Love: An Education

Gathered with sibling and parents

at the dinner table, I watch

my father’s long, mahogany arm

stretch over to my mother, seated

at his side, and knead her neck

like dough, teaching me a lesson:

sometimes keeping two souls tied

does not require words.

Culinary Improvisation

One cannot think well, love well, live well, If one has not dined well—Virginia Woolf


First Reunion

Don’t assume responsibility for making

 the essentials like mac & cheese, 

stewed chiecken or collard greens, 

the old hands got them covered.

Expect the whole fam there, or,

at least, the ones who return emails,

phone calls & don’t have personal beefs.

Expect to find the men lounging on living 

room sofas, watching Saturday night ball 

on the flat screen, debating the MVP race; 

the women crowded around the kitchen 

table passing gossip with a bottle of wine; 

kids tearing from room to room ’till some 

sharp parental looks send them outdoors. 

Come expecting your grandma, aunt & uncles 

to give you a tight embraces that leave back & 

shoulders aching; the dense scent of meals slow 

cooking in the oven, on the stove or waiting pre-

made in tin plastic trays. Expect some names 

to shine more brightly than others in your mind 

& to discover a new life here to replace the one 

seas, continents & distance of time has left behind.

Where sweet things reside

Where sweet things reside

In the midst

of current tasks,

I’m drawn back

to summer afternoons

at Grandma’s flat.

Atop an amber-lighted

kitchen table,

succulent sap-sweet

lemon cakes

sleep in tin foiled safe homes;

dream in sealed plastic wrap,

guarding generational

culinary secrets






Short poem 10.


For the Iraqi Kurdish village of Kulajo

I remember you.

You were my mother, father,

sister, brother, uncle, aunt.

Though our last names never met,

we were sewn like thread at the seams

by the weddings, harvests, births and burials

our households shared.

And while planes and tanks spat fire on our heads,

while guns made us wandering souls,

the bond of our communal blood helped us to endure.


P.S. I would like to make an appeal to all followers and readers of this blog to please consider getting involved in the fundraising effort I’m doing to help pay for my college tuition. I am trying to raise $15 000. Any donation would be greatly appreciated. Just follow the link below. God bless!


Generational Curses

Too often we accuse the past of being responsible for our present problems instead of getting our heads down and working to solve them.

Generational Curses

 I was once told to just blame

this generation’s current issues

on generations that came before.

History, I was told, has handed

us the baton of cross-era curses,

troubles transferred from parent to offspring.

I imagine tomorrow’s inhabitants

will soon blame their tribulations on us too,

unless we exorcise our current demons,

hushing the roaring blaze of maturing woes

in the cleansing rainstorm of forgiveness;

with sociopolitical redemption

Parting words to Passing youth

I will be on leave all next week so this will be my last post until Christmas. The poem I leave you with is one I read at my school’s cultural evening (talent show for American readers) and one I promised myself to share on this blog as soon as I finished high school

Parting words to Passing youth

Farewell I say

to the end of days

to blissful innocence

and rebellious adolescence.

For we are butterflies

and our soft cocoon

has opened us to the world.

Where the wind will pull us,

birds will try and consume us

and until we mature,

a resting place will forever elude us.

I still recall with some sad irony

how the school and the home

reigned like monarchs,

and reminisce with passive longing

how parties seemed to never cease,

love brought shots of joy and pain

and long weekends were like paradise.

How like fools we tested and experimented

with that loosening domestic lead

like amateur scientists with Uranium

and how we who knew so little

thought we knew so much.

Those were the days when the future

was but a line on the horizon

and family, career and degree

was on a bucket list for a later time.

For we lived for today.

We were bold.

We were alive.

We were – young.

And only the law,

parental lectures

and careful doses of reality

kept us mortal,

kept us sane.

From across that threshold to adulthood

were I came of age,

I stare back, perhaps wondering,

if that concluded stage

will let me be in its six act play once more.

But it has ended.

The ovation, the applause, the last hurrah

has happened

and the curtains have closed.

All I can do is turn around,

spread my wings,

and fly.

With sweet memories of yesterday,

hanging by my side.


The Exodus of Israel

The Exodus of Israel

 The cock-crow hour greets the departed one.

She, with vista lids of a world so welcoming, so free,

avidly hastened into the far-flung, uncertain desert sun.

Nailed to that well-worn, well-known porch that once had sheltered her;

doted on her aching feet, her father watched on.

His precious gift, His soigné, was a woman now and had left His arms behind.

All He possessed were those accreted frames of a wide-smiling girl,

a budding, maturing rose he once had tended to and adored.

With a tear He thought of the tales he’d tell of that wide-smiling,

now wide-world gazing, girl

and drastically groped the hope that she would return

to the home where she was sown.

His precious gift, His blessed soigné,

to whom His love would be infinitely shown.

To a single mother of three

In celebration of mother’s day tomorrow, one could always compose a poem that praises the mother for the way she looks and dotes after her children, how she’s a source of comfort and reassurance in tough times, believes in us when others won’t, etc. Poems of praise like these can often make the mother appear more material than human, giving us an image of a perfect, cotton security blanket without any personal demons to ruffle its polished personality in the tumble washer of life. When this happens we lose sight of what a mother really is: hardworking, resilient, determined to give her children a  positive future, joyful and affectionate when we’re good, hard, but gracious, when we’re bad and above all, continually by our side.

This following poem celebrates the real mothers: singles and baby-mamas alone in the world, without male support, working 2-3 jobs and yet undaunted by their harsh reality. For while the days are tough, they are tougher.

For a mother of three

Dear resilient miss


This I address to Female, age 30,

offspring 3.


You live each night in the cell that is your

council flat kitchen; each day with the

warden that is your three jobs


You —


To whom I do concern —


Are shackled to your babies destinies;

the architect of a future that may be kind to them

and yet has been cruel to you


You —


Even while hiking up that Everest of bills with just a bible

and a prayer as your pick-ax and rope


Even while sailing on the edge of that bread-line waterfall

with each weeks’ paycheck,


Walk, head high.


Pressured and refined in the kiln of reality by that

boyish man’s retreat


Spurred on by your babies hungry cries


To you I salute as the first among women and the

greatest among breadwinners.





The waiting room

 I thought up this poem yesterday while visiting my father who is recovering from a successful kidney transplant that he had a few days ago. This poem expresses the feelings I had while waiting for my mother to finish speaking with him. I thank God, to who all glory is due, in giving our family grace and a true miracle:

The waiting room

 In this hospital venue, the

air hangs sanitized like a

swab of antiseptic plugged

in one’s nose.

The bare walls lie

inanimate, unspoken and white —

the color of purity, of hygiene…

of uncertainty.

And in this room there are seated



They monitor the hall to ICU and

gaze up (perhaps suddenly religious)

at the single-lighted ceiling.

Their well-read novels provide

exiguous distraction;

the single restroom,

a brief respite from the

anxiousness gnawing like a rat inside.

Outside the hall comes alive.

Wheeled stretchers screech

past with hypnopompic patients,

the shoes of nurses, doctors and

blue-robed surgeons clop-clop

on the marbled floor.

Then come the mobile updates.

Fingers tear at loose hair and faces

carved with worry-lines.

Relief-full sighs are released,

heads collapse into sweaty hands.

 To the panoptic viewer, this room’s sundry

emotions may resemble some silent

T.V. drama,unscripted precisely for

 mass amusement.

But for those who are

inside it is a holding-cell

of the unknown, playing field in the

game of waiting.