Sep 25

how to write to a stranger

Dear (Absent) Dad,

Guess what?

You missed it.

Time goes by so fast,
(you blink) 
and then it's gone.

You missed
the birthdays 
and the graduations
and the colleges
and the parent-teacher confrences
and the signatures
and the weddings
and the kids.

You missed it. 
Where are you now? 
Are you married?
Do you have kids? 
Where you there for them through it all?
I hope you were.
They don't deserve what I got.

We miss a lot of things in life. 

the (beat) of a hummingbird's wing,
whispered words,
a day of work,
glances in the dark. 
how the sun 
(reflects,
reflects,
reflects)
off of the waves
setting them on fire
even though they are wet. 

But (only) strangers miss 
each other's lives. 
Sep 12

A Reference List for 9/11

What to do on 9/11 if you're Middle Eastern or Muslim.
  1.  Look at the ground, breathe steady in and out, hope that nobody notices the occasion.
  2. Wince whenever anyone mentions the date and the chorus of sympathies and 'oh man's' that follow.
  3. Flinch at every word coming out of everyone's mouth because you're afraid that it will be another comment that jabs at your skin, jabs at your very being.
  4. Notice that not many people notice the occasion but you, because they have that privilege, to forget, oh, to forget everything it brought on.
  5. Be extra careful with what you say. No wayward comments appreciated. 
  6. Avoid the news that day.
Sep 10

The In-Between Place

Have you ever felt in 
between?

Have you ever felt like you
don't belong?

Have you ever been stuck in the middle of stars
and earth?

Have you ever wondered if there was ever going to be
another like you?

Have you been stuck between two countries that both
hate each other?

I am not quite white, 
and I am not quite black.

I am not Christian,
and I am not Jewish.

I am not hated,
but I am not loved.

I am a stranger in America,
and a stranger in Iran.

I am not quite here,
yet not quite away.

I am not quite good,
but I'm not quite bad. 

I'm not quite Arab,
but I'm still Middle Eastern.

I am always,
but not quite
in between.

So if you've ever been 
not quite something in your life,

join me in that in-between place,
Aug 30

Go out

let me tell you about pulsars.
 
In binary star systems, 
there are two stars that 
revolve around each other.

Sometimes, 
they form pulsars.

this is when one of the stars
starts taking materials 
from the other.

It takes and takes 
and spins faster
until the two beams of light
came out of either end.

and the other star?

it's gone.

that's what you are to me.

a pulsar. 

you stripped away my layers, 
and i thought it was only because you wanted
to know the beautiful core.

but as we lived, 
in the light of long-dead stars whose
silent screams never echoed,

you ate away whatever was left of me,
and shined brighter yourself.

bursting in bright beams,
the light you had taken from me radiating 
so nicely on your skin.

and everybody told you how good you looked,
Aug 21

Fireworks

i.
things that start rising up
in a streak of light
that races up in the hues of a 
pink, red, and orange sky, 
tracing a trail against the clouds.

ii.
bursting open and
combusting in and explosion of light,
hanging, suspended in the air for 
a fragment of a moment, 
bright colors flashing against eyes 
and piecing off to 
oohs and ahhs. 

iii.
hallow shells of bodies that splintered themselves
so that other would love them,
displaying their brightest colors all at once,
being the brightest just for a second,
before they're just hallow grey shells 
that drift across the sky like corpses,
drifting lost and burnt out. 
 
Aug 17

Heartbeat(s)

Everything has a heartbeat,
when you think about it.

In machinery, it's the gentle thrum
of the parts clicking together like
they should.

I learned this sitting in a slanted car,
hum and buzz surrounding me as
we flipped upside down.


In forests, it's the trees
that rustle back and forth,
the animals scurrying around
like the constant beat of a drum.

I learned this when we played together
in the forest that i catch a glimpse of 
through the window,
while the entire world is tumbling and turning.

In water, it's the constant rocking back and forth,
or bump thumping over
river rocks and flowing fast and ever constant.

I learned this as i sunk into the lake, 
looking up at the surface,
and for a moment, i swear,
i can almost see the stars.


Humans have heartbeats too,
Aug 01
poem 1 comment challenge: Elephants

The little girl

Once there was a little girl
who had an elephant.

it is not clear how it came about,
but she loved it.

one day she decided that she wanted
to go to the house up the street,

where the humans were,
for she lived with others,

people she had created out of ink and paper,
enchanted and kind, but untouchable.

she came up to the door,
and read the sign that hung on the door.

STRICTLY NO ELEPHANTS
read the sign in the big bold letters.

she looked at her elephant,
with eyes made of rain and chocolate,

and sat on the stoop and began to think,
grabbing a pen and paper.

the people inside the house read the little girl's paper,
the paper that was stuck on the door,

some began to weep for what they had lost
to get into the house.

some began to long, long for the outside world
Jul 28

cancer

“ your aunt has cancer.”

No.

takeafastbreathinclose
youreyes,trynottoletitall
comepouringout.

how
could 
this
happen?

thisdoesnthappen,nottous
maybetootherpeoplebut
nottouspleasegodwhere
areyou?

”how bad is it?”

please.

icantlethergo,
howcananyoneletanyone
go,it’sunthinkablethata
fewcellsgrowinginsidehermight
takeheraway.

only
in
the
middle
stages.

thetearscomerippingout
andicantcontrolthemanymore,
thereisnostoptothesadness
anditfeelslikeaholeis
beingtorninsideofme,
fabricteraingapartwithaharshpull.

”are you ok?” 

howcouldanyonebeokay,
iamnotokaybutilookaroundand

i’ve
got
to
be
strong.

yes”
 
Jun 25

Festival

*i wanted to inform you guys that i'm not going to be able to update because i'm going to camp for three weeks without internet. see you on the other side of summer!


the thump of the music
echoes in your chest like
a heartbeat.


the people mix around, 
dance with their bodies
shaking and cups in the air 
like a silent toast


the smell of food that 
wafts through the air,
silky temptation that pulls you in.


strings of words held up
by clothing pins, 
small messages left
against the bright yellow.


bright things being sipped
out of plastic cups and 
long lines at the sides of food trucks.


a rushing 
roaring
waterfall to gaze to,
mesmerized by the splash 
that sprays across the 
roiling blue. 

it's summertime. 

 
Jun 18

therapy session in my mind (pt.1)

(Why can't you 
loosen up a little, 
let go?)

Said the boy, 
his eyes quizically turning
and twisting in the light.

I laughed, 
my hollow voice not 
the only noise creeping
loud and dark 
within my mind.

(Maybe if i was you.)
I replied, looking out
at the twisted expanses 
that lay stretched before me.

His eyebrows furrowed and
i could almost see the 
questions knitting themselves
in between them.

(Let me clarify.)
I said, my features clearing out.

(When you make a 
mistake, when you lose control
when you mess up, 
the headline will be)

Teenage Boy Makes Mistake

(When i mess up, which i
hope will never happen,
when i lose control,
swerving in and out,
the headline will be)

Iranian-American Muslim Immigrant Loses Control.

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