Saturday, December 31, 2016

End of the year

This is what happens when the year ends:
as the champagne pops we know
we are now plagued by memory.

Let him kiss your soles

Let him kiss the soles of your feet
with a wet lip that trembles to your white, white ankle
this river

Luca, Luca

Over bent-over forks
she turns to me, whispers
it is Luca, Loo-ka,
an Italian pronunciation

My Luca came two weeks early
he is now the age of two wars
at twelve, normal, bilingual
safely loved

I had seen twelve year olds
carrying buckets of water
when the river failed them
when the butterflies grabbed their tongues

hands left at doorsteps
bodies upon bodies
while in me, Luca
grew and stretched

like palm trees of Basra
sing-songs of mornings
where rocked children
slept half-naked in mud

to protect is a verb strong
by its recollection of making
of your body a house, a shelter
of ears, mouths hushing in prayer

a change of silver to dark
as thing fell, early gifts
my eyes adjust quicker to darkness
easier to his breath;
I have called him Luca
because he brings forth
the light

The ceremony of flame

In front of the fire flames, 
lights up: candles, faces, old photographs
cups, last year's old wig, the balloons torn over twice 
things that no longer concern us

the pen questions

What if, no one reads
what I keep in scribbles
this has been on the pens mind

might then writers stop pinning ink
or wasting paper and trees?

Premature birth

He was born premature
but didn't want to acknowledge
darkness comes before light

at the wrong hour he was born
but he knew, it was for the best
to be out in the world

than be blown like an aborted idea
on a mid-winter night

A northern star at hand

Catch a north star in your hand
let it point the way
sparkling, this Christmas
birth of the King, baffelment of others

Damen= Women

Build three houses in a row
take one of them for the purpose of tonight's
bed-time tale

how the whale floats
overhead in the dim room
to make for a song, your vocal cords don't sing

cook enough meals to feed the same people
who are trying to cook for themselves
and failing at things that do not burn

live and fleshy, little hands
tiny fingers that insert themselves
into your palms

without realization, us,
damen, vessels of birth
guards to the doors of bedrooms

hiders of monsters, dealers with details
organizers, feeders, walkers, joggers
watchful eyes, ears, mouths that kiss

without telling, that sow,
appreciation; disregarded, this sense
of transformation, like pillars

damens, holder of earth
able to sleep on an air mattress and feed
on air, yet walk with the pride of nations
between two shoulders

Made vacant

what if we are both now made vacant
of our bones, of what holds us up
like hollowed zucchinis we make
pretending they are full
when the wind blows into them a song

Friday, December 30, 2016

A free man, a free bird

A free man, like a winged bird
knows that there is no need to keep
shaking his feathers to fly

A holiday death

Timely
this is the death of the language 

I read Darwish while sipping hot Nescafe 
that bleeds over my notebook, coffee smeared, milk- frothed 

over the counter where she used to sit 
keep a lookout on  who stays, who leaves

it is beyond me; halls decked with last year's holly
what makes these blossoms shrink

like old age before death
an idea, a body, a leave, we all shrink

but no one thinks of the shadows
when the are standing in the sunshine

there is a dimmed light on the window today;
that the bulbs turned lighter, there are things

we bought together, old books, T-shirts, candles
flammables among your death and the cry of birth

this Christmas, you take it forward
while I sit in the car listening to the downpour 

a belief of the death of people and their birth
the death of the language in me, 

the death of love, an end, and its seemingly impossible rebirth

Monday, December 26, 2016

love and light

Quicker than thinking
these fingers
write to you, honey-bird
messenger of love and light

Half grieved

Honor your grief
let it free the energy that is within you

he says, touching the back of my neck
for a minute I think it possible

to lift my arms into space and call
never imagining that someone else is capable

of making me feel like the imagined weight
I have put on has lifted off

like a little bird took flight
this is me, or is it my reflection, that has half grieved

a human so alive
but so intensely engulfed with the idea

of dead birds in the snow
why did I imagine floating on the edge of the river

a picture of your face, carried you
like a cross or a saint of lost causes, cast-off

to where the bamboo meets the sky
where the rivers lick the edge of the mountains?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

match-made

Not lit with stars nor fire
not held to, nor let go like the end of a comma
this is a match-made, swiped and wiped

Version of the same orchestral tune

Three violins play to listeners and one
plays to me, a version of the same tune
I am constantly chasing

where the dusk meets the tree
find the orchestra of a night's travel
adjusting the bows set for play

an owl hoot, three ravens in sight
treetops drenched with water
the wind, their calamity

this is what happens to those
who love too much
 talk too little

I have heard it, a lamentation
the size of a pea
echoing into the high trees

this is what has touched me
today the breaking voice of a child
sound has its ways

repeat, this,
I know the river will go dry despite the rain
no one can drain the ocean

but one can repeat a song
a million times
into hearing

orphan girls today

Three girls fit on my lap
one joyous, one small, one smiles a lot
three others on my back
the remaining have nestled their way under my skin

Sown by a winter sun

This is your shadow, do not lose it
you instructed me to keep close, my otherness
the same way you lost your grief
dared to smile for the black rye
once yellowed over, twice sown by a winter sun

Let us sleep, it is better for us

Another house tumbles to dust
you tell me and I can no longer bear to see
dust to dust, remains or rust

let us sleep it is better for us

the insides of a building turned outside
guts spilled, children in rags I can no longer
bear witness to this whiteness

let us sleep it is better for us

the tree you used to pass every day
has burned to the ground, to disrupt
the smoke from all the machines; those that eat the living

let us sleep it is better for us

how many times have you wished for sleep
when you couldn't maintain
a human as a thought

let us sleep it is better for us

this is how you stitch a wound back together
with minimal scars, pull skin over skin
keep careful watch of your thread before they are cut
blood on blood, water bears witness to what we could not
find the nearest exit to the light but for the time being
relax, leave the images and the imagery

let us sleep it is better for us

Long, this absence

Long is, this absence
like the space between the galaxies and this earth
forsaken and fatigued by continued turning.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Today's rain is another story

A little rain closes the city down,
from the balcony I watch the drowned;
the striped ginger cat, feeding of the trash
twitching and rain sliding off my window

this city is not ready for love, the way its streets
flood with water, waste or wrongly placed words
wrapped around women's ankles
misplaced in men's pockets

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The owl, the daylight

The owl is asked
why its eyes are shut, every morning
it is blindness, this daylight.

