Monday, November 30, 2015

Food for the thought

Stories are like food, the cook said to me once
while I waited for the answer she went on
if you put out the right ingredients you will end up with
a prefect result, meat, hunt and envy-

a start of a long tale

an ending that satisfies the masses

Saturday, November 28, 2015

They are about to kill a poet

The headlines told me you swore
with a tongue not yours, with words
you were not aware you picked up

unknowingly, they will trial you
beat you like you were Christ
for speaking against Him, in a twisted mouth

they will put you up in a defense
against poesy, poetica, the art
not spoken, not understood

they will tell you to make a wish
on a dandelion, near the lake
behind the trees you will not be able to see

they will accuse the divine of
needing you more that the common
people. Those on high need those

lower to serve without speech
they told me they are about to kill
a poet for his words,

take out the light in the eye
make it a minaret for others
high enough to learn to speak

against time, against Him, me
or them, they are going to kill
a poet while the words won't be a defense.

Functional bun

tie your hair up, when it is filled with smoke
collected and calculated from the burnt day
then make it into a functional bun, useful
or useless, there for the times when all you need
is a way out.

Friday, November 27, 2015

United with my mother

There is an uneasiness that has settled itself in my stomach
and being female, as sex was selected at birth without doubt
or understanding I check for signs that narrate something else
I think of my mother without confession, without shame
of where my thought went, of how at four we start saying
that girls cannot ask, the men will give them the answers
later, not now, when you grow you will know
I learnt by myself, no secrets in shame
there is a belly-ache tonight that lingers beyond my attempts
at medicating a thing I cannot see, cannot change nor control
this is a shame, would be a beginning
I am half sick with a flu and all I can keep in my head is a sentence:
is this how mothers feel before birth, after desire?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Advice from a writer to a scared starter

Cut down all that does not relate to you
there is much excess to the way
the curves make meaning out of the combinations
you use, it will not be easy, the relentless repetition
of avoidance but do not be weary, those are rest on the margin

Start, just begin
it will flow, naturally
this and other things,
my dear.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Flirtations across the table

There are instances when the word beautiful
stops meaning what it wants to give in a short adjective
when the tongue buds to vocabulary better
than simple words, across the table from me
you tread lightly the space needed for your thoughts
to travel to my hand, tell me
all that's round is sturdier, stronger
than mere words.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Hold the beads in your hand, repeat three times
what you hear in the bell's chime-
say the way to a better step
is by assuring today is sent off well

this is the child's prayer, mine
a basic recitation of old desires
new dreams, this is how I string words
for better worlds

pray for a country whole,
for people on a plane or on the ground
for safety and arrivals,
these are prayers that remind me that

there are no corners of the world
when it was made round for a set purpose
to be big, beyond me-
I recite this and that and repeat

At times when I am praying for the universe,
I forget myself

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Some poems that speak in my tongue

A while ago I was there, away, reading for the masses
reading things that spoke of my tongue without me realizing they did,
roughly I made them up and left them here:

Parts of you, parts of me

How can I tell you that I want to renounce the features
you passed to me, not because of time, only because
I no longer need them. I no longer need the spread out
feet that could cover the length of two rivers and a sea
without getting me anywhere that is useful, or how
would you be able to know that I no longer need
this giant nose if I cannot smell a house starting to
burn just a little far away from the house of stone I inhabit?
how can you have given me such big features and forgotten
to give me a patience matching their size to assure I can
handle all I am given?


There is something about cleaning
that makes way for other things
like the piles of washing, drained of yesterday's
blood, thought and smoke filling the hems

a dusted table is better than a clogged one,
less viruses, more room for breathing
for a surface to emerge from what
was there and what is left

the things I do are like cleaning
take out, scratch, rewrite
it is a cycle of production of what was
into what is to become, like

the leaves pertaining to the end of
summer, it is easier to clean at times
easier to destroy and rise
than pretend we know where to start again.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Foul prediction

There is an army in my city
And a mirror across of which I stand
 we haven't fallen yet
but there will be debris

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Top tips to self distraction

This is how you deal with chaos, with madness
you have always said the world is mad-
maybe a little, maybe more than expected
when it seals itself up and gives you way

first start running to the end of the forest
to where the foxes hide in dens,
day-dreaming of dandelions for bread
and butter, run and find your call

then scoop up water in your palms
it is easier than giving it way to your lungs
because you cannot afford to have fish swim
in your rib-cage, on your back

then tie your feet to a string and let the winds
swing you high and low, into the atmosphere
of giving it everything and risking losing
an ear to the wind, an eye to the branches around you

let your hair down by the campfire
watch how the embers burn wood
into ashes, into a vast mass of grey
like the remains of bone and muscle

be the song of whatever surrounds you
and run from it, for it- this is how you
deal with chaos, just eliminate yourself
minus the night, put out the lights and go to sleep.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Seasonal cleaning

dismantle the crumpled socks
while you recall a conversation
bitter almond, athlete’s feet greet you,
smelling of cyanide, there are mismatched toes
but you can still walk

read the rest of this poem and two more here:

