Saturday, April 28, 2012

first breath after nearly drowning

i remember being on the beach in Cancun once, just looking at the
onslaught of waves coming into shore. it was an overcast day, and
the lifeguard had just blown his whistle furiously to get one foolish
swimmer out of the water. to my left, there were two other people
from the hotel who looked out upon the waves in a somber way.
from what i could make out, someone had nearly drowned there
a month ago in choppy waves just like these. i thought about how
much of an ordeal that was, for both the rescuers and the rescued.
but mainly, i thought about how that person must have felt after
bursting through the surface, on the brink of being lost to this
world forever in the midst of crashing waves. how they must

and in some ways, i use that scenario to explore that plateau of
clarity i get after not being able to write for a while. yes, the
dreaded 'writer's block.' for some of us in that craft, it's a simple
obstacle, one that doesn't cause too much of a problem. for others
though, it can be akin to drowning. you don't know how you'll
get past that first sentence. you may not know where to take
your character next. the original premise for your work may
make you feel like you're going in aimless circles. and so, all
of the other doubts start piling up, crashing in on you so much
that it makes you feel like you can't breathe. and it's not until
you have that breakthrough that you feel whole, that you're
energized. and everything starts to make sense again.

of course, this analogy does help in the art of writing. but it
also aids you in the art of life. from Dostoyevsky's newfound
purpose after nearly being executed, to J.K. Rowling nearly
being totally destitute before her success with the 'Harry Potter'
series, there's a huge list of examples of people nearly losing
themselves, literally and figuratively before punching through
the surface and taking in the air of success and renewed joy.
few things are sweeter than that. if you find yourself in that
state, do all you can to punch through the surface. and make
that first breath the one to give birth to better ones.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

my own fortress of solitude

there's moments when things get a little too dicey. where the voices
in my head and spirit get too accustomed to thinking that i prefer to
listen to them more than those familiar to me. especially when they
are laced with the residue of regrets and other toxins that need to be
removed from the body. in those moments, i need escape. and as
much as i'd like to be able to just hop a plane and vanish into the
midst of some tropical landscape, i'm not exactly there just yet. but
what i do have is something i think we all need to realize, create if
we don't have it and revisit every so often.

if you've ever read comics, you know all about Superman and his
hideaway, his home away from home. his fortress of solitude. he
carved it out of a glacial plateau in the Arctic and kept all of his
treasures, relics and reminders of Krypton there. for me, it's not as
secluded. and the only thing i keep there are memories and past
breaths. tears shed for various reasons. it's a place where some of
my best writing saw fit to leave my blood and marry a page. it's a
little spot people pass all the time and think nothing of. nothing
secret about it. it's so much a part of the landscape that you'd be
forgiven in forgetting it was there. but that's where i go. usually
when it's very quiet, either early in the morning as dawn begins
to walk or at night when everything's asleep but dreams. i sit and
hear the rush of cars zipping by. i let the breeze speak and tell me
what it is i need to hear, even if i don't want to hear it. i've been
here when i had trouble in school, sadness over a woman, or
just plain felt despondent. i work the most important magic here;
the magic of self-determination.

so, i hope that in reading this, you recognize your own fortress
of solitude. realize that it's necessary sometimes to have. and if
you need to create one, do so promptly and faithfully. because
we all need a home away from homes that are familiar.

Monday, April 23, 2012

new conservative haiku #9

rednecks mock dog meat
but live on possum and shoat;
irony for dinner.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

music break: Groove Armada

it's a rainy Sunday, settling in with this tune as the backdrop...

wandering with a purpose.

i've been thinking a lot about this past year and a half. the ups
and downs. and the key word that comes to mind is, 'wandering'. it's
appropriate, but i now look at the recent past as doing so with a purpose.


there's a negative undertone with wandering. it suggests laziness,
a certain willful reluctance to deal with 'real life' as it were. i know,
point blank that's NOT what i'm doing. i liken my situation to those
years of wandering in the desert that the Israelites did after leaving
Egypt. they needed that time to get right with themselves and God
before they could build their own nation. the same principle applies
with me. i realize that this time was necessary for me to take. i was
at a point where the hustle was bigger than anything, but i was losing
sight of the reasons why i was doing things. i got caught up in the
pettiness of work. i got lulled into thinking i was in the clear. i was
performing just like everybody else. and stifling myself in the

i wasn't even sure of myself at that point in the first place. it was
around this time 3 years ago that i just said, 'f--- it. i don't need to
endure this anguish, this feeling of being loathed and being used.'
so i fixed in my mind that i was going to walk forward and define
myself...through hardship if needed.

