Flirting With Khartoum: A Ghazal



In this poem, Ahmad Holderness pens an ode to the Sudanese ancient city of Khartoum


Who are you now

City where love reared herself a throne molded

From dust


Blue and white skirts flow to the nape of your waist, inviting

Snake on a desert; I’m a pattern in your dust


Mud house, melting like a pillar of salt, with stars

Gazing from behind heaven’s tears, I become stardust


A boy begged for haven and summer’s music watered

A seeker that didn’t yield to the bite of dust


And how many have sought to see beyond your shadows

But crumble from rock to dust


A glimpse into your truth? You are really a storm

To the eyes of who looked between rubbish and dust


Djinns patrol your nights, with lips, blushing pilgrims

Sharing whispers with braying donkeys in the dust


Seven years of rain and rainbows, have teased out more

Memories at each junction with tombstones in dust


The virgin who plucked a handful of silky hair

To seam the tears on this hopeful garment of dust


Wrapped in a cocoon, I found my wife within you

From the cosmos, a comet with a tail of dust


And I Ahmad, all the time I smell petrichor—

Your magic consumes me. For there’s more to you than dust!


©Featured image credit: Urban African Cities – CityAfrica

Ahmad Holderness is a poet, aspiring writer and a medical doctor. His haiku has appeared on Chrysanthum, The Mamba, Creatrix, Acorn, and Haiku Presence, and was shortlisted for the Babishai 2017 Haiku Awards. His poetry has further appeared on Entropymag/Enclave, TSSF and in the International Women’s Day 2017 Anthology by Praxis Magazine. He is the director of Home of Books Foundation, patron of the AMAB/HBF Flash Fiction Prize and the HBF Medical Poetry Prize, and has compiled and edited the first HBF anthology, The Red Pendulum. He is currently shuttling between the consulting room and the lab to find ways to turn his works into pills and he’s also working on his chapbook, Clinical Trials.