quiet days...



yesterday afternoon, my husband and i went outside and sat on our back porch. not an event, usually. except, this time, it was. we chatted, like we always do, while sipping on red wine. we exchanged stories: beginnings. and middles. and ends.

we talked. we talked. with eloquence. but then. as if by design. as if by agreement. a silence fell. a quiet. a calm. and in the entire universe, there was nothing but the two of us. sitting beside one another in the gently droning stillness. he. and she. you. and i. in wordless communion.

sometimes, eloquence is silence.



another mindful serendipity...

dawn cascades from the sky and
reaches through the window
washing my fingers with
liquid tourmaline



walking through the maze-like womb of my neighborhood,
the air tasting of autumn and smelling of tranquility,
i am struck by an impulsive thought:

i wish i could ring random doorbells and,
when people open their doors, say,
hi, i'm nevine.
may i come in for tea and conversation?
without them thinking me insane.

but i challenge that intrusion and keep walking.

and the thought vanishes
as all thoughts do
and are replaced by 
new thoughts
new challenges
new vanishings

vanish... such a delicious word!
like a breath... now here... now gone.



last night. i sat on the floor. my back straight against the wall. and i read virginia woolf and sipped warm tea with honey. what calm inside those moments! what life! what joy! minutes passed... and then hours... and soon, the hour was late, and the moon was blazing outside. but i? i was inside. inside a world that swallowed me whole. inside a world that started as someone else's, but continued as my own. the words walked through me, as though they were phantoms. they found a resting spot inside me... and became mine. 

Lazy and indifferent, shaking space easily from his wings, knowing his way, the heron passes over the church beneath the sky. White and distant, absorbed in itself, endlessly the sky covers and uncovers, moves and remains. A lake? Blot the shores of it out! A mountain? Oh, perfect–the sun gold on its slopes. Down that falls. Ferns then, or white feathers, for ever and ever–

now. it's monday morning. a new day. a new week. but i am in no rush. no stones hurled from the bank disturb this quiet pond's equilibrium. 

i am here. 
and i am breath. 
and i am life.




for the love of memory
for the love of genius
for the love of queen

rest in peace, freddie



she said,
i am no longer afraid of anything.

i said,
but fear, my dear, is a necessity.



i came across this stunning photo of anaïs nin, last night. it took the wind out of my gut. maybe it’s her facial expression… so still… so serene… so self-assured. and yet, they called her a liar, a deceiver, a scheherazade, a witch, a seductress, a cheater, a shapeshifter, a histrionic. why? because she dared to create her own reality.

but, isn’t this what we all aspire to? to create for ourselves a reality that speaks to who we are… without mask… without veil? but the process is daunting. others enter the picture and inject their own fears and inhibitions… their own emotional turbulences… into our attempts at integration. and we allow them. but anaïs… she did not allow. she dared to write what others forbade themselves to think. she dared to do what others might have done… if only they could do so secretly. she dared to be criticized… tried… judged... sentenced. she dared… because to dare is to be free. she yearned to make her life her own, and she alchemized this yearning into reality. and, others? they hated her, not for who she was… but because she dared, and they did not.

sometimes, this is how it happens: we come across people we dislike… even hate… because we tell ourselves… convince ourselves… that we disapprove of what they do. most of the time, if we stop and give it a mindful thought, our feelings are not at all about disapproval. rather, our feelings are about admiration. they are about what we see… what we want, but can’t… or won’t… do what it takes to have. they are about those parts of ourselves that are imprisoned in the labyrinths of ambivalence… and trembling with resentment.

sometimes, we steal another’s truth because we tell ourselves we can’t construct our own.

sometimes, when we hate, we love.



she said,
last night i dreamed i bought a new house,
but when i went to unlock the door,
the key disappeared from my hand.

i said,
what was it like when
you looked at your hand
and realized the key was gone?

she said,
i felt so dejected. i really wanted
to be inside that house, my house.
so i looked through the peephole.

she paused.

do you know what you see when
you look through a peephole
in reverse? nothing. but this time,
i saw something. it was like looking
into a deep, dark hole. and at the end of
that hole was a broken window.

she laughed.

i said,
what’s funny?

she said,
you know what i wanted to do
with that broken window?
i wanted to fix it.

i said,
what about the key?

she said,
i was so distracted by
wanting to fix that broken window,
i never realized it was my key.



i write
. . .
. .
are the pillars
of this temple



another mindful serendipity...

the shine of polish
on a wood floor.

the ring of footsteps
from afar.

a hint of amber.
a breath of oud.

tender awakening
in tortuous core.



sunday morning. the air outside is soft and beautiful. the air inside is cool and delicious to breathe. my kitchen table is bare. only my journal. my pen. my hands. only paper. and ink. and sinew. and bone.

a dog delivers one solitary bark in the distance. i perk my ears for more. but there is only the dead silence, cut by the sound of the pendulum swinging compulsively inside the clock’s nave.

as i write, i observe my fingers. delicate. thin. but filled with purpose.

