She Says

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In that brave new world

we dare to dream about 

you and I will have

interchangeable names

 

Your red hair will rule over

dominions mapped out

with the brown of my skin

We will dissolve together

into purest ocher 

darker than this earth

will care to remember

 

 


Your Secret Sober Heart

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Bartenders give back your tips: “Cab fare, buddy,” they say and you

would like for them to mean it but your secret sober heart knows,

it knows that really, they’re just scared your luck

would slide off the greasy bill and take on life as an infection,

the bastards are quick to wipe down the counters in your wake.

 

 


You’ve become a thing

“ you’ve become a thing whose only threat is

the flesh that promises sourness

the pit filled with the intent to choke.

(I told you so) ”

 

  — from a work in progress

 

 


PS Marks The Spot

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There is a bit of a lull at the end of the day, and she sits and writes.

PS: The grass is mowed, front and back yards are done. Laundry is off the line and put away. Trees are trimmed, trash all gone. Kids are fed and taking a nap on this cold, rainy day. I am the man, the woman, the whoever — and I rock this life.

The key is under that big brown rock by the gate, the one you struggle to move. Get to it.

 


In Lieu of a Hand-written Note

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If only all goodbyes could be said with a gif.

 


That Girl On The Wall

 

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There was this girl up on the wall, and they were drinking to her. Cheers, toasts, salut, and all that. I wanted to be that girl.


Afternoon Delight (Food Porn)

spareribs that I actually cooked

spareribs that I actually cooked

 

An afternoon nap led to a strange dream. I was in someone’s house, cooking spicy spareribs. I’ve never been in that kitchen before, but I seemed familiar with it, it looked like a combination of all the kitchens in all the houses I’ve lived in through the years.

The spareribs were done, and I was sitting on the counter with the laptop typing away, when my ex suddenly came in. Don’t ask which ex, I’m not telling. He went straight to the pan of spareribs on the stove, lifting the lid and sniffing with his eyes closed. Then he turns to me and says’ “Why are you not sharing this with me?” I was silent. He glares at me, then pouts. He goes to the counter, takes out a plate and a fork and helps himself to the spareribs. In between bites he keeps muttering, “It’s so good, so good!”

This is when I woke up from the dream, disoriented to find myself in bed instead of the kitchen. It felt strangely erotic. And now I am hungry.

 


The Secret to Invisibility

 
One way to be lost is to back pedal 
over tracks. Reverse step into each footprint, 
match heel and toe exactly so you become 
invisible, erased as cleanly as 
that puff of breath exhaled into fog.
 
Another way, much more subtle 
but just as easy, is to insert oneself into crowds. 
Follow the pace of the horde, shuffle quietly
shoulder to shoulder, sidle in sideways 
and become absolutely hidden. 
 
This is the true double-cross.  
We are so alike we render ourselves translucent, 
float like tiny fish under the current, 
become white noise, indistinguishable 
from the rest of the confusion.
 
The real secret to disappearing though, 
is to live out in the open, back to the sun –
faceless, and acquiescing. The camouflage
of so many single weeds blanketing an empty lot, 
verdant, sweeping, and ultimately, unseen.

 


Wander on: Airport Secrets

 

picture-pretty window, Siem Reap airport, Cambodia

Picture-pretty window at Siem Reap airport, Cambodia

 

Every three months or so, it never fails, I end up in an airport somewhere with hours to kill until the next flight. I have mastered the many rituals of the plane passenger, for instance, how to get to your gate at just the right moment so you don’t have to wait too long to board. I’ve killed time at bars, coffee shops, souvenir stalls, bookshops, massage spas. There is a little secret to it, you need to remember your alcohol and credit card limit, else there will be missed flights and a whole mess of trouble ahead.

