Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap year

This is the year where a month leaps into another
like a race that starts and loops into the same point

this is the year when a runner decided to join the queue
of those who hung their shoes for lack of good ground

this is the year when the text became the word,
the word became the tool that cut the poet's fingers first, then head

this is the year when the influence comes from outside
but the light finds its way from between the cracks

this is year when you reap potatoes in winter but take for granted
the harsh graze that remains after the carcasses stain earth

this is the year jealousy tastes like whiskey dunked
in a piece of cake, to add value, sophistication

this is the year of balance, learning to walk when
your leg only allows you a stretch of limping on crutches

this is the year where a month leaps into the calendar,
like a drop of water rippling then becoming the sea.

Intuition, anatomy of a woman

Cold ink, candy-coated surprise
the sheer defiance, she knew he leaves the door
for other women when she steps outside
a woman's intuition never lies.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Miss B

Today would be five years since I last saw Miss B, 
a tower inside the classroom opening the folds of a book

read aloud English words that do not sound gibberish 
to teenage ears, filled with hormones and rap

at fourteen, mine were stuffed with soft padded lyrics
a little of Frost's poem and Miss B's voice

that trails in the corridor with a whiff of her 
half Arab, half Persian perfume 

clack of her heels on the ground, we were into the details 
that allowed us to speak perfectly to work for something other 

than what we will receive upon leaving the room
vaporized like old detergent

this is how I remember Miss B, a hug on the doorway 
that had to give me five more seconds as a child 

stuck into what will soon become an adult's world 
of trying too hard to get into the same circle 

of reading Murakami in plain daylight
but this is how I will always remember Miss B

with stories she left in my lap
with a turquoise brochure at my desk 
that reminds me every single day that some rejections 
only aim to move us, like a bow to target.

Haiku for my thoughts

how about you write a haiku
takes not much of the time, load the images
it is there: a short sweetness, compact.

The A-Z challenge

A whistle started from the edge of the valley, rippled
beyond the scathing river that runs to intersect with
cries of wolves, buzz of bees and the running of mares
dancing with their footsteps, a wild rush

engraving their mark on wet ground
fast, is this desire to be quick
grounded, earth and elements
here you are ever present, capsuled in a minute

I have heard the call of the valley to join the morning
just as it breaks, a thousand shards of colors
keeping in, a renewed start, define hope-
let me, I hear nature sing as I wake

mindful to these variation, one must become mad
nothing in your way but wholesome, this desire to be
or to try and escape, the great fire, the small tide
planning helps, but mostly luck leads the way, these days

quit milling around for the smallest details, I tell myself for these will
remain intact like the smell of baking bread at dawn
stay here, I hear it again a loud cry that I sometimes imagine
torture, is this head of mine

untie my hands so I can draw, for escape isn't the sole prisoner's desire
value for victims is something I cannot understand
while I still think these thoughts of mine like my childhood's
xylophone, I tap the bigger parts for the smallest noise

you must think I am imagining, the silence, the speech
zone out of your sense, drive your heart to the valley at the foot of paradise, then you will know.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Food mourning

The soup today tastes like mesh vegetables
things that cannot be stomached on offer
since there would be no more flowers to your headrest
the useless taste of food when you lose.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Looking decent

You ask how beauty forms within
thirty minutes to get ready and you keep stressing that we are late
not enough time to put up the house together and look, decent
a crystal entwined in gold over a woman's chest

After awaking

The day you wake up from willingly closing your eyes
to debris that has fallen behind you; you will see
that the sky is still blue and the blue bruises fill
your thighs, your arms, your lungs.

Monday, February 22, 2016

A portrait of love on Valentine's day

The shadow of a rose
over a bucket, dripping

red petals on a subway cart
leading into a village, almost empty

read the rest here:

Two years in celebration

How can two years pass, unnoticed to the blank eye
younger eyes cannot spot the wrinkles in time
but can turn around flushed colors, a number of days in the notepad
still much remains to be scrawled, for many more years.

This blog turned the terrible age of two, so it is a poetic birthday! 

Photo credit: a google search.

