Sunday, July 31, 2016

The hills, not white

Hills, she infered, remind her
of white elephants
of rounded bellies and stone lungs

this is the city where the hills
make the shape of another element
no high surfaces

he sat here, in this very tiny room
where books line the floor
to imagine other cities

white elepants, raw bones then a pistol
thrown in the head
because the world is too much

at times, but here,
the words slow down,
the memories like white elephants move slowly

in this city, the Seine is blue
the hills, not white

reaping time

without passing the field
she thinks of how the land changes
it is time to reap plantation

thinks a tree that has born the fruit
will at some point have a dog
pee at its feet.

Not me, not my house

Imagine you are sitting on the balcony 
past midnight, a cigarette between your thumbs
slowly, the city becomes a mesh of light 
owl-hoot, men coming home from dating other women 
without rings on their finger. Imagine a night 
normal, without expectation. Imagine as you are sitting 
you hear the cry she makes as her skin is marked 
with shades of the rainbow. Imagine yourself sanding up
dusting your pants of leftover ash, walking toward the door
imagine saying: not me, not my house, not my family 
not real, the sound of a volcano 
letting lose its lava. 

The finality of letters

You said, do not get attached to a bird
what he leaves is only feathers, on your desk

waste in your room and flight images in your poems
he will be scared, sleepless most nights from other sounds

like a dog howling in the distance,
or a star that crashes to earth with promises

of other lover, higher skies
he told me not to love a bird

what use is a feather
when tears make up the ink

do not love or write a letter
of the words that reflect sentiments, he said

like a mirror that's been cracked from
being used as a doorstep, to defer envy

to the doors. I sit every day and watch the sky
for a marker of better weather

a stream of clouds, a touch of sunshine
a flutter of his wing, sore from long distance

with the pen in my hand I will begin a letter
that will speak about various ends, connect the threads
How can I write you a final letter
when I cannot read my own handwriting?

my anger, a stone

Like a stone dropped in a lake
changing the weight of everything
making a move is this sentiment for you
anger, by another name.

Thursday, July 28, 2016


This year, the bags have been packed
I anticipate a similar feeling, like home
like abroad, one too foreign by blood
into water. this is the war of distance
I am more myself than anything else
but the winds have been blowing to
take me elsewhere, to shed old skins.

Monday, July 25, 2016

What I caged

Speak louder asked the breeze
I blink
I cannot say I have power to use other people's tongues
to release what I caged myself.

Little boys, grown men

For S, who doesn't know this poem is being written with him in my head

For a week I have been thinking
how little boys can grow without a mother
to teach them how to break an egg
to kiss their knees when they get scabbed

all I can think of is they cannot
a boy with soft brown curls cannot
sleep hugging a shadow
as you comb out nightmares from his hair

I know you will try
a dad is a dad is a dad
but the touch of sand is never
the same as the touch of silk

for a week I have been thinking about how men
can lose an arm, a leg, a house
but not another who contains
all the parts necessary for them to grow

from young boys into other men
who lift the boxes,
buy the eggs, the bandages
who sign at the end of long, complicated papers

same documents no one else has the time to read
because the food might burn if its left unsupervised
for a week I have been thinking of men
who live without a wife, without a lover to hold

who are forced to merge both silk and sand
to assure the creation is pure, like glass
a dad is a dad is a dad
sleeping alone on a bed for two, yet a dad is a grown man

plagued by memory of  fire binding two souls,
a man is a man is a man
I can see, you will not remove a woman from you
like another ring taken down in face of shredding skins

for a week I have been thinking of little boys
of grown men, how they cannot forget
together or apart: her smell, her short-cropped hair
the way she slept on her left side when she was pregnant
maybe, it is a test of will,
this process of growth
from little boys to older men.

Turning the cups

On the verge, the seer turns the cup
a couple of coffee drops tingle down
then she speaks, of devils, wars, good things
like how eyes can be less of a metaphor
more, of an actual way to stare

he was 16 when he heard her oracle
that at 60 he will start counting the minutes
like grains of sand, at sixteen
he stopped drinking coffee, he left the cups not turned.

Silence is always late

breaks over my head when I wish it most but never arrives on time
it is late when I pour my milk on the cracking cereal
it leaves the door open when the cats screech
it doesn't justify itself once a tear starts falling
nor saves me the pitfalls of speech and breath
when I need it most, it evaporates like dew on sunshine
because words run faster than pausing to hear
what others say, what others do not
yet, it knows the way without me begging
This is the case of silence,
arrives shortly and stays for the longest time
like when someone presents me with a head
without a silver platter, a child is slaughtered to be presented
to God, somehow.

