Infatuation and Vulnerability: “J” by Mohamed Ali Elmaola

In his poem “J”, Clark Undergraduate Mohamed Ali Elmaola offers a evocative, visually-appealing oblation rich in allusions to classic Greek literature. His speaker—conflicted by the potency of infatuation and the harsh, yet humbling reality of circumstances—proves to be both contemplative and vulnerable when confronted with an individual who is unreceptive to his affection. Elmaola brings forth a new understanding of the typical “hopeless romantic” in his poem below.


Mohamed Ali Elmaola

You rightfully assume that you’re the only,
One to find my eyes,
Wandering toward your vicinity,
A bubble that I hopelessly wished to intrude.

Your confident walk, someone with something to prove.
Who can halt my previous thought,
So that I may listen to yours.
A captivating and seamless flow of speech,
Which drown my receptors with vitality and understanding.

Every time you speak, it is as if
Each planet in the solar system,
has aligned itself in perfect linear regularity
So that they can wait their turn,
And hear what you have to say.

You have insight like a mystic,
And poise like a sculpture,
Although I was the one who has stopped in time.

At the edges of your mouth I am certain,
That two men hoist their pulleys in perfect synchrony
And draw the rippled and wrinkled curtains,
To reveal the neat and unblemished orchestra,
Which is your radiating smile.

The humpback wakes itself above water
And descends into an ocean now as viscous as honey.
It retreats so slowly to its home
After painting the air with its graceful expression
Of infallible anatomy
And leaves its audience with nothing
But the mere idea of beauty that once was,
Which is tactfully shielded every time you blink.

You drew me in like a Siren,
With your silk voice and promise of joy and freedom.

But so quickly you summoned your stones,
Which ruptured my ship and belittled even the sweat,
In the valleys of my forehead
Which compressed like an accordion
Each time I rowed to your enchanting command.

Your ego like hardened cement,
Which I do not wish to climb nor surpass,
But to break and disintegrate.
Let me permeate your thick skull
So that I may cure you of your esteem,
Inflated like a Zeppelin.
A balloon I wanted to pop
So that I may catch you upon your graceful surrender.

You heroine with your one flaw,
I am but a flawed soul with only heroic aspirations.
Aspirations withered by bitterness which incubated in time.

As thick as my skin is,
To your ephemeral greetings
And probably meaningless conversations,
Cut short by my anxiety,
My ears will never be filled with molasses or tree sap,
To suppress the harmonious attraction of your call.

My only request is that you lend me the axe,
To chip away at your granite, your marble, your limestone,
Or perhaps your fearful haste which resurfaces upon the memories of your past climbers.
So that you can receive the entirety of another being’s soul.

Revealing the most intricate, but most vulnerable
Of Pandora’s unimaginably sensitive tissue
Which I never dreamt I would possibly reveal,
But, more importantly, what you never imagined,
You would ever be shown.

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