Four Ghazals

by Jeffrey Burghauser (March 2021)

Flora and Zephyr, John James Chalon, early 18th century


What you learn when years confuse the flesh:
Once you find, you cannot lose the flesh.

Step into the total, thrilling light;
In the seasoned eye debuts the flesh.

While the Novice contemplates his books,
The Superior reviews the flesh.

Since these swells are totally exposed,
Pirates of my gaze may cruise the flesh.

Vaporized conundra condensate
To a question that bedews the flesh.

Unlike a grenade or Latin phrase,
One need not be taught to use the flesh.

Poet, show your face. The frolicsome
Zephyr kisses not, but chews, the flesh.



Time Itself must be the sodden mouth
Through which He recites a malady.

Poet, be like God: protect your song
As He copyrights a malady.



Frantic Anchorites protect a wound.
To what do they genuflect? A wound.

Lukewarm supplicants are dispossessed.
Everybody must elect a wound.

Ever since Golgotha, some occult
Knowledge of a wound bedecked a wound.

Negligent deceit, when ricocheted,
Makes, though it be indirect, a wound.

Poet, silence is the deepest gash.
Only song may disinfect a wound.


Carbon dating cannot date a ghost.
Volume is a casket; weight, a ghost.

Certain you can understand my songs?
Easier to medicate a ghost.

Waiting for their echoes in a cave
Is how troubadours debate a ghost.

A sentence: this is what the body is.
Garments only punctuate a ghost.

She said: “Tell me, Poet, what it may
Take to make the room ornate?” “A ghost.”

Table of Contents



Jeffrey Burghauser is a teacher in Columbus, OH. He was educated at SUNY-Buffalo and the University of Leeds. He currently studies the five-string banjo with a focus on pre-WWII picking styles. A former artist-in-residence at the Arad Arts Project (Israel), his poems have appeared (or are forthcoming) in Appalachian Journal, Fearsome Critters, Iceview, Lehrhaus, and New English Review. Jeffrey’s book-length collections are available on Amazon, and his website is

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast


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