Yes, I remember Luxor…
Not the Luxor of limestone cliffs baked almost to glass, where summer nights are filled with the occasional crack! as heat escapes from stones into darkness; nor dry river-bottom throats leading to tombs of the cursed; not the Luxor where the restless, linen-wrapped hollow their mouths, sighing in their eternal sleep, and turn over for another century; nor even the Luxor where vaults inhale sand and exhale cinnamon and frankincense.
No, I remember the Colossus of Memnon and the hypostyle Osirises smiling down from cold January heights, uprooting massive oaks from fertile plains and sweeping the dust from the chill skies; of Medinet Habu and the ache for my love, set deeper in my soul than the hieroglyphs he ordered carved so deep no successor could chip asunder.
Where the chapels of Amun, Mut, Hathor, Khonsu, Isis exhort skywards to the Nile, scattering from their hands hatfuls of stars. And tearing up elms and beeches to sweep the cobweb clouds from the Nile’s corners, shooing away Apep, Ammit the devourer, and she who binds the dead in chains.
The Luxor of pink and black hoopoes bouncing on the corniche calling us to prayer:
When Thebes and Luxor were the same, and worries were weightless – the heaviest of concerns were carried on tutelaries’ hips and heads, light as sunrise.
And when our leafy trees had swept the sky, their sap encrusted with trapped flies; we’d pour the demons into the vaults, choke those corridors withal, trapping them in the hinges of doors and sealing the throats, that Kemet forever would be temperate, plague and famine-free.
Yet here comes Carter and his hired fellaheen on his felucca ‘cross the Nile, his head full of teeth and sin and ideas…