Thursday, August 12, 2010

This Life This Night

This life, like a playful prayer on the wind, ruffling your dreams like it does your hair. This life, every one you ever loved or ever will, holding you safe in their eyes. This life, sweet Goddess, this life. I was looking for all the things I thought I needed to look for, in all the places they told me to look. I never looked within. Now I do. And I see, Goddess, I see. What I was looking for was the emptiness of looking within. Where the looking and that which is looked for cease to matter. I am the eye and the beholden. I am the lover and the touched, the whisperer and the ear. I am what I never need to look for. This life, this vessel of miracles, this playground of hopes, this is my perfect garden, where I need never need.

I felt it on this night, just now. I felt the universe strike my unstruck chord, and I felt the vibration shiver my soul aglow. I felt my words dance, like mystic dervishes in the dust, raising clouds of it to the sky, like golden prayers from imperfect men. I saw a joy within me, so complete and so pure, as I cannot describe. How could I even begin? My word dance is a fledgling thing, young and unsure. How I begin to describe what I felt, when it felt like a thing beyond the naming of words to clothe it in understanding.

I could taste her, this life. Like the fruit from an old mango tree, that still liked to see children smile. Like the taste of my lover's lips, when they grow still and hungry for me. Like a drink from a fountain in the desert of your own mediocrity, that compelled you to dream again.

I could hear her, this life. Like the song of Heaven, I knew by heart before I was born and made to forget. Like my mother's voice calling me home, and my the sound my father makes when I put my arms around him. I heard her like the sound the winds make, when they blow across your skin.

I realized I was happy today, and forgot to ask myself "Why?" I had blinked and become at peace, from a lifetime of being ready for war. I had sat in my living-room, with the heads of the palm trees outside for company, and been perfectly happy. I wrote these words and felt their joy as I did. They danced for me and I danced with them, around this large fire, this life, like naked savages who had given names to every star and rejected this future. I realized that even in this city, even on this night, I could be happy, just for being alive. Nothing else.

I wish you felt this way, too
And you will,


Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I don't want to think of you
But I hear you thinking of me
So I go back on my promise
and cage my desire to be free.
I wandered from the path
When I heard your voice calling
Only to find you waiting,
as lost as you wanted me to be

So here we are baby, you and I.
Slow dancing on this dirty road.
You want flowers, you want forever
You want our hips to never be apart,
But I'm sitting here singing my blues
Counting the hours until I break your heart

Every step you take within me,
Is not your Love's victory stride
It's a cold and lonely shuffle
This is how I murder your pride.
I see you waiting for me baby
With your poems and your song
I told you that I'm coming
But I'll be moving right along.

It breaks my heart to leave you,
But it's a break that would heal
I fear what your touch would do
To the clay I pretend is steel.
All I have are excuses,
Pathetic yes, and true
Yet every one I utter,
Pushes me further into you.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Part of a book...Hopefully one I'll finish

He lay on the damp floor in dark and fumbled around for his underwear. One stubbed toe and three mosquito bites later he managed to get them on and slipped onto the sofa across from her bathroom door. He wanted to sleep, he wanted a glass of water, but the tap in the bathroom shut off and he knew she would be coming outside soon. She’d want to snuggle and talk, or at the very least snuggle. He idly stroked the fabric of the sofa and tried hard not to feel that surge of self-loathing that rose in his throat.

She was a sweet girl this one. Sweet as they came in this city, no doubt about it. And she was crazy about him, or at least a good enough actress to give him that impression. He could hear her singing to herself in the bedroom. He imagined her walking around there in the dark, naked and full of secret thoughts, heavy with the hash still leaden in her limbs.

