Apr 27, 2017

words like onions


I am conscious, and so the dream stops.

No moving pictures, shapes, color, or sound.

A blank rectangle like an old turned off television set.

My eyes are stitched I cannot open them.

A little hand inside my mind is pressing the wakeup button.

I am still sleeping and yet aware!

The world is already made, a used, reiterated, exhausted world.

Everything has been said before, chewed on and spat,

like a popular book that’s been borrowed a thousand times

put back on the shelve for another pair of hands.

In this magnificent crack between what is and the tenuous,

I can go back as far as my imagination allows, the before is endlessly vast.

A fetus in a dark womb, with fins for hands, before the split of fingers.

I learned to use them, on and on. Opening and unwrapping, to reach

an understanding, which again and again, slips through split fingers.

When people gave me words and told me to be grateful. Words, like onions

I peeled and peeled on them, tearful.





Apr 13, 2017

The Memory



I try to grab on to a beautiful memory. Nothing particularly special or grand, we’re in the park, Jori playing on the bungee trampoline, me watching from a distance, smiling because she’s smiling, while eating what seemed to me then (and still) like the most delicious bar of Twix I have ever tasted. The memory a few years old, but vivid. Hold it, I say to my heart – my mind shooting from one negative thought to the next like a monkey -  Hold that image. Surrender to it completely. I can’t describe it in detail, describing it diminishes it; the colours, the sounds, how the breeze felt, how the trees swayed, the smells, the powerful feeling of being there, fully there. The ethereal nature of memories, how they exist so beautifully when not captured in words, or pictures, in the limbo of time and space, on the edge of reality, in the belly of something resembling a past.

I am still walking while holding on to my precious memory. Sometimes I can change what we were wearing that day, today I decide I was wearing my red coat, Jori was wearing a blue jumper. “I want to be at peace, I want to be at peace, I want to stop hurting, I want to stop hurting” I wrote in my  affirmation journal this morning. I will write more tonight: “I want to be at peace, I want to stop hurting, I want to laugh again”. A cockerel wanders out of a front garden. I stop and stare in amazement; its unusual shape, its mesmerizing colours, the magnificence of its stride. It considers me with interest for a moment. I am struck by the beauty of its creation. What incredible imagination, what skill, what majesty can conjure up this being, this fascinating design?

From my window, I see the old man from the building across, tired looking, out on his little balcony, smoking. Sometimes, our eye meet for a split second, he turns his gaze not wanting to seem invasive. In that split second we communicate, no words, no previous introduction, or encounter. I say how hard life is, I say how pain - in some twisted way - is good. I say, I don’t approve of his smoking, but I understand, because I’ve used similar methods of escape too. He says, don’t worry I’m not a creep, I’m not trying to invade your privacy, I’m not a pervert sneaking a glance in someone else’s home, I just need this little release, this little escape, my family won’t let me smoke inside the apartment. He sits down, in what seems to me like a very uncomfortable squatting position. In profile, he supports his tilted head with his free left hand, and lights up another. Behind a selection of dusty brooms, hanging laundry, and a small empty bird cage, he’s almost completely hidden. He says, life is hard, and strange, and wonderful.

Somewhere, in another dimensional existence, I’m wearing my long grey coat, Jori is wearing her fluorescent pink jumper, she’s smiling while bouncing high up on the bungee trampoline, I’m watching at a distance smiling, munching on the most delicious bar of Twix I have ever tasted.   



Apr 6, 2017

27 bones



There are 27 bones in a hand.

I examine my left hand carefully, I think of how much work it leaves up to my right.

I try to imagine how many hands I’ve touched, thousands? None memorable.

None particularly soft, or particularly kind, or particularly warm.

I love to hold my daughter’s hands, the smallness of them, the honesty of them.

My hands are bodies, they are souls in their own right, they have a knowing and a conscious.

The way they naturally long for something, the way they avoid, the way they pray,

the way they wrap around me when I’m enduring, to comfort me, pretending not to be me, and yet belonging to me.

My hands can love and they can hate.

My hands have eyes.

My hands have dreams and aspirations.

My hands; passionate, talented, strong, loving, severe.





Mar 24, 2017

Fatima




“I named her Fatima, because I love that name”

He said, with an unusual half smile, a bit embarrassed, wishing he hadn’t added the second part of that statement. Extending his hand towards me, to show me a photo of his one year old daughter on his phone.

