Coming up from Aswan with his catch,
he tacks the course of his dhow
along the Nile of her dark eyes,
her long hair,
the narcotic of blue water lilies,
her lotus pose facing both
the rising, and the setting sun,
the young fisherman begs to know
as he sings upward with his might
and his desire, into the sail
that catches the crosswind--
What is your name, scented one,
in the smoke that rises
from the shores of the cataracts,
where I bring to you my bounty!
He peers into the azure above,
waiting for her answer to fill his sail,
calling out once more as his teeth gleam--
Ma huwa 'ismuki?
A Season's Echo of PassingRows of dried corn stalks bendA Season's Echo of Passing3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
with the wind that
thirsts for rain
that will only come when it has died
and the ears of corn cease to rattle.
And the thunder's distant laugh
will chase after the snakes
heading for their mounds on higher ground,
their husks abandoned-
the flash floods may yet pass them by.
Sensual Moon: Love Haiku1Sensual Moon: Love Haiku2 years ago in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
winter crescent moon
across my breasts—
he calls me wisteria
clouds under the moon—
yielding winter pears
selecting ripe persimmons—
warm scent of last night
green shoots forced
from the gardener's manure—
we linger, moon watching
on a moonlit garden path
too cold out to be tempted
6 our astrological elements
my air to his fire—
a position for
every phase of the moon
the sounds he makes
a night creature's song
after, my streaming hair
for his head to rest upon
the low-slung moon
also in repose
moon tides penetrate—
he's still with me
at dawn's first light
FringeConfused in the wind of a thousand daysFringe5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
that carries the muezzin's prayer
tremulous from atop a minaret standing
against the blue of nothingness,
ending with the tracer lights of ascending dusk
in the triple digits of heat
and the smell of blood and eucalyptus,
taking in the last of my breath with the
first of your kiss, you slide into me
and the white blossoms of birds rise with its scent
from off the slow current of the Euphrates-
the adrenaline rush finds a bullet puncture
meant for a nesting crane, and dissipates,
escaping into night that never goes completely
black from the brilliance of desert fringe,
while behind closed eyes comes the intense burst
of the color tangerine, and the drone of
dragonfly wings among the date palms, and an
otherworldly hush from the spillage of cascading sand.
He Found Me Before I Knew1He Found Me Before I Knew2 years ago in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
our reflection in the windshield
becomes a deluge
texting each other a renga—
on rain-soaked streets
home from work
he finds me on the bed
in a pile of warm laundry
the children we were
in another life
finishing the fence
he smells of wood chips
from my dad's workshop
I connect constellations
of freckles on his shoulders
I open a melon
its green perfume
at the dining table
writing this haiku
the fridge faintly hums
In Praise OfI cannot avert my eyes whileIn Praise Of3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
in praise of yours, striving
towards the clearness of your being,
across who's face dances the
blood-red, wine-flames of life
on its skin of gold leaf,
my breath bellows it into
sunsets of a citrus palette,
brushing all forms free of stain,
against which the melodious riot of
existence peals its flute notes
without ever leaving our presence!
Signing in KoreanSigning in Korean as rain fallsSigning in Korean3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
in another land, and within my mind.
A robe of cranes wraps around my
willow's body, following my every move.
I gaze through my fingers as they weave
and separate the rain turned to ice
with hands that flit and beat silently
on a petrified drum
through the constantly shifting air
from which snow will soon drift
with the flight of cranes
into another land, signing in Korean.
serpentPretending to be a lover,serpent4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
you come to me as a man
to the pomegranate tree,
blind sighted by your hunger
to taste of its
Now, a serpent transformed
with darting tongue
sniffing out the promise
of fallen fruit
split by crows taking flight
as you approach
low to the ground, unblinking
stare like tiger's eye
when I succumb the weight
of cool scales wrapping round
the membrane, smothering
rubies of luscious red with the
undulations of your legless crawl,
to the heady quench and thirst
between the spongy chambers
of bloodied pith.
craneo de un caballoSoon it was clear that the mooncraneo de un caballo5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
was a horse's skull,
and the air, a dark apple.
