Friday, February 27, 2009


He wanted to describe her beauty except that all virginal, untouched words eluded him—he had to make do with those that had already traveled within the bitter mouths of street sweepers, their eyes sunken, the somber shadows underneath recounting a night devoid of sleep. Or the words that have journeyed though the acid ravaged esophagus of a single mother, one toiling through the night as would a nocturnal beast so as to feed her emaciated children.

He yearned to describe her azure blue eyes, chestnut brown hair and nose ridden with sun spots using the words of the most circumloquacious of writers, yet they failed him and all that remained were the following clichéd adjectives, verbs, and adverbs:

Her hair was reminiscent of a fine thread woven together by a translucent substance.
Her eyes glittered like stars in the sky.
Her skin was sun kissed and her cheeks rosy.
Her laugh reminded him of children at play.
Her lips recalled the color of a flowering red rose.

The sole words available to him were as used and battered as a worthless prostitute and had he uttered them, permitted them to materialize and traverse the space composed of particles and organic matter, to reach her delicate ears, she would have recoiled—her lack of uniqueness reverberating within the shallow depths of such clichés.

Every woman yearns to be defined as unique, as an anomaly, and the clichés that have often voyaged from one cavity filled mouth to another, disintegrate the illusion of the special nature of these beings composed of hair, fluttering eyelashes and double X-chromosomes.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Urban Angel

Urban Angel

Her pale, bony hands touch the tarnished doorknob. Her feet shuffle hesitantly and then with a long sinuous sigh, she turns the knob and opens the red door. The portal’s paint chips fall to the ground akin to blood trickling down her vein-marked limbs, coagulating upon exposure to the polluted city air. All of her gestures are marked with uncertainty-- the way she incessantly tugs at the earring in her left ear; the erratic flailing of her arms as insipid thoughts stream through her consciousness; or even the manner in which she scratches at the bridge of her nose each time a stranger glances at her, though according to her calculations, a quantitatively measured assessment: Not many.

And yet, despite the abundance of awkward, treading over the very precarious precipice of neurotic behavior she exudes, as he observes her from his lion’s den, from the four-walled room he sequesters himself to, this self-inflicted solitary confinement, he cannot quell these insurmountable sentiments. He cannot disregard the invisible filament that ties him to this ashen skinned beauty, his urban angel. He first spotted her though his dirt crusted window one seemingly unremarkable Saturday morning. He had just awakened from a night filled with screaming whispers of excruciating pain, the previous day’s barrage of foreign white blood cells bombarding his frail body composed of flesh, bone and jade unseeing eyes. He had placed his palms against the cold glass hoping for a reprieve, a momentary interim before another languorous day began. And at the very instant his index finger formed a sort of fog-ridden calligraphy, an amalgam of evaporated sweat and heinously cold New York air, he saw the troubled nymph’s face, her red lips down turned, her black eyebrows raised in bafflement; she a walking, perpetual contradiction

And thus his addiction began, where his daily fix was a mere glimpse or continual fantasies filled with contorted bodies, expansive words of adoration; love paraphernalia. And yet these fleeting glances were all that he possessed of her, was the sole form of sustenance that nourished his disintegrating corpse.

She was the sour bread he placed upon his cauliflower tongue and slowly savored; that which he garnered strength from.
She was the organic, carbon matter that synthesized his pepper but mostly salted hair.
She was the murmurs that reverberated in his ears and caught like dust particles in his trachea; ever present.
She was the pristinely white petals of snow that fell onto his infection-ridden cornea.
She was the morphine trickling through his arteries, infused through a small incision to his left arm, soothing all terrestrial pain.
She was his urban angel, her soiled wings hidden underneath her black, weighty overcoat, concealing her plumage that was thinning daily—each feather placidly cascading toward the barren earth.

She was all.
She was nothing.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Feast of Me

This is still a work in progress, most likely simply an excerpt of a larger piece. This is its unedited, raw version.