Don't wonder, watch your step

there's no need for wonder
if you pass by his window
of his thoughts, the window is shut
you are outside, watch your step. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

but in Paris

To say, one jumped inside of a book
without tapping its edges or wetting its ink
is an understatement, but in Paris
you walk, the book, unveils

Palais De Garnier- The Opera

Chant, chant,
angels are made of musical notes
gold and bronze their wings,
soft, the glaze over their eyes

chant softly to the time of chandeliers
that stand tall ,erect to the test of time
to break, we can, to call
to conquer, these high, round walls

Callas, the songbird, did not die on the scene
but released music into space
like a hundred doves
fluttering their wings at once

on the stage, wood against wood taps
a ballerina rotates to the sound of Tchaikovsky
while a swan prepares to fold its wings
on a song of its own making

over the stairs I see the shadow of his reflection
in gleaming eyes, a man full of love, full of loathing
to others, plants a red rose in the heart of a flower
hear, angel of music. He's here, inside my mind

present and not present, a tale told,
of screams disfigured, made to sound goth
painted with gold, the ceiling, the walls
paved the walkways with chandeliers lit for other people

while he lurks in the dark
leaving me winding stairs to climb, I walk in the phantom's shadows
a Christine with another name,
 as long as angels hold the doors up
I will continue to walk
into the garish light.

The Louvre

A pyramid made of glass
reflects the sun, no graves
a pyramid of inverted glass reflects the rain
heat that emanates indoors

in the corridors, statues,
of grandness speak and of God
of gods enshrined into other beings
by the beat of a wing, a floating fly

Psyche was kissed here
I wasn't, I stood and watched
the turning of centuries
on the face of a statue

she shows her bosom,
her sister pinches in discovery other people's body parts
while another woman laughs
with her eyes watching the passerby

in a flash you will see it
in another you won't
that fine line between what man made
then what became art, solid

the gardens will promise of something else
order above all
beauty, nothing too abstract
yet a space full of life and the past

Thursday, July 21, 2016

like chicken, like violence

Like a chicken prepared for a feast
stuffed with great seasoning, to be roasted
peppered, once, twice, thrice
I think of her, the woman
beaten, sprayed, spared
still able to speak long after his hand gutted her voice.LI

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Hear, oh hear, here, you feel privileged
walking inside the head of a king,
who loved mirrors more than he was willing to grant
a glance to the woman he married

like all men,he glided in the halls,
swiftly as if by magic, dusting
of chandeliers in promise for a life cut
out by the revolution of the sick and the hidden

raging fists that never found a hand to hold
an oil-lamp to warm the bed of a hay on which
the wrists rested, using one name
for three hundred faces

hear, oh hear, here lived a queen
who had blood the color of water
ordering  biscuit in exchange for hunger
adding sugar to a mixture that had no flour

because stomachs lined with butter
cannot tell the difference between
a good fruit and a bad seed
so buttering becomes an answer

Between the trees,
there's music, classics played in honor
of those who listen more than they speak
relatively a few

hear, oh, hear
here was the agreement that ended a war
that started around the world because someone lit a fire and
didn't know where to go with its flames

hear, oh, hear
the rich lines of rustle of trees,
the golden embroidery on the wall
reminds you of the heights reached
before an ominous fall
masks drop, kings live and die,
the architecture lives to tell the tales, all of them.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Here, fell the first martyr,
this is what the hill promises- I didn't know

I knew others died for freedom
now lived into exposed skin, full fledged rights to talk

preach into others that the distance between God
and humans is the same distance between two fingers interlocking

yet I walk the hill in search of a golden sacred heart
a locket clicked in a perfect moment

a statue of a lady, mistress, songstress
Montmartre, place of the arts, streets winding

lined with cafes, with tourists pretending they do not
understand that history can be replaced by a paint-brush

dreams of Dali make the ground shake with streaks
of blue, yellow, red and white,

colors of the values we learnt as we danced
over the misery of others to the sound of her tears

Flamenco-lady, with bruised breasts
shriveled veins, she is a legacy of failed love and unbroken

sex-clad names of faces of the city where another songbird
slept, under the skies of Paris,

taught the windmills to spin,
red,red moulins, can-can  dancers

here, the first promise of stardom
compact, like a hundred stroming battles at once

this is Montmartre, gathering of sacred hearts
around a pit-fire of colors, smells, promises
to rise, to rise, to rise
when still married to the past.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Thoughts on top of the Eiffel tower

From above earth, thoughts, this is the manufacture of man
steel, death, other things sent up into the sky

we used to send our old prayers, our tears
now structures, buildings, defying nature and other manners

up in the sky, my heart sinks,
for the dreams I had compacted like money in my socks

there goes the sights I haven't seen
there goes the man I haven't yet told I love

atop the tower I do not wail for what I have done
nor whisper what I haven't, I just stroll

I think of women who dedicated their lives
to others, as usual, but some to the tower itself

sent men, husbands, children
received back notes of vanishing dreams

here, where man meets the sky,
Paris becomes a slow-motion roll of rain, hailed

into  clouds, pick-pockets, children who do not think
I am able to read their words, their enthusiasm

the way a bird eye reads the scenery
but I can, for better names, for faster tongues

I read, a family, happy
a tower of steel, like many women
like my heart,
beating to a rhythm that's exclusive to the heights.

photo copyrights are mine, taken earlier this month in Paris, France. 