I looked at the badly taken picture, big dark baby eyes, full wet lips, sitting next to her slightly older brother.

“My son isn’t so attractive, he takes after his mother” he lets out an unhappy, mocking laugh, again embarrassed, wishing he knew when to shut up.

“She’s beautiful, they both are” handing him back his phone.

I was still with him, he never stopped carrying me, despite the nasty breakup, despite the many years, his marriage, his firstborn. He couldn’t choose me, but he couldn’t leave me either. I was too stubborn, I wouldn’t yield, I didn’t satisfy his male inflated ego, I wouldn’t play the role of the meek, docile female.

To conquer me, to fully own me, he had to create me again. I thought about how he planted me inside his wife’s womb, his poor clueless wife, carrying me, all those tiresome months, the weight of me, the morning sickness. I grew inside her, leeching off her energy, and blood. I expanded as an idea in his mind, he couldn’t wait to hold me again, small, helpless and utterly reliant on him. He knew how he would shape me, once I was handed back to him. This time not defiant or rebellious, but a supple ball of dough, a clean slate, manageable and obedient.

She must be nine years old now. He calls her name every day, tells her to fetch his newspaper, or pass him the salt while they all sat for dinner, drives her to school, asks with a false cheerfulness “So, how was school today?” as she murmurs a bored “fine”. Too big to be carried up to her bed, after she had fallen asleep on the sofa, watching TV in the living room.

She’s not an idea anymore, not a seed, not an expectation, not rewritable CD. Not his, not belonging to him, merely a piece of flesh that had come forth from him, but not his, not the vessel in which he pours all his preconceptions and his female ideals.

And soon, very soon, she will look him straight in the eye and say No. It will break his heart, and he will understand.    






Mar 18, 2017

You wish



You wish a meal would satisfy you

You wish sleep would satisfy you

You wish work would satisfy you

You wish idleness would satisfy you

You wish pursuing a dream would satisfy you

You wish laughter would satisfy you

You wish enlightenment would satisfy you

You wish stillness would satisfy you

You wish movement would satisfy you

You wish gratitude would satisfy you

You wish being present would satisfy you

You wish indulgence would satisfy you

You wish the quiet would satisfy you

You wish traveling would satisfy you

You wish maturity would satisfy you

You wish youth would satisfy you

You wish a hobby would satisfy you

You wish a sport would satisfy you

You wish religion would satisfy you

You wish atheism would satisfy you

You wish crying would satisfy you

You wish a meltdown would satisfy you

You the future would satisfy you

You wish your memories would satisfy you

You wish money would satisfy you

You wish contentment would satisfy you

You wish success would satisfy you

You wish health would satisfy you

You wish compassion would satisfy you

You wish celibacy would satisfy you

You wish sex would satisfy you

You wish abstinence would satisfy you

You wish purity would satisfy you

You wish a cause would satisfy you

You following a crowd would satisfy you

You wish standing alone would satisfy you

You wish a passion would satisfy you

You wish having children would satisfy you

You wish a having a pet would satisfy you

You wish forgetting would satisfy you

You wish winning would satisfy you

You wish art would satisfy you

You wish science would satisfy you

You wish solitude would satisfy you

You wish reality would satisfy you

You wish fiction would satisfy you

You wish writing would satisfy you

You wish walking would satisfy you

You wish honesty would stratify you

You wish social status would satisfy you

You wish simplicity would satisfy you

You wish hunger would satisfy you

You wish creativity would satisfy you

You wish mediocracy would satisfy you

You wish an illusion would satisfy you

You wish intelligence would satisfy you

You wish the mundane would satisfy you

You wish empathy would satisfy you

You wish apathy would satisfy you

You wish eagerness would satisfy you

You wish indifference would satisfy you

You wish loyalty would satisfy you

You wish resilience would satisfy you

You wish flexibility would satisfy you

You wish gentleness would satisfy you

You wish brutality would satisfy you

You wish charity would satisfy you

You wish selfishness would satisfy you

You wish the truth would satisfy you

You wish a lie would satisfy you

You wish justice would satisfy you

You wish fascism would satisfy you

You wish nature would satisfy you

You wish industrialism would satisfy you

You wish hope would satisfy you

You wish acceptance would satisfy you

You wish a prayer would satisfy you

You wish war would satisfy you

You wish love would satisfy you

You wish leaving would satisfy you

You wish staying would satisfy you

You wish God would satisfy you

You wish the mirror would satisfy you.








