Jeff Miller

long huthered hajj

one foot through the other                          stone kiss circumambulation         
mountain through the trees                        resting snow    to ice   rain is
in this breakfall twisting wrist                   this touch of you sleepless
in our             quietly                                    I leave            again
awaking to the flood                                   we thread the streets to ark
in this walkway        lamplight                   damp against bricks
your         lithe in the doorway                   pulled taught the floor

the second ring         the spiral                   this crush of our   us
skyscraper falls inversion                           lingering salt to the tongue
knees collapsing inward                             catching sword pushing
the meadows we imagined                        cracked pavement breath
your hand slipped                                       in the press   no waiting
endless ice   endless            beckoning      no furniture   the text
by this opening tree                                     again   again   again    whispering

breath losing thirds             quickening    our body’s press   akimbo
her   then her    and her   her                       this her   her   that her  her again
such a small door   in how this wall         this pressure  heat  ringing out our
over ancient stone we stood                       these walls of cities collapsed
mountain top tips just above water          they fly with the clouds
melted plastic for drink      three fingers              this bitter to the taste between
grey soot skies          black hair                   this river will drown us all

release onto fours   almost lingering        this spirals up  they say
your sheets so white in the morning    cold         diffused over flesh   she said
every break                           every crack                burned in the salt of
candle wax dripping           effervescent   skin     sallow
it is coming   still  this wave of you    break the bones   toes split
wept on the floor      staring hours             drawn up  and through this open
sitting on the hill    the burning                 any moment now the

five elements            five passes the spiral           five fingers where threaded
hills   tower treetops            we knew        this austerity scrapping silence
every night this floor                                   every night nursing
we were once this town      showering     riding every rail  these bridges
all water                     all water                     all water                     all water
three colors on repeat          we weren’t     three colors  your French failed
let us go across the free bridge                         you and I

I would not have   in six     breaking down every          this was us
tarmac tests    this bounce   you     us        this forever listening out for
my knees haven’t been right since                   in the corner of you there is the memory
we stood here again  dreaming   these ghosts you painted      my poems
all water                                                         all water
across these               this building glasswork      this painful return to just how
homes   not us          when the walls fell       this we believed  this we

seven trips around   kiss lingers    Abraham’s folly founding              rebuilding
from knees to hips     hips to shoulders   breath to neck  ear   the taste of you
bruised and broken             right side failing   yet         
the last time I saw you             you didn’t have brown hair                 wit’s end
all water
and never back again          never thought           street lamp    moaning       
the view from here was lovely when

bouncing between the hills enfolding our ecstatic complacencies in our
discrepancies describing our unhallowed   driving   these bridges and blisters
turning circumstances between this         perpetual longing for your tongue
between the folds of my   in this fold of you       legs over head kicking walls
the drowning of our lingering       Noah called to the people         by day and by
this bruise under her chin              the viola resounds its low strung vibrato
until before the after in the now of our polis is this memory frayed in how flows

the well                      the crush                    these towers dwindling
our broken landscapes                                            the elves live here
the endless heat                    and windowless closures   enacting the essence
this is where we thought the dreams were                                  breaking
the one who asserts incomparability is either ignorant or is a man of poor adab
in the pigments of our         your   tears tearing the flesh to the bottom of
in flood wall conspiracies and the                            doubts of

the march to Ararat                          the cave                      the end of endings
when it turns upside down in the liquefaction of these urging undones
in failure complete                 the hills to sea   dry in our incomparabilities
such motion of clicks the waysides        the screams of terror  joy  ecstasy
the God whose law is resemblance                 the Folk of the Invisible who are enclosed within
walking the ice cracks to our         in our             these allowances to drive
if I’d seen the rock I surely would have moved