The confused and the rained

This is how the confused deals with rain
a swivel in the car tire
an undecided lane parked with this excess of water
but this is the state of rain, unexpected, in this winter

Sunday, December 11, 2016

A candle

Today,
I blow three candles for the years
I have stopped counting on the surface of cake

one for myself
one for you
one for what remains outside of us.

What we share/d

I thought of you today, 
how we split bread in two and thanked the heavens 
for the assistance of flour and salt
how our palms became glasses, gathering rain

how over this time we left
all that belonged to us both, kept, let go of

our share, what we share/d/keep sharing;  

-a birthday, mid-December, 
like countdowns of Christmases 
-a midnight dance that doesn't mark a new year
yet makes a promising start 
-a conversation where I ask about the woman in your photo 
come to know her later, because of the color in her eyes
-a theft of a balloon
when I smile, shiver at the fact that I stole 
your jacket too, covered with it a July's late night ride 
-a mother's love to turn over absences; a father gone too soon 
and a tree that still bleeds leaves in his steps
- a swing, where you tell me about the images you've kept
under the bed, of half- covered breasts, massages, and a giggle still 
warm and foamy in my ear 
- a ride on a lion made of stone
stiff and rigid,  it only moves when we command it 
- a talk about how he, a replacement of your father 
hides you away from the eyes, beats you after kissing 
your mother
- a song about a woman whose lover 
left her in the desert, blabbering 
comprehensively
- a text message with a lot of hearts on my birthday
returned to you, kissed, on the mole that covers your cheeks 

- a kiss, my first, probably yours too 
young to remember, we had shared this
before the music, the cake, the songs;
 in my memory, a rush and a red car dented where we leaned our backs. 

Minor changes

From a minor key into a major I play
for the child, who at three, knows me before my name
before my face, loves the candy-wrappers in my pockets
climbs my back like it is another mountain
calls me auntie without making me
compress to the need of this aging in two seconds
the child who will long after I leave, cry, then remember
it all changes when you are no longer her age.

on the platform, the fog

it is new, this,  unfamiliar
the way I spell backward

how you can stand
by yourself in a train station

on the edge of the platform
waiting, for the next ride out

and it is already eleven at night
the fog has made its decent, following you down the stairs

the lovers huddle, flowers aside
you, in a puffed over jacket

wait for the train on our tracks
while others keep moving on the opposite side

on the station, not the metro
wind-blown, fog-covered,
you, look up, look down
then keep looking around.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Why are the women strung up and the men male?

asked the same hand that found its way
into her skirt, onto her skin
it is all the same, skin is skin no matter where you smooth

why are the woman strung up
replied the hand that fed, clothed, bathed others
while forgetting its own twin

why are the men male
what makes this my maleness and yours separate
by power invested in the wrong bodies, at the wrong time
this is the secret to what you have been asking

just learn where to put your hands
you will know then, how things come about, here.

Like only another man could

How many times have we averted around the question
that leaves itself mid-air, almost every time the chance
for it arises, how many have you lifted off your bare chest
like flies, not swatted, not given enough time to rest

empty sheets, tired eyes, ruffled hearts down hearsay
scarves worn out, I know I can only reach for this question
or that like only another man could, the same man
who left his soles in the foreground of the photographs

I have seen on your nightstand, after asking a rebound
question revolving, like any other man could,
swing, dance around lazily
these things I leave and want more, like only a man
like only another man could.

Leap frog

This is no leap year
but the months seem to have leaped
without comprehension

this is the state of wellness

that you do not note down
what goes up in the air without
returning, like fumes, like balloons

like dust to autumn

this is no leap year but the little
leap frog sits on its little lily-pad
glaring at the lucid waters before it takes
a leap upward, falls down into the pond
its only  consolation is a blink
mine is the sunshine and the varying months.

The bells ringing

They have rung,
the crystal bells, ding
a dong, a ding, a dong
this is a country of fools
we ring the bells in mourning and in weddings
but only few can hear the difference

Friday, December 2, 2016

You walk under a cloud

We don't always understand what moves above our heads
who gives clouds direction or lining made strictly of silver
not gold- Is it cheaper metal?

you can walk under a cloud without thinking of it
why now that you are surrounded in shining images of your own
steps is it that you think of the skies?

the dead hold no envy, you know it is only reserved for the living

read the rest of the poem here

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

in a human form, we lose

Trees wither and we accept this loss
call it autumn, call it a death before a rebirth
our bodies wither too, but we call their losses
A birthday.

First rain

Tap
I close my eyes
while the first rain flirts with my window

Monday, November 28, 2016

I will answer you

Don't speak to me
I will answer you, you know

even when you leave chipping wood fire behind
I will answer you

you know, I cannot claim to know more than you
I will answer you, what you ask of me

even when the old curve of your slender body fails to fit near mine
I will answer you

this is the state of those who wait
they keep answering even if the lines were cut

An easy afternoon

What do you call this-
indentations of the wind on a summer day
a hiccup with how we feel
an easy afternoon

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Release of the dead

How do trees grieve their daughters
little leaves, getting sicker with autumn
never able to protect them against the ill wind

how can you grieve something
that has died, the plant on your window, for instance
you thank your wits for not buying that goldfish

no woman should rely on a man for feeding
when you are part feeder, part fed
you turn to yourself, stare

at the hair, released, shorter
the death, apparent on your skin ever day
even with these uneven lines

nothing stops grief when it hits
not the wind that turns the leaves yellow
not the same wind that toggles with your hair

this is why, atop the mountain filling with old trees
you release, dead, the locks of hair,
his memory and old tree leaves,
everything deserves a burial

Friday, November 25, 2016

There is a song about birds

There is a song about birds
how their feathers become collectibles
how they fly away from danger

it is all usual, love
we are used to this relation: a bird, a sky, a flight ahead

there is this song about birds
a winged freedom, as if, only by experiencing the clouds
will we be able to appreciate the mud and stone

it is all usual, love
but I am not that generous with you,

no feather, fallen, silver on its edges
a little darkened with a winter sown
breeze, that tangles our hair too

it is all usual, love
that there is a song about birds

it starts with a soft whistle and echos
of flight, of being light, of letting go, love

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Zahret Narr

Narr
is also fire, is yellow and orange glowing from the same
log of wood we threw and set aflame

Zaher
is rose and is pink, it is both senses in one place
that a gradation of pink petals can fall on your face

Zahret Narr
a flower of fire
a flower from fire
a firey flower

flower razed by fire

Protea,
it is called, one that dies
for fire and is reborn from fire

Protea,
Zahret Narr
a flower is fire

fire is a flower
protecting, those who fight in fire
to see flowers, bloom again.


courtesy of Google image search

How do you forget?

