Tarek Compares Beauty and Thunder

I’ve never stood opposite the Mona Lisa.

I’ve never heard the euphoria of “Ode to Joy”

or the bloom of Vivaldi’s “Spring.”


I’ve stood opposite the rubble of my home.

I’ve heard the drumming of bullets on walls

and the crashing of cymbals overhead.


I live blind to beauty as others live blind

to injustice, as white is blind to black,

as weather is blind to starving seed.


A man asleep in a quiet house does not

blink at the thunder in a distant city.

He makes love, sleeps and dreams.


Those who live in the thunder must sleep

with one eye open, marry love to loss.

And what comes forth is not love


or beauty but something born of the thunder

itself; broken, desperate, never quite certain

where or when it will rest or roar.


Some say beauty is a keyhole through which

we glimpse the eternal, a looking glass that gives

pause from all that seems unbearable.


I say beauty is the blindfold of the ages, a mask

worn to purge the weeds and praise the rose,

as if this Earth was ever God’s creation.


But God did not create this squalor with its

rotting fruit and poison vines. He gave this to

the devil to till for all his generations.


The Mona Lisa smiles from her wall, a face

frozen between laughter and pity, content

never to set foot outside her frame.


And I come forth in the thunder,

a bastard of creation, tossed like a match

into the fire pit of the world.