in the stoning itself is the form of all of our longings replete and disresolute
I have seen the ruins                in the complete misery of denial               your
pushing this penetration                    a few books
we drove away everytime              these fits of insistence in our          your
the veils of darkness  except in ruin  in their destruction    Those who were drowned
I laid on the floor looking across the Maximus Poems in their width and heft while 
you naked unfolding in your rhythms collected the poems through the length of your legs masking the meanings in every how of our immovable improbabilities as your moving across the floor formed the shape of the words in a waiting hush interrupted by our memories and the muscles of your lithe wishing broke upon the seas of our home shorn of any follicle that could chafe thigh labia or ribs in the quickness of your breath pirouetting the impossible knowns of these conditions that never left your tongue or let trails from the densities of how our very life depended upon the polities of our trials and every effort we made to
in the taste of this ash for air                      I have tone deaf silence for this now

this garden of seven cycles returning       compensating the scale of our doubtings
in our collapse of densities felt more than          this emotional weight of
how tenkan release or irimi grasping reinscribes itself on the fortune of our      this
home we waited for             this moment              fucking others in the bed of our
sealing of / the entrance of the ark                   driving onto panic in our engraving
Pound on his bench             feeding his cats         cobblestone wishes              forsaking
the crown of flowers you wore      the grotto of our wedding              the tree of our

Mahdi memories raise the flag                               of our very Dhulfiqar breath being
in the pressure mounting tones of                         the givenness of these ruins ringing
the forgotten bells of silencing                               elbow to ribs             knee to head
we were not nor could ever be                               the power of our collapsing songs
When you are buried in it you are                              within it and it is your encasing
singing the depths of your dancing                      this erasure of your efforts unfolding
the ends of our beginnings balancing   the last time I saw you you didn’t have brown hair



“long huthered hajj” is from Nathaniel Mackey, Splay Anthem (New York: New Directions, 2006), pg. 25.

“they fly with the clouds” is my translation of part of Qur’an 27:88

“let us go across the free bridge you and I” is from an untitled poem I wrote in 1996

“when the walls fell” is from Star Trek: The Next Generation, episode 2, season 5, “Darmok.”

“the last time I saw you you didn’t have brown hair”, from “Locket” on Moss Icon, Lyburnum Wits End Liberation Fly, 12” LP (New York: Vermiform Records, 1993).

“Noah called to the people by day and by” is from “Ararat” in Joseph Donahue, Dark Church (Chicago: Verge Book, 2015), pg. 222.

“polis is this” is from “Maximus to Gloucester, Letter 27 [withheld]” in Charles Olson, The Maximus Poems (Oakland: University of California Press, 1985), pg. 52.

“the one who asserts…” from Ibn al-‘Arabi, The Ringstones of Wisdom (Fusus al-hikam), translated by Caner K. Dagli (Chicago: Kazi Publications, 2010), pg. 37.

“the God whose law…”, Donahue, pg. 224

“the Folk of the Invisible…”, al-‘Arabi, pg. 49.

“if I’d seen the rock…”, from “I Like You Less Than Apple Pie” on Iconoclast, Groundlessness of Belief, 7” EP (Golita: Ebullition Records, 1994).

“the veils of darkness…”, al-‘Arabi, pg. 49.

“Those who were drowned”, a flip of word order, from Donahue, pg. 225.

“I have tone deaf silence…”, from “Corpus Christi” on Egress, Egress, (Parkersburg: Self-released demo cassette, 1995).

“sealing of…”, Donahue, pg. 226.

“When you are… your encasing”, al-‘Arabi, pg. 48.

“darkness up… the waters”, a translation of Genesis 1:2, see: Catherine Keller, Face of the Deep: a theology of becoming (Oxon: Routledge, 2003).

Jeff Miller's poems and essays have been published here and there, most recently in from a Compos't, Positive Magnets, and The Palgrave Handbook of Radical Theology. He was the coeditor of the chapbook series "What Would We Do Without Us," is the coeditor of Lightning'd Press, and the author of a few chapbooks including, La Vie / The Polemics: first communique and All of the Grace Poems. He's been working on a long poem, The Ardor, since 2007. A native of West Virginia, he now lives in Seattle.
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