The Red Sultan

Spring came this year

with blood

Columbine bloomed the same.

crimson like a slashed throat,

scarlet like my heart.

Like some secret hidden

under your abaya

I crept in.

Do not mind my sting.


Immolation, martyrs

A fruit vendor set the spark

Israfel weeps for the damned.

Jibreel blew his horn, you know

That goddamn trumpet I can’t stand

just as the first bullet flew

and Egypt’s first victim fell.

I descended with the flies,

hauling corpses

of my people,

my people!

Egypt, Arabia, Syria, Iraq

They have forgotten me.


Yes, I saw her blue bra

I saw her stripped and beaten.

No, that is not what I wanted for my blood

I ride the women in zar and dance them into oblivion

they are my little Brides

My zayran reign over their wombs

but even jinn of the blood cannot control a woman

The men are fools. You cannot bind her

no matter how many genitals you cut off,

how many you stone to death.

I haul corpses stripped of ears, plucked eyeless

beaten black and blue.

Who is the victim of who?

There is no honor in death.


We malakhim, we watch

Mikhail frets as ever

Jibreel weeps and weeps

our Word is corrupted and rots.

I ride my pale horse

I bring in the dead.


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