Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy 2012!!!

Photo, Tom Miles

As a new beginning teases from just beyond the horizon, what better way is there to celebrate both its advent and arrival than to simply say: May your 2012 be filled with joy and fulfillment.

Happy New Year! :-)


Monday, December 12, 2011

the elements of fetal

Birth and Rebirth, Jen Otey

i understand, now,
something i have never understood before.
and i just want to close my eyes and breathe again.
i just want to close my eyes.
i just want to close my eyes.
i just need . . .
i just need . . .
out of my heart, i boot one loaded breath.
something inside me is changing.
something inside me is coming alive.
inside my knee, there is a mouth.
inside my stomach, there are two eyes.
inside my throat, there is an ear.
it hears, something inside me is shifting . . .
the geography of me.
something inside . . . be silent, it hears.
but there is no silence in the aliveness of growth.
there is no deafness in movement from here to there.
someone once told me,
it is not the darkness that we fear.
it is the light that terrifies.
but is this a truth, as truths go?
am i afraid of sensory overload?
fragments of me are seeking new homes,
new places to call shelter.
i hunch my back in fear.
cave, as in a primitive place of shelter?
cave, as in bow.
bow, as in something you wear
around your neck or in your hair?
bow, as in curl.
curl up, fetally.
an extension of fetal,
that condition in which we bob, anesthetized.
fetal, what we are before the darkness descends.
fetal, our true shelter, our true home.
fetal? fatal, if not delivered properly.
delivered with decorum,
like that man’s haloed head, delivered on a plate.
plate, as in something you eat from?
plate, as in to cover with a precious element,
to beautify the tarnish and make it glow.
but . . . enough now.
i curl into myself for comfort.
i curl . . .
but even curling is a challenge.
this red tide is turning.
this moon . . . blood-red moon.
pulling my tiny, wrinkled face . . . all eyes . . .
enormous, muddled eyes.
flesh stitching itself over bones.
not enough air.
pulling me into the light.
bringing me inside.
bringing me back to fetal,
where i just need is all i know.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bittersweetly . . .

I am beside myself with pride and joy as I announce a new publication. My short story, "Zar," has found itself a home in the Fall 2011 edition of Yellow Medicine Review: A Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art, and Thought. Set in Cairo, Egypt, "Zar" is a story of culture, ritual, superstition, and faith. It is a story of the persistence and resilience of the human psyche in its unwavering pursuit of Light and Truth.

I really wanted for "Zar" to be published in the proper niche, and after searching long and hard for an appropriate publication, I found YMR to be just the right journal. As luck would have it, the editors of YMR felt my story was right for them, too. How about that for happy endings!

The beautiful Fall 2011 paperback edition of Yellow Medicine Review is available for purchase from Amazon. I highly recommend it. This magnificent bouquet of ethnically flavored and skillfully written stories and poems from the four corners of the globe has something to satisfy every literary palate. Enjoy . . . 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Three for Self

Comets & Meteor Showers, Unknown Photographer

At dusk,
a prayer…

let me go on forever
like earth and sky,
a calm and endless breath
of dust and air.

let me glow
like an untouchable element,
brave, and strong,
and filled with force.

At night,
a vision…

in sleep, i turn,
and my eyes open
to find the stars awakened,
glowing, brilliant and silent,

stalking my eternity,
leaving me mottled
with silver pinpricks
where their tips met my flesh.

At dawn,
a spell…

in this hour,
in this sanctuary,
when the brightening air
is as silent as stars at midnight,

i am a tree,
i am a branch,
i am a hundred thousand
leaves of green and gold.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Palms, My Palms

Photo, unknown artist

On a cool October morning, I lie,
Woodplank back upon the floor,

And here...

My face hides
Beneath my folded arms,
Awkward branches staving off
The epiphany of light.

Too much light, I tell myself,
As if there were such a thing.

It has taken me this long
To get from there to here,


Being a measure of My Time,
A certain pretense of something my own
Inside the anonymity of this universe.

Something… what?
I cannot tell,

Nor can I know what thirst
Anguishes my fingers
While my empty palms are held

To skim the wounded glass of a forgotten window,
To graze the peeling husk of an abandoned door,

To know,
Something was here
But no longer is.

