growing up with you


Sieving through my feelings today, I find 10

ten things I grew up with; things that are you

  1. garden tending fingers, grace bent over flower beds and bougainvillea bushes
  2. embellished basha homes, each corner a chapter of a story
  3. crocheted friendship tales and warm scones sprinkled with cheerful chatter; giving in all ways you could
  4. prayer book pages, you turned each night as you nodded to your own voice; in thanks
  5. petunias and gardenias in flat green kitchen bowls, finger to your mouth as you prick it with a cactus stem; a red floating island with the floating petals
  6. swishing silk sarees and clicking heels; red circled forehead, a goddess on home turf; strong, wondrous; a cocoon
  7. laying your heart on the crackling logs; as you put a blessing to bed, pieces of you left behind to nurse the sorrow, other few shreds carried the sweetness forward
  8. news filter, watchdog, the channel we all tune into for our connection into that which mattered most; you watching life for us each day, every day
  9. plucking at heartstrings; your humming was our centering force, you listened in joy; your music through the scratchiness of the LP record
  10. clapping your hands as you devour beauteous sights; pretending our antics were theater and our scribbles were poems; silly enactments on Jack the beanstalk and staged narrations of the Casablanca

Wishing us you today, wishing us a world where you make mundane mean more

Wishing us the hearts to nurture you and the giving you bring to our world

We love you



Take Back Nirbhaya


Never did my dreams shrink into a cocoon, nightmares don’t sit only in dark alleys

I overheard him belching again, echoing the devil from

Realms of shattered bodies and fractured souls

Beautiful physique, he declared today

Holding my breath, sick to my stomach

Afraid, it is happening again, violent penetrating words

Yearning ache, choked in crackling laughter

A defiant womb, I give back to you


Being Nirbhaya, I dare you ma

to unfurl your tandav

into his breastbone

Do not bring me your

crippling compassion

Nirbhaya, I hold my head high


grit to persevere; invictus inspired



you made us recite it

again and again

we practiced and presented

you clipped short all complaints


stand straight; backbone up

speak loud; voice crisp

in obedience

to instructions

we learned to tame our lisps


look front and center; eyes

making fierce contact

on stage a young girl

made an audience pact


fix your feet; hold their shuffle

mean what you say; use

tear ducts and heart muscle

nervous ticks and growing warts

confidence is earned; not

bought off a shelf


face it; confront the worst

don’t dribble your words; let

them out of your pores

like a furious cloudburst


the applause you want to hear

will stay drowned; if you

choose not to confront your fears


stimulate strength; let Invictus

into your bones; let the

echo permeate your skin

through the fingers that

hold the microphone


today; I say to you, my dad

stay unbowed, and teach me again

how you captured grief; using faith

when you could use blame

stand upbeat, and teach me again

always one to pick the higher stance; never did

you let vanity sustain


indomitable, a master of your fate

every mile, a captain of your soul


you taught me much; you let me dare

most of all you did not listen to can’t

and trained me towards the grit to persevere










an annual pantomime

WhatsApp Image 2018-03-03 at 9.45.59 PM

“Encourage you to find a work-life balance” scribbled in light hand, almost hesitatingly so

each year, someone decides to scribble something

bullets in the section called “opportunities”

each year, others in life read and think, often say

hmm, yes, you should, try!

I thought about it long and hard

as I have for more than 20 years

To myself I say – 

seesaw games

swinging into the skyline

holding your breath

jumping off a diving board

Balance or gravity

in a child’ hours?

they found their own

the body knew

as did the earth

dancing, footwork matching anklet sounds

sculpting, kneading into the wetness of clay

theater, voice, and form in position for the audience

baking, ensuring those air bubbles do not go astray

needlework, tying in the thickness of strands with the depth of color

teaching, what you want alongside what they need

amateur attempts all; yet

involved into themselves

wonder alive

mundane, moments of trial

family tied felt knotted into my hands

compliance flooding my mind

following an order; including into marriage

belief, in the simplicity of doing

without the compromise to loving

reconciliation of sides

their water and my sky

sometimes heart, often mind

the id and ego

life as a mantle

of work and worship

and all things in between

connections that touch

distractions that feed

responses that matter

words when you startle

as you hear yourself

when the voice breaks

when it flows over

the fluid spaces between

work and life

interruptions that create an escape

within and without

submission without hesitation


needy child calling, that girlfriend decision, lost wallets, graduation dresses, dinner dates, a recipe for sprouts, income tax on bonus dollars, doctor appointments, dorm rooms and boyfriend crisis


the report, due dates, a flight delayed twice, hotel pillows, presentations, inane research, incoherent change, happy hour plans, endless fishbones, and pyramids