and yes, it HAS been hard. it takes a lot to realize that you're a bit
fractured at the seams. it's difficult to see people having great points
in their life and at the same time, deal with other people saying, 'i
thought you'd be at this point by now' and other words that are
meant to mollify you but amplify the doubts you're fighting. it's
hard to strengthen old relationships, to create and nurture new ones.
because as much as people can circulate memes about being positive
and self-affirmation via email and Facebook and other places, half
of them could give a rat's ass about actively living those sentiments.
and in this state of wandering with a purpose, you see it that much
more clearly.

it took this time for me to really wander BACK to me. that is, to
figure out how i got to this point and from here, progress better.
i think i'm more content now. sure, i'm out here struggling like
everyone else. but i think this period of wandering helped so much.
i got a chance to deepen my bonds with my parents. i lost weight.
got grey hairs of stress, but the silver truth of wisdom with them.
i've loved, lost, found love returned to me in different forms. i can
speak from the heart more freely now. my writing has grown as i
have. i had a conversation with a great friend of mine and his lady
last night, and i remember saying, 'even in a curse there's opportunity.'

and that's how i choose to look at this time of wandering with a
purpose. however you choose to do so, do the same. wander back
to everything blessed you are and have yet to be. then the road
ahead doesn't seem so troublesome.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

graffiti along crescent ave. (30/30)

the mature woman from Gabon
slides up the length of the car
with boxes of batteries for sale
laugh loud and curse freely
to hide the fact that their hormones
are still imprisoned
the butch girl leans in the corner
her sketchy fade worries her
across from me
a man reads the signs of the time in Urdu
pausing to clear his throat
to punctuate the teens' sentences
and all the while
i note the voices
left in Krylon and marker
on the sides of buildings
matching the intensity of the subway along the tracks

a song of honey and home (29/30)

*for brownin*

it is here
in these words conjured
through darjeeling steam
and the crispness of an April morning
that i realize
you are a song of honey and home
verses written
from your life
told in a voice composed of nag champa and gold
and i listened
greedy for more
as your song reached the temple of my heart
and compelled the cracks in the walls
to fill themselves
the tender music you are
sweeping its way in on laughter and orchid petals
i believe you to be that song
that teaches wind to move
and has possibly become
the harmony my own music needed

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

evening blanket (28/30)

this ceiling
made up of prayers and light
looks like
that blanket i had
back when i was six
and back then
you couldn't have told me
flight was beyond my reach
even though mom wouldn't let me cross the street
my blanket and i
would cut a rug across the stars
it kept me invisible
during those moments of yelling
and hurt that stung as it crested my chin
this evening sky
reminds me of a childhood security
only the memories live
past tattered fabric

dollar bottles at the liquor store (27/30)

some days
i feel like the sky
waits for me to stop sobbing
swabs the hollows in my spirit
and uses those blues for evening wear

incomplete women
dancing in weekend specials from lingerie stores
caress everywhere
except the broken parts
they've got enough blood they've spilled

there's gold waiting for me on the horizon
but like the old man in Peter Pan i forgot to fly
and i'm here with this rum
trying to melt the frost of fear off my wings

Monday, April 16, 2012

a word about the brother at Ralph Avenue (26/30)

is a tourniquet tied hastily
for wounds we give each other
with boxcutters for eyes
and the sneer rising in voices
like nine in the morning steam
from mugs
there's some of us who see them
a lost Black battalion of brothers
hurting with closed fists
bullheaded in china shops
with lousy credit
trying to shout down
this feeling of melanin misery
live long enough in these streets
and you'll sport your own cuts

Sunday, April 15, 2012

cherry blossom moon (25/30)

given the chance
i would let my words
pluck those petals upon your arm
before desire
laid eyes on the petals in a more precious place
i'd let the moon look on
and take notes
on how unrequited romance
causes enough pressure
to let diamonds form on bodies
with no shame about their shine

haiku 4.11.12 (24/30)

when they raised the price
of lotto to two bucks you
knew dreams were murdered

haiku for the taliban (23/30)

do you veil her eyes
for her chastity or to
admit you have none?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

orange tulips (22/30)

*for brownin'*

an unmade bed at dawn
is how you can leave my heart at times
morning visits riding stale dust
from a crescent moon
i sink my teeth into a croissant
and find its heat less insistent
than that which stokes the blush on your face
few men greet this time of day like i do
still pulling myself
from the cinema of dreams
that you star within
i leave things as they are
knowing that once evening falls
to look for the scent of orange tulips
that walks before you

drifter's parable (21/30)

he left his history
on the rails
blood spilled by well-turned fists
penknives and morning coughs
it married the rust
and greets each morning
with an even stare
he became a whisper
along the tops of meadow grass
a throwback to a time
most would throw back like used bathwater
to erase the spoor
you can map his travels
by bits of broken flask bottles
that bear strong names and burning water
and if you walk these tracks
you can hear his regrets
saddle the creak of the boards
and hear the open spaces answer
with silence