Memory is not such a bright thing,
I whisper to myself.

Some nights it means the tease of non-existence,
Some days it means losing something… twice
Having found it… once.

Are two losses better than one, I ask myself,
When one loss was quite enough
the first time around?

But now,
The palms…

My palms (for I do not disown them)
Are yet open
Like obsessing eyes
Even now
Even… knowing the hallucinations of memory
Are re-losses,

Even now
My palms are

too much light

To calm the thirst that swells
Like the arrhythmic appearance of lust,
Like a tide surrendering to the moon,

it was not my eyes that followed
but the tingling of my fingers that led


To follow, obsessively,

to kiss the empty air in the wake of…


Oh, anguished fingers!
Oh, ailing bones!

Monday, October 10, 2011


Girl with a Pearl Earring 
by Johannes Vermeer

You happened upon me
As I went on my way,
With what stealth!
With what intensity!

And it was not your beauty
That took me
Oh, no!

It was the quiver
The rustle
The swell…


It was the Suddenness of You
That made me


And look twice
Just… you know…
Just… to be certain… of you.

Monday, October 3, 2011

What We Are

Photo, Jolene Monheim

We are destined to be together, he tells her,
And she replies, Always… all ways.

But what do you say to the beloved
Who dares you… for Love… to drown in the sea?

Drown with me, he says,
And, Yes, she says, these are waves for you and me.

To sink, and as I fall, to choke, not on water,
But on the stillness of surrender and abandon.

To lose my Self to Yours, he says.
I drown, if I must, though I have already hit bottom,

Touched the end with my fingers, she says,
Fallen with full consciousness upon settling sands.

But though we drown, the depth of this ocean
Cannot snuff out the light of the sun, they chant,

Nor the having been-ness of yesterday,
Nor the will be-ness of tomorrow,

Nor the unquiet truth…

That the sky remains sky,

The sea remains sea,

And you and I… you and I.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Waiting for Summer's Flight

Summer's End by Marion Rose

I have sat here before
and watched the summer days
falter before my eyes
and have seen their short-spanned lives
suck the last sweet breath
from between the lips of the sky
as globes of sunlight
peach-orange and golden-yellow
crept upon rolling waves
one by one

And one by one
I took my breaths
swept life off her feet
and into my quickening lungs
and listened as my pulse rushed
silver inside my veins
while the cobalt-blue waters
watched me clasp my craving arms
around my singing bones
and tremble in summer-love’s orgasm


If I waited long enough
I would hear the copper wail of fall
coming from afar
stumbling upon its own feet
charging across the drought
of this glaring ground
tossing red and gold gifts
to whomever wished to receive
twining its throbbing legs
with the awaiting earth

Thrusting its fluttering arms
into all things far and wide
and today I sit
still and statuesque
tranquil and beautiful
open and serene
waiting for summer’s flight
to stretch itself
about my quivering silhouette
and touch me

one last time.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Photo, Sergeij Bizjaev

one day
one moment
so abruptly
so suddenly
(as suddenly as a wandering stranger
happens at your lit window
on the bleakest winter night)
there comes the need
to release the usual
the predictable
the normal
and embrace the unusual
the risky
the atypical


if you stop and give it
even a passing thought

the best way to break
that chastity belt
you call TRADITION
(because you are afraid
to call it DOGMA)
is to take the rusty key
you have hidden
in the darkest spot
of your musty spirit
of centuries-old resignation)
and ram that key
inside the keyhole
and twist
like a motherfucker

like you’ve never twisted before
delivering yourself
of the evil you call NORMALCY
(because you are afraid
to call it CONFORMITY)

and so today
i say:

My spirit does not resign.

My spirit blazes—
a tongue of flame
sparking crisp flares
that burn brightest
when the heart is dark.

Today is my day
for deliverance,
and I deliver myself!

Fight me.
I dare you!

Cast me out
for my sin
of not fitting in.

Cast me out
and leave me
to oblivion.

But know that
I will be the tempest
that disturbs quietude.

And know that
I will run counterclockwise
and dismantle time.