Mar 17, 2017

Words that keep me afloat when I’m drowning


The following words/sayings/proverbs have been of great help to me through the difficult time I've been enduring:



1. When my life feels like chaos, nothing is going right, and nothing is making sense:

"No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place"   Zen proverb

"All is well. Everything is working out for my highest good. Out of this situation only good will come. I am safe"  Louise Hay

"When you’re going through something hard and wonder where God is, remember the teacher is always quiet during a test"



2. When I feel like an underserving, worthless failure:

"If your compassion does not include yourself its incomplete"  Buddha
"In taking care of myself, I take care of the world"



3. When I’m running, seeking, searching, desperate and panting, applying for job and getting rejected, trying to sell my paintings and getting rejected, trying to publish my writing and getting rejected:

"Don’t be upset when people reject you. Nice things are rejected all the time by people who can’t afford them"
"There’s nowhere to go, and nothing to be, there’s only right here, right now"
"All the elements for your happiness are already here. There is no need to run, strive, search, or struggle. Just be"   Thich Nhat Hanh




4. When I’m ashamed of my fragility and brokenness:

"There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in" Leonard Cohen
"The mind shows you darkness so you can transform it into light" Buddha
"Once you express your sorrow from the bottom of your heart, it will be washed away. Look at a flower, it can never hide its scent or its color"  Rumi
"Pretending you don’t have feelings of anger, sadness, or loneliness, can literally destroy you mentally"



5. When I’m searching for a new faith, or a group to go to, or a religion to belong to, or an idea to stand for:

"Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple, kindness" Dalai Lama
"What you seek is seeking you" Rumi
"Everything in the universe is within you, ask all from yourself " Rumi



6. When people criticize me, judge me, shame me, and insinuate that I’m not normal. When I’m doubting myself and what I’m capable of:

"Those who judge will never understand, and those who understand will never judge"  Wilson Kanadi
"Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly"  Morticia Adams
"Close your eyes and imagine the best version of you possible. That’s who you really are, Let go of any part of you that doesn’t believe it"  C. Assaad
"Remember, despite how open, peaceful and loving you attempt to be, people can only meet you, as deeply as they’ve met themselves"  Matt Kahn






Mar 13, 2017

How social media deepens our sense of deprivation



I don’t have the emotional or the physical energy to write about how social media is negatively affecting our lives, it’s already been said. I don’t want to reiterate how people have been using their social media pages to post exaggerated versions of their lives, successes, achievements, friendships, families and romances, that argument is just as old and exhausted. It’s nauseating how as people we’ve become incapable of living without an audience. I tried social media twice and gave it up both time, deciding it really was a lot of crap, a waste of time, and has absolutely nothing to do with human connection, but had everything to do with obsessing over other people’s lives, unhealthy arguments about politics and religion, destructive criticism, passing judgements, and stalking people. 

But even when you’re not on social media, you can still be haunted by it. As I went on the internet to check my e-mail. My Yahoo home page gave me the daily newsfeed, the top, most popular story was Mark Zuckerberg’s “touching” post on facebook, announcing his wife’s pregnancy. They were so happy, so blessed, especially when they thought they couldn’t have another child, especially when they found out it’s a girl. And how much they’ve always wanted a girl, and how Mark was so lucky to have grown up with three sisters, who taught him how to be strong and successful, how loving and caring his sisters were towards him, how supportive they all were of each other. How his wife grew up with two sisters and how they were each other’s rock, always there for each other, all the inside jokes that only loving caring siblings can have. Mark and his wife looked so happy, so in love, so strong, so lucky, so like people who had everything.
I wish I didn’t read about Mark, I wish I didn’t have to know how lucky Mark and his wife are, how amazing their sisters were, how loyal, loving, and supportive families can be. How deprived I am, how far away my reality was, how little I had. I don’t envy Mark, but I could have gone without having my deprivation deepened, pronounced, underlined, and put into perspective. I don’t know how much I can turn away from the abundance others have. How guilty I feel when I can’t feel happy for other people’s boundless blessings. How much I scold and shame myself for reading such things; “you could have not looked, you could have ignored, you could have not clicked”. How much can one close one’s eyes, pretend, look away in order to survive, in order to get through the day intact. And then more shame and guilt; how much deprivation does someone like me trigger in a less fortunate life; someone with a disability, someone terminally ill, someone homeless, someone living in a warzone.