The gearshift shudder of
a heavy-laden truck fades,
all the while, the
sustained drone of bees;
past their prime and sluggish,
their wings cannot be stilled.
A dull glint behind the eyes
of a yoked pair of oxen,
standing at a crossroad
between myself and the fields
that bake in the August
of a Spanish sun,
waiting for the
hammer and anvil to sing,
for the echoing refrain
of rifle shots beyond
a stand of distant trees
shimmering from spent cartridges
in the waning afternoon
of your exquisitely curved spine.
Senryu of Spring Courting1Senryu of Spring Courting2 years ago in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
blue and gold are not just colorsshe had been blue-sightedblue and gold are not just colors3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
dawn cracked her forehead.
it was the dress she wore on his funeral
the color of her school flag
the shine in her father's eyes;
she waited in blue and gold.
no, she refused to set a bar
life didn't just come to her.
she earned her place
in her mother's womb
when each blood vessel questioned her
each nerve ending, if she could live
and each antibody, if she was worth it.
see, she doesn't need new dresses.
she has a memory
for each of hers in her locked closet.
she may not wear all of them
(and most she cringes at the sight of)
but her heart
every time bits of her old life
show unconnected dots
she forces back together.
yes, she waited in blue and gold.
but not for you
you threw a smile at her face
that was never hers to take
but you love your girls vulnerable
and you love your numbers copious.
there's a great chance she
hates those colors now
because everyone who waits outside her window
fails to notice there's no movement
welcome to wherever we aretwistingwelcome to wherever we are2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
our tongues in Gordian knots
choking out tropes
we jibber like metonymous
in a riot of blood sugar spikes
Smooth PebblesEvery swooning blade of grass vindicated.Smooth Pebbles3 years ago in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
The deep blue silence of a turning wheel.
A precise number of fireflies in the apples.
The coiled jealousy of all reptiles.
The palsy of a prisoner's first sob.
A tranquil sorrow in a dog's ribcage.
All faces obliterated from the moon.
Nirvana observed among smooth pebbles.
The slough of mountain summits in decline.
Every planet reprieved of its orbit.
The ecstasy within a mandala.
The space between spaces.
Honing the blade.
CometYou told me to be a comet -Comet3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
to grow new wings
and sit out on the roof
and watch the men gather
like seals upon the rocks,
their voices threadbare
warping the wooden pilings
underneath their feet.
You said I was a magnet -
north facing and truant,
missing my arms and legs;
while out in the street
the rain made the dogs go mad
and all the poets were starving
and swallowing their fathers.
You promised you would
take me back with you,
your charity in my pockets
and let me wash myself clean
in your lily pale whys-
my belly slit like a barbarian,
warm and inviting you in -
Both of us remembering
to lock up heaven's gate
and leave no traces
of our bleeding
or any silent sounds
our mothers could identify
and send to call us home.
Van GoghSlip intoVan Gogh2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the first vestige of
blush of a summer's
day already aglow
glistens, an aureole
of molten gold
as sunflowers puddle
at your feet.
crow comes courtingresplendent in a black glosscrow comes courting4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
of feathered robes...
crow's morning clicks of courtship
echo through downcast mists that
bead upon bowed shoreline willows
and genuflect in the wake
of his purposeful strut
one hesitant step before the next,
his head cocked this way and that,
listening as distant ticks
message back a reply-
the visage of his agenda
suddenly unfolds in a wingspread
that lifts above a watery canvas,
the guttural sound of pulled
stitching sends love notes receding
into estuaries, and ripples
where tadpoles skip and dart
beneath lily pads in the random and
rapid blink of each tiny vortex
MissionaryWhen he first saw herMissionary3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
she appeared unique to all things,
and the day they met, he already knew.
It was during their first time,
the way planets come and go
as time loses count of their orbit.
It never seems to end, then he
growls low in her ear as she swoons,
of how missionary will never
be the same for him again.