Like a stranger cruising the streets of an old city
you forget

like cats using empty bowls to catch food they won't eat
you forget

like a denial of little stars that burst in your brain when you remember
you forget

like finding your way out of a maze you made yourself
you forget

like beads an old monk gives you, ones you bury in your drawer
you forget

like your favorite song playing backward, without your ability to stop it
you forget

like the dance of dawn on your window,
you forget

like a child wanting to be an old woman,
you forget

like the distance between the first letter of the alphabet, population by letter
you forget

like yourself, mostly forgotten
you still forget.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A gathering of envy

This path of envy 
under my skin 
is a gathering of leaves
old and rotten,

Monday, November 21, 2016

A Stroll through Central Park in Autumn

Many leaves have discarded their leaves
I walk ahead without noting how the wind shakes the trees
from my body, this is the condition of loss
that you do not notice what happens
that you are like others unaware

of three sax players tuning
with air, a meaning for your deepest fears
strangers in the day, lovers in the night
this is the condition of bedazzlement

such small space, you are,a leaf under tree
move forward, sway backwards

on the mall, statues,
a figure of this and that to a game of guessing
who spoke that word, but most importantly who wrote it
ink remains etched, on paper, on stone, on brick and bone

scenes after scenes,
keep the photographers for later
no one knows when there will be a time for use
a time for discarding the memory

of those who should have strolled with you
instead of inhaling cigarettes, drag after drag in the nighttime

before Bethesda,
the pigeons remind the angels
of the importance of flight.how you can turn
twist and turn then mange to return to the exact spot for rest

these are small wings and little freedoms
the discoloration of death in beauty
over Bow Bridge, no trolls but sunshine
three beats of these feet to the foot of the bridge

sometimes this tapping makes you stop and wonder
where did music originate from, love?

once you stop imagining you will see, I hear his voice
once you start imaging you will be, I hear mine
as I walk under the trees that shake their leaves
onto my hair.




inside, outside, home again

inside, the fire burns clear-
not a space to escape, even the trees were cut down
save the olives, the bloody olives

literally bloody and oily,
so oily, this is you then, on the inside

outside, the building is three times
taller than the last time you checked
you had patience, another way of saying waiting

without realizing it, you have grown
used to, not used, taller yet still short

leaner yet with other excess fat on the belly
fat on your sides. Hair lost, things not found
yet the search keeps going. Home again

how many definitions are there for the place
you bury scrapes saved from the fire
tales taller than pages written, than your years
how many definitions are there for rolling a bloody olive
on your palm before stomach it?

Saturday, November 19, 2016

What if you use colors?

You know winter has descended its mantle a wind
rambling behind autumn
you use colors when the sky is grey with ash
more tears cried yearly, from other borders
you ask again, what if you put color
over your lids, over your face
do you become a part of nature
or does it become you, since it is already in your bones?

Friday, November 18, 2016

Shared in confidence

Lifted, posted, marked
this is sharing in confidence
that you let another know of the mold growing
on the cracks among the wooden fence in your backyard

that you tell this wind to keep the ears out
when you speak ill of your own backbone.

He kneels while she talks

A red hoodie and a jeans-
a love for dead languages, living classics on their deathbeds
he kneels before her, a nod to bravery 
with trembling hands she asks him to stand up
red hoodie and jeans, dress, blue 
says it only took her a crossing over the sea 
to be able to thank his knees for hugging the ground, momentarily.

Notes on containing

We called it a container:
what fills a part, with car and cattle 

on the checkpoint, my prayer is interrupted
sacred minute, I still cannot contain any dry thoughts 

not wet with curses mixing 
like soup on this cold winter afternoon

even the sky darkens;
the line of clouds scatters like cotton 

above my head, too many sunsets 
seen, like a discoloration amid a traffic jam 

this is the case of longing 
for movement: to keep is to contain 

a small hand in yours 
a sun in the belly of this sky 
a child throwing a packet of gum into your car 
a prayer instead of the curses that hail on the realization 
that to contain you have to grow bigger; 
to fit, to keep intact, a smallness. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Restoring the land

How do you restore a land after death
here they resurrected Christ once,
but I, a sinner, not worthy
have even missed autumn,
this death.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Jet-lag

is not the lack of sleep
it is the lack of dreams

that the folding of a word
into another where my feet touched the surface of water

was one thing, but now, this
sleeping in a familiar room

that lays arid to my body's night
waking, this difference

a stretch of eight hours, long enough
for your ears to forget they have been carved

like a question mark to receive
a complaint folded in the sleeve of a question

this is the lack of dreams
a colorless, odorless sleep

that solidifies facts you already know
there are no night-owls in a city populated

by little local birds, whose song announces morning
in groups; guiding the sun towards the middle of the sky

you remain sleeping as you move away
from a land distant, as last week's memory.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sides

A daughter of the borders, 
I am used to sides 

a thin fence in between 
barb-wire, a cement wall,

a river blue cutting 
a land into desert and plain 

I was not used to a park 
making an incision over the belly of a city 

no smoke of cars, rush 
or barb-wires 

just a thin line of green trees 
turning yellow at their heads 

separating those who believe in freedom 
and those who believe in guns.

These faces

These names don't lie
these figures don't lie
these numbers, don't lie either
these eyes, have, however
lied to me before.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Homecoming

For the hundred time
you arrive home, to your noisy bed
to your noisy life
to a space between the words
and you don't keep thinking about it,
why should you?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Brave, bye America

Home of the brave
home of my body
home of the memories that pile
like sticks for the wood fire
I say thank you, as the planes take off the ground

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Night into day

Night descends as you pull yourself up
like pieces of a puzzle
little by little
making an understanding of the morning you leave
take your body, elsewhere.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Breakfast At Tiffany's, today

On the street corner,
I found Tiffany, a box blue and green
a shimmer I can never afford
but I can always watch.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

New York,I have heard of you

I have heard of you New York
seen you before you recognized my face

a shot, a thousand times rolled over
in my memory

but with your lights and rush I ask
will you love me or leave me,
 perfectly wishing for my old city with three streets
and too many same-colored doors?

Delayed song

This song will be late
because my throat has closed on its notes

at least for now, I can tell you this
wait for more light and music

coming like a Christmas carol,
out of place and time to make you blink

twice, this is the case of melancholy,
the way it arrives into your heart

disguised in celebration
the way fall colors turn yellow

amazing, you say
but can you see that they are dying

all this is going away too,
doesn't it scare you witless?

