What She Said on a Lewd Lute Night

By Khaled Mattawa b. 1964 Khaled Mattawa
So I go to Ashenda
to get some fix
Shandar there
playing his lute
& a dark haired angel
combing a violin
I cry Anatolia! Anatolia!
I'm a nightingale shrieking
dawn's first flick
I'm the unknown soldier
singing it's me again
I say one more
& I'm ready for the Western World
Then I'm at a bar
with Lucinda
& we're drooling
on the body on
discipline and the reign
of Robespierre
Then it's consummation time
& I say hey

there's a ram butting
at the door & a widow's
crying for something
I say Lucinda
I've got a drum in my belly
& she says
I'm a goddamn
shivering eel
Then it's polka
on a South Dakota lawn
Shandar doodling
Shahrazad stomping
by the window
soaking up the light
Then we all smoke Camels
& Lucinda says
I wish I could live
without having to disown
& I say yeah
tell me more
about that

Khaled Mattawa, "What She Said on a Lewd Lute Night" from Ismailia Eclipse. Copyright © 1995 by Khaled Mattawa.  Reprinted by permission of The Sheep Meadow Press.

Source: Ismailia Eclipse (The Sheep Meadow Press, 1995)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Khaled Mattawa b. 1964


Subjects Arts & Sciences, Music, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life, War & Conflict

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Khaled  Mattawa


Born and raised in Benghazi, Libya, poet Khaled Mattawa relocated to the United States as a teenager in 1979. He received an undergraduate degree in political science and economics from the University of Tennessee; an MA and an MFA from Indiana University, where he also won an award from the Academy of American Poets; and a PhD from Duke University.
Influenced by Milan Kundera and Federico García Lorca, as well as the Arab . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Music, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life, War & Conflict


Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.