Because majority
does not equal sanity


Because now . . . is now
and later . . . is never.

Monday, August 29, 2011


 Self-portrait, Nevine Sultan

You dodge me, My Ghost.

You shy away
when my light flares
inside the silent spaces
you inhabit.

And, for this,
I have no words.

Though I would like to say,
Sit with me. Hear me.

I would like to say,
I cannot stop myself
from picking roses
and clipping their thorns.

But, to whom
does it matter?

Blood is drawn, spills,
and tomes are scribed
in the dungeons
of silence.

My Ghost, only you know my essence.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sky, Sea, Sand... and Me

The following are entries from my journal while on vacation.

* * * * * * * * *

August 2, 2011

Here. I am Here. And I feel as though time has stopped still and I am trapped inside it. The sun slows down when it passes over me. The moon pauses and observes me. My heart skips no beats and misses no flashing moments of revelation. Everything is seen… perceived. Every instant is experienced in its nuanced profoundness. Here. I see things differently, obliquely. I see things as if from a hidden dimension. Here. I wait. I stay. I breathe.

Though. I realize. Here is not forever.

But… the sun is being abducted by orange and purple and silver faeries. And I want to watch while they pull her into the sea and lay her down to sleep…

August 3, 2011

We went outside to be with Life. With earth and trees and birds. Several couples crossed our path as we cycled over bumpy patches of sun and shade. Every time we crossed another couple, we smiled and chimed, “Hello!” and then continued on our way. To nowhere. To anywhere. It didn’t matter where we were going. We were going, the rhythm of our blood pumping our life in all of its violent beauty inside our veins. The moisture of our exertion keeping our backs damp… keeping them craving the touch of the clean air… and reveling in its arrival.

But… what divinity! An outing with no destination… no agenda. What could be more divine than that? What could be more simple, more raw, more pure? And how with Life we were!

August 4, 2011

This morning. The sea moved with a primitive insistence. A jagged and necessary lovemaking with the sky and the sand. The waves rose and fell… rose and fell… again… and again… with their own insistence… wanting to steal their moment of elation.

What was today? It went by as if in a reverie. Everything fluid. Water. Sky. Sand. People. Me. Us. And my vision of it all.

My eyes saw as if underwater. As if interrupted by waves. And the waves were the pendulums of the sea and the sky. Pendulums that did not swing, but undulated. And we undulated with them. Undulated to their rhythm. That primitive, jagged rhythm of insistent lovemaking… everywhere.

Can one be overwhelmed by the exquisiteness that is Life?

I am overwhelmed.

August 6, 2011

I looked stunning in my royal blue evening gown! Diamond studs in my ears. Black hair decorated with a simple white flower. Can I say I looked stunning? Oh, hell! Why not? Women are so busy acting coy about their physical beauty these days. As if being beautiful is a mortal sin. Well, I did look stunning! And I wasn’t the only woman who looked stunning. We all did! How we sparkled beneath the lights of the casino… so nice to see! There are few more off-putting sights than that of a woman (or a man) going out for the evening dressed inappropriately.

I remember when J. [a former colleague] came to a school function in a pair of black flipflops. Sure, they matched her little black dress, but it was hard for me to keep my mouth shut. I remember telling her, “I can’t believe you’re wearing those!” And her telling me, “What’s wrong with them? They’ve even got little rhinestone thingies on them!” Oh, my! I thought. Thank you for doing us the favor of making sure you had little rhinestone thingies on your flipflops. You really shouldn’t have troubled yourself! Yes, I’d fantasized saying these things, but had instead kept quiet, not wanting to spoil the evening with my part-sarcastic, part-judgmental attitude. Truth be told, though, she looked like a middle school student volunteering for a charity carwash.

I mean, it takes the same amount of time to slip on some stylish pumps as it takes to slip on some dead-skin-infested flipflops. So put on your heels and walk like drums are hiding in your legs… violin strings are threaded through your veins… waiting… so deliciously… to be plucked… and left to SING!