Saturday, November 5, 2016

1000

One thousand, the Arab nights, keep the narration going
one woman, how can she contain a thousand stories
or is the thread only in one of them?

like a ring in the stomach of a fish
lost by a princess, returned by the sea
once, twice, a third time for negligence
for peace of mind

one thousand times, I have faced this empty page
where the silence was louder than my thoughts
is it important, then, this essence
this insanity to write, to be, to negate?

maybe it is, a millennium
like those stars bursting on your skin
whenever I lean in to give you a soft kiss
on the shoulders, those that carried me
into the millennium
this or that of poem, song, breakage.

Friday, November 4, 2016

This is a secret

Haven't I told you?
this flirtation of the leaves and my skin
is a secret, only we share,
we, the ones unable to move
yet unstuck, no, just rooted

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Departures 0.1

A coin is tossed in the river
the clothes have been folded
this is the same departure
but you are carrying a heavier bag

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

the other's disasters

a tear on her jacket she walks 
away from the dust based hotel 
how is it possible 
other people's disasters remind us to care 
for our own?

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Spinning

Not leafing of tales within old wool
not making a destination, or a return
but twirling around, the clock, when time draws near
to close an old chapter

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Hallows from Iowa with Love

A nun in shorts and a man's beard,
the devil in a short skirt
a knight, a scarecrow, a minion,
a banana, a watermelon, a mermaid
a barbie, a football fan, a cub fan
a man walking with crossed feet,
a woman stumbling with her weight
a woman trying to figure out what wears her most: her costume
or her confidence,
a city buzzing with life, ghosts, pumpkins and a replay of theme songs
to say goodbye to fall,
to all the hallows,

Happy Halloween!

Dear Iowa City

Dear Iowa City,
thank you for restoring my faith

I had believed in a weight larger than me
that introduces me, before my name,
lost it, like all good athletes
to other endeavors but this is a story for other times

a tear drops in the Iowa is carried to Chicago,
aboard the Mississippi, down toward lake Michigan
the places we meet take meetings further with us
to stay is a verb conjugated with memory, these days

dear Iowa city, home of hawks
I haven't seen one up close, but I am sure
bravery is kept at heart. Iowa city home of black
and yellow, two colors that contrast in me

one for mourning and the other for sickness
home for my body within the last ten weeks
a long time is short, outlived by minutes,
lived, longed for, imagined

this city, students and poems, poems and other stories
maybe I should learn to listen more
speak less, observe, men in jackets
women in short skirts

use more complex adjectives
for the city, its fire red sky, the faces
of friends on the street-corners
like a reality, never left

dear Iowa city, here I have fought
for one final time, against all the demons
the ones in colorful suits and the ones with red skin
I walked out of the fire with an ember in my hand

dear Iowa city, you have taught me closely
how I can still be with others without losing
my own skin, for that and for the faith
I will always be thankful.

Till we meet again,
bones in my poems, poems in my bones.

xx

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Teaching children

Teaching a child how to put pencil to paper
is like telling a row of ants
not to attack the sugar bowl that fell from the shelves

how easy do little bodies pick up what we have long discarded
in accidents

Unexpected

within one week, art sits in my lap
an idea forms itself inside of my chest

this is unexpected, to arrive somewhere
new and expect nothing but a traveling of emotions

in motion, like camels,
devoid of their weights

this is unexpected, to depart somewhere
familiar, with nothing but a traveling of past emotions

in motion, like stars,
whooshing past you devoid of energy

this is the ends of fates, not sealed
not boxed, just lined up clearly

this is really unexpected:

the tears, tearing, tears

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Pull over

put away your pink sweaters
it is too young to keep colors on your chest

it is time to dig out the colors that negate this fountain 
of youth and glory, the greys, the blues, the blacks

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Freedom is too big

These days I think about freedom, what it means
to haunt a space, to take another, to let out a gasp
without worrying about how long it will take
for it to be retrieved from you

get back onto the wagon of running
for the name of more space, isn't that freedom-
a space, indented out of daily lives, out of a place
not belonging or asking for anything begged differently

in other coins, on laps, in long intermittent train rides
where one street becomes the next one in the line of motion
is freedom a room of one's own perfume
a scent that greets you when you open the door?

isn't it, like a lot of concepts,
the single point between seeing and becoming?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Your 'style'

Boots up to the knee
books up on the back, leather jackets
little make-up, a smile with the ocean
in its corners.

this is your style, appreciated
his hand flicks your hair in agreement
it will be alright, you let him

he says I like your style,
you nod, say better now
before it changes, this style goes
out of date, but my voice stays.

Monday, October 24, 2016

A knock on the door

Remember me, probably not today
it is too condense, the present moment
for us to consider what stays, who lives
in us before parting. but this is the truth,

I have knocked on your door and you answered
mistaking me for someone else
you smiled and I knew it would be a good day
friend, this is what remains long after we leave.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Pumpkin carving

rounder, rugged with edges
this is a gift for leaving
a pumpkin to carve into shapes
for a Halloween we never celebrated before today.

Sunday in Iowa City

Diner's full, overflowing with families
homeless beggars still sit in the same corner
recycling people's pennies, if given once
a soft sun blows on the autumn leaves on the ground
the streets are empty, what more, does a city need
than its own people to make its own benches
not feel the lonesomeness of travelers
who are orphaned by distance.

How to successfully say farewell

With ink first, because that's always easy
smudge, leave open to dry

with food, salad, preferably chopped up greenery
it is healthier, takes less time to digest

with cake, sugar keeps you awake
wakefulness allows you to see

with photographs, inanimate renditions
of a life frozen, in passing

with drinks, clanking of glass
upon glass promotes better wishes that open up like late night flowers

with a hug at the door,
extends a hopeful waiting for meetings that are going to be cut short
by flashes, only tiny morsels you will take away with you in time.  

Thursday, October 20, 2016

What have you seen?

with travel comes a tradition
of an unfolding tale

of bravery, a fin here
a conquering of a night's street

thugs stealing your hat in the winter
frail nylon socks of frail women in nylon wigs

the color of an ocean between dusk
and dawn, how it doesn't emit sunshine

I have seen those,
seen my plaid face blush in a mirror

sight is not always about what we note
in others, it is also about how we look

Maybe it is easier to ask
what have you not seen
for me to properly answer you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Io and the passage

 Io, ever light-footed
hoof on hoof, confused for feet

swerves past narrow passages
finds another god, to receive 
the same sentence we  have when 
we match the stars for luck:

that things mend, like skin 
cover over old scars, new money 
in our pockets, travel to destinations
unknown to reintroduce our faces to us
in glistening mirrors

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Timing

Timing, is everything, I have often heard
you say. How we pick out a rose,
how we pray, how we stop praying
we chose, the best time for exits

don't we?

