Fanny HoweUSAWriting2009
Flying Carpets

The earth is a flying carpet
if you lie down and follow
the clouds. Where will it go
with you upon it?
And shelters stuck below.

Cars, caves, hotels and shacks
for the old who if they could
would become mystics
dignified by agreeing to die
and solitary antics.

Each would have his and her
own carpet, an ever-filling bottle
of water and one of spirits,
a lump of bread a day
and a little sweet.

Each would loll and float
accepting the situation.
Occasional contusions
from the biosphere
and a kismet painfully cut to fit.


Ali closed his eyes
beside me on the shag.
It was flight twelve at night
returning to the peripheral estuaries.
The heavens were never a hidden metaphysics
but the stars in their circuits
and our eyes until blinded by sunset.

The earth is ruled by the evil one
and it is too much for sight.
Many choose to get high
on the rug rather than struggle
with wickedness. Scatter rugs
to our mother's chair
lead us like bridges to Islam
built from mist and sun.

Grown-ups won't walk them
but wait for a carpet
of rainbows to float in
and lift each one safely upon it.
A child bravely and scarily
dares to sleep in air
as if on a wall.



You wouldn't call it Allah
if it let children cry.

Then to whom can you holler
at the ache of hunger and abuse?
Only to the next one over
on a carpet under the sky.

She is expecting a baby in August.
Wants a girl.
But they are so poor
and good-natured, they will only inherit some earth
and not the flat in East London.



The prayer rug floats over
an ocean gravely.
Below, God is not God
sitting with Ali
in the early morning,
our eyes closed and deaf.
We fold up to make a nest.

Behind our eyelids
are veils of Tibetan orange.
I am afraid to shut my eyes
for too long
for fear that the evil one
will jump me from behind.

Then the night seems to be human.
Clamps down my arms.
Grasps and blinds me.
Little people from everywhere
fly in laughing and take over
the township I carry around.
If I can unlock my arms and see
I can join them in a parade
in the Square. For there they are:
deep down, pinned into the carpet
with the weaver's blood-spots.



No talk about white and carpets.
White wife, white wine,
dual suicidal
alignment by narcotic, each violent
and thinning.

No flying carpet was ever white.
Always a maze of threaded tartans
gone green, maroon, or big and blue
under your feet on some floor.
Aladdin flew by fresh air
like those of us at a picnic
in Holland Park, dotting the grass
speaking of Afghanistan
and the Taliban to the soft pop
from a tennis cork.

Mangoes were chopped
near the concrete post-bombed
buildings in lumpen-brat
prophetic of Baghdad's ruins
and the exploding refineries
that the Bushes added to the atmosphere.
The new humanist will be lifted
above the crowd like Jesus
who was circumcised from earth,
not a remnant left.