“Peak performance is meditation in motion.” – Greg Louganis

By Kazim Ali

What we wanted was to watch him silver fall
Cut the surface of the water and leave no bruise

Every earth bound angel who was taught his body was a sin
Calculates in his head equations needed to sculpt the air

As he aims from grim height for the promise of blue

Always smote by lightning, disobedient boys tumble in a tangle down
To drown in the well of others’ rage or their own sorrow

Thirst to again return skyward, unbloodied and held close

But to leap is to know the body is the equation the sky has written
And around the body that launches space unfolds its shape of wings

Blue water and blue air are the same substance and within
He turns into currents and tides surging in place

Swims the endless distance down, soars sleek through the cold depth

Now years after he still sings the eerie air along as he walks along the shore
He still knows the secret — that at every moment in the body and breath

One can still plummet and plunge and soar

KAZIM ALI will read from his work at 2 p.m. today, Oct. 21, as the guest of the Burchfield Penney Art Center’s Poets and Writers Series. A Buffalo area native, he is author of “The Far Mosque” (Alice James Books, 2005), “The Fortieth Day” (BOA Editions, 2008), the novels “Quinn’s Passage” (BlazeVox Books, 2005), and “The Disappearance of Seth” (Etruscan Press, 2009), and the prose volumes “Bright Felon: Autobiography and Cities” (Wesleyan University Press, 2009), “Orange Alert: Essays on Poetry, Art and the Architecture of Silence” (University of Michigan Press, 2010) and “Fasting for Ramadan” (Tupelo Press, 2011). His new collection of poems, “Sky Ward” is forthcoming in the spring from Wesleyan University Press.