Watch tower over the fields

The terrace was made of wire: iron clad railings on once
too soft a pad to stand upon, watch. Beneath the eyes it is all
green with no envy but with a hundred bees jumping from blossom
to another, there would be a donkey heard braying
there would be a whiff of foul-smelling water, rank
there would be a contentment that hangs long enough in the air
to remind us to look above us, no matter how high we are sitting.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


On the bed a stranger tonight, does not address me
nor does the statue talk, wish me well, just sighs
like the lines of earth have been plugged out and his plugged it
this is the nature of silence after long, heated speech
a backslash behind my name, a space on the bed.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Overhearing a parent scold

Do not break the flowers
touch the sky with your fingertips
then use a hand sanitizer

Do not spend the penny
then cry for the lack of food in your stomach
or the sore feet after a walk home

Do not cross the street without looking
first for others across the road, then
for delicate things, like bodies, lives

Do not talk to strangers at all
turn your head and pretend you did not hear them
then run

Do not eat unwashed fruit
even if it is delicious,
even if the owner never catches you

Do not climb high, or crawl low
your knees and elbows will heal
but the fabric will never be as clean

Do not drink, you will develop a reputation
that follows you like a bird
to attract words on words

Do not listen to my voice when it warns you
but listen to how it changes after you make the mistake
how shrill, how loud.

A dash of spring air

first, daffodils,
then blossoms,
then hurried feet, cameras
kids with bonnets
then birds start returning
when humans depart

spring arrives.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Childhood games at war

Wooden pallets for guns to protect a territory,
deflate another. Catch a thief without mercy,
this is mine, that bullet is yours,
captives in hostage, knowing of human shields
hiders to seek a safe place to leave our heads
sons of war, these were our childhood games


She grew, flowers first- in her hair
prints on her clothes, like a music festival come alive 
only the little child refused to comb 
her coarse hair, a pride, a joy 
lush falling, tangled up in knots 
for the birds and the bees- 
on the only occasion where the plastic rims 
kissed her scalp it was because of an affirmation of an elder 
only gypsies let ants sleep in their hair, darling 

a blunt refusal to see that the body can be urban 
but the soul will always remain a gypsy.  

Break away from: a phrasal verb

The first time I have learnt to identify
a phrasal verb was at the age of fifteen
I was a late-bloomer when it came
to a new language, leaving meaning to search me

for a nerve that could put to practice
what is learnt. This is a natural reaction
to the phrasal verbs marching in my head
i.e. the phrase to break away from

the desire to stay put and behind;
break, like become looser
like shirts that are wide enough for a body
that only wears cling-on tops

like freer, being higher in the sky
without needing wings, or feathers
a kind of explosive ripple of goodness
flowing onto your skin, like water

loose, could pave a way for loss
to cut out of the chords that tie you
together, become orphaned by
your own will and making;

a leap into a fit of refusal
a bout of nostalgia and bones
drowned by silence augmented
with fears idle tears

to break away from, to escape,
to be, to define, to learn to form,
to learn to mold, these are all strong
verbs with a tie only a free man can sever.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

on love, after Valentine's

Dilute red dye in your cup, wash it inside out
a beating of a heart in plastic, how lovely
you make your own hearts, out of recycled material
tell yourself, better cold than busy-
with every beat.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Litter philosophy

When the tench filled a London street, the sewage system
was invented, rewarded, saving the city from rats
in my city the rats mount the litter, run it in parallel
while the doves watch. A little litter hurts
only the one who smells it.

A biker's find

How many times can a person express
 a need for fresher bones, not borrowed

only received anew, like new skin,
soft baby body sprouting

a shoot in the wood, a reward
somehow. In the midst of a November

morning they would find it, like anyone else would
ant-ridden, conscious left at the village's entrance

a child wrapped with nothing but the spring of the valley
green, lean and able to breathe

the cause: an exhausted mother from labor
of shame and behind the trees would leave

a life unfolding, blood-soaked, she
would follow a footpath into the forest to weep

what brings this from my memory,
what takes me by shame and grips me at night

other than the biker's find, a changeling
caught between the rock and people's flaming tongues

that this is the shame I took upon myself
not to find, not to lose in labor, not to report

but to call for new bones when around me
children cry because milk ran out.

A note to address a loved one

What do you write to address love?
Three vacant peach pips in your lap:
honey, I have found the peaches and they were ever
so good, like all else.

Monday, February 8, 2016

skipping stones

The hardest thing the boy learnt
is how light the grip should be
before the stone is released to face the water

Don't you want to pray?