He stared at the door, even though he couldn’t see anything at all. She hadn’t even turned the light on inside, walking surefooted around in the dark. He thought of the watchmen downstairs and hoped they were fast asleep on their watch. He didn’t want to have to walk by them with their eyes on him. He didn’t them to look at her in the morning and give those toothy smiles. He realized that he really didn’t want to be here at all. Especially not here, on a couch in the dark in the living room of this woman he barely knew, and wasn't sure he even liked, with her dampness cooling on his body. He had thought he was a better man than this. He chuckled at the stupidity and the sadness of the situation. He had no one to blame, but his relationship with himself was a strange one, so he chuckled and shook his head instead.

She came out still singing. Even in the dark she could see that he wasn’t on the couch. She hadn’t put anything on except her panties. There she stood for a moment, a silhouette soft and dark against the pitch. He hoped to god she didn’t want to talk as she walked over and sat down on his lap, her hand on his cheek and her cheek against his face.

“What are you thinking?” she whispered against his ear.

He giggled. He couldn’t help himself. She pulled back and mock slapped him, which only made him laugh harder.


“Tell me.”

“Nothing, really. My mind is numb, and it usually ain’t. Good job you.”

“You want to come and sleep in the bedroom, the AC is on?”

He heard the question behind her question and knew no answer that would be acceptable, so he said nothing and kissed her. She responded with a soft murmur and pressed herself against him. He wished to the gods that he knew what he was doing with her, or even with his own life. Then he could be wise, he could be good, he could be someone he could face in the mirror in the mornings instead of brushing his teeth and showering with the lights off.

It seemed that ever since he hit puberty, there was a need hardwired into his brain, a command code uploaded into his personality – the hunt for a person that could not possibly exist: a perfect mate, a perfect companion. What a ridiculous idea! He knew it was; he was smart enough to know it as part ideology, part Hollywood brainwashing, part English literature seminars, part all the Blues songs he had stashed on his iPod, and part some small vestige of whatever kind of hope he had left snarled around his being.

He should be grateful for the moment, for these sixty-six inches of warm willing flesh whispering in his ear as it shifted and shifted back so deliciously on his lap, for that breath, so sticky and warm, like the smell of a cocoon, wherein all the wounds and the scars were papered over and healed. In a world so cold and unfeeling, where all the people he knew and read about stumbled around lost and rudderless, he knew he should be grateful for whatever warmth he found, no matter how tainted he might feel it to be. But he was nothing if not complicated.

So he kissed her hard and pushed her away. He groped for a good excuse, settled on tired cliché.

“I have an early day tomorrow.”

“I have an alarm,” she replied, masking the hurt with almost enough mockery.

He could feel her above him, still and breathless. He sighed softly, put his arms around her and kissed her again.

“Lead me to your bed chamber, my good woman.”

“You’re a nutcase, you know that?”

“My dear, no have no idea.”

They sprawled on the bed, the covers icy from the well-advertised AC directly above. She snuggled violently for a few moments until she found a position to her liking, during which time she struck him across the face with her elbow. He winced but made not a sound. Pain was better than conversation at this point. Finally satisfied she grasped hold of his arm and drew it over her like a quilt, mumbled something and fell promptly asleep.

As the soft snoring began, he wondered where he could grab a bite to eat this late.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sunday Morning

I took a shovel and I began to dig for words. I dug deeper and deeper and still found nothing but dust. So instead of feeling frustrated and inadequate I went back to a man who's words always renewed my hopes of one day being able to write something as good as this. One of my favorite poems - "Sunday Morning" by Wallace Stevens. Enjoy....

Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
And the green freedom of a cockatoo
Upon a rug mingle to dissipate
The holy hush of ancient sacrifice.
She dreams a little, and she feels the dark
Encroachment of that old catastrophe,
As a calm darkens among water-lights.
The pungent oranges and bright, green wings
Seem things in some procession of the dead,
Winding across wide water, without sound.
The day is like wide water, without sound,
Stilled for the passing of her dreaming feet
Over the seas, to silent Palestine,
Dominion of the blood and sepulchre.

