Monday, March 26, 2012


as an artist without a paintbrush
i use my tears as the paint
with which i try to recreate
the stars on a clear night
upon the floor of this borrowed home
where we dance and kneel
where we bleed and peel
back layers from the night sky
of our own dark hearts.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

confessions -1

While I still breathe
every mortal moment 
of my life is timeless
though I am not.
So do not comfort me 
with promises of reconciliation
in another world
this is the only one we know
this moment, the only one we live

Thursday, March 15, 2012

ode to artists in exile and the freedom of expression

Do you know what it's like to write a poem about your home
and not be able to share with your neighbors?
Or what it's like to make an international award-winning film
about your people and then be outcast from your country?
Can you imagine singing a song that captures the heart of a nation
only to be barred from setting foot there again?
[The artists in my country are bleeding.]
The flowers in my country are torn from their roots
before they have a chance to blossom
Hear me out. Imagine, the very next time you come up here
to this stand and perform a poem before this mic,
you go home and sleep, like any other night
and the following day you get a letter in the mail,
signed by the highest authorities, informing you
that you must never again return to your birthplace
that you may never again see your parents in their own home.
I can't speak to that...I'm not there, yet.
But one of the saddest tones of the human voice I've ever heard
was a man singing about the separation from his homeland and mother
and what broke his heart was that he couldn't be there
to bury her when her time came.
So for all the artists out there, all the boys, girls, men and women
with fire in their lips, hands and feet
who are questioning whether or not to continue
keep perfecting your craft.
Don't take it from me, take it from the exile.
This is our greatest liberty, the expression of our humanity.
So the next time you come up here, keep that torch burning baby.
Keep it burning for the rest of us,
keep it burning for those who are kept in darkness.
And I would humbly ask that you not only keep the torch burning
but that you feed it until it burns so bright
that it illuminates even the darkest corners of human imagination

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Do you remember...
Do you remember where you were born?
Do you remember the words whispered
and murmured over you in the womb?
Do you remember the sounds of your parents lovemaking
when you were conceived?
Or their promises when you were given birth?
Do you remember your birth?
Was it when you came tumbling head over heels, crying
while still hanging onto the umbilical cord of your former self?  
Was it when your parents first laid eyes upon one another?
Was the song of your birth written hidden
foretold in the genetic code of your first forefathers?
Or was it when the sun first laid rays on the virgin body of water?
Was it when the earliest wave heard the call of the moon--
broke to the shore and spelled your name on the sand in its wake
before returning to the ocean?
Do you remember the stories that the trees have been whispering
through their roots and singing through their leaves for millions of years?
Do you remember when we were held in the womb of the stars?
Or when they died?
Do you remember the universe echoing
with the glory of the unapologetic death of ten thousand suns?
Or the passing of untold numbers of people, creatures, plants,
planets, stars, and solar systems for life right now?
Do you remember...
before word, before memory and before birth
Do you remember the divine notes of that primordial sound
perforating what was not yet silence?
It was not the sacred beginning--because all is sacred,
But it was a beginning, our beginning.
And those stars dying like cells splitting were creating something new
So what had to die to pave the way for the birth of this universe?
I may never understand. It may never even matter.
So let us know nothing
like the nothing before the eye of the universe was opened
and maybe, like that wave rushing for the coast
we will arrive, leave our mark on the shore
for a few moments, and remembering home
return on the long journey back to the heart of the ocean
and all the cradles from which we sprung to life.
Back to the earth, to animals and plants, to volcanic ash and water.
Back to supernovas and the first star nurseries
among interstellar clouds and nebulae.
And when we have tasted the perpetual darkness before light
and drank down enough of both to contain the sum of all experience
then, we may return, with a few stories of our own
to that foremost moment of inexpressible possibility
the birth of birth itself.