A Poem With a Poem in its Belly

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Autumn Sky

After the sweetness of Summer
and before the cruelty of Winter
there is a tender space of peace
where pumpkin and spice,
lovers and friends
all come together with ease.

Come take a walk
When the Sun renounces its throne
and the breeze holds your hand.
Listen to lonely birds
perched on park benches
wait their turn.

Count the stars in the Autumn sky
and know that, like I,
they may be dead
and a long way from here,
but will shine your way
home.

No Truths, All Lies

She woke up amidst lilies and lilacs,
her pockets full of silver and her head 
full of knowledge.
Her lips spoke of Heaven,
but her feet were always on their
way to Hell,
gracefully walking the path of 
Good Intentions.
In this world of giants she was no more
than a speck
aimlessly floating amongst
dancing particles of gold.
She wasn’t destined for greatness
nor was it thrusted upon her,
created only to obey the
commands of a shadow.
She didn’t exist beyond the 
confounds of bubbled letters
and the limits of a grade.
Her body was a prison
and her mind but a cage. 
Her senses were distorted
by a lack of practice;
Her vision only clear when 
She stared into the past.
Her voice mimicked that of 
those before her
as she dreamed of a summer long
turned cold.
She woke up amidst lilies and lilacs,
her pocket full of knowledge and her head
Full of gold.

Coffee House Blues (Formerly Self-Preservation)

What would you like today?
I want a perfect body,
With a side of wittiness à la sarcasm.
I want Einstein’s brain
And Shakespeare’s words.
I want to solve the mystery 
Of the chicken or the egg,
While already knowing 
The meaning of life.
Is that selfish?
I want peace on Earth,
The end of all suffering,
And for the growth of brilliant minds
To not be stunted by the price of college. 
And I really want Plankton to get the crabby patty recipe.
Venti French Vanilla Ice Coffee, please.

Milk and sugar?
The glossed-paper girls are screaming at me 
“Your worth is the sum of all your parts.”
Your weight plus your height
Multiplied by the number of good hair days
And divided by the number of heartbreaks.
We self-destruct for greatness and power. 
But greatness is an illusion
And we are to power
What the waves are to the shore;
No matter how passionately the waves embrace the shore,
They are still pushed back, 
Leaving the sand immaculate 
As if their kiss never happened.
Soy milk, extra sugar

We’ve All Wished for a Broken Leg

With a broken leg it’s never your fault,
torn flesh is seldom the host of guilt. But
the prison that is your mind, they believe,
Is something completely within your control. 

Torn flesh is seldom the host of guilt, so
you cut into your skin searching
for something completely within your control —
a momentary blessing in a lifetime of curses.

You cut into your skin, praying. Maybe
they will understand; in your head,
it’s a lifetime of curses with a momentary blessing:
you get to feel alive and human again.

They will understand that it’s in your head,
you can choose to smile and
you can feel alive and human again,
You do not have to be a victim.

You choose to smile, but
Your mind is still a prison and
you remain victim of a stigma, but
with a broken leg it’s never your fault.

It Was Always You Falling For Me

Away from the Big Apple we went
Back to the City of Love.
Calmly, we claim our baggages 
Determined to not repeat our previous mistakes.
Everything is old here, everyone is miserable.
For heaven’s sake, you say, snap out of it!
Grabbing and squeezing my hand you sung a sweet
Hymn of love and indulgence.
It’s astounding how unaffected you are when,
Just minutes ago, you were flirting with the flight attendant.
Keeping my lips to myself I hold you for the sake of balance.
Let us pretend for now, the
Moon casts a romantic light on everything, but soon
Night bows down to Morning and
Our sweet love is replaced by bitter regrets.
Packed and ready to go, I cast one last look your way
Questions whirling in my head,
Repressed feelings of insecurity flooding my mind. 
Sound asleep you know nothing of the heartache to come. 
Taxi! I yell.
Uncertainty clouds my brain.
Vite, vite! Hurry!
Well, it’s too late now, the taxi is leaving–I’m already gone. 
X-rated thoughts of us make me feel lost and wasted. 
Yet, like the Sun, I am at my
 Zenith.