Feast of Me

You were so organized, you knew how to store pieces of me, package them up for use at a later time, a meal that you would devour when it suited your dietary needs. And in these small Tupperware containers lay pieces of me designated by you, words that became my titles—Mondays you would consume the package of me labeled, “Idiocy,” the me you had so trampled I became this downtrodden being who mindlessly believed in such an inscription. These plastic containers of me were each topped with a blue cover so tightly closed that the meager air in my lungs were depleted and metamorphosing into carbon dioxide, my face turning the color of the cover and yet you would not release it or me. I was to placidly remain within the confines of the box you placed me in, to be followed by a daily feast of “Worthless,” “Defect,” “Toxic,” “Pathetic,” “Human Stain”. And every once in a while, on a sunny Sunday, you would look in the freezer for my remains, my hands ashen, the tips a deep purple, and you would recall the labels you had once designated for me, encompassing such adjectives as “Beautiful”, “Intelligent” “Strong” “Courageous” and in these fleeting moments you would remove the Tupperware of me and thaw the carcass of my past self in hopes of reviving the various parts of me that you still yearned to devour, licking your lips, your tongue caressing your yellowing teeth. Oh what a cannibalistic feast I became, you tearing at the various fragments of me, forgetting all the while that under these labels, this fragmented self, I lay. In your amnesiac state, in your cannibalistic state, you forgot that the me that had been a part of you was languishing and withering away and that the very instant the last ice particles would thaw, the solid state turning into this dirty liquid of me, I would trickle down your black, granite, kitchen countertops and slink toward the door, escaping this feast of me, leaving you hungry and wanting.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Fragmented Thoughts

The following is merely a compilation of fragmented thoughts. Haphazard filaments of wisdom, theory and observations:

‘Numbness’ is not a sentiment, merely a lack thereof; at times a welcomed reprieve from pain. Silence can be far more unnerving than even the most piercing of cries. The comfort of another can be likened to a drug; the withdrawal symptoms potentially just as detrimental to one’s well being as that of morphine. Addictions of any sort never wither nor wilt as would a flower, its petal cascading toward the barren earth whilst letting out its final sigh, but rather addictions metamorphose into yet another: Love’s final breath mutates into a whimper that is solely quelled by copious amounts of chocolate. Rejection is akin to the training wheels of a child’s bicycle, it adequately prepares one for the maneuvering of life, be it in relationships, professional or even familial life. Self-respect is tantamount to any interpersonal relationship; navigating these perfidious bodies of water requires a compass, global positioning system, map and any other tool procurable. Maternal tenderness heals nearly all wounds; her soothing words the fine threads that hold together even the deepest of lacerations.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Night in Tel Aviv

A Night in Tel Aviv

Dusk settles upon her pale shoulders as
she descends the El Al airplane,
each fragile stride wavers under her weight,
she takes one final step, her feet
hitting the black tarmac, the
suffocating humidity envelops her
as would an octopus, all eight
tentacles sucking out her very breath.

The Ben Gurion airport greets her kindly—
“Welcome to Israel” says the sign,
followed by indecipherable Hebrew and Arabic characters,
the bustle of the airport startles her,
this building meant for arrivals and departures,
crowded with women and men dressed in
traditional Jewish garb--long tattered skirts with
worn turtlenecks, black overcoats concealing crisp
white shirts, and Muslims touching their foreheads
to their prayer mats, their mosaic pattern
reflected in the marble tiles of the floor.

She boards the airport transit bus,
her eyes hungrily consuming the
blurred scenery of human traffic,
this fusion of moving dots
resembling ants in search for food,
swirls of smoke emitted from their exhaust pipes,
inhaled by the prisoners of the cubicles
of the high-rise buildings,
their windows glittering from
the white and red lights of the cars outside.

She arrives to Tel Aviv,
at once the chaos of it all registers—
all five of her senses are inundated with
colors, scents, textures, sounds and flavors:
young soldiers in grass-colored uniforms,
steel, black Uzi submachine guns in hand,
people shopping for blood-colored tomatoes,
parsley, baby cucumbers while being called forth
by vendors screaming in Hebrew, Russian, Arabic, English:
Falafel, shawarma, hummus—very cheap!”

Walking through these thronged streets,
far too small to accommodate humanity,
her body is battered by the push of countless
women, men, children,
their sweat drenched shirts leaving
watermarks upon her blue cotton dress,
as the smell of the sea calls out to her,
its briny scent mixing with that of
cumin, dill weed, and dog urine.