Monday, October 17, 2016

First love

"it's not about who touches you
it is about what you reach to touch back "

read the rest here http://visualverse.org/submissions/first-love/

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Hima

This is how we will go about it then
I sleep while you ward off the devils from my doorstep

this is how we went about it,
I brush off my pillows and you clinically call it insomnia

so what if I cannot sleep for a few nights?
maybe rest doesn't always have to arrive from closing our eyes

maybe I think too much when I misspell my lines
maybe this is about hima, 

not him, not a him, not you and my first name
maybe this is about hima, protection

that I can sleep with my door open
without you standing on the doorstep.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Fifteen days

Fifteen days is what I have on my hands
not enough

before I kiss the marble atop the river, make senseless incantations
to three friends in leather jackets
a dancing night were I saw nothing but fog rise and fall
on a dance-floor
a flare of all the walks I took under green trees that turn rancid yellow
overnight
a space that contained my body, a room I called home
because home can shrink and become just four walls

when I arrived, my body rejected this room
rejected thoughts of me lying on a stranger's bed
calling it my own
rejected the hugs I received from a woman who is
older. bolder, as clear as crystal

senseless these poems,
this idle life, quiet like nothing can reach you
this desire to be like a creek
contain water, bugs, bodies
this is what you do not have to fight for, easy

fifteen days I go back
to where I fit like a glove, to where the mountains meet
the clouds, that meet God, that is
humans. I travel in reverse, heart first
then suitcase, memories, a joy
where I wake up by roosters calling
prying at the importance of morning

fifteen days and I walk back, with a head held high
to the fast-track days, mornings that fall into nights
tell my pillow  and my bed that I enjoy thier comfort
but
I am not ready

Friday, October 14, 2016

is it too soon?

Is it too soon, to write a letter
that dates a goodbye and push it in the mail
like you are leaving tomorrow

while you have just arrived?
run a few kilometers down a sunny road
you will get what I mean

even this wind is ecstatic to the fact
that you are here, full
head and body, altogether in one place

I told you walking is a secret,
march the same path over and over
you return to yourself

like a child long lost to his mother
returning is an art
tied to a shoelace, its sister, leaving

do you need to have spelled out
your name in red ink, maybe these dark hues
can help you see better

that long queues will keep moving
forward because this is the only direction
in traffic that's long jammed on a highway

is it too soon, this attachment
a pulling at our skin to go
while all we need to do is stand still?

hear me whisper to you today:
do not stay, do not go, figure this mystery out
all by yourself, while I finish up this coffee.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Why so much loss?

Then they ask you not to talk
about losing while you are sitting in a cemetery
pointing out the number of names you do not recognize
praying for those you do

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

On the road to recovery

This is like addiction
the act of pressing ink to the page and creation of a new universe
you always need a sponsor on the road 
to recovery

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Change, help, change

You cannot change a stone
into bread, nor wine into water
there are limitations to what you can do
but that doesn't mean shriveling like a child will help

for even those who want to help change
cannot be helped unless they help themselves.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Five days in Seattle

Seattle is a West Coast City, the Emerald city, city of rain and fog, city of siren and song, city of land and water. Please bring a jacket, a camera, snacks and an umbrella. 


    *Day one*
He peers into my photograph 
with an eye loupe
 round black with a magnifier
looks up and down, scans my face,

he looks for a thing I cannot pinpoint
but I know my face is full: acne, moles
a nose I disapprove of, falsely placed teeth
a head split open and sewed back together, once

I smile, when he peers into a collection of papers
this time for dates that define me
birth, landmark, hometown,
things I overlook generally because they are just mine

half-dazed I pull my roller-bag
with each step forward the back of his head
turns smaller and smaller
to loop, is to round un loup, 

with a dropped (e), is French for wolf
a prey, a prayer, palpable those old tales

I glance back one more time
 this time I smile, it is for my own self

*Day two* 

I don't know about space wars
I can barely keep up with the ones
ravaging earth with images left
in memory and in numbers

but I do know that fur space balls
can be malicious and that seven hundred guitars
can play one tune if you really
give each one a chance at stringing to their own melody

and I know that songs stop being about those
who write them and start becoming an anthem
to love, to a cast-away friend, to trial
mostly to error

and I do know that a friend is willing
to let you lean on his shoulder long enough until
you can walk alone
with your shoulders straightened out

I know there are questions between books in a shop
gulping of earl-grey and closing of eyes
questions that drag questions
about words, about the direction of wired tramways and buses

that are purple on the outside and gleaming silver on the inside
there was a new old friend with conversations about blessing
how finding a person can be a gift, like language
like humor, like a wave that breaks on the bay of the ocean

a few minutes before sundown

*Day three* 

The wind blows long and icy over the Puget Sound 
on the deck the click of my boots compete with  seagulls,
with hope in finding an old whale-fin 
that has lost its way and by chance ended up near the ferry-boats

there's a sensation unmatched for water, when for a minute
you turn to the foam that fills its surface
an instant of nothing, transfixed: 
no land in sigh, no need for moving 

yet float forward, because that's the only direction 
no whale song, no joy in looking at half-lapped
sleeping waves, not awake nor pleasuring 
for travelers who are too fond of land 

skyscrapers behind, I am tossed between wave 
and sky. This is the magic of water: it reflects 
a sky so blue is only as vast 
as the water that's right bellow 

soon, there will be land
a leaf that's fallen and crested red with envy 
brown with old age, this rage
to reserve is an act of preservation 

a live keeping of tree among goose
among deer that flee by sight of other humans 
this is emerald then,
balance in color

no one waits for  you when your steps are smaller 
to walk in the woods, you have to stop searching for foxes 

it rains when I am on deck again 
I tap my chest three times like confessing a bagful of sins I haven't made
nor thought of making yet
then I damn the minute other waters went inside of me 

never evaporating 

*Day Four* 


this little Rachel piggy went to the market, 
that little piggy decided to stay home by the ocean, 
this little piggy thought that oysters are better than Chinese
that little piggy had nothing to eat 

this little piggy went...
Oh! I miss home. 