From traveling so often, I have collected quite a few insider tips. These little airport secrets are good things to keep in mind. I’ve learned firsthand to avoid the cheaper route through Delhi because I know how they detain passengers in that dead end side of the airport until it’s closer to their departure time, no matter how long the layover is. You’re stuck in an empty hallway for hours, no shops, no bars, just a broken vendo machine in the corner. In Singapore, I’ve found a corner where they have these ergonomic lounge chairs that you can lie down in and sleep undisturbed, amid lush greenery.  In Cambodia, the prettiest spot at the airport to do a selfie are any of those picture windows that look out the gardens. My frequent hub, expensive Dubai airport harbors a twilight zone where you can get free wi-fi, it’s near gate C17. Liquids, gels, and waxes are frowned upon at London Heathrow, and anything that overflows a little baggie will have to go into the trash. They don’t care if it’s your special $300 face cream, into the bin it goes. Also, most of the security personnel at this airport are notoriously rude, for no fathomable reason. At Chicago’s Midway I learned that if you rub your fingers on your forehead you will have an easier time getting your fingerprints scanned. The oil makes your prints more visible to the machine, or so the immigration officer tells me, smiling at my horrified expression upon realizing that my face is oily.

Guys, avoid being profiled at LAX in Los Angeles by shaving off, or at least neatly trimming, your beard. A friend and I arrived at this conclusion after he was detained and interviewed for close to an hour in a small room, his suitcases turned upside down, his credentials scrutinized to the last detail. Next time he passes thru clean-shaven, nothing happens. At Kathmandu airport, any and all knives found in your carry on (why would you have a knife there to begin with) will be confiscated and dumped into a little wicker basket. They let lighters go through, but the knives, they take. In Kuala Lumpur, there’s a roast duck that tastes as fantastic as it looks, and if you eat only one thing at this airport, that duck is it. In Manila, walk briskly past the old guys in shirt jacks who smile sweetly and ask if you need help with your luggage. Yes, they may look like everyone’s favorite uncle, but ten times out of ten, they will rip you off. At Japan’s Narita airport, identical looking women in knee socks will direct you to your gate, whisk you briskly through scanners and go through your carry on with ruthless efficiency. You will look on quietly and let them.

And lastly, at Kabul airport — should you have the misfortune of finding yourself there — if you are a woman, X-ray scans are easier when you ‘accidentally’ show the female security person photos of your children. She will blabber at you in rapid Pashto or Dari and nod and smile endlessly, but no matter. Suddenly, the scan will be forgotten, and you will be waved through as though you paid dearly for secret passage.

 

 


Dubai Night Drive with Little Omar


Yesterday evening, I shared a hotel limo with a Palestinian woman and her 7 year old son, Omar. There were no taxis available at the hotel that night because it was Iftar, when the Muslims break the day long fast, and everyone was busy feasting.

The lady said she and her son were passing thru Dubai from a trip to Palestine, on their way back home to California. She was dressed in an abaya, but her face was not covered, only her hair. Her son was dressed in western clothes, and spoke only English, as far as I could tell. We got to talking in the hotel lobby after she asked me if it was my first time to come to Dubai. I told her I was passing thru as well, and that Dubai is my hub for travel coming from Afghanistan. She couldn’t quite believe that I worked there.

She and her son had an easy, loving banter — Omar was very well behaved, not once did she have to scold or raise her voice at him. He shook my hand graciously when I introduced myself to him and asked his name. He had very beautiful brown eyes, with long, sooty lashes.

I asked them to share the limo with me as we were all going to the mall anyway. The lady was glad to have company and readily accepted. They wanted to see the Aquarium, so I decided to go to Dubai Mall as well. On the drive over the lady would point out landmarks and buildings to her son. At night, the Burj Khalifa was lit up, a silver sword rising from the vast, twinkling desert. Omar said, “It looks awesome, mom!”

As we sped by the traffic-less streets, Omar looked out the window, mouth open at the sights. It gave me a new appreciation for this city that I would pass by so often, seeing it now through this boy’s eyes. It made me miss my sons, made me instantly fond of this dark eyed little boy.

Passing by yet another skyscraper, Omar pointed to it and said, “Mom, I wanna go up there, can I go up there?

His mom laughed and said, “Oh sweetie, you can go wherever you want.” She turned to me and gave me a smile, her dark eyes sparkling. I knew exactly what she meant, and I smiled back.


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