it’s always the ‘shoulds’ that evoke the most profound agonies. 

we like to think we want things as we want them to be. but it’s not true. we don’t want things as we want them to be. we want things as others want them to be.

the expectations others impose upon us! expectations that, once upon a time, were imposed upon them. and this is not to mention the expectations we impose upon ourselves… all part of the continuum of living up to the collective, universal expectation we have all colluded to impose upon our own existence. how do we allow it?

how is it that we subsist within this cycle of distress? 
how is it that we bare our chests… and expand… while receiving the blows? 
how is it that we swallow the venom undiluted… whole… while asking no questions?

i should…
you should…
we should…
i should…
i should…

the imagined need for a hypothetical perfection. when it is not met, it creates a fiery, flesh-consuming angst inside the deepest crevices of every one of us. a perfection that, so to speak, helps us to fit ever so perfectly inside the perfect boxes laid out by the perfectionists. 

a few years ago, i made a commitment to myself to ‘should’ no more. my very decision was met with derision. ‘ha! good luck with that, nevine!’ and… marginalization. ‘you’ll end up alone and regretful.’

still. i abandoned ‘i should’ and embraced, in its place, ‘i am’.

i have had my stumbles and falls. i have had my moments of turning back to glance at the fiery tug of the hell of collective thinking and living. i have stumbled. fallen. turned back to glance. 

and shuddered at the very thought of being that way again.

this morning, i remember that year. that day. that moment. 
the moment of ‘i am’.
i am interwoven with it. and it is interwoven with me.

i sit inside the kaleidoscopic shift of ‘i am’. 
every moment inside it is actively living. 
a metamorphosis of rough to polished.
a transfiguration of motion to stillness.
and back again…

i am in it. 
i am it.

some might call this
drowning in solipsism.

i call this
being me.

every moment, i am reborn.

i glide into the poised swirl of
that which is now.

i am neither alone nor regretful.

i am.

i walk upon sacred, intimate ground.

this morning,
i tread lightly that i might feel
the air lifting me up by the wings,
even as the earth tugs gently at my feet,

grounding me.



in every tree dwells a story
that incinerates the ground.

in every blur to perfection
twirl one thousand tessellations.

from every filigree of light
surges the breath of integration.

in every assymetrical shape
hides a cryptic geometry.

in me arises a sentient air
that knows every secret.

my heart craves what it craves
without a care for who’s laughing.

i am not riddle.
i am not enigma.
i am not allegory.


i am not burning bush,
but the conscious flow of water.



In the breath of Rumi…

what makes up hunger?
what makes up desire?

how do we abandon
the straight line of should
and embrace the winding infinity of now?

.:: don’t go back to sleep ::.

how do we learn to clear a space
where the uncertain
and impermanent
may dwell?

.:: the door is round and open ::.

how do we abandon turmoil
and embrace serenity?



they tried to tell me 
how to enter this gate
with grace.

little do they know
about grace.

leave that to me.

i have known ancients who,
though their smiles were jagged
and their eyes were murky,
their spirits were emblazoned
with tempests of gratitude.

for some, it is enough to know
what the body craves; yes,
that is the true measure,
isn’t it?

for others, it is
never enough.



she said,
it’s an odd feeling, this.
it pains me, but i can’t let it go.

i said,
you can’t, or you won’t?

she said,
i’m trying, here.
do you think you can walk
in my shoes, every once in a while?

i said,
we all must walk in our own shoes—
you in yours, i in mine.



early morning.

i greet my shadow in a window.
in a mirror.
in the full length of a glass door.

come in, i say.
come sit with me.

come eat.
come drink.

come sit.
come be.

come be with me, i say.

we sit.

we chat about the letters we have
sent one another throughout the years.
letters sent, but never received.

saturated with pristine longing.
filled to the brim with reverie.

we sit.

we chew the bones 
we have to chew with one another.

we peel old agitations from the window.
from the mirror.
from the full length of the glass door.

we sit.

what more do we need?

we feast at the banquet of cohesion.



you stare with mortal eyes
but speak with marble lips
uttering lifeless words
without drawing
a solitary breath
infecting me
with your contagion
leaving me suffocating
for something untouchable
for something unknown



she said,
today, i’ll drown in
the well of self-adoration.

i said,
oh, how jealous
narcissus will be!



