Borders and Bastions


Liking each other when you are standing behind the wall

Putting your ears to the ground, wondering

waiting for music to trickle in

button round eyes gaze across horizons


booted wall guards kicking footsteps into the dust

witnessing one finger pointing at themselves

color staring at steel and sticking into crevices

stainless silences on the other side, loathing noise


neither being in the soul of south or the heart of north

seeing the wrong within the seething rules of right

talking without pretense, finding a position of hope

dying into each other’s arms, retrieving souls

birthing downing heads into cupped heads

going into journeys without worrying about walls


often forgetting emptiness, forgiving ourselves into enthusiasm

letting in sunlight into bordered in children

igniting clarity to spaced out adults

allow for paper to be about stories and not stamped notices

enabling the knocks to be about visiting messages and not separation orders


Igniting commonalities with naked music

Surprising the sky with concerts echoing over walls

seeeding small talk with words of twisty flavors

editing dialogue that separates seasons

giving away keep sakes of quivering heart beats

appearing into lives instead of encouraging disappearances


Desiring conversations across miles and borders

Exploring creaking bridges with new steps

Migrating courage into spaces of fear

Making offerings of vulnerability to arrogance

Clawing into lives, even across borders

Drawing ideas of the world






Love is charming

It makes you open your heart


I have loved fully, your package deal

of quirks, interests and obsessions


I have wondered sometimes, specially that day

when you told me to pray – for my period pain



When the astrologer said we matched many parts of predictions

except I thought, relationship is not a match game?


Our first fight on our first date was for ice cream

you chose ubiquitous vanilla, it eliminated any chance of sharing a spoon


My analysis is always right and on the money, said dad

he arranged us, I wished the arrangement had quotient!

and then,


I learned, from and with you, beside you

You were patient when I was slow, or impatient


I nearly drowned, into depths that loss brings

You deserved more, but resuscitated me with courage


You kneaded into our marriage, things I owe my life to

Long term, invisible, tender hope, and allowance for smiles


You hummed tunes, like snowflakes and raindrops

The baritone found places to settle, in my nooks and corners


Redeeming faith came through, when fingers trace paths on palms

filling in scars, seeding new furrows, to let laughter sprout


‘We’ worked, intersecting life with meditation

gathering insignificant dust of daily grind, in jars and caskets


Time often lay strewn like autumnal leaves, crushed

you always found spring and called it home, a privilege


You carved out voices from films, stories, to create secret tunnels

used to crawl into each other’s hearts, curling fetal like till ready again


You unobtrusively modeled ‘us’ goals, keeping your end of the bargain

by letting in, staying vulnerable, being curious without conditions


A celebration of and for you, is like making a list

of memories, of being, of giving, of honesty, of curiosity


Of unabashed singing

Of rooted gratitude 

Of endearing coffee

Of riveting fatherhood

Of reliable journeys


Of staying in love

Of finding me

in my me


Love is charming

It makes a home within the pit of you


roots and wings


gatherings, reunions

are like seminars

or, genealogy by the bars

uncomfortable truths

jarring jokes

targeting your own folks

evidence of lineage

through twisted pasts

and sparsely sketched hearts

quiet conversations

about dignity and mind

mending and stitching, to keep entwined

growing up and into

unblemished landmarks

laughter full of sparks

drinking to amends 

finding heroes again

sentiments shared, relationships explained

Reunions occur, with present minds

hearts that remember and share

stories that inspire and prepare

Letting go and letting in

together like clouds, yet aloof

Reminiscence enables a rebirth of roots


How dare you?


how dare you

many times over, voices have told you so

riding from the border, gathered scars for life 

I clutched their arms, looked into their eyes

nothing came back, just a dark glow


disappearing myself into the tent

I watched, your aides come and go

they had words, but action was painfully slow

tent to tent, a growing wave of dissent


I huddled under my red coat

and hoped, the specter would keep away

souls, soles of my shoes, were at an edge and in fray

the collective energy of phobia, became our moat


I moved, puppet like from camp to camp

plunged from home to home, city to city

reclaiming my tears, nurturing my capacity to be gritty

hardened veins, are key to survival as a tramp


hands held my shoulders, some held elsewhere

indifference was common, often humans were available

spaces I could never claim, dimensions that let me be reclaimable

endorsing that power in essence is an alienating affair


I turn sixteen today, and discard your political evil

pretence is the skin I shed, exposing flimsy layers of hope

in a world that retains a moral kaleidoscope

of life, encounters, and new beginnings after upheavals


I dare you to let me live again

I dare you to look into my tears 

I dare you to bear being alone

I dare you to die without regret




Some cyclist crosses the road, a motorist moves through but pauses a few seconds longer

A chubby squirrel perches on the fence, tiny paws breaking open a nut

The autumn leaves swirl, in circles of organized wakefulness before they fall

Of the two eggs in a pan, a yolk meanders through the folds of white, the flame flickers unresisting

She raises her hand to make a point in a winsome gesture, her companion is enthralled

That girl tugs at the swing rope, her mother smiling at the simplicity of her joy

A young man holds the door open and waits, an old woman crosses over the frontier with her walker

Trance like clouds hang in limbo, they choose to gather vital raindrops

Hesitantly a lily bursts into color, petals slowly curling as they dip into sunshine

Songs play loud into the street corners, pedestrian feet twirl to the rhythm

At the bus stop you astonish me with your smile, eloquent in it’s interludes

Vendors sell their Sunday wares, secrets are bought in bargaining moments

A bride beams incandescent behind her veil, the room gasps in unison

Letters await anxiously, fearful for the moment when they are opened

Popcorn is an ultimate conversationalist, forcing a tender reciprocity

Glassmaking is a process in flux, the product is a fruition of desire

At the core of understanding complications, are interludes


The tallest man ever


You are the masterplan

of our lives

present always in

encouragement and forgiveness

You gifted us the genes

those that focus

on the quality

of experience and engagement

You have been timeless

and resilient in learning

rejuvenation from grief

and humility in praise

You have never failed

in bringing to us

fearless faith

through what you chose

and how you lived


You never cease to surprise

with your lofty soul

and immeasurable love


You always inspire me to stretch

beyond myself

into the world

and for others


I love you Papa

Thank you


In transit


scatter me across borders, my broad chest

fitted me in when I broke nan with

men whose husky voice made Farsi sound

like marinated meat in luscious herbs


Shed my memories to the sea

my honeyed skin tone merged

into the reflections of Sicilians

sipping wine and sharing nuanced

differences between sea bass and sea bream


Silence my heart into the place

that loaned me its tender soul

along with handshakes, and aroma

of simplicity as they relished bowls

of lemongrass broth and pickled fish


Surround my tatto’ed limbs with Geisha’s

so they can envelop me into the quiet

let me float, and experience the lightness

of their land, with the same abundant content

that came with warm miso soup and ramen


Set me to rest, so my curiosity

continues to merge into the history

of Barcelona, where I relished a potent

legacy of unfinished art as I shared

paella and understood siesta’s

And more

Preserve my jaw, my souvenir to you

representing my potent desire for a full life

the jutting jaw that took me to places

opened crisp conversations, encouraged

exotic experiments in food that were

bold, delectable and expansive

Inspite of 

the frequent contradictions with my own diminished load

of days that I drifted, and nights that were seared

I found moments that mattered

through the honesty of my critics

unfiltered laughter of strange company

tears shed over meals in unknown homes

keep watching

the afterglow of my unknown parts

will remind you of my curly grey

the reserved twist in my wood fired smile

should remind you to watch for the weary

the enthusiast voice in replayed episodes

must remind you to find the pygmy in all giants