There’s something about hiding
that reminds me
pain is what makes us human
and loneliness is what makes us monsters.
prayers fall on deaf Ears
in mosques where women cannot reunite their hands with the maker
Allah Akbar, but bars me from meeting him face to face
Venus has never been so far from Mars
and he carries on his war alone
so the Jihad is
As the night
in a neighborhood
different from the ones I grew up in.
The silence hides secrets
searing into skin
bruising my body the brittleness
of glass slippers.
I wonder if Phillip ever laid hands on Cinderella
if I should just
clocks as time stops
and Outkasts aren’t the only ones sending bombs over Baghdad.
My tongue cannot perfect the complexities of rebellious language
so I communicate by blinking and nodding
the silence is the most powerful scream
so I yell at the top of my lungs to a husband
who fights against himself.
Is he coming home tonight?
Or does the patriotism have him bleeding his true colors?
The intuition says yes but the logic says
and don’t ruin a good thing with doubt. . .
He’ll be better tomorrow.
Rough day at the office. . .
he’s under a lot of stress.
And I will not forget my place
even if it’s a square peg forced fist-over-fist
eyes painted the color of the midnight
a knowing nod to the lipstick stains when I do the laundry. . .
What would your mother say?
Probably say the same thing as she did then.
“Sometimes all you are is a trophy.
Be grateful for what you’ve got.”
like I always have, and listen to the radio for news.
Locked within the confines of volume knob and military code;
I forget how old it is sometimes. The realization
that this war just turned 9 and the knob only goes to 10
makes me hopeful that the conflict will soon end.
Send home those prisoners of war
and let the wives of war stop being prisoners
to the din of gunshots and hollow eyes.
There is no turning back.
You can’t go home again
after terrorist attacks
and the conflicts that spark them.
I just want the walls to
He says, lest I wake the neighbors.
“Wipe your own blood from the floor.
I don’t want to hear it anymore!”
I wonder what I’m worth.
Too sweet to be arm-candy
hanging on for dear life
as the ghosts of social circles
that look at each other but never see anything
provide the backdrop to backhands behind closed doors.
But how much more will you take?
You can’t go home again
but I’ve got to get the Hell out of here.
I was not made to
the raindrops in the desert and shake the dust.
These dust-devils toss and turn my landscape like bad dreams
but my position won’t allow me to say anything
though it’s just a jumble of syllables to me now
my vow is as broken as my crown was the night he took me
but it won’t break the seal on the back of my throat.
These words spoken through whispers and coded language
and my cipher can no longer decipher them.
Am I ready for the change?
Or am I just ready for the day when I don’t have to
Let me figure things out.
Pack my things into a single suitcase
Where am I going from here? In dead of night,
In silence. In medias res
because I’m so confused right now.
I am louder than this.
You are louder than this. . .
And load your guns with slugs made from tatters of my hijab
AND I WILL PROVE TO YOU FISTS DO KNOW GENDER ROLES
as the explosion sounds like a storm and pierces your heart
TO BURST YOUR SOUL INTO A PYRE OF ACKNOWLEDGEMNT!
I WANT YOUR FIRE TO BURN AS VIVIDLY AS MINE DOES
BUT YOU NEVER NOTICE ME. I BITE INTO SHOULD BE
BUT I NEVER GET A TASTE!
Never get a taste. . .
As I sit, silent, wondering what’s next
I AM LOUDER THAN THIS
I AM RUCKUS
AN EXPERIMENT IN NOISE
From Allah all the way to the tip of my tongue
Pursed lips, cocked back, LET GO
READY, AIM FIRE
BREAK THE SILENCE!
Ghost prisoner dances in an old window.
The girl dies when the music stops
and this house has been quiet for years now,
with footsteps echoing through the cracks in the attic floor
but never reaching the bottom of the stairs
I wonder how many haunting are self-imposed.
Don’t cry tonight, my baby. . .
Last week, I saw something I thought I’d never witness.
Saw a man’s stone façade falter
alternate between guilt and sadness
the now and the then
the past and the present
but now. . .I can see the spirit fading from his eyes
tell he is human for the first time
and see he is not a polished rock flowing from the river of family photos
my father is no stone.
