Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Gulf Ghazal

One evening I was listening to the public radio recordings of a Louisiana native and naturalist who mentioned the concept of a "thin place," which he defined as a physical place on the landscape where the veil between this world and next is thin - a place you understand intuitively. I so liked the concept/words that I wrote a poem around it. May we all find a thin place(s) in this world.

On dry stripes between the feral bayous and rivers, they came to build, grow in thin places. Life delivered in ritual tides, geologic gifts that oozed between plank floor toes, thin places.

The ashy, skirted frames of bald cypress and tupelo gum slumped like old women, dripped in antebellum lace of moss that filled dikes of sunlight, closed the thin places.

A fiery sun thundered to sky, eclipsed dark, earth's blood crept to shore staining, straining shells, wings, the sickled marsh grass - settled in all those thin places.

Thinking it was night again, eels left their watery nests among the breathing roots that held the world together, darting, twisting in the flow through thin places.

Fisherman, the anointed soldiers of Goddess Yemanja, pried the paralyzed from gluey graves, wound new levees like chastity belts around shores, dark clouds and truth spun below thin places.

Old Joe at Boutte's Bayou smiled, "Sorry, all I can fix you now is a beef po'boy sandwich. Cleanin' the oil is like gettin' gum off yo shoe," he cackled, missing teeth showed roux thin places.

His mouth slowly waned, eyes fixed in a distant, smoky glaze, he said "Yasmeen, the people in Lafitte or Theriot or anywhere round here, in these prowling bayous we know our thin places."

Yasmeen Najmi

Published in Fixed and Free Anthology of New Mexico Poets, 2012. All rights reserved (Yemanja is a mother goddess in the Yoruban tradition. She represents water - mud, swamps and ocean).


  1. Love the poem! I'd like to know about the picture and if you have the rights to it. I'd like to use it. Reach me at


  2. me too, what location, what place, land ? plse !