what water is

When you go splash in this ocean
deep eyes closed no this is not
the final act nor the first some

Where in the middle does the breath
go limp wishing the word to become
again in the lump of the gill of

What is now the beginning of a poem
the thirst that the lungs will have
to forget to remember what water is

Blood can be a line of beauty

Blood can be a line of beauty
Blood can be a line of beauty
or a cuddled up ball of fire
it can be the reinstatement of
folly or the heart of make-do

Blood can be a silent worn
word or an unsilent norm cuddled
up beside the line of beauty
raking up the storm and its cousin

there are two types of poets
there are two types of poets:
one you listen

with the pen of your mouth
as if in thrall;

the goat of each masquerade
in suspension and

the beat of your inner beat
learning to learn;

and then there’s the one you
listen with the

mouth of your pen; as if thrall
is a masquerade;

as if learning is skill and
skill and nothing


There are the trembled

There are the trembled –
Stone in one hand, wire
In another; there are the
luckless who will find

This game a terrible hand;
There are the clueful buying
A sorry state of clownhood,
A flighty hand that trembles

Late; there are the fruitful
Bland of heart who stuck
Along and trammelled upon an
Acceptable bold; there are

The trembled, grown artful
And slightly battered with
A suitable sun and a clobbered
Moon – there are the trembled.

as morning comes into its own

as morning comes into its own
there is

death to consider, the debt of
night; as

the train of passage cancels
arrows of

yesterday, there is death to

the debt of an impossible

“Tin intimations of a quiet core to be my
Desert and my dear relief
Come: there shall be such islanding from grief,
And small communion with the master shore.
Twang they. And I incline this ear to tin,
Consult a dual dilemma. Whether to dry
In humming pallor or to leap and die.” – Gwendolyn Brooks; from A Sunset of the City

Darwish & I

when playing by rules of fire rue
the gods

to make you another stone spin out
of orbit;

this god whisper, this animal skin
touch of

ribald, ring; the true-stone spurns
an other

“Just being there, by yourself, you become a tribe.
I sang only to balance the rests between notes of the doves’ mourning, not to
interpret what God says to Man.
I am not a prophet claiming revelation, or that my abyss reaches heaven.”
– Mahmoud Darwish

It is this tome of poetry
that spells out your name

with the veracity of an old
rhyme, the thrust of vessels

of blood bold enough to stare
you in the eye and say, “this

here heart of meekness is ash
now, and it is here that I will


Seeking an impossible resonance; the
improbability lends

Credence to flow; seeking an irreverent
wobble that steadies

Each pebble, each stun of faith –
seeking the individual

Common, communing with whatever is
there: root, mist or

missed – anything will do for now.

“One day, I will be a bird, and will snatch my being out of my nothingness.

One day, I will be a poet. Water will depend on my vision.
My language will be a metaphor for metaphor.”
– Mahmoud Darwish

You celebrate the flower but
desist little

In calling out biology that
stems the stamen

From classifying; you talk of
hive, bark, sap

But the sky is absent so the
view is scrap

“The echo, utterly tired of my incurable hope
and of arguments about the nature of beauty, asks:
Who is next after Babylon?
Every time the road to heaven becomes clear,
every time the unknown discloses a certain end,
the song shatters, prayers decay and turn into prose.”
– Mahmoud Darwish

When you beguile, you: i) tress
Pass, ii) dev

Our the grated unnecessary, iii)
in the

Promissory temptations of grass,
iv) Lie distempered,

Calling in the aged whispers to
Fly as if imagination

Has left its abode, and v) grow
Each tail of ague

In proportion to its volition,
The thud of its anvil.

“What wind brought you here?
Tel l me the name of your wound,
and I will know the roads where we might twice become lost.”
– Mahmoud Darwish

Freedom from the insult of dwelling in a puppet’s world

Freedom from the insult of dwelling in a puppet’s world, in an unword
That grants you sanctuary from fire and from
The smell of salt as it lunges forth from this
Slice of the world, where it lodges on the seams of a restored yesterday, punishing each inch of flight
With an unroot: the unearthed limp of the master’s glib filch of unfaith.

“Freedom from fear is the freedom I claim for you, my Motherland!

Freedom from the burden of ages, bending your head, breaking your back, blinding your eyes to the beckoning call of the future;

Freedom from shackles of slumber wherewith you fasten yourself to night’s stillness, mistrusting the star that speaks of truth’s adventurous path;

Freedom from the anarchy of destiny, whose sails are weakly yielded to blind uncertain winds, and the helm to a hand ever rigid and cold as Death;

Freedom from the insult of dwelling in a puppet’s world, where movements are started through brainless wires, repeated through mindless habits; where figures wait with patient obedience for a master of show to be stirred into a moment’s mimicry of life.” – Rabindranath Tagore

fidelity to flame

The slow mourn -
    what makes fidelity to flame lack
    lustre for the fog?

kis tarah dhund
ki sham’ay se rawaadaari ho
kyuNkar ho fursat ke tasaadum ka hayoola mumkin
kaun bichRay huoN se rooh ka parcham chheenay
kub talak hosh ka maatam ho maddham maddham?

night's silence translates
    into a pejorative muting of,
    burrowing of dawn
    ka ranj kyuN, haalat-e
    Khamr ka marz kyuN?

saakit huN ab
    ke raat bhar, sukoot-e
    fajr ka ramz kyuN?

    ko yuN moqay ki jo
    talaash hai, uss be-

hijr zabt ka zabt 
    kyuN, woh la-deeni
    yat bilfarz kyuN?

ushshaaq aur kamaan
    ab haathoN se farq
    Dhaa chukay, iss

    ka, hasil-e-fard
    be-rung kyuN?
a droplet's beckon -
    a desert's foreboding of,
    dissolution of resolve

maiN tabaahi ki tajassus

may ghaayal ho kar

iss bayabaN se taghaaful
ho kar tajawuz ker

ke, ik CheeNTay ki faqat
rah takooN andhere

may; ye barabar hua lutf
yuN Thikanay lagay