Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I fell through the cracks in my thoughts, down where dreams dwell, like forgotten lotuses on a hidden pond. Into the waters of my fantasies I splashed, like a dog into the azure swells of a Mediterranean shore. As the waters closed around my ankles I felt a coolness that had nothing to with my body and everything to do with my spirit. The waters were now up to my knees, and the coolness had begun to spread upwards and outwards, until it seemed to pour out of the very limits of me. Deeper I waded into that pond, where shafts of moonlight seemed frozen in the air like soft, luminous stairways to heaven, or the dangling arms of an angel reaching down to brush the skin of my face. Still deeper I waded until every hair on my body rose up and hummed like a struck tuning fork, every pore on my body electric.

I inhaled and dove down into the clearest water with the surety of a man who finds himself for even a brief moment exactly where and as he's supposed to be. Down I went into the depths. But the light here grew brighter as if the sun had given up the sky and waited for me below. The light filtered up in the water lazy and pink and the fish swam by and around me with wide grins and winking eyes. I wanted to ask them if I could stay here. As if they could read my mind they laughed, bubbles of amusement everywhere, and swam in joyful loops that spelled out "forever". Laughing with them I swam down, every now and then, twirling this way and that with a grace I never possess in life, down baby, down down.

You can't always get what you want. You don't always get what you dream. But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need. Down in amongst the verdure coral of my hopes, where the best parts of me stayed, hidden from all the negativity and the filth. Every one I touched pulsed roseate and surreal and full of energy. With each I felt their power become mine, rubbing away the edges and lifting up the defeats. I was beyond happy. I was ME, completely, unashamedly, unbelievably me. What the world never touched, and the girls never hurt, and the swirls of light never dimmed by a jealous crowd.

And then she came to me. My Goddess, my guiding star. My last hope, my only Shangri-La. She wore the face of every woman I've ever loved, or ever will. She smiled like a Goddess should, and waters grew still. Around me she swam like a poet mermaid, a Sufi eel. She held my face, in wide soft hands until only my eyes remained untouched. Into this she poured her liquid fire, her burning life, her fuschia desire. When she kissed my mouth closed I felt her regret, that she must send me away, and make me forget. That we ever swam beneath the Moon and above the Sun, where waters of eternity and Love will ever run. She kissed me until I started to remember, where I needed to be tomorrow and in November. And as I floated away, she whisked her tail.

Then she was gone,

And I exhaled.

Monday, July 26, 2010

While Listening to the Rolling Stones

I can almost hear you sigh,
I can almost hear you cry,
What'll I do without ya?
Where did it all go wrong?
You acted much too strong
Left me feeling torn
With that strange look in your eyes
I was walking down the street
Had another girl to meet,
When my thoughts ran your way
Before I got collected
Brain dead introspective
Need a heart break detective
To tell me what I did was wise
You wanted me not at all
Now angry I don't call
Lord please make up your mind
We can't dance no more
Or walk down that shore
You're not welcome anymore
This ain't no damn movie, this is my life.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Got feelings trapped inside like prisoners on a sinking ship. But even if I free them, we're still in the middle of the ocean and feelings can't swim. Wish I could write better and bleed all of it into ink, and then onto the page, and out of my heart. But I can't. So here I sit, past the witching hour, itching for a cold shower, and a smoke of that sticky sour, wondering why the world keeps forgetting to look my way. Or maybe it's me that's turned away, standing alone in a corner facing tomorrow when I should be talking about today.

Someone told me my writing is pretentious. She was right, but not in the way she thinks. This isn't how I really feel. How I really feel has nothing to do with blogging or writing or words or express-ability. I can't tell you how I feel. I can't tell myself how I feel. Because how I truly feel terrifies me, exhilarates me, leaves me numb and breathless and out of place and confused. It's never just one feeling at one time. How do I begin to write about that when I can't understand it? How do you write about something you've never seen, or describe somewhere you've never been? You don't - you pretend.

But the alternative would be to write nothing at all, ever. And I can't do that. This way I at least try to come closer to the truth. This way I at least try to face this stampede of emotion. This way I at least get to go to sleep at night with a lighter heart and a clearer mind. And I can wake up in the morning and smile when the sun hits my face. Did that sound as pretentious as it does when I read it back to myself? I hope so, because it's not true. I don't want to face that stampede, I really don't think I could handle the truth, and every morning I wake up happy and confused and aroused and disgusted and bladder-full and stinky. And I never smile, I stumble out of bed to wherever the gremlins hid my alarm clock at night and I practice my Muhammad Ali impersonation on the snooze button before crawling back under my blankets face first.

I don't know what happened to the world, to this city, to us human beings. Was it technology, was it Facebook, or mobile phones, or satellite television or designer clothes, or Westernization or antipathy or any of the wonderful things we've accomplished as a species? Or were we always like this? Lost and bewildered and full of false bravado. Or am I just in one of those complicated moods where I can't quite decide whether I love the life or just hate everyone in it? Or whether I should be doing something more exciting and productive than rambling online.