Why should she give her bounty to the dead?
What is divinity if it can come
Only in silent shadows and in dreams?
Shall she not find in comforts of the sun,
In pungent fruit and bright, green wings, or else
In any balm or beauty of the earth,
Things to be cherished like the thought of heaven?
Divinity must live within herself:
Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow;
Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued
Elations when the forest blooms; gusty
Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights;
All pleasures and all pains, remembering
The bough of summer and the winter branch.
These are the measures destined for her soul.

She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, "The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay."
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail
Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
Downward to darkness, on extended wings.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Premiere Night Ruminations

Yesterday night was the big screening/premiere of "Aisha". As usual, it was an unusual and complicated night for me. The storm that lives in the hollows of my bones came out and hammered against my shell like a demon rattling its cage. That heady, almost cloying feeling somewhere between nausea and elation built in me like the sudden urge to run screaming through the street. I think I might have hugged a few too many people too hard.

But the night ended like any night, with me under my reading lamp with a book in my hands. I had picked up a book of poems by Rumi. And as I lay there reading them in random order, my storm grew quiescent and the fever left me. I moved past the need to feel anything at all just because it was THAT night. So rather than tell you what I was feeling and get overly prosaic as I'm wont to do sometimes, I thought I'd share some of those poems :-

What was in that candle's light
that opened and consumed me so quickly?

Come back, my friend! The form of our love
is not a created form.

Nothing can help me but that beauty.
There was a dawn I remember

when my soul heard something
from your soul. I drank water

from your spring and felt
the current take me


When I am with you, we stay up all night.
When you're not here, I can't go to sleep.

Praise God for these two insomnias!
And the difference between them.


We are the mirror as well as the face in it.
We are tasting the taste this minute
of eternity. We are pain
and what cures pain, both. We are
the sweet cold water and the jar that pours.

I want to hold you close like a lute,
so we can cry out with loving.
You would rather throw stones at a mirror?
I am your mirror, and here are the stones.


There is a light seed grain inside.
You fill it with yourself, or it dies.

I'm caught in this curling energy! Your hair
Whoever's calm and sensible is insane!


When I put away the book finally and turned off the lights, I lay back on my bed and stared up at the dark ceiling with its murmuring fan and peopled the darkness with all the lights of my future. And felt good. I felt right. I felt I had deserved the quiet peace of this night, and the storm inside curled happily around me like an old dog, wagging it's tail periodically with contentment.

I am who I was meant to be. More than less, I am the man I wanted to be.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Me and Mr. Marley

Turn your lights down low,
and pull your window curtain.
Ooh, let your moon come shining in.
Into our lives again.
Saying, Oooh it's been a long long time
Got this message for you girl
But it seems I was never on time
Still I wanna get through to you girl
On time, on time.
I want to give you some love
I want to give you some good, good lovin
Oh I, oh I, oh I,
I want to give you some good, good lovin

Turn your lights down low
And whisper softly to the night
That you and I, that you and I babe
We're going to strike flint to tinder
Rub warmth into the winter
When the seconds fall like rain drops
and the winds sighs proudly
When Jah up above smiles and smiles
Letting the smoke of his love curl around us.
I want to give you some love.
I want to give you of that old world loving.
Let the chords change every silence we enter
Let the shadows move like warriors around a fire
It's been a long, long time
And I've forgotten the words to my prayers
I've walked every road and found no destinations
Beside lonelier folk with no comprehension
Of where it was they needed to be,
And why they were here, walking besides me.
I love you, and I want you to know right now.
That I, that I, that I.
I wanna give you some love
I wanna give you some good, good, lovin

This ocean might turn into a potion
For the ills that married me,
When I passed through the doorway
Into this world of your blushes and caress
If you're asking, I'm telling you it's yes,
We need to move like poets moved,
When the ships still sailed and the
Music forever ever grooved.
Turn your lights down low,
Oh let your moon come shinin in
And let this wandering soul