how to make sense
of this viscous confusion?

it clings
ever so persistently.


we speak in words
this time around.

so many utterances
awaiting recognition.

so much…

and metaphor.
and metaphor, once more.

your words,
and the candor of them.


is that my candor
we speak?

and then again,
who’s speaking, anyway?

and then again,
who’s not?

answer the questions,
will you?

life is burning.




a compass quivers between my fingers.
i stand outside, bare feet
on damp grass.

there is a mauve temper
to the plummeting darkness.

i lay the compass down and write.

my pen scratches away,
endearing itself to the paper.
the ink flows with brazen license.

somewhere, a clock ticks.

not here.

this moment is a labyrinth.
it makes no apologies for
its self-containment.

the words spent,
my pen rests… satisfied.
 but, my spirit craves for knowledge.
what flaming spirit does not crave
for one curiosity or the other?
tell me...

earlier today, i sat outside and read
phenomenology of perception—and oh,
how my body kindled with knowing in the
bonfire of maurice merleau-ponty’s words!

when the house window most distant from me beckoned,
i shut my eyes and pressed my ear against it—in
my imagination—as if a new reality might
open up and seize me... as if.

the smoky clouds gathered on the horizon.

they gather, still…
inside the mauve temper.
inside the imminent chill.

the compass jerks into stillness
at my feet.

my pen weeps.



another mindful serendipity...

sidewalk chalk
on a neighbor’s driveway
hopscotch in neon and glitter
younger september mornings evoked
oh, the nostalgic diligence of reminiscence!






another mindful serendipity...

the eyes of the sky bead up with tears
then rebels the shuddering storm
a promise once made
now honored


our desire for one another…
how flagrantly it embroiders the night!

it circles inside the knots of uncharted flesh,
leaving no space for denial or refutation.

the haunt of it is pivotal, and,
in a manner of speaking,
that is enough…

to be devoured by this,
of all desires.

to be kept and hidden
like the deepest of secrets—
in plain sight.

inside this romanticism lies
the ultimate act of surrender.

inside this eroticism rests
the ultimate poetry.

inside this voyeurism…
inside this masochism…

inside the textured brocade of
this unequivocal burn…

inside that part of my body where
the hunger sparks as dew…

inside the weave of this intensity—
persistent, driven…

inside the power of this
fall from the cliff…

we are limbs.
we are naked.
we are being.
we are blaze.

we are thrust.
we are lust.

we are now.



look at me.
watch me.
observe me.

there is something to be learned from 
all of this attention, you know.

you like to believe you live in paradise.
we all do.
but we climb the stairs to elysium… 
with what trepidation!

still. we take our blind faith in stride.

look at me.
watch me.
observe me.

do you see what i’m talking about?

we take our blind faith in stride.
we climb the stairs.


she said,
i'm having a strange obsession
with emptiness, lately. i don't
understand it. it terrifies me.

i said,
don't fear your void.
enter it.
fill it with your presence.



we sit inside the faith of a cloaked desire.
what vulnerabilities attack the resilience
that sparks, then fuels, our flames?

the words hang obtusely in the air.
they speak in broken anonymities,
trying not to disturb the calm.

are you here with me?

i search for you, but then get lost
inside the river of sunlight
streaming through the open window.


up all night.
fierce, these invading memories.

i need to be outside.
you? nowhere but here.



she said,
last night, i dreamed i was falling.

i said,

she said,

i said,
what was that like for you?

she said,
the fall, or the dream?

i said,
are they not one and the same?

she said,
i suppose they are, yes.

i said,
are they, now?
so, what was it like for you?

she said,
i saw things. touched things. felt things.

i said,
and what was that like for you?

she said,
why do you keep asking me the same question?

i said,
why do you keep evading an answer?

she said,
i’m not sure i understand the question.

i said,
i’m not sure there’s anything to understand.
it’s a straightforward enough question.

she said,
okay, then.
i felt exquisite. i felt like,
if falling is like this,
let falling last forever.

you’re still being evasive,
i said.
answer the question.

she said,
i felt like i was losing control.

i said,
control over what?

she said,
control over everything.
control over myself.

i said,
and the falling was the loss of control?

she said nothing.

i said,
what did you feel
as you were falling?

she said,
i felt freedom.

i said,
were you not afraid?

she said,
i wasn’t.

i said,
not of anything at all?

not of anything,
she said.
not of anyone.
she paused.
not of you.

i said,
what brings me into
this equation?

she said,
will you never understand?
you are the equation.



into the forest

where the trees witness
my solitude

but remain firmly rooted
to earth

asking no questions
at all



to be without burden,
to be without questions…

what hue are the windows
of this fantasy?