my husband comes into the kitchen to make his morning coffee, slicing through my reverie. he bends down to kiss me, sees that i’m writing in my journal, whispers, ‘oh,’ and glides out of the kitchen like a ghost.

my eyes fill with tears. are they tears of connection? or tears of loss? one tear falls on my right index finger, rolls over my flesh, and onto the page. the violet ink blurs. i try to flick the tear off the paper, but the ink smears like watercolors.

suddenly. my journal is a canvas.

i set down my pen. walk to my office. reach for my watercolors. and walk back toward the beatitude that is creative expression.

i am not an artist
but some days
i love to paint

empty page

awaiting the touch
of paintbrush


in violet
in cobalt
in crimson
in black


one stroke
and another
one dab
and another



not with beauty
not with artistry


with impulse
and whim
and authenticity



certain spectacles we witness
leave their mark on us.

certain events become
of subjective importance.

but, what do i do with the stories
you tell me?
how do i hold the weight
of your pain?

i will sit here forever
and be
the silent confidante
the speechless keeper
of your secrets
and mine.



she said,
a few weeks back,
three weeks to be precise,
i caught my best friend looking away,
losing eye contact... and yawning.

she said,
i felt abandoned.
i thought to myself,
if i can't talk to my best friend and
have her listen to me, who do i talk to? 

she said,
i felt angry, and hurt, and sad.

she said,
i don't want a friend.
and i don’t want a nodder.
do you know what i’m talking about?

she said,
i need someone to tell me,
how angry are you?
how happy? how sad?
show me!

she said,
i need someone to tell me,
what are you going to do about it?
show me. right now!

she said,
i need someone to tell me,
really? really?
you want to scream?
well then scream!

that's what i need,
she said.
can you oblige?


3 a.m.
i drift.

it is dark.
though not yet as dark
as it will be.

they say the darkest hour
is the one
just before the first light.

my eyes adjust.

i watch you sleep, my dream,
following the lines of your back
with eager eyes.

you awaken, like
you always do when
you know i’m watching you.

these are awakenings that surpass
the mere opening of eyes.

i want to speak, but…
the words cling to the roof
of my mouth.

i am filled with arrows, my dream,
questioning, which of us will quiet
the heaving flesh of this storm?



as the sky falls outside
in violent crescendos and
the pages remain empty
(because sometimes words fail)

i surrender to the balance
that is music
i surrender to the stillness
that is me



another mindful serendipity...

a child hums
in the mist.

a ghost calls
from the past.

the old
becomes the new.



you speak as though
i cannot hear through you

i hear

(i do)

my own
inner voice

racing between
your elegant temples

tying up loose ends
and unraveling others



this body… a warrior.
this tongue… a flame.

this voice…
a blind poet in the night.

these fingers…
armored and ready to fight.

it is beside the point to paint
silver stars on a black ceiling
and crown them with haloes.

the sky is wide open.

i dare to fly!




summer crashes
to its knees
breaks down
 and cries


i think of you.

where are you?
what are you doing?

are the days friendly?
are the nights tranquil
though cold?

am i in your thoughts?
do you remember me?



she said,
he made me turn away
from all things human,
including myself.

i said,
he hardened you.
is that what you mean to say?

she said.
she paused.
but that is a good thing, isn’t it?

i said,
you are defending him.
so why did you leave him?

she said,
because he made me feel inferior.

did he?
i said.
or did you do that to yourself?

does it make a difference?
she said,
i feel like a train
that has broken down.
what do you make of that?

it’s better to be a train
that has broken down,
i said,
than to be a train that
never reaches the station.



we speak
in swollen silences,
the words too fragile
to be delivered by mouth.



not long ago, one light glimmered and spoke
naked and strong

this light proliferates, radiates, expands

and i sit inside it glowing, growing

knowing, quite consciously, that
nothing can touch me



another unsent letter

Dear X.,

You sent me a black and white photo wrapped in red tissue paper. A photo you had taken of yourself. And I held it in my hand and closely examined your face. Yes. There was a smile. But this was no ordinary smile. This smile begged forgiveness for the lies it told. This smile begged absolution… and peace… and prayer. And I spoke to this smile and begged it to turn downwards, to be pulled as if by gravity toward your chin… that your prayer might be answered. That your tears might fall.

A storm of tears. An answered prayer.