Friday, April 13, 2012

music break: Mara Hruby

for the evening, i figured i'd dedicate this post to the vocal
smoothness of Mara Hruby. i got hipped to her early this year.
check out her debut EP, 'From Her Eyes' when you can...enjoy!

indelible violet (20/30)

all those words
you're writing to me with anxious fingers
you held close to the lockbox of your heart
become escapists
draped in indelible violet
that live on the edges of your ribcage
sifting through the autumn desert of your skin
i reckon
they become bolder as you sleep
climbing then falling again

blue morning haiku (19/30)

Coltrane blows some heat
as tea grows cold; my sadness
turns into throw rugs

Thursday, April 12, 2012

strawberry heart senryu (18/30)

she thought her heart burst
after her third shot; it was
found in his pocket

richard pryor was right aka accidents no more (17/30)

have you ever
looked up the definition of the word

when you do
see how it becomes
a password for those vaults of vile thoughts
secreted in the folds of ignorance
wearing lady liberty's colors at knockoff prices
binding your disbelief in bureaucratic tape
stifling your rage by rubber stamps and grand juries

it's swished around the mouths
of predatory patrollers who claim to keep peace
who find that their ingrained hate
was the itch in that finger on triggers
equating spilled blood
to careless drops of gallons of milk
but blood stains or their causes never truly vanish

Steve Biko told us from the grave
countless souls who left parts of themselves
on cypress branches they swung from
tell us with empty eyes
black and brown mothers
in their forlorn cries that rip gladness from clear skies
tell us in the names of their sons and daughters

Richard was right
nobody wants to be an 'accident'
but one finds it hard to tell careless children
with the minds of impotent devils
that dictionaries are never scripture
and that one word
shouldn't sweep our lives away like unwanted dust

500 POSTS.

i'll admit it.

it feels real good to sit here and write about the
fact that this is the 500th post on my blog. it's not
an occasion for extreme fanfare, but i am going to take
note and celebrate. because part of the joy that goes
with this is the fact that as this blog grew, my writing
has grown and so have i.

to each of my readers, to those who visit on a regular
basis, THANK YOU so much for your support. i'm going to
keep doing this as long as you keep coming back. here's to
the next 500 and beyond!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

lover's charade in a hotel room (16/30)

your eyes
say that you are a bird
who allowed herself
to be locked in a cage with a tiger
who paces anxiously upon your good graces
in hopes of you both
devouring doubt
and saving desire for desert

your legs
curl like paper that yields
to a beautiful demise by flame
i hear them slide across cotton sheets
as you settle into the crook of my arm
the smoke before our fire
lies in your hair with lilac accents
do we have it in us to brave the inferno

this room
is a kingdom of want
where we let our shadows have the night off
and we play a game
to end all games between us

Monday, April 9, 2012

fallen wino haiku (15/30)

from the concrete up
he sees the thunderbird's punch
before the blackout

Saturday, April 7, 2012

aurous crown (14/30)

*for aislin*

the fingertips
do not forget
when the asphalt thaws
and the city springs lightly
in a longer sun

they remember
their travels in a windswept field
where wheat gave life to their pleas of love
as hard red spring became gold
whenever she turned her head

left in their midst
were the tears that made wine
for a poet's supper
and the skin that bore smoothness
found on walls in Agra

the fingertips
remember their travels
in the tendrils of your hair
and once in a while
they simmer with the life they found there

seductive lanterns (13/30)

*for brownin*

eyes like yours
were crafted for those moments
where lanterns feel weak
and the night begs for cups of gold and amber
brought to a slow boil
that goes down smoothly
as the first pint to a parched heart
and their warmth
lights lamps inside of me
that lead desire out for long walks
with no worries of home

music break: Kings of Leon

been sitting with this track from the popular rock
group, Kings of Leon...and so i thought i'd share it
with you this morning. enjoy!

Friday, April 6, 2012

haiku 4.6.12 (11/30)

under heaven's hand
truth is a pathless land; don't
be one who can't walk

gethesmane and sage (12/30)

they say
that there is no church in the wild
nothing to comfort the soul
except a garden of agony
which boasts the most luminous of blossoms
and hosts trees that bear oil as a balm for tears
such a place
exists here
just beyond the hearts of many
walk to it
through thorns of apathy
with love and prayers
to gird your feet against stones thrown
smell the embrace
of burning sage
and know
your soul waters the garden
and urges love
to grow to meet the stars

Thursday, April 5, 2012

rollercoaster haiku (10/30)

heart lodged within throat
waits for the ascent to fly
out when the drop comes

anxious crimson (9/30)

