Cold river drops

Cold river drops pause
to thrill my warm back before
they drop to the rocks.

Merced River, Summer '99


Siwa twilight

A dying sky fades
to deep cornflower.
The dunes turn soft and pale
like a lizard's belly.
A red planet appears in the east
to watch her spinning sister.

Siwa Oasis, Fall '03


Rum Night

A barren moon
reflects
a barren earth.

The silvery sky
mocks my best attempts
at reverence.

Elsewhere life rages.

Here it is subtle,
hushed,
as if in the presence
of divinity.

The mountains
may once have been
high as the Himalayas;
after a billion years
of seas and wind,
they are sculpted
down to unfathomable
stone hearts -
cathedral islands
in a sea of silken sand.

Reflections echo
each other
in the brimming void
of nature's holy sanctuary.
Silent gratitude
is drawn from my soul;
the night needs me
like I need it.

The breeze
- neither warm nor cool -
makes me feel
like I'm not here
on this impossible planet
whose atmosphere
I suddenly
fail to see
and fail to feel.

There is nothing
between me
and the stars.

Wadi Rum, Summer '03


Despair

The smart regime
has a very long rope
so that we can walk
all over the yard
and pretend like we are free.

They let us march
protest and publish
debate and discuss
all weekend long.

Drunk on self-satisfaction
we pretend we are agents for change.

But nothing changes.

Their words and weapons drown us
like children in a tidal wave.

A thousand million dreams die
in ceaseless streams
while we drink coffee
make nice posters
and congratulate ourselves.

Stanford, Spring 2004


Promontory Sunset

a lone boatman
on slate grey waves
a string of diamonds
on slate blue hills
dolphin mountain clouds
on a deep rose stage
and the rain softly falls
as the sun leaves

Novomikhailovsky Beach, Summer '03


Working Sundays

I woke to a world full of coffee and cash.
I wanted to weep, but there was no time.

Palo Alto, Winter 2004


Born Homeless

I didnít put the posters up
or the pictures in their frames.
I didnít meet the neighbors
or even ask their names.
I planted a garden
but I didnít watch it grow;
Before the flowers opened
it was time to go.

I have to see the world
and this old world has to see me.
I donít have a home
and all I know is that Iím free.
I canít stay in one place
ícause I want to make it big.
Itís always just a temporary gig.

I didnít buy the dress
ícause itíd be hard to pack away.
We didnít get the nice bed
ícause we knew Iíd leave one day.
We never bought an herb garden
for our kitchen window pane.
I didnít fall into your eyes
because I had to catch a plane.

I want to see the world
and I want the world to see.
I havenít found my place,
but how can I unless Iím free?
I canít stay with you
because I want to make it big.
Weíre only just a temporary gig.

Iím a guest in every house,
Iím always outside looking in.
Iíve made a lot of good friends
that Iíll never see again.
I hope my name stays on some lips
and our stories carry on.
ĎFrom now oní has no meaning except
from now on Iíll be gone.

I want to be the world
and I wish someone would see.
I was born homeless
and perhaps Iíll always be.
Iím not sure when or if
or how Iíll make it big,
and life is just a temporary gig.

Fall 2003, in the dark on a rooftop in Jayyous, Palestine


Dahab

My heart blows away on the wind
And is pierced by jagged perfection

Dahab, Sinai, 23 Sept 2003


I see Ramallah through loverís eyes

I see Ramallah
through loverís eyes.
Here is the doorway
where we met
before I followed you into the hills.
There is the gate
where you left with springing steps
and I watched you from the window.
Here is the corner
where we hugged the first time,
and I hoped it wasnít the last.
There is the garden
where we laughed
all Sunday long.
Here is the veranda
overlooking the city at night
where you made me feel
like the only girl on earth.
There is the room
where you lightly
touched my waist.

Palestine, Fall 2009


The Poetís Price

There is a price to pay
for poetry and prose.
Any time
you try to capture
the irreducible reality
of even a single moment
of the four-dimensional splendor
of this boundless universe
in two-dimensional squiggles
of black and white,
It is a foregone
and bitter failure.
When you cut flowers,
they begin to wilt.
When you write a moment,
its living quality
can only be hinted at,
and nearly everything
is lost.

Palestine, Fall 2009


Ajnabiya in Palestine

Palestine is mine
as much as anyoneís,
which is to say
not at all.

If you are very lucky
and very quiet
you may find
that you belong
to Palestine.

But Palestine
can never belong
to you.

Palestine, Fall 2009


Coral Wave

Heaved up
captured in glass
black fish
swimming in green
shot through
with marine light
shadows
hanging in space
small wave
infinite world

Dahab, Fall '03


Burn Poem

I am the Earth
or some other
unassuming blue-green planet;
My cold crust has grown hard with years,
my heart is a slab of granite.

But still the core,
its fires of creation burning
with melancholy violence,
Strains to burst and kill the presumptions
that have thriven in the fertile soils of silence.

I remain floating
somewhere in the middle;
the fire terrifies, the cold slowly kills.
Which life? Which path? I canít decide.
My heart softly withers or bursts as it fills.

Oh, the earth, so dear,
has gotten by for so long,
though it was never meant to be this way:
Terraformed, stomped on, developed and distorted
until the fire might decide to go away.

Am I mad?
Do I want to be?
They tell me to be quiet.
But I feel, perceive, and love and yearn,
and try as I might, I canít deny it.

~ Stanford, ca. 1999


Clouds

Landscapes in the sky
that change evíry day.

Novomikhailovsky, Summer 2003


Hilltop Veranda

Crushing sweet
the juices run
between our teeth
across our tongues

Evening star
sea breezeís tune
the coast shines far
below the moon

Sages seek
this cooling air
that soothes our cheek
and lifts our hair

Tender bliss
beneath the vine
within this kiss
all things divine

Jayyous, Autumn 2004


Hope

Slowly
we march
forward
onward
upward.

Many times
we go backwards
as when the Church
turned women
from goddesses
to witchesó
tainted carriers
of the Worldís First Sin.

Centuries of darkness
descended.

Only slowly
we escaped
to own property
fight slavery
vote
and finally
burn our bras
with gleeful
abandon.

Sobering up
we entered
the world
man had created
in our absence.

It wasnít so hard
after all
to do
what men did.

Wasnít hard
to interrupt
and kill
and pillage.

Wasnít worth it,
either.

Now
we are realizing
we are worth far more
than men know how to measure
in dollars
and hours.

Our world
yanged
into World War I.

Yinned
into nations united,
rights for humans
universal.

Yanged into Panama.

Yinned into Kosovo.

Yanged into Monica.

Grew weary
of yanging yinners

Then

Zealous fury
from afar
punctured
two big yangs
and a pentagram
unwittingly ripe
with feminine symbology.

Mortified blind
we rammed
into Sumeria
without even
a plan.

Now we stand
struck dumb.

The world is small,
sophisticated,
connected.

We canít hide
our inexperience
with the yin
anymore.

The world is more serious
than our petty politics
and our fears
of inadequacy.

The world marches
forward
onward
upward
while we
stand perplexed
and impotent
even with our
shocking torture
and awful bombs.

We stack
their men
in pyramids
and stack
our men
in layers
of Kevlar
and ignorance
and wonder
why we lose.

O son of cloistered privilege
you showed the world
graphically
how much things have changed
while we,
in our incestuous counsels,
have been mulling
the national interest
into a sickening pablum
of corporate necessity.

Arenít we
adults?

Arenít we
thinking creatures?

Donít we
have a choice?

The yin
is not a witch.

She is a goddess.

The dark ages
can end
here.

Plane from Chicago to SFO, Spring 2006


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