*Day Five* 

How do we count our steps back,
do we stop moving altogether?
my feet find way in the midst of other runners
 motion breeds motion and the ocean breeds

smaller intersections of water
where the running ends there's an alley of grit
surrounded by long wooden logs
where the sea-lions and seal stretch for sun and sleep

where the children throw rocks of marble
atop the water, where the sirens will secretly
use desolate land to comb their hair and practice
shorter songs to the art of seduction

where I kneel and touch the breaking wave
too cold this surface that's been broken, spoken
sung so low, so slow like a woman who is waiting
for a long labor to begin

it has been five days, sleeping and waking to the wave
looking out for whale, looking around for information
for a fang, a fish, a siren
an explanation, a calmness, a vigor
a Beattles song, a hot cup of coffee, an old friend
an explanation, a calmness, a vigor

I bent over to touch the first wave, cold again
for five days
I wait by the ocean side for something,
it gives me nothing back.


Photograph mine, taken with a Canon Sx610

Sunday, October 9, 2016

She considers telling him

I could tell he did not fit into a checkbox
the same way he could tell I couldn't place either
our names betray us, our features
turn to bite our necks

but he was graceful in asking about the soil
that made me, not my mother's rib
or my father's tired eyes
it was land,

this attachment to city names
in smaller cities with bigger communities and less eyes
to directly look into your window without permission
I had allowed him the lookout

he had brown eyes
the kind of brown that tells a story
of a land not his own, in a land where he lives
tied to those who look and talk like him and me

where is home, we constantly ask
from privilege and badly conceived metaphors
answer with half-hearted phrases
a completion of previous understatements

he had thick black hair but soft hands
the same hands that let my blood freeze
instead of boil over: all we need is tiny reminders
here and there of people spread away from us

like wind-blown seeds
because the sounds in one person's throat
change with the formation of phrases
to understand, to make more

there's a story for every dance
there's a resemblance of those who left
making me unable to accept
what I know I have lost for sure.

My grandmother and the wristwatch

My grandmother refused to wear a wristwatch
she said that only God kept track of time in our lives 
marking these with a rising sun here and a wave pulled 
by the moon there, at its own pace

my grandmother refused to wear a wristwatch
yet often gave me ones on various occasions
because she believed we are not keepers of time 
but holders of pointers to make possible the days 

my grandmother refused to wear a wristwatch but gave me 
a few for the markers of my own time: 
childhood birthdays, a mixture of leather and barbie plastic 
teenage high school graduation a tint of silver for better years 

end of college, gold to wrap around the antique wrinkles I developed 
carrying textbooks that hid into the 'shouldn't' 
the art of hiding is easy to manage 
like disapproving glances that turn into a head-nod 

like choosing to talk in a tongue older women did not 
approve of because they didn't understand
that the skids in this language and that 
make me more aware of the pitfalls of the lies 

lifted between two cups of coffee:
one for goodbye and one for welcoming 
but this is not a story or a space for these thoughts 
it is a lesson in secrets of wristwatches

how we give undeserving people gifts that make 
them more deserving, just to keep time 
my grandmother refused to wear a wristwatch
but made sure I wore mine to know exactly when I was due 
to pay her a visit.   

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Dream-interpretation

I had a dream
I fell in yours, suddenly and was paralyzed by the fall
not able to wake up or even walk

I realize that dreams do not mean more than we clothe them, yet

she asked me,
said: I want someone to explain to me
what I have seen from within myself

sometimes we fail to understand our own selves

Joseph was smart and brave
seven cows eating seven wheat sticks
seven times seven, the perfect number

this is perfection: seeing beyond what we imagine when we sleep

he didn't need to say
that he stopped dreaming
when I started walking in and out of his arms

these are the ends of the beginnings: we run from what grounds us

earth shook but there was no quake
no major changes in the direction of the sun
just a few humans asking for empathy

knock once, knock twice at times sound takes too long to travel

like these dreams fished
with a hole in my nets
the more open it is,the easier the catch

but not everything that is open remains good
some goods fester and rot, somehow with overexposure
this is exactly why I have been falling in your dreams
like a rotten apple that needs interpretation to the art of belonging elsewhere.

Short-lived, this meeting

The meeting of homelands in rugged salons
where your face, your name, my features
become the common talk is always
short-lived, shorter than a passing cloud
that greets to move on to other lands,
how sad, have we ultimately become?

Orca viewing

On the ship's deck
they asked me to look close, but far ahead
I couldn't keep my eyes open for long
soon the waves were cold but the wind was icy
off the navel of the ocean

Nobility by the wave

There's nothing noble about it,
 the fact that I can afford to sit on an ocean front and write to you
 by the ocean side.

 there's nothing noble about how the waves lap and retract
they trail behind a light,
a tremor, a promise

 to begin again tomorrow.
There's nothing noble about disasters
 or storms yet we lend them our energy, borrow from
them the wind that keeps whirling around all of us.

This is how you teach a class

There are eyes that will look up to find your face
ears that keep trying to hear you speak
even when you do not pay attention, for a few seconds.

Variations on the word ill

There are so many ways to say 
you have no energy left in your body 
not enough to open your eyes or brave a smile 

yes, brave, a little action 
demands a lot of previous reactions 
that lead to it's acquisition: a light to a lamp 

a recognition of better days 
when it is sunny but you do not 
bother to look for the side on which the sun came 

to the world, light brings better light 
or that is the theory, 
isn't it true, darling?

there are so many ways to say 
your body rejects you 
like an ocean that has spewed up a fish 

that hasn't died yet
unable to accept it back 
to hold it, leave it, or pretend it was never there 

to begin with. You know you have seen 
the ways were wrong happens 
while you try your best, angle your hands 

to catch all the weariness in you 
without being too physical, 
without considerations of being 

mentally present in every single moment 
the way you hate a mispronunciation 
of your very name 

wronged once by your own
wronged twice by those who should be able to use 
it interchangeably like water 

to run the usual course
there are so many ways to say 
this body, like everything else, fights you 
but you manage to somehow remain standing still.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

They all fall

These all fall:

my hair, no longer thick drains away
my mother says this is called the eggplant season
when vegetation turns the color purple
that this is the season of shedding

the summer that said goodbye
before I could hold it in my arms
the hairs, the leaves for a better
budding. the lovers who left
the beloved who stayed
the times I count what falls and what stays hanging.

