silly grown-up (2014)

today even the sky refuses
to see that sun stands behind it;
that sun shines all around

doesn’t sky know that all he must do
is to step his Self out of sun’s way?

~

last year’s trash comes loose from street-side icebergs
i walk, careful not to get my boots wet

eyes looking down,
my Self, growing ever larger

because i refuse to see what is all around

 

behind me, someone chants,
something eerie, but something familiar

 

i listen more closely:

rain, rain, go-a-way, come-again-another-day
rain, rain, go-a-way, come-again-another-day

~

silly grown-up! have you forgotten what it was like
to be so small that surrender was no choice;
to be so small that you knew you had no control?

the little girl isn’t happy or sad,
she just is

who are you, to feel the world on your shoulders?
tell me, who are you?

the little girl isn’t worried or anxious;
she holds momma’s hand

with momma there, gloom is simply gloom
that will go away,
that may come another day

but momma will be there!

~

whose hand do you hold, silly grown-up?

tea steeped too long (2014)

tea steeped too long becomes bitter
fruit ripened too long makes waste

a candle impatiently pushes his covering out of the way to join his wick in union with sweet air,
only to drown in himself and die

~

i can never be worthy;
i can never thank you enough
i can never wholly appreciate the gifts you give

~

how can too much love engender hate?

 

when love is scarce, i breathe more deeply to take you in
when you give me some, my hands join in thanks of their own accord;
my spine strong, in harmony with you

 

but

when it doesn’t end,

when you are too kind to me,

 

i fall

 

into inertia, unmoving
my eyes vacant
my heart, inflexible

~

i hate me

this unbeautiful, ungrateful
child

 

i try not to go near you,
because you remind me of everything i am not,
everything i can never be

 

i don’t call your name
i don’t ask for your hand
i don’t journey to your house;
i lock myself in mine

 

if i move an inch i will bump into you
if i see a mirror, i need avert my gaze

 

i hate me when i am not like you;
this unbeautiful, ungrateful
child.

i never saw you before (2014)

you have always been here,
but i never saw you before

though i searched for you;
i looked for you

 

have you always been you?
have i ever been ready to see you before now?

 

a season comes, as it should
a flower comes up from the ground this season,
like none before, like none before

 

have you always loved me this way?

have you been waiting,
for me to see you?

 

a rose blooms, as it should
a lover unveils himself
this season

like a star whose light reaches me today after years of existence
like a fragrance that begins in one corner of the house and spreads slowly throughout my body
like a seed that awakens in opaque soil, only to suddenly emerge
like a crystal that forms not a moment after i pull my waiting eyes away

 

you have shown your sign

 

listen to your heart, they say
let it guide you

 

which part of me sees you, feels you?
which part of me knows you?

 

you have known me a long time
loving from near, loving from afar

i cannot say how, but i remember you

 

i close my eyes to see you

i enter my heart
to meet you

agra (2014)

my feet carry me down your path
i don’t stop walking, though i know i will never reach your end

i walk to agra
i walk in agra
around me, the city continues to grow; to intensify

i am in agra but i will never know it all

i am in you
but i will never
know
you all

mountain king (2014)

we set out to meet our maker
in the valleys of setting sun

we followed an empty road out of the city
and drove until all warmth melted into snowy plain

like flagships in gloomy distance,
the longer we looked, the more appeared;
subtle crowns on foreheads of sky

then around one bend, we stopped breathing:
he loomed, terrible king of the sky,
pulling us ever downward, drawing us ever more near

we had no choice but to go to him,
terrible king of the sky.

mountain spirits blew chilling winds in circles

we see youuuu              we know what is in your heaaart

we faltered, we went forward; we could not move, we tried to turn back
— all the while he watched us, terrible king of the sky.

~

mountain king, bone of earth,
ruthless, ever-present

you have seen me and I you

mountain king,  your spirits call,
death,
in the valley howls.

deepen my cup (2014)

i had enough but i asked for more,
a little more
a little more still

you obliged silently, filling my cup to the very top

~

what danced inside was love, was light;
a thousand rubies all melting into one.

i am brimming, i said to you;
i cannot take any more of your light!

please, deepen my cup so that i can hold even this much of you in me

please, open my pores,
my cells
my eyes
my every hair

so that i can breathe again.

~

the blooming chalice,
the rose and the wineglass,
how similar they look!

why give myself of sorrow; why try to empty my cup?

in the waiting on edge, in the unrest of too much joy,
you will grow my cup, when you want to.

show me who I am (2014)

Today I smooth out my dress;
I comb my hair and apply oils

I want to be so radiant that you cannot bear to look at me

 

Will you be my mirror?
If I look into you, show me my beauty

 

How much of me is lost in translation
How much of you, revealed in my reflection

You are nothing without me
Only a servant
Waiting to be called from the wings

 

Show me who I am

And I am gold!

~

Husniya, I will name my daughter;
Latifa, I will call her; my love

What comes from me should be me
Should be beautiful as me
And more heartbreakingly so
Because she will be you, too

Husniya, I will call her; Latifa, my love!

May she never need to look further than herself
To find me.

~

(I use Husniya and Latifa to loosely correspond to “beautiful” in English.)

come into me (2014)

what is this relationship we have?

all i have to do is keep myself open,
relaxed,
and you slide yourself quietly within

you are so gentle with me;
i don’t feel your arrival until you are well within my blood;
until i am ready to receive you

then suddenly i become aware

you have come!

you are here!

