Tuesday

01252011

this is what happens when spirits are communing with spirits in defiance of all intelligible laws of space… time… reason:

i met her at the carwash
sitting on a steel bench
an older lady, she was…
waiting for her car
and i asked if i could share her bench
and sat myself down and waited, too
waited for my baby to be bathed
and massaged and waxed
waited while the wind
played with my hair
and the sun kissed my face and my lips
and she said to me… she said
you are a beautiful lady
and she smiled at me so brilliantly
a smile all white teeth and pink lips
and i smiled back and said thank you
you have a lovely smile
and i went back to watching my car
with a tickle… an itch… inside my heart
when, one minute later
i heard her fumble in her handbag
followed by the heavy feel of
her warm fingers on my arm
fingers that felt pleading… needing
and she said, please
i want you to look at this
and i turned in shock and surprise
because who was this stranger
and why was she touching me
so intimately? as though we
had known one another forever
and ever? it is one thing
to exchange words with strangers
but another entirely to exchange touch
and i looked at her and started
to say something… something like,
please don’t touch me. i don’t know
who you are. i’m supposed to be
anonymous, here. but
when i looked up at her face
i noticed a curious something there
a small something i hadn’t noticed
during the flicker of smiles
exchanged with our brief hello
there… a tattoo of a teardrop
at the corner of her left eye
and here… a photo in her hand
which she now held out
and said to me… again… look at this
and i found myself staring
at an image of a young lady
who bore an unmistakable
resemblance to me
same hair… same eyes…
same teeth… same smile…
is this possible?
and i looked back at the older lady
speechless… my tongue stuck
in the back of my throat
while she said to me
i have been missing my daughter
and i came here today to see her
and she clutched my hand
with her trembling fingers
and my tongue
slowly unraveled itself
slowly… while i watched
mystified
as a real teardrop
slid past the one tattooed
at the corner of her eye

will i ever
be the same again?
will she?

Sunday

01232011

my beauty
was mutilated 
by its own reflection
stained
by an imperfection
that rested
not upon skin
but within flesh
twisted with calamity
with indecision
and conformity

but now
my beauty
has unveiled its face
and shows itself
shameless
blameless
making a declaration
of i dare you
o, stained mirror
stained
with the rot of time
i dare you
to try and reflect me
not as i truly am
but as who you
would have me be

but
shame on her for daring?
no
shame on me for falling
if
i should waver and stall

Saturday

01222011

i love breakfast… especially on a saturday morning… when the winter sun is streaming onto our back porch… through our kitchen window… and falling on our breakfast table… and on us... while we feast on warm toast… and cool butter… and orange marmalade… and soft-boiled eggs… and pineapple juice… and coffee… and tea.

on weekends… breakfast is my favorite meal. we can sit at breakfast for two hours… eating… and chatting… and pausing to catch our breaths from all the eating… and the chatting. pausing to catch some of the warmth of the sun… and enjoy the silence of the winter morning… and the peace of knowing that we. are. on. no. schedule.

weekdays… they don’t allow for this luxury. on a weekday… it’s eat and run. the weekday schedule doesn’t permit leisure. life is calling. claiming every morsel of our time. devouring us alive.

that is why breakfast is such a pleasure… on a saturday morning.

and breakfast is also a pleasure… on a saturday morning… because it means that there is still sunday… for toast… and tea… and you… and me.

Wednesday

01192011

lovely days. yesterday. and today.
a big sun in the sky… shining brilliantly… in daytime.
a solid burning… persistent warmth… in the afternoon.
soft balminess… coolness… in the evening.
midnight blue… pierced with diamonds… at night.
and this, after two straight weeks of fog and frost and rain. two weeks of dreary dreary sky.

how does the sun know when i can take her absence no more? how does she recognize… one morning… that it’s time for her to show herself… or else… i might just fall to pieces… get siphoned into the endless spiral of grey?

i don’t mind rain. i love rain. i love that it’s water. i love its rhythmic sound as it falls. pitter patter. pitter patter. i love the violence of rainstorms. but… i detest… grey. it’s my least favorite color. so seemingly neutral. yet… with so many shades. a trickster!

the mood of the sky affects so intensely how i feel inside. when the sky is feeling melancholy… i am melancholy, too.

and so… i sit here… on this mild and beautiful afternoon… listening to cecilia bartoli sing gelido in ogni vena… thinking to myself… nothing is gelido today… because… how stunning is the sky! how stunning are tears when they flow and then rest! how stunning is human emotion! how fragile… how rash when challenged! and yet how discreet… how hushed when satisfied!

oh, what delicious flights of thought!