Witches MarketMidnight fell like an old black bird;Witches Market3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I meant to wait for you.
There were tables rich with
amethyst and pearls,
and fragrance by the fistful,
mint and petrichor.
I meant to wait for you.
You were gliding through the haze
with your knotted bag half full-
shadows flicked their tongues
above your knees;
you meant to look for me.
Moments ran like mice;
a silver pot, a cup of tea.
She stank of vinegar and thyme-
the hand was hers, the heart was mine.
Her iron eyes reflected flame;
she took my lungs, she took my name,
though you had meant to look for me,
and I had to meant to wait for you
amid the black salt and the brew.
Ash for the handle,
Birch for the brush,
Willow for the cord that binds the twigs.
duetThe earth is not perfectduet4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
in its circumference,
it wobbles and shudders
as it sings-
the pitched layers of
and deep molten throbs.
Each person makes a noise
that drowns out the sound
against a tsunami's push
or the tumbling thunder.
Do they ever know the song
before it's too late, will they
mute themselves long enough
to know the words.
When you and I are together
we quietly hum in hopes of
hearing it in tune,
of being a duet in sync.
When we can't, we touch;
the friction of bodies
become tuning forks
vibrating with the tides,
of bird and beast migrating
by the silvery tines of stars
to the music of our only home.
morningssunday.mornings4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the croissant crumbles in my fingers
buttery flakes drift towards mismatched
and your lips are stained with
sleep clings to your eyes
like a shadow
and i watch you breathe, while
i trace your collarbone with
we wake before the alarm
and count how many times the
neighbor's dog barks
before she finally lets him in.
your soft laugh blends perfectly into
the early morning sun.
your fingers trace the curve
of my spine
the old window rattles
in the wind
and i press my cold toes against your leg.
i mumble how the faded, flowery wallpaper
looks pretty in the sun.
you tell me i look prettier.
i tickle your cheek with my eyelashes
and make my fingers do
off your nose
and wonder out loud why
the room smells like oranges
[you tell me you ate some
for a midnight snack.]
unfolded letter having something to do with shameunfolded letter having something to do with shame3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
i was here, just now, and i thought of waiting.
but you won't come.
and even as i say these words, i know they must remain unborn
like busy blood the coffers keep.
these sounds are ways i cannot be, i don't believe,
i'm not alive.
but i'll arrange them, anyway, one by one
to be eaten by your oval minion
or blindly forwarded like propaganda.
i am always without you and without myself.
i offer this ambassador, but he only sees the stain of things
and not even this; just their emblems, their saltless confederacy
i've wondered if you're searching nights
for dark clad summoners, or silhouettes
for secret time, or skies
for anything to bruise the shallow quotidian
writhing, shriveling beneath your breast.
oh, please, would you find them out for me?
i think, in there, will be some piece you've left of yours,
a morsel of your pathogen
lodged between the teeth of space
to fondle and to sicken with.
i'm only solid now to share in your humiliant,
Of solace sleeping in today was the essence,Of solace3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
waking up the process of becoming singular
I want to end it
but I can't stop associating you with these images
: a season being flung onto the ocean, making a mess of color
there's an insect caught in my poetry,
trying to mend its broken wing
SiblingI can't quote a night's skySibling3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and do justice to its secrets
yet, sibling stars beckon.
They seem so close,
pulling veils of modesty
off each other
while I stand under the
echo of silence,
its light tethering my gaze
even though time had
snuffed them long before
I stood alone in its wake.
other shadesi want to write the grey things--other shades3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the underneath of bridges
and floors of public bathrooms,
nightmistakes hanging on
fingering through dull hair
and resting in wasted breaths,
spilling from streets, greeting
clenched teeth and cold hands
and numb feet--
the hollow taste of the next
morning--the ashes you swallowed
to look glamorous, and the hair of everyone
in every photograph before 1840--
the smell of buses pulling passengers
to more promising places--
faded faces turned restless
toward the flat-rain sky,
spaces between the railroad ties,
and dusty dreams