Friday, September 30, 2016

on the word prolific

There are many ways of saying
abundant. The first time you hear
this adjective you flinch,
how can we speak about grains of sugar

without spilling them apart,
one for the other, to back
each one its own sister?
this is what prolific is

an abundance of ways to say
you have enough tools to build
a foundation yet you choose to
pick your blocks over what has
already been dug up in earth
you are smart about the way
you conduct your speech
short and straight,like these
lines.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Half a song on the sea

There are too many fish in the sea
yet we still romance it
like it never brings disaster to our coves

there are too many shells
on the land, yet we reveire the hallowness
without realizing we have picked up someone's home

there are waves that feed
other waves that make the ocean
a little warmer but we do not feel anything on its surface

then there are those who are drowning
and those who are saved
many we do not know of or hear
overshadowed by the black line between whitling moonlight and water.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Silent and waiting

Do we read in silence
the same way we read aloud
I hugely doubt it is the same
where waiting ends and reality starts.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A day in Chicago

193 miles from Chicago
I lapse into a sleep that is disturbed
by familiar noise, a note breaking into laughter
another stressing importance of a conversation, muted to fit a bus

of half-sleeping passengers buoying through streets
pilled with burnt-out corn-canes spelling autumn
the other half buried under leather jackets, sharing size M&Ms
side chatter, side flatter, side flirtations

I wake up on the edge of the city
imagining- for a second-
that my thighs will transform into a graphic of a cartoon
these are the images that come with skyscrapers

on the loop, I look up, there's a sky
that is clear blue, passengers in the bus rising
for the click of the shutter
I fail at making mine, an understanding of those clicking away time

I have read it is husky and brawling
like a dog's demand for food from strangers
but the city doesn't demand much of me,
gives me food, a bed, images of the day and night

gives me time to comb my hair
time to choose my pan-cake sides
to ponder about a simple choice between
walking and running, between a crowd and my shadow

I run Michigan Avenue
without checking how a man's open festering
sores are his only defense against the ill winds
of the city, of the trail of a look from foot to knee

when I pause to look up I see it
the point where the sky meets the buildings
without objection they fit together:
man made towers to reach God, God made rivers to reach man

I race art for a feeling, between Monet
Warhol, Picasso are enough disasters
with smeared colors erupting in a second
blues, for sadness, lilies for health, greens for happiness

on the boat he tells me
it was called shikaakwa by the Indian who before the skyscraper
tried to reach the gods by the longest staffs in his tipi
never thinking that the staff would learn to bend on his back

a nomad is a nomad is a nomad and you cannot change

how we reach the skies in our own methods
but he also said that some stones of the city
were gathered, like the scattered fruits of earth
from the four corners of the universe

to reside in this very city, make a sky-line
for watchers, visitors, eaters of priced meals
thinkers across the green water of the Chicago river
he says a lot of things and I listen quietly

it is better if I don't open my mouth

later at night, I pass by the classic signs
of love. Two hands intertwined
a horse drawn carriage
a night that descends to clear way on loner beds

on top of a tower I see night falling over the city
alone, tilting over hundreds of passing cars
no one stops the traffic to see a head near a skyscraper's window
no one says I love you with a bright lit tower in the background

at eleven p.m. the towers look the same
the river, tepid water runs along

on the banks you think of the words of origin
chicagwaa, at some point meant Garlic
a name so small for a city
so big. Why garlic? hoarders for witches
devil devil go away,
devil devil here you stay
cries the nomad who took a staff, hammered it to earth
then said: this is home

one more time you think of  his words:
how a great fire made the way on both sides of water
how you want to tell him that fire knows how to jump a river
if it intends to burn but remain awfully silent, for reasons beyond you.


nighttime Chicago, taken with Iphone 5 camera

Three things

Three lines make up a Haiku
three dots of tomato sauce will make you change a shit
this is a trinity of odds, that make you
look

Rodeo

A month later the image comes to me
it seems I had been inflected by the announcer's
booming voice, the smell of horse hooves
tapping on wet mud, released long after captivity

this is why I had not been able to really see

A month later the image comes to me
a woman and a horse released from captivity
bear nothing to the wind except
hair flying in all directions without caution

this is why I had not been able to really see

A month later the image comes to me
a little boy grasping a sheep's neck
for a future show of strength
by clutching at other people's wind

this is why I had not been able to really see
mostly, I had closed my eyes to rest them for a few minutes.

Between two bridges in Pittsburgh

When the plane lands I open my eyes
all I see is the green treetops, so many
I lose count, what is it about nature
and trees?  this devotion

on the road he tell us of the wars
speaks low and slow like a used gas hob
says: these were three counties, two rivers
two people replaced by one, I nod

replace is a strong word
like steel, erected to overtake wood
history does not celebrate the victorious
it builds over the dead, that's all

the lambs have fallen silent here,
he adds, continuously referring to Gotham city
where superheroes live
I cannot stop wondering why we need a hero to save us

it is simple how drowning and saving works

like the wind I come with clean eyes
in a rush to eat up the trees, the land
the stories: there is a hunger in me
that had laid dormant for years

my house is on the hill overlooking
glass skyscrapers taller than my arms stretched together over the horizon
to catch the possibility of being so close
incredibly far from the same place

on other  houses, there is enough art
to keep a child happy for years
to keep the adults watching
the child

in her house she draws, a white whale
in a sea of green and blue-
trapped, he is, between ink and paint
with fury to humans for their ills

in their house they host
our loud chatter, clanking of wine glasses
I wave my hand around the salmon on my dish
ignoring vows about ripping open a sea's belly for my food

in the light, the shadows come and go by candles
in the light, ice-cream melts over my tongue

below us the two rivers will meet like the houses
but there will be no mixing of genealogy
just four hundred bridges
to keep connections open, bridges to cut the river without hurting its belly

bellow us there will be music, jazzy saxophone
words about exile this
oppress that,
chase the words out of someone's throat with a friendly knife make possible,

your dominance

away from my body, in the city park
the birds are not aware of what people say
they have too many feathers to block their hearing
of oppress this and exile that but we listen

raise a placard
for those taken by their own devices
ink and page:the only thing that protects them 
is the flesh on their backs 

seek asylum elsewhere away from the words
from those who read with a name longer
than their speech of origin, we are all mixed up
until we find where we chose to die

You raise a placard, black and white
for those who lost a tongue
lost an eye, a hand,
while you are ashamed at being fully human

you raise a placard
for the times you feared your life
for the times you declared I do not demonstrate
I do not hesitate, I do not do onto others what was done to me 

you sleep under the stars
with a head full of wine
and a faint song carried from the river
to the tips of your ears

a song that repeats the name on your placard
Désiré de-se-re
the one written about in passing like this in accident
Désiré a journalist, gunned down at 40 years of age.


