I wanted to meet you, wanted to fete you,
to talk about lost houses and lost selves and bellydance
What else would we have talked about?
And now your FBI files float fancily up,
how many times did you write or fight
How many other "people like you" did you go meet?
What, and how much, did you eat?
When you answered the phone,
Did you hold the receiver to your lips
and say, now hear this,
did you leave traps out for your tapper,
and how much tape did it take?
Ah, ya Said, ya hazeen,
I can see you now,
one hand on a heaven-circuit phone,
a heavenly horn,
your mouth muttering down
for the heavens and into Jesus's thorns,
What I wrote? How I lived? The pianos I touched?
The New York I walked? The Palestine I loved?
The word-rocks I threw? The times they got through?