But now, how can you go about pretending to others, when you can no longer pretend to yourself?




they say the crumbling of the invisible wall lies
just beneath the surface of the 1½-page point.

scribbling madly while sitting on the rim of
the vessel that is dawn
i’m almost there, when… dream fragments:

a slice of amethyst
a morsel of monologue
a scent of challenge
an air of quest… a stallion
a shield… a sword
an abundance? an extreme
of sensory stimuli
a lush tree… jeweled with leaves
and the air? iridescent with
the shimmer of stars
a cape? a cloak.

the ringing of my own inner voice.

and, just there… an intricate labyrinth.

i know my way.

the eye of the needle
has never been wider.



i can think of a hundred thousand questions
to ask of the unknown, but if the unknown
extended its lips and proposed to offer me
a response, i would decline it.

thank you, unknown, i would say.
thank you, but… stay as you are.

there is nothing more liberating than an
unpredictable existence. i need but
recall a once calculated life...
i look back no more.

freedom lives inside this psyche…
this core… this cosmos
without orbit.



another mindful serendipity...

that evening . . . on the sailboat
rocking in motionless water
off the coast of beatitude
a seagull swept out of
one ethereal pocket
of deep indigo
into another
the sky



this hour…
this minute…
this moment…
i give a new twist
to an old kaleidoscope.

geometry crumbles.
the walls fall down.

my nose scans the air.
my ears drop to the earth.

i shut my eyes.
an image rasps between my lashes.

when light dissipates,
truth finds a space.



chains creak in the
violet glow of twilight.

a child’s squeals
parse the sky.

a thrill agitates
the thin breeze.

chimes tinkle,
calling for me.



i did not sleep, last night.

i did not sleep because i did not like how i felt before i went to bed. or, rather… i did not like how i didn’t feel. and this, after an evening of talking about emotions and feelings and how we express… and suppress… them. our professor was talking about how america has been conditioned and socialized to suppress emotion. here, emotion is seen as weakness. and how dare we be weak? even when we are amongst those we love...

what sadness… when we have to tiptoe around our feelings because we know that, should we feel a certain way and show it, we will be judged as weak! weakness... a twig that breaks. we… break.

we are fragile.

we are fragile. no. we are not fragile. we had better not be fragile! but if we are fragile… if we must be fragile… we had better not show it… or else! what sadness!

i recall a conversation with a patient who told me, ‘i shut off my emotions and feelings so i can survive… so i can make it. but… it hurts.’ she spoke of her loss of feeling. loss of connection. but do i dare to speak of mine? i speak of loss. yes. but i do not call it mine. i call it someone else’s. or. i keep my mouth shut.

do i dare to ask myself how i feel now? do i dare to say? do i dare to say i feel…? do i dare to say i feel…? do i dare to say i feel… how? how do i feel? do i even dare to feel how i feel? do i dare to sense it? do i dare…?

everything i’ve ever witnessed and experienced is being challenged by a new teaching that says i must feel. i must honor emotion. i must honor it… not only in myself... but also in others… and to others. i must open the door to emotion, invite it inside, and let it sit with me. and let it tell me stories that make me laugh. and let it tell me stories that make me cry.

and so, this morning, i open the door. i sit. i sit… and slowly… i feel.

i feel...

i feel… agitated? touched?


my fingers are trembling as they scale this rediscovered land.
the viscosity of its truth pools thickly in the valleys of my temples… rises into my forehead… storms into my eyes… which are watering so i can hardly see what i’m writing.

i surrender to the sanctity of who i really am.

i feel.

i am human.

i am smiling.

i am weeping.



the divinity of separation
from what is outside…

the beauty of exile
inside myself…

i hold this space.
i tilt this beam.

i bend this light.
naked. bright.



a grace…

in limbo
and fearless
for the first time ever



was a day so
filled with smiles
my cheeks hurt
and my teeth
are dry



sitting inside the vessel
that is this quiet night,
i come to a realization:

i am hardwired.

and hardwired for what,
i will not tell.

but i have decided
i will find a spot
inside this wiring
and i will cut…

clip this primordial circuit
in the gut…

and let the sparks flicker,
and flare,
and fire…

and rest cleansed,



i’ve always set my clocks and watches at least five minutes forward. this was my way of hassling myself. not that i am ever behind… i’m not. but it has been my rule in life to always be on time, even if that means being a little bit early. ‘after all,’ i always told myself, ‘getting there early is better than getting there late.’ but what has this done for me but lose me five minutes of life for every event at which i had to be present? five plus five plus five plus five… how many times? i have wasted enough time trying to meet someone else’s time. besides, wasn’t it albert einstein who once said that the only reason we have this construct called time is so that everything doesn’t happen all at once? i like this thought. and i will not argue with it.

this morning. i set all my clocks and watches right on time! i will no longer be the one who is early just to be present. i will be there on time… or not. i will start saving my five minutes here and there, and i will hold them lovingly between my palms. and at the end of each day, i will bathe myself in all of those precious minutes… mine… mine… mine… each and every one of them!

i will no longer try to race time. i will play with it… slowly. with relish… and pleasure… and joy. and i will smile while doing it, because i believe… i know… that time is only there so that everything doesn’t happen all at once.



she said,
i dreamed he stood before a woman, smiling,
and placing a ring around her finger.

i said,
was this a disturbing dream for you?

she said,
of course, yes. but it was the woman
who disturbed me most.

i said,
what was it about her
that disturbed you?

she said,
i couldn’t see her face.

i said,
if you were to put a face on her now,
whose face would you put there?

she said,
i would put my own.

i said,
and what if
you were to become the ring?

she said,
i would choose my finger and
i would wrap myself around it.

i said,
and what if
you were to become the woman?



the sun rises
like a new promise
between old friends