Photo credit mine 

Monday, September 26, 2016

promises in a small room

This morning I promised myself honesty
for the mistakes endowed with sugar 

anxious awaiting, not a factor for funneling 
the end of a nightmare with roses 

there's a small room, big enough
for the roads that widen when I stand still 

I sit back in the evenings, on the window
I spread my clothes like silk I promise 

with vows and so many little expressions 
better aesthetics and less broken poetry 

I vow the eternal vows of women
to cut out the bread, keep the butter 

leave behind the carbs and the crap 
yes you read right, the things that make us smell 

envy: bodies thinner than our own 
made up and tight like solid giraffes standing 

I vow to excessive exercise
day in and day out- for what?

a child?  a continuation of our despair
but in flesh, things learnt from broken motherlands 

tired homes and beings unready to leave 
not willing to stay or listen or hold anything to their 

chests other than closed vests 
low-cut V line blouses

for what? a loss of waist measures to impress those who 
are not willing to grant a glance 

when the second glass of wine is full 
reeling down, leaving circles on the counter tops of bars

or leaving spots of club lights on the arms of dancing women 
unforgiving mistresses with husbands granted to night

returnee, for what? do we make promises from smaller rooms
do you think we can find comfort in bigger sized rooms?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

City of Asylum

Leave
these burns on your arms before you enter
the alleyways that make our city clean, brick-lined
curving letters on its wall

nothing asks you to carry
any old ruins, a country in the back-pocket
like a packet of gum
always sour in your mouth, losing taste after the first chew

you have arrived, stop carrying
that extra heartbeat in your chest

this is where you seek safety
in a wooden house built atop
the ruins left in one country:
a leg on one continent, a step in another

you do not need language
to express how the walls of a house open to host you

host all the empty prayers you made
for others to receive your luck
host the days of snow piling on your chest
that does not bear well with cold weather

but host the eyes of other humans
who take their candles inside to light your way down winding stairs

Leave
on the walls, the rights to speech
all the words composed out of fear
faith and frugality of a prisoner
shaking the iron walls of his cell

but you are free to open your arms
to green trees, four hundred bridges and a river

there is a duplication of things that flood your senses
even in your own home, where light fills the rooms

the ceilings of the house have windows
to let the light in, to let the noise out
you will sleep under the stars
at least you will sleep peacefully here

open your arms to the new colors
don't forget about the music, just be good.


photo is mine, taken at City of Asylum Pittsburgh earlier this week.


Sharper tongues

I speak in the name of those
who turn to speak on my name
like it is a speck of dust, maybe
this is our problem, darlings
that we do not know where and how
to place our words.

The price of fame

Fifteen minutes
they speak about them, an insignificant number of seconds
in your life, not long enough, not short enough to pile a change

like old clothes needed for other people
to be sold or given away
bit by bit

they say success follows you
like a trail of birds
from one corner of the room to another

this is the price of fame,
you lose your darlings before you open your eyes
and you see what you've built charred
by fires started with tongues of flame
wood and causal additions to old coals.

Monday, September 19, 2016

A lesson of the day

History knows how to set itself
on our shoulders, careless
to the fact that the clothes we wear are manufactured
by small, overworked hands

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Home-packing

Remember to pack along the following:

-Freshly-baked Taboun, smelling like babies
-kisses on both cheeks, a turning of heads
- Merenge on the rooftops of old buildings, the old bites the new foreign
-men who greet men, women who greet women, neither to greet one another
- A glass of Sangarias with fresh apples
- Different directions to prayer, God has decent ears
- my father acting out as an alarm clock, beeping, each time with a softer desperation for my wakening
- the flowers that open only at night, soaking the sunlight for fragrance
- Chai-Na'na', mint-tea, made with one spoon of sugar to keep to healthy eating
- the kid who died in an accident, the kid who was killed, the consolations that painted the town with their faces, like children who were lost but earth found them
- a pinch on my mother's slate cheeks, to make possible impossibilities
- a woman who asks when will I get married, for the fear of continuity grows
- your beard tickling my forehead in the summer, a kiss is a kiss


let's see, have I forgotten to bring anything else in my continental suitcase?

Saturday, September 17, 2016

By the Iowa river, I sat down

The Iowa river is dark brown, you look and cannot see the bottom
on the morning runs, I think to myself:  it will change color
take second skin, save face on the surface
in motion, the finer details never shape

Read the rest here: http://twopoetswrite.tumblr.com/

Friday, September 16, 2016

I speak of gazelles

ع كتر ما طلع العشب بيناتنا بيرعى الغزال"- طلال حيدر"
" For as long as the grass has risen between us, the gazelles can graze"- Talal Haidar

I.

And the grass has gone long, 
an inch between my calves 
irritating this greenery
I see around me

there have been no gazelles to graze 
to ease the sight of the fields 
coloring over the eminence 
of green 

I said I hated green, on me at least 
no blouses, no careful consideration 
of the affects of paranoia on a hushed 
afternoon

the shepherds have gone home 
to warm beds and women who keep 
the sheep and the children 
grazing

only I am left at the foot of the valley

II.

People speak of languages 
like two gazelles jumping from a bank 
to the other, careless to the water 

no one wants to wade out 
your legs would feel heavy with the weight
taken down, compromised 

this terror of words taking over 
the feed of the miles, the stupid things 
we can no longer share 
a re-heated cup of coffee

desperate single Valentines with no red
vowed like an eternal decision 
to deactivate a language 
let it die in your brain

this identity


III

He asks if noble causes 
can lead to a drink with a woman 
who is graced with short legs 
like a child's, she works on her strength 

test the limits, she raises her head
raises an eyebrow, horns, Khal filled eyes
No, she says. It is simple 
how quickly rejection turns into silence 

silence turns into arid, odd-shaped 
half-written letters that are addressed 
to no one, to the vacuum
that surrounds us 

we call air, this space we cannot explain 
she has answers this time 
but maybe next time, he should wait 
before he opens his mouth 

maybe timing indeed is good for growing wild grass


IV

I am struggling with thoughts of gazelles 
left out in the storm
my idol was a deer
doe and child 

narrating what I couldn't carry 
another way of thinking
falling diagonally, the minutes
mixed with cool water, like rum

downed only in the festive seasons
for the long hours of summer I have briefly 
left behind in a locker 
given one key over and lost the other 

to unthinkable roads, things I would never do 
again, had I been able to go back and count the hours
as they come one after one, 
a lie after the other 

here I am with gazelles, grass unmoved, long and all I can think of is 
the gradation of green in your eyes.