I'm just as lost and confused as anyone out there. Damn but I wanna go where the wind ever blows, cool and soft, ever autumn never snows, and the mountains and the sea are as close as lovers' elbows. A little house on a hill halfway between the surf and the sky, with a hearth big enough to sit in, and in which we'd light a fire every night. And sit close together, all of us who would be there, and drink from our cups, and laugh at our jokes, and smile at the stories, each face warm with the light from within and the light from the fire dancing with the shadows cast upon it. There would be dogs, gentle giants with friendly tongues, wet noses, and eager paws. They would lie at our feet as we sat around the fire, and stare at us and laugh in their own silent, tongue lolling tail wagging way.

I wanna go to a city full of cafes and bookshops and cinemas and promenades. Full of lovers holding hands and pretty girls holding on. Where life moves slow and languid, yet fills you with scents from forgotten gardens just around the corner. Where taxi drivers are full of stories and waitresses full of life. And the restaurants are full of the kind of people that you see in the good movies, and Rita Hayworth sitting in a corner waiting for you, wearing a gown and a smile. A city where cigarettes are full of nectar and fill your body with warmth and vigor, and drug companies are run by hippies who've learned how to cure everything except desire and ambition.

But who am I kidding? I'm sitting in my room, surrounded by the paintings I've made and the books I've reread a dozen times and loved every time. I can hear Laila and Mishti scratching at my veranda door waiting to be let in, so they can lie on my run and listen to my music and wag their tails lazily while I whisper to them about the future I dream about. I can hear my sister's always-too-fucking-loud music playing as she dances around her room and acts silly. I imagine my parents sitting in their room reading their papers and doing their crosswords wearing their love for each other like their favorite shawls on a winter day. And I am happy.

This is not paradise, this is not perfect. But this is where I am happy. Today, this night, this is Heaven.

I wish you could have been here with me.

Whoever you are.

Wherever you may be.

I'm coming.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Some Nights

Some nights go exactly the way you'd hoped they would. Some nights are given as karmic presents for the good you must have done in another life, because you certainly can't think of anything you did in this one worth this smile sitting across from you. Some nights begin with that roiling cauldron of anticipation and dread and fear and longing - yet end with a quiet gratitude towards the powers that be. Some nights everything that could have gone wrong decides not to, and you start scratching your head wondering if you wandered into some body else's night, or even into a Twilight Zone episode staring you! Some nights you feel blessed to be on this here planet. Some nights you forgive God his mismanagement. Some nights are like a mosaic of faith's perfection, glittering in your mind long after they're done. Some nights make you search for the right words and actually find them. Some nights remind you that better times are coming, you just have to have faith. Some nights you go to sleep with a big fat smile and don't dream - at all, you don't need to. Some nights are just so sweet you want to smile and hug them. Some nights, you feel like the best possible version of you, instead of the ogre you normally see in the mirror. Some nights - are perfect.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Be Still

Be still young heart, at times there is nothing to do but be still. When the world becomes unknowable and the rhythms move in flux and the rains never cease. Be still, my dear, never will you have to fear. There is nothing you cannot move, nothing you cannot smile through. Watch the palms flicker in the breeze and the rain sussurate off the balcony tiles and the crows flap and twirl like tango dancers on the street. Forget where life is taking you, whatever it has in store, whoever you may have to face, whomever you are waiting for. For now be still. Take long sips of coffee and rest your head on the window sill, watch the sky and be still.

Another work rejection today, another path closed forever. Is there a worse feeling for an actor than to be found inadequate by people who don't know what they're looking for in the first place? To be judged and weighed and discarded just like that? Yes, there are worse feelings, young fool. The world is a dark place, yet your world is full of light and laughter and pretty pretty smiles.

Be wise, my dear. A rejection means freedom from waiting, freedom to step forward and continue. A rejection means - nothing, except that another person will feel regret one day for passing you by. Be wise my dear, never give in to fear, stride ever onward with a soldier's pace. Wipe disappointment off your face and show the world your truer cast. We all feel betrayed by our expectations and our hopes, but they are not to blame. They are the only renewable source of energy in the world. Even after a man has lost it all, he can still find it in himself to hope to rise again.

Be wild and free, young blood. Be more than the world around you, more than people expect you to be. Be yourself joyfully, and see the world bow and ask you for a dance.

