Nicholas Karavatos


In the House of Her Circled

The missile of Lebanon is aimed at the apartments behind the museum of territorial eyes.

Hatless lamps around Frisbee ablutions for cricket. My perfume
is made ready for prayer, watched by
the unrolling rugs. Scrawls for God
& football. Retro ’lectric bulb
camp lamps hang from wind
towers. Textiles.

HARDCO tide buries my feet in construction. A vacuum
walks against the current Away from people Away toward fabric.
Behind me shoes pile, com-
mingle their soles.

Big Sale.

Lace-wrapped ankles, embroidered and studded
flowers and feathers at the white end of legs.
Islamic socks-
it-to-me, size small, preschool
hijab prepackage, and fish-
nets to catch the leo-
pards. Third floor window hijab mannequins bra-
less under sleeve-
less pajamas.
On the store front door poster her face is stickered over as a flower.

Toy sewing machines … not for sale!
This path ripped up by the Cat.

On a bench during Salat al-Maghrib, his taqiyah shielding him from the early moon
he slips off his sandals and watches the women enter Souq Saqr’s
alley of salty nuts perfumeries abaya estabedazzlements mabkhara lines of bakhoor clouds
waft between stalls toward overflow prayers: no big screen imam in the Heritage Area.

When my family burned alive on my doorstep
in an immigrant display of powder, I lay down
in the street and shunned the crowd. At the end of the tunnel
I chimed into an ocean of chandelier breeze, dragging frightened children
into its dark. I stood up in the market square, was ground into cubes then rubbed in wave
prints, tight and loose. A motionless dancer in a buoyant cage
that marked a shipping lane off the coast of a tilting ocean.

[sneeze] – “excuse me,” she says.
[sneeze] – “excuse me,” she says.
The last time I burped in a bar, she slapped me. I slapped her back.
The management told us to control ourselves, so we danced
across four vermillion borders.

This is our relationship. I have
blown the labels from my floor plan.

At 20 I sold my face for a ghost town screaming “Mother Money!”
in the stomach of Democracy gurgitates anonymous taxi driver.
“Art makes me sneeze,” she says. Maybe this is it: Orange!

Lelania brought a bag of oranges over for breakfast. One turned
green but smelled even more orange.

Miners in coalface: In my dream
Dad taught me taekwondo in Grandfather’s voice.
Once I get in someone’s head I stay there.

She said, “I accidentally Skyped my dad asking if you …
Thank god I never accidentally sent him other messages meant …”

A Hard Day’s Night in Korea with the Young Buddhas.
She says, “That last room was so cold and this one
is so hot.” The harder someone hits me
the more joyous I resonate.

I have seen you before. Gumdrops float in the samba sky.
The sound of a monsoon goblin crossing a shallow stream.

Searchlight from the barge. Are you leaving from work?
Set the alarm. A government bell around my neck submitted me to evil
laws at the boot of the shrine.

The boatman’s song soaks deep in the glittering sleeves of the newlywed bride.
On a Solomon, the blue jersey, red and yellow hardhat Chinese all look out to sea
except two.
Behind us are the adjusted blueprints for a digital lioness.

She found her conditional spot in the projector hall between the two
screens of migratory cardboard sculpted financially percussive.
“That drummer has nice hair,” she says.

By a fountain of Cupids
a woman wipes her forehead, dabs her philtrum and the labial
commissure of her mouth.
“Sir, it is closing time,” said the artifactual guardian of love potions.

Hard cream. Plugs. “Vaseline!” she sings in the microphone.
Like petrol jelly, I recline on the sofa begging her espresso.


Hang from rooftops
to the floor with your art
your all-purpose undressing
down. Always
do not use if open
or damaged—but
aren’t we all?

What’s the use of (living) when you can’t make a (good) living?
This computer has been scheduled to shut down
in 8 minutes and seconds.


Nicholas Karavatos is a graduate of Humboldt State University in Arcata and New College of California in San Francisco. He currently teaches literature & writing at the American University of Sharjah near Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Of his book, David Meltzer writes: [No Asylum] is an amazing collectanea of smart sharp political poetry in tandem with astute and tender love lyrics. All of it voiced with an impressive singularity.


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MadHat, Issue 15, Winter 2013-2014