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Majdoola, braided

Majdoola, braided, is the hair
soften with brushes the color of honey
it is an ease for the mothers
protection against the elements

Majdoola, it is complicated
tangled, this story I am telling you
without detail, with much for you
to figure, together

Majdoola, a nickname of a child
smart and tall, with a smile that
takes out the stars and replaces them
with milk teeth, one for luck, two fro joy

Majdoola, like from the Majdal
up in the north of my country
a city sleeps on apple pips
dreams of orchards, long harvested.

Majdoola, a lopsidedness that is
not even, Not even right, or left
but somehow splitting a back into two
with trivial burdens

Majdoola, how the elements combined
neat sounds, neat meetings and filthy
demands, all tangled together like a
heap what will come unbraided- on demand,

Monday, November 16, 2015

Those are the sick trees

The hands are bare and wrinkled, love
like a tired old woman, battered by passing minutes
these are the effects of autumn, no sun
this is sickness that start at the roots and extends
in the trees, not alone, love

Sunday, November 15, 2015

New Wattan

This is the new Wattan,
the same old country with the hope that renews itself 
each year as if by contract, something better is coming
something bigger, they say. A refuge of the wires. of tin baked roofs
an anthology no one understand like words on abstractions
a delicious, delirious contrast of this and that 
of broken homes and villas on the edges of town
this is your new Wattan, a universe 
celebrating a day of independence, for a minute
from time and reality

Saturday, November 14, 2015

No cover charge

blink, then joke about the clothes we wear
then about our age, you ask for a photograph to prove
we are old enough for dance, young enough
to assure alcohol would not ruin our livers

I ask for a way in, you tell me there will be
No cover charge
just leave the pizza for midnight's hunger.

Friday, November 13, 2015

How scared can a woman be

This is how I will wrap the parsley,
tender but not broken as I think of
a wrapped child, returned to his mother's arms
for one final time

this is how scared a woman can be
that she mistake veggies for a child
and wraps the world in her shoulderblades
this is how obvious her fear will be

she will not say anything, because
speech breaches the sacred demands
of the silence that details control is
still present within the walls of the house

within the walls of the heart, that no
longer can understand the basics of math
or the problem of history demanding
houses be torn over a head in promise

of peace that never comes, this is how scared
a woman can be, the length of two fabrics
sacrificed for the stitching of wounds
open in public but held together in private

because tears can diminish sacred prayer
and manic laughter, inane voices
are for little girls, afraid of a needle point
of a sound that comes at night or of a vision
this is how scared a woman can be
that she no longer sees her own reflection as
one she recognizes. She doesn't want to lose
she doesn't tell you, she is scared
of abstract thoughts, or actualities
but she will not let you know.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Paper thin

Take my clothes off, there is nothing
I am hiding anywhere, above nor beneath
my flesh. Take me apart, like little pieces
of jigsaw, one by one and expose the body
that is no longer mine and certainly not yours
hand me the gown, nylon padded but given
a softer name, like lining to make the scabs
gentler then leave me alone to the monitors
the drips, the rhythmic breathing and the harsh
light. This is me now, rest in bed, walk, sleep
read, repeat. Whiter than pale and loose of
bone, there's a monster in my chest and another
in my sleep. Hold me when I tell you that I will miss you
I'm sorry if I speak in a low voice, this illness  makes me paper thin.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Art Cafe

Coffee is the universal saying for many expressions:
to take to coffee, is to court, to talk, to love
to bring coffee to bed is to demand wakefulness
from a dream, from last night's sheets practice, from reality
to leave for coffee means a deal is sold, land, house, books
when wine is not an option to celebrate,
to be with a friend in a coffee shop, or an arts cafe
dissecting life between sugars and smokes
is an option to assure, no work of art remains untouched
or unspoken, only the sugar stays in the packets
the smoke rises in the corners of the coffee house.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