~

if i am speaking, the words are yours
if i breathe, the rhythm is you

i become a vessel
through which you manifest

~

if you want to write, i hold myself out as your pen
if you want to dance, i keep myself loose to take on your shape
if you want to breathe, i rise and fall for you

let me be your hand, your face
let me be your eye, your foot
let me be an extension of you

~

come,
into me.

we broke free (2014)

disenchanted with the tarmac we knew so well,
we began to run.

something made us feel that if only we ran into the horizon
we might somehow vanish

into infinity,
into a point.

we ran so much
we ran so fast

we looked to the left and right

and suddenly we were
higher than before,
feet no longer gripping ground

we began a steady ascent
breathing more deeply the longer we looked,
the higher we flew

we began to dream
forgetting the city of our departure,
holding steady, getting to know,
until in one hail Mary push

we said, we’re not ready but it’s time!

we broke free of the cloud!

gasping for air,

finding there was no need to breathe;

we were imbibed.

we have never been more close
to the sun; it blinds us.

our pupils shrink out of humility;

we lower our gaze
to see even more beauty.

atrium (2007)

Before time there was
only my shell and

pulsing

inside
the fleshy vacuole inside where,

pulsing,

I waited to see what time would
hold for my fluid existence

suspended in what I now know to be
the atrium of blindness where

pulsing

I could see blindly      only
what sights were created for me       especially,

the cosmic particles floating quietly
overhead in the gleaming red

pulsing,

the dazzling
lights which marked time,

but not the passing of thousands of years
in the lit sky

pulsing,

in the globular kind of
entrapment, meant only as a harbour
before the unsettling waves of the outside

in this atrium was my shell, my lungs shell

pulsing,

in this atrium was the continual gloom
and sticky comfort of being held close,
closely held by the strings of an internal universe,

held here for an unknown duration, blindly,
so that I could know the

pulsing

raw reds that were,
before the greens and pinks of my Mother.

search not / simply give (2014)

search not for perfection in the one you love
unless that one is the One.
search not for anything in the one you love
simply give, simply give.

that One is the well
if you look down into it, you see yourself
a perfect self, so beautiful
that you have to turn away.

if I could love him to such depth,
I might turn away from myself and come around again,
anew, the most beautiful,
a droplet in the well of the One.

beyond the summer season (2014)

do these feelings recur only because the tree has not yet borne fruit,
the seed has not yet matured, the rain has not yet made the earth full?

or is it something more?

if i am love,
will i last beyond the summer season, beyond ripeness,
beyond the harvest moon?

is it possible for love to live longer than a season
without becoming rigid, without dying out,
without encasing itself, lying dormant until the next spring?

is it possible that i will resist being carried,
a fluff on the wind,
and instead allow something to catch me,
ground me,
keep me here?

the holy book (2013)

Have you sat down with yourself lately; have you opened yourself up to yourself?

Have you read yourself like a Bible, recited yourself like a Quran, known yourself like a Torah?

You are a holy book unto yourself, and each reading surfaces a new interpretation; a new dimension. Is this not what it means to have a living text?

The answer to everything is within you, and everywhere you look there are signs, signs that tell you that you are exactly, and only, the book and the reader unto yourself.

bedouin (2013)

I am a Bedouin. I travel with only the clothes on my back, seeking a place to rest my head.
Why am I not worried? Why do I not feel anxious? What will happen to me today and tomorrow?

Everywhere I look I see the terrain of my master. This earth, these trees, the stars and navy sky.

Everywhere I go, I am in the realm of my master.

I walk across deserts and over dunes and still I never leave the palm of his hand.

you have already loved me first (2014)

i looked up from washing my hands, and
for a moment
i glimpsed your face in my face,
you, in my eye

i see you everywhere
but where are you?

in your love my shuffle becomes dance
in my every step, you are my audience
i don’t go north or south, east or west
but i move in all of your directions

am i in you
or are you in me?

am i you
or are you me?

i press my palm to your heart
until i feel you are holding mine

everywhere i go,
i am in your house

every time i love,
you have already loved me first.

it feels like spring here (2007)

a spring of creamy butterfly wings beating joyfully
beating joyfully on the beating walls
of your stomach beating with joy

a spring of sudden wind gusts
that rush up behind and
with gusto, sweep you off your feet

a spring of a sun reborn
awakening earlier with each morning
less and less eager to depart

it feels like spring here

I feel the butterflies
in my stomach, anxiously
waiting for you

when you lift
me off my feet I hear
that gust

the sun lingers but
time hurries by,
as if to compensate

it feels a lot like spring here
with you,
with spring

to be with you (2007)

to be with you, be would the passion
that I’ve been for searching years for

you,

be you with me too, please, afraid I
not, to beg since my pride melted and

you,

will love me too, for every life and each
moment I together have unearthed with

you,

because still stand clock hands when
told to, crawls by time when asked to, by

you,

and beats heart richly than before ever
life in, next to, beating too, heart in

you.

all of my doors / your season has come (2014)

your touch has undone me;
your caress, my key.
in your absence i gather myself to myself,
a blossom shy to bloom.

i want it to be you, you, you,
you beside me, your fingers embracing my throat,
your thumb following the fragile sinews
to their inevitable union with the base of my heart.

the heart of my body listens for yours,
echoing beat for beat.
the heart of my heart spills over from its cup
trickling into places i never knew i had within me.

this heart is knocking
on all of my doors,
open up!
your season has come!