Things My Mother Always Told Me

1.Inaal Abouk
My mother never knew where she was,
never quite understood what tongue to use. 
Seven languages spilling out of her mouth
like high tides through damaged dams, 
she created a bastard language for her bastard child. 
She always belonged everywhere.
Though I was plucked from her body,
I never belonged anywhere.
She matched her words with her mood 
Channeling nations I’ve only heard of in song;
Israel, France, Haiti, South Africa.
I matched my words with my surroundings
planting my feet deep into the ground 
of whatever land I found myself on.
Flexing my lips and curving my tongue,
my intonation echoing the natives,
Willing myself to have a history.
With her tongue heavy from her past
and mine light with all that’s ahead
our miscommunication was linguistic.

2. Inaal Abouk – curse your father
When she told me what she meant all these years,
I tumbled out of my chair in a fit of laughter.
Sprawled on the carpeted floor of my mothers bedroom,
I let the irony hang in the air between us.
She has never cursed my father,
never spoken ill of the man who chose to
cast an absentee ballot in the life of his only daughter.
Since the absent are always wrong,
my mother was a saint and my father
the serpent responsible for our downfall.
I’ve scribbled in 3 languages all
 in an attempt to find a man I never knew.
Yet the only two words my mother kept
from a language she touched long ago
captured the sinking in my chest.
I no longer felt separate from her
as seven languages danced around my home. 

If You Insist on Falling, Make Sure to Fall Head First

Fallings always seems to be inevitable;
bloody knees and callous palms transform
into spirits shattered by boys in bowties .
I’ve fallen through open windows and out of Orange Trees,
cracked wrist bones on sidewalks,
cut into palm with Swiss Knives
begging childhood friends to stay forever.
I took a twisted pleasure from the pain;
heart beating against my ribcage and blood
pumping in my temple, the unnatural crimson of blood
on hot pavement, all proof of my mortality.
But I’ve always protected my head.
Never dove head first in life or in love
preferring instead to dip shy toes in new waters,
contemplating a million ways I could drown.
I saw what came of those who
risk their neck against an unforgiving current;
They sat head unsupported at kitchen tables
at the hours where children are asleep
and cry for someone who will never return.

To Whom it May Concern

I am writing you this letter with great restraint. 
Far from me to make you feel attacked;
I wouldn’t want the rise and fall of your chest
to be compromised by my cinderblock words.
But, I think we must acknowledge our position
and perhaps reevaluate our relationship.
You told me I could fly,
fashioned my wings out of scrap paper
and threw me off a hill.
Now that I have taken to the altitude,
I’ve built wings from pages of bigger books
with stronger words and thicker plots,
you have started to ground me 
keeping my feet at sea level.
But like a beating heart, the art of flying 
can only be stopped by death.
And though the idea has crossed my mind,
I chose to believe you do not want me dead.
So I think it’s best we keep our distance.
I promise not to fly too close to your mind
If you promise not to shoot arrows at my head.

Forest on Fire

I remember the first time
I realized my mother had a life before me.
She didn’t exist only in memories 
Of  summer night firefly jars 
And airport goodbyes.
When she shared a picture from her past
I began piecing together a woman I didn’t know;
Before Mommy, someone called her
Baby. I wasn’t always the last
To kiss her goodnight.

Her mind was a forest:
Dense, unforgiving, all consuming,
Subject to laws only it understood.
For years I navigated the
Dark terrains of her mind
Tripping over roots, anchored deep
in the soil of her self,
Scraping my knees and 
Breaking my spirit.
When the trees of her spirit began to fall 
Did I listen for a sound?

My mother did not come with a map.
Her mind too often mimicked 
The temperament of Mother Nature;
Only thriving in perfect conditions,
But our conditions were far from perfect
And when I lit the flame of doubt;
When I questioned her devotion to me
I saw the forest burn behind her eyes.