Tuesday, May 31, 2016

picking at random

in five minutes
I'll book three restaurants in a city
I don't know, based on stars and dollar signs.
I'll hope for the best in Burmese
French and Mexican plates.
I want to go to sleep now
but I hear that you can't get a seat
in a restaurant without a reservation,
somehow it makes me think that
you need to make a nine month reservation
to be born on this earth.

Monday, May 30, 2016

boot camp

no, I am not wearing combat boots,
I am not grunting as I run up a hill,
my backpack thumping on my back,
nor cursing under my breath.
this is flute boot camp, my breath
taken away in less than 5 minutes,
I am hoarse from the effort and I
am called to do more,
I move towards the flute reluctantly,
cursing my commander,
a tall South African wearing flip flops
and shorts, it would be laughable
if it weren't so hard.
i'll wear my slippers and pajamas
and go back to it then until
the flute falls from my lips,
I will be back tomorrow.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

away from the crowds

I am one of them,
an individual forming a crowd and I
crave to be away from them, to hear a stream
trickle across the field, to smell fresh manure
and see mountains in the distance.
there are no  unoccupied million dollar houses.
there are no cars,
no people,
only some calves suckling at their mother's udder
and horses running wild, their manes lifting
with the wind,
the same wind blowing through my hair
the same wind pushing me back 
only the sound of bike tire rolling on 
pavement am I responsible
the horses do not even lift
their heads from the grass.

Friday, May 27, 2016

On the way to Gunnison

it rains, snows and hails
the clouds billow over us, every changing
from threatening black to white, some blue 
sky peeking out, always the rolling green hills
or tawny brown, majestic snowy peaks
rising up above us.
I doze on the heated seat, my love's jacket
wrapped around me, my head pressed against
a rolled up jacket, the sedation of a humming
engine, the vibration, the road disappearing
under our wheels.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

the best teacher ever

we both cried.
we won't breath in the same stale
classroom air,
we won't fill the same room with 
trills and vibrato.
the best teacher ever is leaving us
he'll be in a different room breathing
the same air as a different set of students.
we loved each other.
sometimes love must be at a distance
each breathing their own air and 
playing their own melody
only to criss-cross in a duet sometimes.
not as much, but maybe just enough
to remember the generosity of
every week of every month
of so many years.
I cried and tears squeezed from
his eyes.
the best teacher ever,
I will miss you so. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Seeing Double Brainspots

I wasn't wearing my glasses,
the ones with prisms so I watched the end of her
pointer split in two as each eye
quivered in a different place
like a schizophrenic in two different worlds
battling for supremacy,
the crazed or the sane.
her face blurred out half the time
and the pointer wandered in its own 
boredom, our collective boredom.
the revolutionary new therapy will help
erase fears of fast moving cars,
there must be some reward to my

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

he explained in the video

he explained in the video
that your eyes are a direct portal into your brain
how frightening
he said that when your eyes quiver looking in a particular
it means that your brain is storing a trauma
how frightening
tomorrow she will watch my eyes quiver
and shake in all directions
but I am only interested in the one
linked to a car accident,
not the one about my mother, or my father,
my other accidents or surgeries, being
poor, neglected or otherwise
I just want to drive again
but will she be able to find
that one spot?

Monday, May 23, 2016

we are the transients

we are the transients,
sitting on our iron benches looking past
mountains and meadows.
our benches sunk into concrete, our
cars whizzing by
we think we are masters of the universe.
we are the transients trashing our world
like the ones who smoke in the forest,
running out at night to stab and assault
a young woman running by
such innocence to believe in safety
in this world.
we are the transients, our concrete
will crack into a million pieces, our benches
will rust to ruin.

Sunday, May 22, 2016


she's wearing flowers and a blossom on her head
while strolling the Garden.
as if there were not enough blooms,
the lilacs, and peonies, onions
and thyme, California poppies and 
so many unknown beauties,
but none with freckles and a crooked smile
like this one.