And like a dog on a leash,
she is drawn to the seashore,
the waves crashing against the rock
forming a haunting symphony—
she closes her eyes to breathe
in all the odors, only to hear
the buzz of her alarm clock,
she jerks her eyes open
to solemnly be greeted by
white walls, sheets and the bitter cold of Winter.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

It's All On Your Shoulders

I placidly sit within the confines of your miniscule vehicle, this pristine in color mobile chariot that transports me from one four-walled room of my mind to another. Mute and insecure, I listen as letters cascade off your plum tongue, the acidic juices depositing between your terrestrial shell and mine, collecting into an insurmountable river far too treacherous to traverse. Each letter of this body of water combines into words that spontaneously reorganize themselves into contradictory anagrams where “no relationship” can metamorphose into “partners”. And as you continue this torrential storm of opposing statements, I ardently attempt to construct an internal dam, one composed of muffled sighs, awkward retorts and supplicating gestures, all intended to pacify these symbols, letters and words that form these incomprehensible sentences. I am attempting to pacify you. And yet, the barrage and bombardment of searing words, those that recount your inability to yearn for me in a fashion accepted by the contract sealed with the touch of your weather cracked lips to mine, persists. Then, as seconds segue into minutes, I remain immobile, silent and defenseless, contemplating all of the viable weapons at my disposal—encompassing sharp adjectives, burning adverbs and perhaps even various indifferent possessive pronouns. This battle, this one sided verbal sparring could so easily be terminated by merely expelling a long, sinuous breath with one carefully selected amalgam of letters affixed to it. If I so choose, I could expel a quivering breath from which a being replete with appendages, idiosyncrasies and flesh shall flourish, one that could swim through this river separating us and deposit upon your peach tone shoulders the following:

I shall not linger.
I soon shall depart.
Then, your hunt for me will be futile.

After such words have deposited upon your riverbank like silt and waste would, decaying like an animal’s carcass, you will see—it’s all on your shoulders; it is all for you to collect so as to construct a fortified bridge. However, my strength falters and this river filled with decomposing words that once resembled ribbons of communication undulating in diaphanous waves, overflows. The you and I that could have easily trickled into us, drowns. Now, all that remains are two pallid corpses, disfigured and mangled, floating to the surface of these waters, unrecognizable.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Human Condition

The following piece was an experiment with second-person narrative and even to some extent, 'flash-fiction'.

The Human Condition

You were standing at the downtrodden bus station, paint chips, shriveling from the years past, falling to the once white but now graying tiles. You had an air of sadness—a man torn between his desires and obligations. That bus to Kansas represented the culmination of all the impositions of your Arabian world; honoring your parents; caring for your elders and eleven siblings; returning to a desert land where your hopes and dreams, but most importantly your heart’s yearnings, would be extinguished as the moon blots outs the sun in a lunar eclipse. Your bus was coming at 8:06 PM and the woman I had seen in your arms left, her faced streaked with an intertwining of tears and mascara.

I, on the other hand, was a man of meager means resting in this palace of sorrow, merely waiting for a penny or a meal, whichever came first. I had glimpsed the dramatic unraveling of your emotions: you were crimson eyed and lachrymose, the droplets rolling down your amaretto skin; your eyes painted of ebony clearly divulged your anguish and loss. I paid particular attention to all these minute details. I was always an avid observer of the human condition. I once was a writer, weaving lives with the tip of my pen the ink flowing like the Colorado River—carving out the crevices of man’s hearts. Alas now, having given up this art of the tongue propelled by manual labor, I sit in bus stations imploring men like yourself to give a piece of your wealth. I know you initially looked at me with contempt, not having known how life had manipulated the reins I had once so tightly grasped within the palms of my hands. You thought I simply needed to act, save myself and demand of my exiguous being a bit more: more courage, more will, more. But despite your doubts, you dropped 5 quarters into my steel bin, each making a click clack sound that still reverberate in my ears. The clinking notes of the money formed a quintet symphony, one that awakened me to the possibilities of my fading youth.