To the east without direction, you point your body 
point your lips skywards, when there are no clouds 
mutter your hearts most intimate desire 
or keep to yourself the chance of whisper 
against the tremor of things falling together or away
Don't you want to pray, you whisper, 
yes, I also want to listen without interruption 
to the sound of other people's breaths before they place a candle 
in a dark church, a temple, on the surface of the water 
or in utter darkness launching into daybreak
just listen.  

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Other lives

The mother writes to her exiled son:
the morning reminds me of you, waking up to study for exams
I hope you are well, folded between the wind and the longing 
towards home

the lover breaks into her lover
I hope you know how hard a waterfall
catches earth, each crash of a droplet
breaks even when it is beautiful

the silent sun breaks into the world
what thoughts do these sleepers lay 
before I wake them up by the start of the day
opening the doors to a good morning

here and there the trees begin to regain blood,
reign color, lush beauty. I sit still pleading
The almond has bloomed 
but where are you?

Saturday, February 6, 2016

This is a poem for men

This is a poem for men because 
even women have flirted too much with the ideas of womanhood

like body-parts, like weight plummeting in 
like desire lost between the loins of a fire, between the folding of laundry 

but I promised this is a poem for men 
not body-parts, not songs, not softness

the first time I wrote about a man, not to a man 
I had the image of half a brother, half a father kneading dough in the kitchen 

on an old house I am much too familiar with 
these days. It was the baking smell that woke up the words

I had wondered at how strength can be embodied
above a shoulder, behind an arm that lifts 

a twelve year old ballerina without a pas de deux
to have, to hold- now or later

an arm to beat the sugar in a bowl and another to sift through
experience and a long day of sweat and blood

not alien by different bodies, by faithless names
by grander gestures of interest, or cynical defeat

this is an exclamation of being lulled to sleep 
being triggered by the wave of a track of music

and yes, this is about bodies, skin upon skin 
eyes and ears, mouths and  smiles

this is a poem for the men who lifted me 
the men who loved me, the men who slept in me 
the men who left prints on my skin 
and the man who seduces me to sleep, on hope.

A teacher's birthday

Home made cake
beaten with love, three eggs and chocolate from the jar
a make-shift birthday to someone cared about too much
to be surprised: mother.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The hara, my street

How can you capture noise,
dust and pollen piling up on the way to work
almond blossom on the way home,
so much goes on in the little windows

Turkish drama, Arab food sizzling
it is this street that beams with the Athan, the call for prayer
at five each morning, carol of the bells
by the hour

this is the holiest city; of prayer in times
of sin in a parallel timezone
where the blue-set eyes like the Mediterranean
speak cosmopolitan in a paper bag

breathe in, breathe out the air
on the corner shop, an old man with a stick
restores hope in a paper cup,
when I ask about the change, he replies like the weather:
Bokra,  tomorrow, it will arrive.

A child, an adult, a dance

A floor is well lit, dim on purpose
but on the wooden marks between the bar and the candle-light
four feet, two small, too extra large and music
this is how we move now, children hand in hand
with adults, not related by blood
only connected by water.

Monday, February 1, 2016

An Ode to No-One

Like complaints, like red wine stains
this is an ode to no-one

a song to sticky, heavier items that
leave a mark, left, right or centered

this is an ode to vacancy, to space
that remains uninhabited even when it is

sullen with the songs of two-year-olds
or husky with the sound of sirens and wailing

this is a tune from here, to elsewhere
from elsewhere to here we learn of the many

possible routes closed before our eyes
all it takes is a kick in the head, a kick

in the stomach to feel the wind gushing
from the windpipes that whistled a legend

of a mill standing on top of a mountain
unable to know the end of the wind

this is a sonnet in disguise broken down
to the early bits of baby-talk, to the harder

bits of pillow-talk, a note to sleeping alone
in proper rooms or even in train stations

without coffee or companion to wake you
up. this is the state of no-one, encompassing
the rest of those who
have someone

Transferring energy

Like energy he moves thinking 
hope does not fade 
but it is transferred from one form into another 

The darkness, the dark night

inspired by a story from the book The Hidden Light of the Objects

Ten days she flew a red kite on the edge of the town
near the shore where the sounds of the buildings
falling didn't reach her ears
like stars in the night sky, this is the expectation of darkness
she walked with a kite heart into the fire
and the darkness swallowed her