“ 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|
|—||from a work in progress|
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.
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.
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.
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.
A few lines to mark the Lenten season.
The Sudden Death of Stars
the sudden death of stars
light breaks up, dissipates
and darkness moves in
to become what is missing.
I realise that the sky,
with this one void is not left empty,
other stars blink their brightness
tawdry as whores in sequins
all hours of the day.
death is as cheap, my love.
we shuffle bodies as we utter promises,
and each night we look to the skies
to whisper wishes to the stars
but only the darkness hears.
I tell no one, but it’s been two, no — three months now — that I haven’t been sleeping straight through the night. My sleep is haunted by random thoughts and images, flashing memories that I can’t seem to control.
It’s better when I am at work, because work, mundane though it be, requires a focus that serves to rein in the random thoughts. But at night, the controls fall away and my consciousness becomes a dark, swirling current that sweeps me, helpless and drowning in the flood of memories. Sometimes I’m not even sure if the memories are real, or if they are only imagined, a trick of the light, the cunning creations of a mind that wants a different ending to the story that was.
Trick of the light or true, I just wish I could stop the thoughts, it would be such a welcome rest.