*for brownin*

one of these days
i am just going to take my hands
scoop the crimson colored sugar
that sits atop your tawny cheeks
like a sky in oaxaca
and keep it in my pockets
so that the next time i cause you to blush
we can find another color
for that moment of shyness

spring morning on springfield blvd (8/30)

a new season
frames your glances
in crystal and wistful tones
sunlight waltzes on pieces of cognac flasks
old men give thanks for seeing another spring
as they inch faster than crawling bristles
that occupy sidewalk cracks
those dandelions tied to the stop sign
have withered
and people still rush to beat the red light
Arabic still punctuates the rap music
coating the bodega like the grease of twenty egg and cheese bagels
the car wash is packed
daredevils in dollar vans ferry like underworld dogs with heavy feet
mature women pass out leaflets
and a smiling boy
who stopped doing so at the behest of a blade
stares out from a poster at the corner
while we all wait
for the new season
to show us how to spring forward

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

haiku 4.5.12 (7/30)

along the arrow's
spine lies its future flight; the
bowstring measures time

music break: Max Roach

here's a gem from esteemed jazz drummer Max Roach off
of his classic 'Freedom Now Suite' album, with the
lovely Abbey Lincoln on vocals. fitting for the times...

balconies and destinies (6/30)

this talk of balconies
makes some think of
lovers knitting dreams
with desires and hopes
and for others
it speaks of that preemptive strike against life
a layman calls suicide
and for others still
it becomes a stage where one can meet heavens eye to eye
and not wonder why we are here

maybe Memphis
that crisp morning many years ago
was fated to spur such speech
maybe Memphis
was meant to be the balcony of a history
that demanded this country move forward
even if the dreamers had to die
to remind us
that mountaintops can never be reached
without the sacrifice of a noble heart

maybe Martin
you thought of this
as you saw the horizon sink
while hate's penultimate word
cut corpuscles and cotton
could you have known all that time
that a bullet that presumes to extinguish peace
leaves only room for echoes
that grow louder with years
that can't be silenced by inaction

maybe Memphis
your predecessor warned you that morning
as it sat empty of riches and pride
along the blue of the Nile
that we are destined to be the craftsmen of a future
all can partake in
maybe the Lorraine
was meant to be the beginnings
of a graveyard where hate is meant to dwell
with a stone to mark its shame

maybe balconies and destinies
are meant to be married at the outset of spring
so that the death of dreamers
gives birth to those who will awaken those still sleeping

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

hangover senryu 4.3.12 (5/30)

i have discovered
seasickness is worse on land
thanks, firewater.

barqin ubax (4/30)

*for Sagal*

i have always
known the faint kiss
of the morning rose
that blushes early
and leaves its tears
for one to taste

and as the petals
that serve as our memories
float like islands of promised time
those kisses that bore your name
still linger upon your soul
as much as they have upon mine

*barqin ubax - 'morning rose' from the Somali language

Monday, April 2, 2012

la brea dreams (3/30)

late night cruising

last call on everything except the morning after

her heat, bold and fragrant perfume

neon frames for my heart's story

a city where angels cut loose

and she chose me

which makes the next six minutes

gold-spun heaven by a DJ

she feels like sunrise

within a night that leaves like a careful thief

and la brea

feels less and less crowded.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

the elephant mourns (2/30)

we never really knew
peering through rusted lace
pulling back the curtains of wonder

the elephant mourns
and we think of Disney characters
scrubbed clean of savagery

they hold hurt
years of fight and famine
braided in the folds under their stare

the elephant mourns
the memory stares at brothers and sisters
laid skeletal and bleached under steady suns

it remembers its empire
plundered with purpose
left battered to heal without favor

the elephant mourns
because it sees that pride is fleeting
like their roars across the dust

parting seas (1/30)

some nights
when the covers feel too much like your touch
and i cast them aside
my ears contain the fervent rush
of the waves of memory
casting me about
across these parting seas
that coat the span of time
since you and i last took each other in by eye
i can almost picture you
with blurred eyes
on a shore we once made ours
with the collision of bodies
and with the crashing of waves
that make dreams choppy
i still hear your question to me:

'have you ever
regretted drowning within the soul of somebody?'

30/30 for National Poetry Month 2012

salutations to all...

i tried to do this last year to no avail...i got caught up in
the whole idea of having those 30 pieces instead of writing.
this year, i can confidently say i'm up for the challenge. i
plan to push myself this month to be better. and i'm glad that
you faithful readers(and even those who wandered here thinking
they'd get tips on what kind of riesling to serve with lamb)
are here to partake and enjoy. i will be posting my efforts
here, and it won't take away from the usual goings on here.
so i hope you're ready for some words...