* * *

i hear you stir in bed.

you are disturbed,
not by the sound of
my scratching on paper,
but by the mysterious and
unshakeable feeling of loneliness
that shadows your sleep.

you have always been gentle.
you have always held me
as if you are afraid of breaking me,
but, i am not so fragile,
i want to say.

yet, the sound of my inner voice
in my ears
fills me with melancholy.

and, as if you know…

in sleep, your sun-brushed lips
hunt the air for mine,
and you mumble, i love you,
so joyfully, so givingly,
expecting nothing in return.

August 7, 2011

A late start to the day, this morning. But then, last night, a late night.

I wanted to do… nothing. Yes. I wanted to do nothing, while feeling an inner compulsion to do something. After all, one can’t just while away one’s time doing nothing. Especially that precious vacation time… here one day, the next… gone!

But, why not? I’m always doing something or the other. Why not relax and let things flow where they want to flow? And since, this morning, nothing was of pressing importance, I decided to chill.

But, for me, chilling is something I must focus on doing. And by virtue of focusing on chilling… chilling is not exactly chilling anymore, is it?

CHILL. What a lovely word!

And… what a lovely ocean!

August 9, 2011

there is a stillness in the air, tonight,
a silence borne on magical wings.
a solitary silence,
cut by the hollow sound of our breaths,
slow and meditated.

and we sit on the cool tile floor,
backs against the wall,
legs stretched out against the ripeness of the sky…
and the freshness of the sea
and the slant of eternity where they touch.

this place…
THIS one… right here…
as pure and as flickering and as quickening as it is
is not what matters.

it is not about the place
but about who is in the place…
and what is happening to them
at any given point in time…
and what is happening around them…
and what is happening
INSIDE them.

i catch myself nodding off,
though, certain nights,
my eyes can find no peace.

i see myself a child,
walking upon an emerald meadow,
twirling my long black locks between my fingers,
and running wild.

sunlight and clouds
twine through my hair like colorful ribbons.
invisible stars
swing between my shoulder blades.


i am flying.
i am flying.
i am flying.

and nothing will bring me down.

August 10, 2011

We went parasailing, today!

Oh, buzz buzz buzz!!! The last time we went parasailing was… what?... when we were on our honeymoon? I can’t even find words to describe the elation and the liberation and the HIGH of it all! Flying through the blue sky, with the blue water below you… the deep blue deep blue deep deep shimmer of water! Everything in my eyes was blue… the most beautiful most shocking blue! I am still inside that universality.

August 11, 2011

dance with me?
you said,
and you smiled at me
that dimpled smile
i know so well.

and i said,
all nervously,
my heart strumming in my lips,
like i was a teenager all over again.

and we danced…
and we danced…
and we danced…

and others danced around us.

but only we were… together.


i have come to a point where i feel so… here.
so… present.
so… in the moment.
nothing else matters but now.
nothing that happened before.
nothing that will happen later.
all of those events are insignificant.
what matters is my discovery of myself… the different pieces of nevine… the OTHER pieces… seen as if glimpsed, by happenstance, inside a fragmented looking glass.
the day’s happenings fall around me with finesse and perfection.
the night’s events, too.
they fall… with grace.
and i dance inside their opacity.
and you dance with me.

we dance together… you and i… to scattered time.
we dance with no calculation, no precision.
we dance with such emancipation!

we are here… here.
ghosts. apparitions. we are.
dancing our way through the entrance to eden…


Tomorrow. We depart. Tomorrow. We return to what we call Home. And, how I miss Home! Ridiculous, really, but… I miss my trees. Not my flowers. Not my plants. Not my herbs. But my big, independent trees. So mature and self-sufficient! I have always believed that trees have souls. My trees have souls and their souls are whispering to me, Come back! We miss you. Come back! As big and as independent as they are, they are craving my conversation… my stories. They are waiting for me to sit in their shade so we can talk. And we will! Just as soon as I get back to that lovely thing we call daily living. That lovely thing we accuse of being predictable and cumbersome and cliché, but when we take ourselves away from it, we are left craving it all over again!

I loved it here. I loved every moment I spent being alive and knowing it. I loved every particle of life that touched every iter of my being. But would I want to live here… forever and ever? I don’t think so… because… if I did… it would become daily living, too.

I’m coming home, Trees! Every sun- and sea-kissed fragment of me! Hurrah!!!