Such Beautiful Body Art

(Excerpts from “Poetry Meets Photography” Exhibit featuring John Leslie Lange,  the author of “Hafiz and I,” a collection of poems inspired by the writings of the Sufi masters, Hafiz and Rumi and Julie Kruger,  a professional photographer and artist who specializes in dreamy landscapes populated by the emotions of love and longing. This presentation is a collaboration of their work in the form of a conversation between John’s poetry and Julie’s images).

~~ Such Beautiful Body Art ~~

There’s something about an ebbing moon

That calls for celebration.

So Hafiz and I

at down in an open field,

Under that moonlit sky

And drank in the chorus

Of cricketsong

And fireflies

Along with several bottles

Of his finest love wine.

And before you know it,

Hafiz was up to his old tricks,

Laughing stories,

Singing poems,

The kind that only drunks

Listen to.

And after a bottle or three,

We began to share

Love histories,

Laugh at love’s sorrows,

Opening our shirts,

And comparing love scars.

Hafiz showed his collection.

“This one right here,

This ugly, torn

Patch of chest?

That’s from the one

I married.

I had only a small heart then,

But the wound when she left,

Was large.”

“And this one over here?

Oh she was a gem!

She gave me

A beautiful, twisted pattern,

A perfect image

Of our time together!”

He showed me his scars,

I showed him mine,

We laughed til it hurt,

At our follies and fantasies.

And then Hafiz pointed

At a raw wound still gaping,

Flickering dimly, leaking light

In the center of my chest.

“And that one?” he asked.

I pulled my shirt close.

With the light covered up,

The crickets faded to silence,

Leaving only my whisper

To color night air.

“My heart, like that moon

Has to ebb into darkness

Before it comes back,

And grows into fullness.

And when it emerges,

A slim, shining crescent,

A lunar new love,

Only then

Can today’s lost beloved

Be remembered with song.”

Hafiz smiled, his eyes glowing.

“Looks like the scar, when it forms,

Will be a real beauty!

Carved into your skin

In the shape of a feather.

Isn’t love grand?

To give us

Such beautiful body art?”

So we raised our bottles

And toasted the moon,

To love scars!

And drowned out the crickets

With song.

~~ John Leslie Lange ~~

(From the project “A Conversation: Poetry Meets Photography”)