Friday, May 20, 2016

a spring in her step

at age 58
she found a spring in her step
surprised, she searched her shoe
and looked under the floor mat.
she asked her husband where the spring came
from, or was it in the garden, the tool shed,
maybe in the trunk of her old car,
inside a book,
did a friend leave it at her house by mistake,
did the newly adopted cats carry something in,
until she looked at the last place and
found it
waiting to be found.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

an autistic boy

he didn't understand himself
even though his ear was only a hose
length's away
he heard a voice a muttering of strange syllables
like, but not the same, as the ones barraging his ears, his eyes,
his face, his fingers and toes every day
every night
stop, please stop
at least the talking stops when he wants
how soothing 
his arms and legs stop
his face relaxes
he drifts off
mumbling words only he understands

photo courtesy of NYT:  http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/05/19/a-global-and-authentic-family-album/

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Great Fly Catcher

he calls me Jenny Fly
I buzz around from room to room,
he hears the padding of my feet on the stairs,
the kitchen, downstairs, he hold his ears.
I understand flies.
I know their buzzing ways, 
I know their evasive maneuvers,
I know they can't fly with wet wings.
he may laugh at my silly ideas
of chasing flies with a water spray bottle
in hand, but only I am killing flies
no matter how many times he 
grabs the fly swatter, or Bella lunges
across the room
I am the Great Fly Catcher.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Speaking Up

It's 10 p.m. and City Council Chambers are packed.
It looks like democracy,
but in the back hallways, I know there are
jangling coins
and  $100 bills.
I know there are paid consultants, 
realtors, developers.
We are the small fry who show up late at night.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Dog on Dad's pillow on the couch

No, the couch is not quite soft enough,
No, the blanket on the couch  is not quite soft enough
Only Dad's pillow on the couch is soft enough
and it smells like Dad.
she looks up lazily at me as I come in drenched
from the rain, burdened with a heavy bag of groceries.
I'll make dinner tonight while she's out on a walk 
with her Dad, after which she'll come home,
bounding in, tail wagging, ready for dinner.
Ah, the life of Bella!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A man on the path

his shoulders hunched from the weight of a
a backpack and a mysterious small white bag,
he shuffled, head down, it was early in the morning
he looked drunk, old, beaten down
I wasn't sure if I should turn back
but he didn't look organized enough to be dangerous.
Our paths crossed and I called out a hearty
good morning to which he replied with an equally
hearty good morning, 
he didn't sound drunk or drugged.
he stopped at the stone bench to study a book
that had been left behind, drenched from spring
We walked past towards home
I wonder if he has a home.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Camping out illegally

in the morning, they hear me call to Bella
she takes her time to emerge from the shadows of 
the forest, licking her chops, wagging her tail.
I see a head pop out of a sleeping bag and look 
my way.
he's probably thinking my dog is not well trained.
I'm thinking about the illegal camping
and pondering whether to feel sympathetic
or annoyed
when are the Rainbow People coming
the man sleeping in the bushes on the other
side of the trail is alone, I wonder that
he does not slip down the hillside
we dog walkers are up early,
Bella, Yaga and her pup, Frieda
and Sally, the golden retriever who always
has a ball in her mouth.  
who are these people camping out
are they just like you and me

Thursday, May 12, 2016

It's been a long day

It's been a long day
getting to work at 5 am, incessant honking amidst
grueling traffic for a minimum wage job,
the same to get back to the West Bank
for the last evening of Ramadan.
We need a sheep for the Eid festival.
I need a cigarette.
The sheep and I will pull over and rest,
inhaling the delirious smoke,
relaxing, finally, before we both go
to festival.
it will be the end for the sheep,
the beginning for me.