2^4 towns

They say love stings more in smaller towns
in cities where streets align directly under the sun
pointing to the city center

in my city, it takes one the distance of three long streets
to contain a whole city, shops for fun
windows for viewings

all is sold separately, the restaurants are parked
near the shoe shops, all sold
alone for the same game of couples

wandering I walk the city- alone
you have left and love stings in this
small town, the streets have your

foot marks, like a dog's in newly poured cement
your cigarettes, smells,
a thousand dancing gypsies

love is different in a smaller town
compacting the number of times one turns
to mistake a shadow in another man's beard

kisses we stole are subject to the microscopic
eye of the neighbor here, the florist there
they know your aunt and my father

we keep love in our hands, on our fingertips
in a smaller town, love has managed to walk every street
yet calling us both by our full names because isn't

that the daughter of x with the son of y
parading the highway, restless
on a summer night

in the city, long after your footstep
the daughters of x will walk with love
depart at the white gate

then turn to damn
the moment they fell in love
with a small city, in a tightly chocked city
of stone and brittle bone.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Things you learnt outside

you are a second grader, fair-with eyes
the color of sandalwood and hair the color of wheat in autumn
the grounds are still the same, there are two boys, a stairway and a puddle of water
you see it coming, a punch, a fall- a boy soaked to his knees to save your apple

 read the rest here:

Saturday, November 7, 2015


When we were young, the games were easy
rules lined up to make sure we knew where we stepped
now the games are easy, but the rules are different
because we don't know where our feet lie, and where the lines end.


The day we decided to make sweets
you were ill and I was warm, mid-December
but we decided to work on the making 
of chocolate dipped with edible sugar in all forms

this is a memory, now
the kitchen half red, half white
the counter top, flooding with flour 
and trays, to be useful in the fridge

you used the measurements
I used my eyes, this is how we make sweets
I told you, but you insisted
even soft things need to be controlled 

melt the chocolates, you said
add sugar, I instructed as you slept on the sofa
a cat in your lap. I was just a guest 
you were home, inside a chocolate wrapper

the day we decided to make sweets
I realized we both measured distinctly
additions in our lives
you were careful,by the book

I am used to using my eye,
let it roam wherever it may 
land east or west, this is why
most of my food ends up bitter, my dear. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Moonsoons v.s. real rain

You speak of monsoons
I speak of light rain-
try to convince one another of difference
water falling to earth at gradations of simmer-
say colors, plants, voices diverge
but the terrain that sucks water, is the same.

Thursday, November 5, 2015


The needle may pinch,
she knew- when she sticks her hand out
there will not be pain.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

where the helpless turn

They ask why there is still the question
of religion on the back of your brain
failing to understand, human foundations
are different than stones

there's a trinity of what we are composed of,
bodies upon souls, spindles of thoughts
running from one end to the other
without questioning

when you ask why people still pray a certain direction
kneel for God's graces and for their vices
calling Jude, oh, Jude-
blessed, pray for us.

we turn to the direction we choose,
some tumble like stones, rocks
some work towards the sun
thinking God is the infinite, we the lost causes.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

it is fall

it is fall, again
the leaves turn the color of ash
eventually, things will remind you of death
flakes of dandruff on your maroon coat
hair in the drains, it all leads you to think
it is ending, and it won't restart
not until spring,
not by these areas anyways

Monday, November 2, 2015


The kitchen will always be blue, 
the only open area here-
on your window, there will be blue paper-planes
still, shaken by the breeze that arrives 

unexpectedly. There are cats in your dreams 
cats on the walls, only the cheshire seems to be smiling
pointing to the direction of the old pathway in the wood
pinned to the wall

we eat cereal in Tupperware, 
you apologize for the hospitality 
as we look over the swans 
breeding new hatches for the season 

they will live here, over the pond we keep 
calling a lake, for lack of better words 
in second tongues- only we will fly
and call it a return

you and I are from other soil
we know it, little do people know
 the blessing of not eating 
out of Tupperware, of sleeping in self owned beds

there are times we borrow
grounds, kitchens
blue that will term us visitors 
each time we return

I will go back, you tell me
I am meant to be, I answer you
even when you don't ask anything
you don't need the questioning. 

The paper-planes are blue, 
this kitchen is blue 
we are here watching soft rain 
in a week we will be gone 
you to the directions of Matrbhumi
and I to my Watan
these are the motherlands 
that we get to ourselves
no Tupperwares or make-shift tongues.

Matrbhumi: Bengali for motherland.
Watan: Arabic for homeland. 

This poem is for my Bengali friend S. B. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Travelling northward

The distance between north and south here
is the same as the distance between my navel and my neck
a direct, short transit that is explicitly harvested with wires
expectations and taboos, locked up like genies for thousands of years
a mere step away through the center- this is the distance northwards
we do not need trains, nor planes but our two feet to get us across
our hands, little fingers and callused palms
there are clash-points at my feet, you are wrapped with your fear
of walking forwards, walking upwards. I have to live with the deprivation of your face
this is too dangerous, these wires but this is our land, you will remind me-  I am willing to allow
you reminders. When will you travel northwards? I'll press the question
onto you like a bunch of delayed jasmine flowers waiting on an opening
leave the south with its problems, with its fields, with all of what they call
holy. You do not have pretty eyes, but your mouth is sweet and I'm done with your whispers
grant me serenity by your face in my mirror.