Monday, July 5, 2010

"I hate that I like you!"
I didn't know whether to smile or duck from the expression on her face. Then she put her head down, with that cascade of black hair veiling her off from me like a purdah. For a second I actually thought she would look up with her eyes milky white and start speaking in ancient Aramaic with that Exorcist voice. But she just snorted a little wine out her nose trying not to laugh and looked up at me, mimed throwing something at me. Good sign. Anytime a woman seems to mime violence my way, or indulge in a little bit of slapping or shoving, I know things are going well.
"Interesting," I mumbled in my best channeling of Humphrey Bogart, with that sort of "you left your lipstick in my bathroom" expression.
"You really suck."
"I really do. Why exactly?"
"Because here I am, telling you I like you, and you're looking for a waiter."
"Only because this announcement calls for champagne."
"Shut up! I hate you."
"I know. You've mentioned that once or twice."
"I don't want champagne."
"I know that, silly girl. I want to pay the check."
"Why? I like this place."
"Well I don't. The lights are the wrong color for kissing."
"Who said anything about kissing?"
"I did, just now. Didn't you hear?"
"You're a bastard."
"No, my parents are happily married and very proud of their little puppy."
She giggled and took a long final swallow of wine and tottered to her feet like a queen who had gone slumming in a tavern and thoroughly enjoyed herself.
"Well I need to use the bathroom."
"Good luck to you, my dear."
"You're supposed to walk me there."
"I trust you not to beat up anybody on the way, love. Or to run away."
She slipped into my embrace, all five foot ten inches of delight and contrary to her earlier, rather militant views about public displays of affection, kissed me as thoroughly as I had ever been kissed. When she walked away, her step was steady and my head was rolling, like I'd done all the drinking. Goddess, what a delightful puzzle are your daughters.
The waiter came over with a knowing smirk that I returned like a happy fool. All around us were groups of people with their eyes glued to whichever football match was going on that night. Don't ask me because I wouldn't remember even on a night I didn't have a beautiful woman making my head spin. Paid the check, tipped the waiter a little extra, slapped him on the back and strode out the bar smiling at the maitre'd, and the hostess, and the hotel janitor sweeping in the corner, and the receptionist, and the door man, and the valet who took my ticket and ran off into the pouring rain.
It had been a perfect night. The kind of night that the gods decreed could exist only a few times in a man's life, I suppose. And as I waited for Her Gloriousness to emerge from the powder room, I felt that wonderful anticipatory murmur in my stomach. I smiled at that reminder that for all my charm, and all my experience, somethings should always remain unexpected and blessed.
There she came, hair flying like the banner behind a charging knight, and stride as determined. I didn't know whether to brace my feet or tuck tail and run. She click clacked down the stairs and click clacked into my arms again, once more proving that she really didn't mind the public so much when the affection came calling.
"My dear girl, you're drunk. And I am as sober as a monk in a well."
She giggled and traced her hands down my chest.
"You say the silliest things."
"Anything for a giggle."
"Take me home, sayer of silly things."
I tipped the valet, held open her door and put the car in gear. She grabbed a hold of my iPod and began to shuffle through my music. I loved when she did that. I don't know why. She seemed to have the closest taste in music I had encountered to mine in years. Pretty soon, we were cruising down on that long road by the sea on the wed roads, with our windows down, and that thick loamy air buffeting our faces, and the Roots' new album beating up the speakers.
"So how long will I have to wait before you ask me out again," I asked.
"Why do I have to ask you out?"
"Well we've established that you're the aggressive one betwixt us, so the onus of responsibility is on you."
Her laughter caressed my face as light as the wind, as soft as her hand on the back of my neck.
"Betwixt? Really? Who used that in proper conversation in the last century other than you?"
"Fair wench, as I tire of repeating, it is a part of my antediluvian charm."
"What the hell does that mean?"
"It means shut up and kiss me again."
"You want more of that, you need to pull over or get me home faster."
"Yes ma'am."
Pedal to devil, and the metal on the floor. Behold, fair drunk lass's apartment door.
I parked the car in her building telling the watchman I only needed to go up to use the restroom, and would be down in fifteen. He grunted in disgust and waved me up and away.
She waited by the elevator, still and expectant.
"You're coming up." It wasn't a question.
"The Spanish Inquisition couldn't keep me."
"Good. Whatever that's supposed to mean."
Ding the elevator, bing she's pulling me in. Back to kissing.
She opens her door, and out jumps a fat labrador.
Pet pet pet, nuzzle nuzzle nuzzle. Get off me pooch, I've got work to do.
"Wait here," she points to the bed and smiles. "Don't move."
"Frozen in anticipation madam."
Tick tock tick tock tick. I lie back on the bed and stare at her ceiling. Then her hair appears and then her face. Fuck off ceiling I'm busy.
When we come up for air she says she wants some water.
I go to the fridge, push away the labrador from my ass crack. Pour two glasses, push away the labrador from my crotch. And smiling enter her room.
And there she lies, as perfect as only the Goddess could make her - snoring softly under her lazy fan.
I nudge her with my foot. I put the glasses down and kiss her cheek and call her name. She smiles in her sleep and her snores fade away, her breathing deepening into the tempo of true slumber.
A laugh escapes me and I don't begrudge it. I leave the water straighten my clothes and head down.
As I drive off the guard smiles and waves.