I have decided to join the Tuareg.
I have send away for full details
and an application form, enclosing an s.a.e.

The things you're most attached to,
they're the ones you need the least,
as Bob Dylan says, or more or less.

I will soothe my face with exotic cloth,
dyed in some distant indigo souk,
My skin will take on that interesting blue.

I will spit at the price of camels.
I will master the nose-flute
if the nose-flute is one of their instruments.

(Sources are rather vague about this.)
Already I'm more than half in love,
About 85%, I'd estimate,

with the women, with their long-suffering
beauty & their premature ageing;
and with the men's devout and communal

solitude, their myths about rain,
the astronomical lore they're steeped in,
the confusion between desert and sea.

I am prepared to undertake a name change,
sacrificing maybe a ram, slitting its throat.
(I'm making a lot of this up now.)

But the phone doesn't ring, the phone
doesn't ring; there are no e-mails
to download any more. I'm dusting

the last grains from my sandals;
I have nothing in my bag;
I'm preparing my c.v. In hallucinations

brought on by drought and prolonged
thirst in wildly unusual temperatures,
I'm starting to confuse images

of the Virgin Mary with Penélope Cruz.

--- Philip Rush
From New Poetries IV
An Anthology

©2007 Carcanet Press Limited
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