I asked you where bus number 777 was taking you, and you said ironically, “To the death of my soul.” That is where our conversation, as I am sure you can remember, began. You told me of your desert kingdom laden with explicit and implicit rules of conduct. You recounted your love for your Jewish princess you were leaving behind and the assiduous manner she strove to eradicate from her mind the fact—you, the all encompassing you, would never be; traditions and hatred had dictated such an outcome. As minutes turned into hours, we kept on talking, and even when the intercom announced the departure of your bus, you remained seated on that dreadfully dirty floor and disclosed all that had been locked in the prison of your soul.

You know, anyone else would have thought you a fool speaking to a transient stranger, but I understood your need for catharsis. After all, I was an observer of the human condition.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Elusive Bongo

The Elusive Bongo

I veil myself in a deep mahogany brown coat,
reminiscent of the jacket you wear
hunting for your prey,
but with my shy, black onyx eyes,
I survey you as a night watchman
would a masked thief,
one slowly creeping toward its target,
using the white stripes populating the length
of my back as a navigation map to my
heart, a mere ploy to distract me, to conquer me,
but with my spiral horns limned with ivory,
so deceiving in their angelic color,
I will pierce you as would a spear,
droplets of blood cascading
down your vein-marked arm,
these specks of red recalling the tint
of my protective coat.

You observe my exterior marked by—
colors, shapes, textures,
concealing me behind fulvous grass,
the camouflage that hides me from you,
though when removed from this sanctuary,
this place of dense verdure,
my facade falters:
I am visible to all,
and thus stripped of my mask,
the mahogany, opaque veil I don,
you see my flesh composed of
soft tissue, muscle and fat
you see my elusive nature--
galloping away to seek cover,
peril enveloping me as would a net,
you see my distrust of you
you see me.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bleeding Olive Tree

This poem was an exercise for a creative writing course. We were assigned to write a poem that defends a particular group of individuals, idea, person, nation, etc, that either is in dire need of defending or would generally be regarded as my 'enemy' or antithetical to my beliefs. This piece was written from the point of view of the given 'defendee'.

*Artwork provided and created by Wes Butler

An olive tree stands outside my window,
its leaves silvery green,
its massive trunk gnarled and
twisted like the dreams of a feverish
child, and where its roots invade the brown soil,
I see blood overflowing,
this red liquid trickling down the hills of
Galilee, to inevitably stain the sea,
this blood coursing through both our
indistinguishable sun-weathered arms,
these appendages marked by
wrinkles, brown age spots, scars,
all a testament to our equality,
and yet our mutual hatred found
in this bloody battle for land
is always the victor, holding his hands
in the air, mocking us, taunting us.
I yearn to provoke him in return,
flailing my twin arms in the air,
with a white flag at the tip of my
fingers, this pristine cloth undulating
in the Mediterranean wind, dueling
with Hatred, but my weapon is feeble,
the white cloth falling to the blood-stained
ground like a discarded bloodied tissue,
one that has claimed defeat, but
my longing for a space where your
glimmering Uzis, green fatigues,
and sharp, pointed noses no longer occupy
my land, my home will never cease,
and so I bring a far heftier weapon to
our duel, I fight with my life,
and while the memory of my white flag
diminishes, you will remember me by
a startling roar, blazing flames,
all extinguished with saline tears.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fallen Deity

You were the altar, at which I lay myself down,
you were the deity dressed in
plated gold, rubies and jade,
that I prayed to for a striped
buoy to keep me afloat,
but I was merely your sacrificial lamb,
my throat slit by your actions,
my blood gushing forth like that of a hemophiliac,
telling of both the trifling occurrences—
a bed left unmade, a dish left unwashed,
a few words left unspoken,
the inconsequential love paraphernalia,
but also recounting the blistering wounds—
white, bulbous pus issuing from the abscess you
created with the ubiquitous “she” answering the phone,
“Don’t call him anymore,” she said,
and here, your presumed innocence
wavered like sails on a mast,
and the god of you plummeted from
the altar I placed you upon,
and your descent was furthered by
stray, blond hairs on the pillow,
Chanel No. 5 on your white linen shirt,
recalling the scent of a bitch in heat,
and the branding words:
“You are nothing without me,”
burned into my ashen skin,
this mark you pompously thought
solidified my status as your livestock,
and you as my master,
but you never realized, you scoundrel,
that your peace offerings of—
moist Nutella cake, handmade glittering jewelry,
meals of curry and coconut milk chicken,
and travels to lands filled with sand
as soft as the underside of my arm,
would never be sufficient to keep me,
so now the shutter of your camera
has exposed one final photograph—
my brown, leather suitcase
patiently waiting near our blood red door.

