I don’t write about her much
because this is my space away from her
away from it all
but tonight as my love
washes up the dinner dishes
while she is ranting in her room
I need to record a moment
regardless how ineloquent this will be

she came to live with us
when our marriage was young, fragile
three months in a hospital
because she’d spent her life in horror
I nursed her
put my brand new love on hold
she’d birthed him after all
it was the least I could do

then she came to live with us
settled in for the long haul
knowing that we would leave eventually
she preferred to rave at us
for taking her out of the horror
instead of envisioning another home
when we would leave

four years
a wave of mental illness
beating against us nearly daily
a miserable, pitiful third wheel
unaware of her own insanity
I sank into depression
my love held my face above water

now three weeks til we leave
another insane meltdown
screaming at us for refusing
to let her return to the horror
and I lost it
and he kept calm
and cooked dinner
and washed the dishes
while my head pounded
my heart pounded
and I stare again into the
empty void of the future
wondering what will happen if she lives
wondering what will happen when she dies
wondering about the ethics of leaving an insane person
wondering about the ethics of staying with them



sometimes I come here full of words
other times, empty
heart so heavy it’s on the ground

humankind swirling all around me
making my head spin with
dichotomies and paradoxes
each individual’s unique mixture
of specific beliefs about the people around them
cupped in the palm of their hands, nearly overflowing
ready to hurl them at a moment’s notice
so much ignorance and hatred on all sides
so much prejudice and stereotyping

when you look at humanity down through the ages
and how each group, regardless how they grouped themselves
by village, by city, by empire, by race, by tribe
by religion, et cetera
has consistently managed to forget the humanity
of those outside the group
and inflict harm on those weaker than them
it makes you wonder how any one group today
can justify their stance against another group

when you look at recent history, the last few centuries,
European colonization and slavery in particular
the first truly global instance of this misuse of power
and the fallout from it that we are experiencing today
you realize that all the groups – and all the hatred –
are drawn along those original European colonist lines
the struggle between « first world » and « third world »
between « nationalists » and « immigrants »
between « whites » and « people of colour »
between Christian-majority nations and Muslim-majority nations

and when you look at the various responses to the situation
by descendants of the colonists and slavers
by descendants of the colonized and enslaved
there is so much to learn

I’ve known the Christian and the Muslim
the Jew and the Hindu
the atheist and the agnostic
and loved them all
I’ve read their scriptures and scholars
and carefully balanced their nuances
in the palm of my hands
like a fragile baby bird
the paradox that what was once written
and how it is interpreted by scholars
and how each interpretation is valued or ignored
by the spiritual and the secular, the safe and the disenfranchised
rarely match up

I’ve known the emigrant, the human being traveling the planet
in search of a safer, more comfortable life
and I’ve known the colonist’s descendant who turned them away
who had xenophobia passed down to them
instead of a grandmother’s cookie recipe
and was taught to draw lines in the sand and keep people from crossing
instead of being taught how to change a tire
who cries when 2,996 people are killed inside a line his ancestors drew
but doesn’t blink an eye when 460,000 are killed outside the line in retaliation
because they are « other »
and blinded by either their helplessness or poverty
cannot see how they are perpetuating their ancestors’ sins

I’ve known human beings of every shade of melanin
I’ve known human beings of every spiritual creed
I’ve known human beings of every colour passport
I’ve known human beings of every political leaning
I’ve known human beings of every level of income
I’ve known human beings of every level of education
I’ve known human beings of every temper and disposition
I’ve known human beings with every amount of privilege
I’ve known human beings who’ve been through every level of suffering

And seen how each one embraces some, and despises others

Seen how the worst among them were shaped into killers
by the tides of life that bore them into the world and drowned them
and by some inexplicable bent towards cynicism and evil
whether theist or atheist
white or brown
at home or abroad
And how the best among them were shaped into helpers
by the tides of life that bore them into the world and buoyed them
and by some inexplicable bent towards positivity and love
whether theist or atheist
white or brown
at home or abroad

and I long for each human being
to truly see every other human being
as a brother and sister
to be healed of their pain or blindness
and break free and soar above this war


days that feel like sneaking through the forest

lift a foot, pause. gently put it down without disturbing the leaves.




watching. waiting. simultaneously doing.

breathing rapidly without a sound.

hyper aware of the universe stretching into infinity around me
from the scratchy branches and fragrant buttercups at my fingertips
to the north star a million miles away

some days my foot lands on a jagged rock, a sharp twig
and some beautiful days on moss thicker than a Persian rug
and some days, just cool, moist dirt

some days I take more than one step
others I fall backwards down a hill, yelling loudly
and some are spent motionless, unsure where to go
just straining my eyes into the dimness – I can never tell if it’s dawn or dusk
and I don’t know if I’ll ever catch what I’m chasing


the light just got brighter and,
true to human nature,
I feel only angst, no pleasure

for years, I’ve yearned for it all
and now all has become meaningless
no fire rises up in me for any of it
love or children, meadows or libraries,
adventure or tranquility, anonymity or fame
vanity of vanities, all is vanity.

hadn’t you noticed –
المال والبنون زينة الحياة الدنيا
فلا تغرنكم الحياة الدنيا ولا يغرنكم بالله الغرور 
أنما الحياة الدنيا لعب ولهو وزينة وتفاخر بينكم
و تكاثر في الأموال والأولاد

ألهاكم التكاثر حتىٰ زرتم المقابر
كلا سوف تعلمون

how do I interpret this
are these more hormones, chemicals
‘this too shall pass’ and all that?
are these the final labor pains
and outside the tunnel truly is all I’d hoped?
or is everything truly as vain as the Teacher says

here is the end of the matter:

Of making many books there is no end
and much study is a weariness of the flesh
Fear God, and keep his commandments
for that is the whole duty of everyone
For God will bring every deed into judgment
including every secret thing, whether good or evil.


just checking in.

it’s been a while, as usual.

after four years

i can finally see

the light at the end of the tunnel.

it came.

every step is suddenly lighter, freer, faster

wondering how many weeks til we reach the light

wondering what’s on the other side

hoping and praying with every breath that it’s worth it


here we are, ’twas just a matter of time
torn flesh, aching soul, limbo stretching into eternity
did you ever think someone you used to spend
all the day and the night awake in conversation with
could one day become as distant as the night sky?

Just a heads up, all eloquence is gone
It always is, in moments like these

I want to tell you about yesterday evening with Mom
our game of Scrabble and discussion about you

I want to tell you about the card that Grandma mailed me
the check inside and my aching to call her

I want to send you the link to my uncle’s theology class
watch it together, and discuss it

I want to tell you about my sleepover this weekend
and how I put off replying to Grandpa’s e-mail about theology

and about another e-mail to an embassy yesterday
asking if I could stay away from you longer

and about how I know what you’re going through
but we’ve reached a breaking point and you have to make a move
and remove what I’m truly running from

and how if you don’t, I can’t return

but I can’t find you, and you aren’t looking for me
and you’ve shredded my soul into pieces

Know this:
6,211 kilometers don’t cause death
silence does