photo:  New york times slide show

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Garden

and in the morning 
she goes in the backyard, her hands in worn
leather garden gloves clutching pruning shears
and a Japanese weeding knife.
before her time in the garden is up,
before the call to work drowns out the 
songs of the vinca, roses and crab apple tree,
a bin has been filled with pulled weeds, 
she has buried her 
nose in newly bloomed lilacs and gazed
at the beauty of multi-colored tulips,
the birdbath is filled with clear water.
there is more harmony of color and light
in the garden, and more calm in her heart.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

they thought she was a ballerina

the way she stood upright
her feet turned out just so.
the clerk asked her if she was a ballerina,
it's not the first time.
she's only a ballerina in her dreams
twirling and dancing, gracefully leaping
and swirling across the dance floor
her hair swinging behind her, her eyes
meeting her audience on every turn,
her eyes smile.
perhaps being a ballerina in her dreams is best
so she can use her mind and body in
other ways like mowing the lawn tonight
and thinking about meteors and stars
streaking through space, and dancing
in her mind.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

thoughts on Mother's Day

maybe all love their children.
it doesn't mean that she's a good mother
carrying on the tradition of bad parenting,
and don't forget the father.
he may be good, he may be bad.
mothers love their children, almost always
and may point them in the direction of seeking,
exploring, learning and living.
some mothers add love to the world
others not so much.
and so, today, shall we celebrate all mothers,
I ponder this.
I can only be sure about a mother
elephant and her baby,

Image result for mothers and baby animals
 a bear with her cub,
Image result for mothers and baby animals
a mama and her joey
and all the other animals who
just do the right thing.

Image result for mothers and baby animals

Friday, May 6, 2016

two lives in a moment in time

a man and his son
side by side, silent, shoulder to shoulder
they only turn pages in synchrony
after years of being out of synch, father
and son, the face-off, now they sit peacefully
face-down, their eyes trained on their books.
the son, maybe a science fiction fantasy, 
the father, his tenth book on the history of WWII.
or maybe the reverse, who knows, but it was so peaceful
standing behind them quietly, they could only
hear the electronic click of the camera on 
my phone,after which 
I walked away 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

all I ever wanted

all I ever wanted was love.
a boat will do
maybe a trailer
in the meantime.
maybe a bigger boat
or a bigger trailer.
a roof for my loves.
I'll buy a ranch with Christmas trees
and plant blueberry bushes.
I'll have chickens and fruit trees
and a dog that loves to run.
I am happy, I have found love,
my dog at my side.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

waiting for the train to pass

going somewhere unknown to us,
known to the conductor, the tracks extend in a straight line
to a final destiny,
red lights flashing, cars stopped, the drivers
pull out their cell phones to check their latest FB posts
to see how many "likes" they got,
how many friends they have,
whether their life is worth living.
the barriers lift, the phones are set down
and the cars move slowly across the tracks
still warm from the friction of wheel on rail.
some move forward with confidence,
others with loneliness and fear. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

loyal to the end

they will always love you,
a treat in the pocket, a leash, 
the sound of an opening door, the clink of
a spoon scraping a metal dish.
they will walk at your side, 
wag their tails and snore gently
by your bed, there are no feuds,
no hurt feelings, a scolding soon
they will walk more slowly by your side
and stay near when you sit at a chair
to watch birds fly overhead.
they don't care,
all they want is to be with 

Monday, May 2, 2016

old dog

he's deaf and mostly blind,
but the nose still works and teeth
are laser guided,
how else to lead a dog around who has
no intention of going "that way"
when home is "the other way".
I know their ways, these black dogs
that know what they want, and mostly 
get it, even when the harness gets tight
and their delicate bones strain under
a too large belly.
we are like them, deaf and mostly 
blind, seeking out delicious treats,
going our own ways.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

the best chocolate cake ever for the best husband ever

bittersweet to have met so late in life
like the chocolate which melts on our tongues,
freshly baked, our eyes are dazzled by 
the lights.
the icing is rich with cognac and cream,
whipped to perfection, topping to 
a cake laced with nutmeg and vanilla.
how sweet and elegant, this cake.
and us, a background of black and white,
light and dark blue and pink squares.
long ago, I painted those squares
and where the pink met the blue,
I met you.