Monday, February 2, 2009

he Left

I wake,
black eyelashes fluttering in the cold winter air
its movement resembling that of a fine,
sable brush dipped in charcoal watercolors
to assert its presence on the stark white canvas.
I inhale and exhale,
translucent smoke evaporating,
every breath the catalyst of pain like
flesh burning on hot coals,
each step taken toward Nirvana
becoming more laborious but
numbed by each sear, each branded heel.
I place my bony, bruise ridden legs on the
dirty carpet, surrendering to the monotony—
brush cavity-filled teeth,
comb through fine, tangled hair,
swallow thirty bland pills;
the semblance of normalcy.

Last night I had entertained thoughts of him,
had even thought to capitalize the “H”
but sitting in front of the physician,
words dripping from his mouth like
saliva from a rabid dog that said:
I have bad news,
in these four words,
dreams, utterly utopian,
disintegrated, crumbling like an ancient civilization,
where all that can be unearthed in the rubble of me—
tourniquets, latex-free gloves,
a few teardrops, blood, vomit,
but should you scavenge in this debris
for sustenance in the form of
a Harvard diploma, the scroll
held together by a blue ribbon that
unravels itself to tightly wrap around
a desk with my name inscribed upon it,
you would find yourself inevitably famished,
your ribs and stomach protruding from
malnutrition, your sole meal an
assortment of tablets, lozenges,
syrups and capsules.

And this following morning
filled with breathing, eating, placing
one jaundice-like limb in front of the other,
hearing the drone of the furnace,
and the neighbor’s canine,
perfectly mundane in appearance,
but if you were to strap on those latex-free gloves,
equipped with a surgical knife and
open me up, you would see
that I am devoid of him.
I went to bed with him last night,
holding his hand like that of a lover’s,
only to find that he left me this morning.

Sunday, February 1, 2009



On the surface, one shall find jade colored eyes, hair as black as the absence of light and a demeanor as cool as a winter in Siberia. On the surface, one shall find laughter akin to children at play—the vision of steel monkey bars, crimson swings swaying in the breeze come to mind. On the surface, one shall find pale cheeks caressed by time; the scars visible yet faint like light at dusk.

All these characteristics can be perceived at first glance in viewing of this façade, a mask of sorts that she wears like a maiden of the Venetian Carnivale. She hides, undercover, out of sheer fright. “Will I be accepted?” she asks herself. Her inevitable response always reverberates in the Grand Canyon of her mind: “No, no, no…” she perpetually hears. “Silence!” she internally screams, a mere attempt to muffle her fears, her frailties, herself.

On the surface, one shall find a composed woman, one wearing the perfect outfit of miscellaneous matching items: dark, blue skinny jeans, Gucci logo imprinted sweater, 18 carat white gold bangles. Yes, on the surface she certainly appears to be the vision of contentment. However, she urges you to probe a bit deeper, to utilize all methods available, be it a high-tech camera infused pill, a conversation over caramel flavored coffee, or a strong shoulder upon which she may rest her weighty head; when you do so, you shall find the frightened infant. You shall find scars on her quadruplet chambers, scars caused by an abscess so deep not even Neosporin could heal.

“Is the unearthing of this complex soul futile?” you may inquire. But, she urges you to find worth in this task in the same manner archeologists rejoice in the discovery of remnants from ancient civilizations. She wants to be treasured in this same fashion—she yearns to be coveted like the tablets of the Ten Commandments, the researchers toiling in the Mediterranean sun, salt drenching their olive-toned skin, all in unison searching for the promise of this treasure.

She wants to be treasured.
She wants to be cherished.
She ardently wishes to be accepted.

Alas, you shall soon realize that despite your attempts, despite the orange and white colored buoy you may lovingly throw to her, she will most certainly drown within the depths of this saline sea. Solely she possesses this power of salvation; solely she may acknowledge this undercover infant that has for so long hidden behind a Venetian mask. Solely she may embrace it like a mother does her suckling child.