Balance is a lie

the design of our brain

and designation of our muscles

are about deviation and motion

try drain an incessant abscess

stubborn enough to tread its time

yet pamper it with warmth

and it submits to the cajoling

balance is about the weight

in the elements of your valence

labor into your leisure

worship with persistence each day

sing to your work and your play

let the hustle bring you its pleasure

balance supposes there is an all

but winter always follows fall

wear the badge of work and life on your sleeve

trust that light will reflect the variations in your weave

Let me be

persisting into each day

let me do what I do

going the extra mile

intent being my companion

nurtured adequacy is what I create

playing life so there is no stalemate

Let me do what I do

boot the balance

there is much more at stake

let me do what I do

live my daily grind

let my work and my worship

whisk me through a rhythm

do not beckon me with blue sky wishes

do not teach me balance

and lead me astray











#Never Again


never again will there be an argument

about porn being more dangerous for social health

than the trade of death and its creeping demons

never again will it be okay to sell parenting tips on violence

in mass emails propagating it as a critical skill

normal will never again be numb and

sanity will never again be responded to with hysteria

never again should it be a question of either/or

vigils should never again be for children

never again should hiding from gunshots be a legitimate game

never again, should a ballet dancer have to practice

her agility taking cover under school desks

never again, should beach-loving friends

have to hold hands while holding their screams

never again, should a grandfather be surrounded

by the gloom of fear for his young grandson

the “as usual” life for a parkland resident

will never again include dreams without closets haunting them

scrabble will never again be a favorite family game ever

since the unfinished word was the young girl’s last

never again will there be that ever smiling coach

man enough to have pushed his students behind walls

letting the blood gush out of his own forehead

never again will her favorite chocolate nemesis

be on a dessert menu, each bite if ever will

coagulate the sweetness into heartrending sobs

melting down the throat of a grieving mother

tears will never again mean much more

than an obscene indication of helplessness

the blinding lights on police cars

and single files of teenagers

walking hands above heads

never again will they be innocent again

never again, will the wails of a mother

fall on silent ears and ambiguous words

17 families will never again think of

valentine’s day without bleeding hearts

the stone steps of parkland town

will never again, ever be able to wipe

the stains of the 17 young coffins that lay there

never again, will a hole in a heart

hurt as much as the hole in our collective humanity

never again will we rate and rank shootings

as worst or best ever; because

never again will the stink of rotten death

be enabled due to inaction and subservience

to everything that is insane

never again will we enable a collective abdication

of our responsibility towards our children

never again can despair keep us as awake

as the dread of sleeping through an emergency code alert

never again will we be forced to teach

our children to look out for “that kind of guy”






Severe Weather Warning

369B529C-591E-4E25-AD53-DB04EB4400E5transforming –

the landscape shifted

through the dawn

snowflakes, fed into the earth

finding their warmth

settling weightless

to the fields

pine needles blush

their green edges carassed

by a silent silky white

the sky loomed low

gloomy, as it offered

its own horizon

into the nakedness

of a glistening night

brown shrublands awake

to a milky way

as white falls in droves

hyperactive creation

in swift master strokes

freezing a dry crust

into a white grave

sunbeams discover

a new place to shine

pausing their restlessness

evolving –

the universe moves

with tectonic plates

continued titillation

crowdsourcing fates

holding generations

in anxious flirtation

paradoxes that dwell

in buds and blossoms

sustaining equilibrium

immersing into the other

diminishing contradictions

encouraging anticipations

pausing –

allowing a pause

may herald

a promise

of precious poise

Today we were notified of extreme weather conditions








the boy in seat 24 B


the boy in a dark suit and kippah, was in seat 24B

innocently awkward, he slides into his seat


nine hours of closed space connections

a microcosm of variety within the economy cabin

mental presence, more focus, and more observation

than anyone would have on our average days


“seat upright please”, she clicked her heels as she tapped my arm

looking up, I see the boy in 24B standing, facing backward

towards strangers in seats, straight backs, tray tables open

I nibbled, squirrel-like at my croissant

and scribbled, into my new airport bought notebook


the boy in seat 24B, I start penning

he was young, 17, maybe 18


words tumbled without effort

gliding themselves on smooth pages

as our plane took off, snooth too

hitting through the sparkle of the sun


He is captivating

in his complete submission

sincere in his observance

recitation lighting up his face


the aura of his mitzvah

generous faith, unalloyed

curious eyes reflecting colors of

the turban of the passenger

behind him in 25B


despite the chatter around

and the clatter of airplane cutlery

the mumbling in his own voice

also resonating in our straining ears


he recited to himself

unflinchingly focussed

us around him

were also focused, but

on containing reactions

controlling responses, confusing

our inner reconciliations


scribbled two pages, my pen slipped

as I dozed into bliss, a power nap

“would you like a warm tissue wipe,” she asks

I inhale the warmth, why does it barely last 30 seconds!


his prayer drifts in and out

inhaled and exhaled with his breath

as he wears his tefillin, sincerely

on the left center of his arm

and crown like on his head

choreographed almost, a disciplined practice


He continues through,

standing backward facing

beacon like within

this bubble bird of steel


his performance, full of honesty

every action, every move

being one of submission to

teaching and to grace


can such boundlessness

also, be attempted on land

I wonder as I look at the screen

45 minutes to destination, the map says


will the vastness of the land

still, allow us to be as fearless

as we are within this sterile

universe at 40,000 feet


meanwhile, descriptions of people

can at least be altered

erase the standard, default

definitions and fonts

to be more like handwritten

solicitations that fill

our hearts with an understanding

of each other’s stories


meanwhile, can we eliminate labels

that consolidate genealogy

terms that end with an exclamation mark

listings that are in columns with

lines that are walls of otherness


“have a great stay or a safe onward journey”, in a typical pilot tone

we landed safe and on time

the door opens for deplaning

and as we walk out in single file

a sense of comfort escapes the cabin

swishes out of the door, leaving us

suddenly tired


judgemental fears returned, as we

complete our forms for immigration

I poke into my pockets for my pen

the boy in 24B hands me his pencil

“you can use this,” he says