He asks of my lonesomeness

On the bridge, he asks, intermittently
were you not scared of your own skin,
of being one person, one heart, one head?
I tell him I don't fear lonesomeness
but like him, I fear
the repercussions

The beggars of Jerusalem

This is a city smaller than two palms stuck together
in prayer. I have seen the men clean off the dust 
on the streets more times than I was able to count 
the steps taken toward a statute, a noise, a floating illness 
that's in the air. I have lived this city without asking 
an ant's tale, without realizing that the people who have 
passed the gates are remembered for all the sins 
they have made, not for what history wrote of them 
mighty men, conquerors, hoarders of treasures 
hand-crafted scarves and maidens now seen 
dancing with slashed  silk dangling on their bellies 
once too pregnant by stories. I have seen three candles lit 
as the call of prayer rises, as if from spices piled
with efforts of manufacturing a round olive into 
a memorabilia, hold on to this city, Jerusalem 
oh, holy, never let go of the fact that it will not 
know you, will not lend itself to your kindness.
This is the difference between living and inhabiting 
grander cities, I see what you cannot feel 
it is this plain, these streets, these old tiles.
On the corner of the mosques I see him 
nestled in a bunch of rags, a beggar I know 
by the rancid taste of Da'wa, well-wish for my day
before I pass him I come to think that my city
stops my breath slowly, 

 In this city I do not 
know of my neighbor's name any more than the beggar 
on the corner knows mine when I pass by. 

trees, roots

This life tires my bones, all this standing
said with a clear voice, green
the tree to its roots.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

This is not a balm-your-sores-poem

This is not a balm-your-sores-poem
when you step to dance, freely with a man hugging your shoulder
that very night, a blast blows another city,
one you had walked a few days ago with your soles, empty of slippers

the very next morning, you are asleep
shifting between a dream and a pillow,
your cover pulls down slowly, in a flash
you fail to see it in the name of pleasure, faithfulness

you dislike your features,
the nose that's too big, revealing an ancestry
that's eastern, but never specified
an hour later you will hear of failed nose-jobs and think twice

at lunch, pepper is served
on the plates enough to make you cough
to make the woman scream in pain
the one whose husband poured the spray onto her eyes, her face, her soul

how, you will question
do the days end, but with another sunset,
another murder, a rape, a deflation of the will
to wake up next day?

I will answer you, I do not know
this is not a balm-your-sores-poem
this time I do not know if the words can stay
or if they have the same effect on my bleached skin
now that my heart is sore with the chemicals
when all that surrounds me has gone into smoke.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

when you panic

the ponds are closed today
in the water jumped a frog
that forgot it could swim

This is what my mother knows

that it's dangerous to walk the night streets alone
for the cats that lurk in the shadows have flashing eyes

that it is not a white lie but a white burden to love
two men with only one heart

that if a nickle is turned facing upwards or downwards
it still is a good find for rainy cities

that you only live youth once but that once is enough
when you spend time, unwanted, in love

that strangers can have harmful red-candy
dangling dreams but that they can buy you medicine on your worst day

that your old socks can become good window-cleaners
old life deserves second chances

that a sigh sent into air comes back to your lungs
only in a sweeter song, a luminous shape

that three friends are better than two
when one of them moves or falls into their own self

that your utmost fear is what keeps you to your feet
like catching the last train out of the city

that she, my mother, refused to tell me this
but she knows I know by my eyes

A stone rock on the way

You are my rock
I am the dust on your shoulders

We break, continuously
in our prayers from light to light

a little piece of spirit,
a cup, a bottle,a word said

I make of you a centerpiece,
on a lamp-side table, like a book to read

I stand and reach my arms open
toward where I place you, in a center

but when you roll toward me,
I keep away from this mad course of yours
I didn't carve myself
with fire to become a pebble in your way.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Fireworks, noise

The sound of fireworks tonight
fills the sky, with color
the night birds shriek to one another
confusing color with day-light.

Street-corner rain

The street corner here, is filled  with the tapping
of slow shoes, children dragged by their mothers
in tantrums, for more reasons of joy, ice-cream cone
that costs three meals in another country, or a pair of slippers
for another cold boy. Sometimes I wonder
why these streets are wider with pavements
isn't a street just a passage?
on the corner, sits an artist, who leaves paint cans open
dripping yellow paint on his shoes, on the hairs
of a girl who sleeps in rags under direct sunlight
in luxurious apartments I have seen people praying for rain
in the midst of a summer that seems endless
on the street corner I pray for rain,
to have and hold a mother's tears from paining the rich shoppers' mercy on the street.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sometimes, water

Sometimes water saves us,
from an impeding cure
from a disaster or too many emotions
take a plunge in roman waters with me here

Folded corners

Dormant in me lay,
these poems and an old picture of you
with folded corners.