Monday, August 11, 2014


I shall pack my bags and leave.
I don’t know where.
I don’t know why.
But I know that I shall not be here any longer.
I pile new absences atop my old ones;
I shall sniff them one more time, and disappear.
The terrazzo shall feel cold beneath my feet,
and the stale smell of the peeling blue walls shall
part ahead of my sadness. The flaps of the doorway
shall embrace me one last time.
And you, you shall not be there.

I tear myself out of my life,
and seek myself anew.
I shall renounce myself.
I shall hone my solitude.

(originally posted on October 11, 2003)

Friday, August 08, 2014


No compromise.

When the final curtain falls,
I will come down in flames.
No half exits,
No hesitant escapes.

When the call comes around,
I’ll stay rooted in my place.
No hasty excuses,
No clinging to the earth.

I will take it as I find it,
I will gulp it as it is.
No syrup for me, thanks;
No god with a sweet face.

Tomorrow when I falter,
I will shatter with despair.
I will tell you where I have been,
I will leave without a face.

Tomorrow in the gallows,
When the sirens lose their voices,
When they tell you it will linger,
I will—enough!

Someday there will be none,
When tomorrow doesn’t come.

(Originally posted on January 24, 2006)

Thursday, August 07, 2014

I’m still not ready to leave

I’m still not ready to leave, but dare not say it to anyone. There are words behind my eyes still maturing, still not ripe for utterance. I have made a habit of keeping things to myself, but every now and again they weigh on me. Sadness is like that, it begs to be shared, to be spread like a cold. But I am resisting the decadent temptation, this once.

My throat is ready to leave; it is charred with exhaust. But something in me lingers, not wanting to pack just yet. More things to fold within: these congested streets, my backache, unwrapped endings, and the hesitation of what’s to come—I’ll have to pack them all. But I’ll have to unpack them first: lay them on the bed, fold them one by one—I don’t have much room.

But what to tell the dust coating everything and our lungs? What to tell the tired dust?

I shall return. Every now and then I breathe from a different nostril, and always gasp for air.

(Originally posted on April 14, 2007)

Wednesday, August 06, 2014


It’s time for us to exit
The stage and leave
The animals to shred
Their shadows

It’s time for us to exit
Without looking back
Turn off the light
Set the set on fire
And leave

It’s time for them
To cry our tears
To taste the salt
And the soles of our feet
And lick our spit
Off the floor

We shall burn in their retinas
Like the afterimage of a nightmare
We shall linger
Like the caustic aftertaste
Of regret

It shall burn
And we shall smile
They shall writhe
And we shall smirk
Through their moans

Spill me
Onto their gaping flesh
Like lemon juice
Bitter and bright
Scrape me
Off of their green skins
Like a dead dream

For we shall fester
Wherever they dare to smile
We shall bite
Like a ravenous hunger
They never knew

And we shall recur
Like a hallucination
Like loss
Like life

(Originally posted Aug. 6, 2004)

Saturday, August 02, 2014

"War" by Naomi Shihab Nye

"If this is what we studied for, 
heads bent over books in wooden desks 
engraved with the names of the dead, 
then I have a new feeling for subtraction.   

Olive trees, three acres slashed 
equals zero zero zero. 
That’s my address. The grade on my page.   

If this is the spectrum of pronouns— 
you kill, he or she kills, anyone might kill— 
then I speak a new language without them. 
Words rinse into one another recklessly— 
morning, wishes, windows, paste 
of kisses on a child’s warm scalp.   

If this is why we bow our heads to pray 
in the corner, by the iron stove 
so many years, forgive me. 
Forget words, posture, time of day. 
Blood aches inside my veins. 
Where did we bury Sitti? 
I will wait beside her stone, 
telling the same story she told 
of the river of waiting, how some of us 
fall into it and are not seen again. 
How some end up in another paradox 
with a changed name, Mahmoud to Mo, 
lost in small shops making change 
for gasoline. If this is persistence, 
who knows? I’m stuck in the corner of war 
that’s not even called war, pressed like a pigeon 
into a twig cage, my dry eyes flaming."

-from Transfer (American Poets Continuum)