He’s simply a trucker.
And in the sleeper of a semi it’s nothing but him
his radio and his memories
dancing in the swaying of curtains and sounds like
similes when you’re trying to write a poem
always present but just out of reach
so he captures them in homemade music boxes.
Don’t cry, you’ll always be loved. . .
And ‘always’ is always longer when you make a decision you can’t take back,
so he finds solace in songs and sheet music
jagged and smudged like the signature across the bottom of a release form.
passes through these walls like a phantom, fast as a haiku like
a stranger to me.
Often wonder if our eyes
are the same color.
He dances in that window
a captive my father cannot let go
waiting for the day that 15-year old feet
bounce off the bottom of the landing
and out the door
to rebel against him
bring back a report card, a trophy, a girl, a mistake
but that sound never comes
when my father’s memory is only lit by that window
and I wonder how much harder it is to abort a child
when you can look him in the eyes.
Now I realize why he always tells me
to appreciate the beauty of the little things.
Knowing that even though his blood runs through that boy’s veins
he’ll never be there to keep Brandon warm again
knowing he held a masterpiece in the palm of his hand
and let it free for the “better life” he was promised
giving up on the music he made with a lover
I’ve judged without truly knowing.
Nothing I could say could make the music box gears spin
I could cry moment but that them up again
and the silence in my father’s house is deafening.
Maybe that’s why I left.
I could make him proud
I could make him smile
But I’m only one son.
And even when I have the audacity to wonder
how often he dreams of Brahm’s lullaby
or days playing in the Colorado snow –
I know there is no poem
that can bring Brandon back but please poppa
if you can listen to the music instead of just making it.
Fortune favors the bold
but it’s hard not to shiver
when you’re so icy.
As a kid in the south,
it’s always been more likely to rain
than to snow.
The 1001 variables must weave into one another
like dancers looking for partners
or future lovers catching each other at perfect moment
for the air to crystallize between their gazes
and cool off the heat that separates love from lust,
dissolving like dust from diamonds –
the dashing we do changes everything.
The weather outside is frightful,
and the rest, as they say, is history.
And there’s a lot of that
in the wreath on my door
the photos on my shelves
and the person I used to share both with.
The storm isn’t so scary
from in front of the fire –
I admit: though I no longer hang your stocking,
and through sips of my grandmother’s recipe eggnog
I often forget you, there are still nights
where I wish you’d fall into my arms
like a 73” dream-catcher and lay your head down.
Tell me say me cher
I’ll be gone till November. . .
Leaving in some places and just arriving others,
your very essence is a matter of perspective
and they call your beauty debatable.
You remind me of a dawn or dusk
in the arctic circle: all good things
begin and end sooner or later
and most of all it depends
on where you’re watching the sun go down.
I hold a north star in my bloodline.
I always wander, never get lost
and never snowblind
but I keep finding myself back where I began.
Maybe I’m a supernova
distant from society, waiting to collapse
wondering why it hasn’t happened yet.
All the gravity of the city
trying to bring us together
only serves to break us apart.
This is what dead things do.
If I ever meet an ice road trucker
or talk to my dad again
I’ll let them know
it’s nothing personal.
If this is what the end of the world feels like,
I welcome it. With the cackling crackle of embers
on Christmas Eve
and the wind whipping the world,
causing the trees to bend and kiss one another
under the mistletoe they’ve grown in the 100 years
they have been planted here shows me:
now is the gift we call the present.
If I could have one wish for the world
for my loved ones and for myself,
they’d all be the same:
that we learn we are all more similar
than we are separate.
Every single flake is unique
yet they manage to stick together
love the simple things like snow days
and hot cocoa,
And since all that’s left of the storm is silence
let me say:
We are so different.
yet exactly the same.
no matter what you do
you are caught in the crossfire
of dirt in flux.
When the earth moves,
the people blame Atlas
for having the audacity to catch a cramp
instead of blaming their own moving feet.
I used to wonder what it would be like
to be a Titan.
And then the world fell
and now I have to fight through the pain