Tag Archives: poetry



feb 24 2013
LAX, Gate 47A


The travelers cling to the island
fighting for a foothold,
for a chance to pluck the limited fruit.

Their phones, laptops, and tablets
balance precariously on the tiny table,
their cables drinking from the meagre outlets.
They sit on the floor, lean on the wall,
look longingly at the
fellow passengers,
sitting in the cramped seats
around the A Concourse,
trying not to bump knees,
squirming to be comfortable,
in seats designed more for the rowing galley
than for comfort.

Waiting for their turn at the island,
watching carefully with seeming unconcern
for the moment when an outlet
becomes available,
and they can dash across to claim it,
take their spot on the island.

The tide goes out.
The tide comes in,
and a new crew of castaways
cling to the island.

Mussolini On the Produce Aisle

This requires just a little explanation. This is about the awkward situation that arises when you encounter someone from a past, and, in this case, very unpleasant, chapter in your life, and the difficulty of making small talk. Everything serves to remind you of something from that time. Which got me to thinking – what if I were to encounter a dreadful historic figure at Kroger. Hitler? Too obvious. I know …

Mussolini On the Produce Aisle

I saw Benito
– he’s going by Beni now,
sort of a break from the past –
waiting for his swiss

You don’t mention
death camps in the deli,
it just isn’t done.

So I made small talk,
asked if he had been
hanging around Milan lately.
Realized, apologized for the faux pas,
made my excuses,
went to find the rigatoni.

Saw him again
looked at the zucchini,
trying to decide
or non-organic.

I complimented him on his
black shirt.
Again realized too late,

escaped to look for the
alfredo sauce.

I didn’t realize he shopped here.
Might order pizza for dinner instead.



At three in the morning
most cities look the same —
like the back of a taxi-driver’s head
on the way to the airport.

He also takes me places I’ll never see myself

A dive bar in Harlem,
where Dizzy Gillespie plays his horn
to a packed house

Or growing up in Somalia
one meal away from starvation
or enscription
or a lucky break in the new world,

Or the guy so Nigerian you can see Lagos
reflected in his eyes, who insists
he is American
and then shouts at the radio in Yoruba.

And Mr Patel, complete with Ganesha
swinging from the rear view
who asks me in a deep Georgian drawl
if I caught the Braves game last night.

And that dude in San Diego
who used to be a Java programmer before the bubble burst.
Now he sets his own hours and is home
when the kids get off the bus.

Most times, though,
at three in the morning,
we sit in silence, each of us thinking
of home.

The Mess

Ray wants to bake a cake.
Marguerite wants to float
on her gecko
in the pool.

These are, of course,
things, fun and profitable.

I must try to
think of the fun
and not the work it will create.

I must,
or they will remember
that I was

no fun.

So I must be sure we have eggs
and sunscreen
when he gets home,
and when she gets up.

Ode to a shoelace

Last evening we had a small gathering around the fire pit to read poetry. I started with Pablo Neruda’s Ode to Ironing. My Beloved asked if there was an ode to shoelaces, and thus began an odyssey. For the rest of the evening, I read nothing but odes to shoelaces.


We started with Ode to a shoelace, followed by Ode to a shoelace, and Ode to a shoelace. Next there was Ode to a fraying shoelace, Ode to the dangly shoelace, and My shoelace. Then, Ode to an aglet, and Shoelaces.

There were others, too, but I can’t find them this morning. But I’ve found many others this morning, ranging from the silly to the profound to the semi-literate.

Perhaps I’ll write an ode myself.

The Wind Will Change

The Wind Will Change
July 1, 2012

The wind will change,
Mom said,
and you’ll be stuck looking like that.

I scowled at the mirror,
examining the wrinkles.
Smiled, frowned,
was surprised.

The wind didn’t change.

My face remained

Mom’s eyes laughed,
the laughs of years
stuck there by the changing winds.

Then, somehow,
the wind changed.
The canyon in my brow
won’t smooth out.
The scowls, joys and surprises
etched there by the wind.

And now,
my son scowls at me,
his beautiful smooth face
contorted and creased.
He wonders why I laugh,
and tell him
the wind will change.


April 29, 2012
From the Sunday Scribblings

Now, the storm has passed,
or at least blown away for as long as
a afternoon nap lasts,

and I have a moment
to think uninterrupted thoughts,
write one or two of them down.

How many poems have been
derailed by a whoop,
a whine, a scream,
between brain and pen?

The clouds loom
dark and cold as my
forgotten coffee, set down during the
last storm,
the cream separated and
drifting among the darkening clouds,
ready to be knocked to the floor,
spilled like so many gathering thoughts.

Biashara Street

Biashara Street
February 5, 2012
From WeekendWordsmith.com

Step away from the
odour of bodies and exhaust into a

chutney of cardamom

Sacks of
cashews overflow onto
floors covered with boxes,
and more heaps of
burlap bags
full of jasmine rice,
basmati rice,
long brain brown rice
from exotic places I
dream of going, some day.

In this quarter mile of
dusty street
are gathered all the spices of the world,

from Sri Lanka,
and far-away San Francisco.

Tea, coffee and
cocoa pods
lend their aroma to the
general cacophony of smells,
discordant, but, somehow

a symphony in a thousand voices.

Knowing that school uniforms
are only a street or two over,

I stand and breathe deeply
of the cloves,
curry powder,
and saffron.

For the Weekend Wordsmith – Chutney


November 26, 2011

He already doesn’t watch the road,
handlebars weaving about as his eyes are
but in front.
Now he wants a speedometer
to gauge the break-neck speed
as he hurtles about
intent on breaking

Every father’s dilemma:
kill the joy,
or the son?