Finishing Line Press proudly announces the publication of my first poetry chapbook, From Darkness, Beatitudes.

It has been an exciting process working toward publication of this small, and very dear to my heart, collection of poetry. It has also been somewhat of an emotional challenge. This chapbook holds the expression of some of my deepest, most haunting, poetic meditations. Somehow, delivering this expression into the hands of others was like tearing out a part of myself and giving it away. Inside of that darkness, however, was beatitude: Release.

This is what the poems in From Darkness, Beatitudes are all about. They are about sitting with the discomfort of the darkness, eyeball to eyeball, and heart to heart. They are about allowing the darkness to touch us, and teach us . . . and finally, to grace us with the gifts that inhabit its deepest crevices.

The advance sales period begins today and runs approximately six weeks. Pre-sales determine pressrun (the number of copies that will actually be printed), so if you would like to order a copy, please do so soon as that would boost my final pressrun! The price of the chapbook is $14, plus $2.99 for shipping, and pre-orders ship June 21, 2014. You can order online by clicking on the following link:

Finishing Line Press is also accepting checks and money orders at:

Finishing Line Press
PO Box 1626
Georgetown, KY 40324

Please send $14 per copy, + $2.99 shipping per copy

By Mail Only: If you are ordering multiple copies, shipping is $2.99 for the first copy, and $1.99 for each additional copy.

* * * * * * * * *

Here is what some writers/editors have to say about From Darkness, Beatitudes:

The lyrical language and subtly drawn message in Nevine Sultan’s poetry reaches in and pulls one inside out, exposing the nerve endings—open, raw, and trembling, to the outside world. Conversely, there is an intimacy in her work, finding only You and She and The Other, a trio of long lost losses and long lost founds, together whispering discoveries ancient and future, known and unknown. Nevine’s poetry is approachable yet ethereal, poignant yet not over-wrought. A fine collection I will read again and again. — Kathryn Magendie, Publishing Editor of Rose & Thorn and author of The Lightning Charmer

Nevine Sultan’s From Darkness, Beatitudes takes the reader on a journey between the line of dreaming and reality, through loss and rebirth, through the greyness of understanding the definition of life. The opening poem, “Freefalling,” begins the whirlwind as we are left helpless and may only witness that around us: “I do not mean to see this thing / this most private of commissions. / But the eye captures / before the mind receives.” This catapults the imagination into places between lightness and darkness—and everything in-between. — Nick Sweeney, Assistant Editor of The Summerset Review

Nevine Sultan’s slender collection generously renders the visceral impact of nocturnal experience that resists the harshness of light. Reveling in the fresh perspective of darkness, the vital signs of life are born midst the shadows. Here steep the haunting questions, the rippling consequences, the oxymoronic beauty of fractured frames. — Judy Wilson, author of Trespass and other Stories and Founding Editor of Yellow Medicine Review

Cover photo: Natural Justice by Vincent Sanchez



she said,
what do you make of an imagination that
knows only the parameters of infinity?

i said,
let infinity stake you out and engulf you in its flames
before it is overtaken, compartment by compartment.



a word that can liberate. or imprison.
what do you know of it… you?
yes. you.

you. with the drawn back shoulder blades.
you. with the liquid ice for eyes.

you. with the hair.
 dusted with pride. 

you. with the lips. voiceless and wild.

you. and you. and you, once more.


what do you know of it?
tell me.
what do you know of it?

i need to know.



fall into my arms.
fall, and let this earth shatter into
a hundred thousand fragments of scintillation.

how do we live 
amidst so many questions 
left unanswered?

insolent questions, yes!
but then, how many questions fail to propel us
from the dreamscapes we love to inhabit into full wakefulness?

fantasies depart…
and return.

new stories beckon from the fringes
of platinum-lined clouds.

new fantasies.
new awarenesses.

we always know exactly what it is that we need.
of rest. of food. of emotion. of distance. of…

we know. because. we must. otherwise…