Monday

01172011

she told me i have the most beautiful hands
she has ever seen. so elegant and graceful
with long fingers and perfect fingernails
always polished and beautiful, she said
and i smiled at her and said, thank you
with gratitude because that is what we do
when we receive a compliment, isn’t it?
compliments evoke in us a certain sense
of… yes… gratitude… isn’t it?

but she read in my smile another meaning
a meaning that she wanted to read
a meaning intended to confirm to her that
i am accepting your true intention
and i saw in her eyes
i have been wanting
but not seeking
and now i have sought
and i have found

and my smile crumbled from around my teeth
like aged cheese beneath the strike of a mallet
and this was not a crumbling evoked
by shock at her presumptuousness
but by horror at my own naïveté

Sunday

01162011

it is raining outside.
it is cold outside.
it is winter outside.

but in my heart…
it is eternally spring.

Friday

01142011

when the light of the world
becomes too much for me
i run… escape… plunge
into the darkness
into that place
where i can't see
but i can hear
my voice speaking
saying things
that sometimes
i don't want to hear

and it tells
and i linger
and i listen
and i learn
and though 
this is a painful task
arduous 
singeing
burning
i emerge 
from the darkness
filled with light

because

truth is painful
but even so
truth is queen

Wednesday

01122011

i was chatting with a lady, yesterday. a lady i don’t know very well. maybe it was her sense of anonymity that gave her the courage to open up to me. maybe it was her profound need to open up to someone. but we got to chatting about life. about love. about… unrequited love. as she spoke, the tears sparked in her eyes. and she said, he and i can never be together. and inside my heart, i knew that she asked herself: how will i ever survive this without losing my mind?

forbidden love is… obsession. it is implicit to us humans to desire and crave… unto insanity… what we know we can’t have. 

Monday

01102011

today. on my first day back at school. i cried.

you see.

once upon a time. when i was a child. a long time ago. on my first day ever of school. when it was time for my mother to drop me off at the classroom door and leave. i cried. with a primal abandon. i cried because i didn’t want my mother to go. i was afraid, it seemed, of the parting. and the starting.

and, every year on my first day of school: in first grade. and second grade. and eleventh grade. and twelfth grade. and in college. every year, on the first day of school, i cried. and i resigned myself, over the years, to the thought that the crying was about the parting. and the starting. because. so it seemed.

and today. on this first day of my final journey in school. again. i cried. i caught myself at the doors to the lecture hall. with stinging, blinding tears in my eyes. tears. stinging. blinding. while i fumbled in my handbag for a tissue to dry my tears. my fingers seeking a shroud to hide the naked outburst. and it finally dawned on me. all these years later. on this last leg of the journey. that the tears, all along, were not about parting. or starting. all along. the tears were about: uncertainty.

Friday

01072011

how close to the end
of that long road
i felt, this morning
as my house door
clicked shut
behind my departure
to my very last day
of that old journey
seemingly never-ending
while all the time
it was a stepping stone
to the true, new journey
my heart has desired
for time immemorial
the true, new journey
my soul has known
and recognized
but never quite
verbalized
for fear of breaking
conformity
for fear of breeding
selfishness
but in this world
where giving is a beatitude
and taking is a sin
i said today
is my day for taking
sin
win
take
or die trying

i have given
in time past
and today
i have taken
and one day
in time coming
i will give
once again

Wednesday

01052011

there is an infernal pleasure in withdrawing into a private world… in letting your fantasies take over… whether those fantasies be light or dark. it is the pleasure of being your own creator… your own god… of experiencing no resistance to your exercise of dominance… power.

in this world we share… this world we have in common… this world of you and me… your reality limits me. and the opposite is true. i may choose to transgress the limits imposed by your presence... your reality. but… so long as i’m intent on retaining the human perspective… i experience this choice… my act… as a transgression.

but.

in my private world… where fantasy reigns… there are no transgressions. only the delicious flight of license.

Monday

01032011

on a dark
and silent night
i am alone
in a light
that does not feel
or emote
but hovers over me
and glares
harshly
starkly
clinically
while saying
look me in the eye
and tell me, nevine
have i blinded you yet?

Sunday

01022011

this morning
and after the initial
celebration
intoxication
over new beginnings
on this second day
after the mind has had
its “but, then…” moments
a vacuum
no… not a vacuum
a pinch… an owie
inside my heart
where home should be
home
not as in “house”
but as in “cairo”
the dust the smog
the jasmine the roses
the beautiful faces
of my sweet people
smiling
even when there is nothing
really
to smile about
...
cairo
like a tattoo
forever branded
not upon
but beneath
my skin
...
how to find comfort?
in which womb
do i seek the bliss
that is found only
in the amnion of home?
... 
o my eternal mother
how i thirst for you!

Saturday

01012011

today
another beautiful day
another beautiful year
in this beautiful life
and i intend
to squeeze from it
all the beauty
that i can
and drink that nectar
unto intoxication