Who do you think you are?

Who are you?

The one who put your hands on me

Moved like silk

turned my stone into butter?

The one who gave me a thrill

a tiny little spot of happy

when I knew I would see you soon?


Who did you think you were to me?

Some giant of the heart

Some Santa Claus?


You gave me a spark

Stoked it slowly

then walked away

never looking back.


I didn’t deserve that.



Who are you?

The one who talked with me?

Spoke of ideas

turned my beginnings into worlds?

The one who made me breathless

a miniscule pause

when I knew we would chat all night?


Who did you think you were to me?

My tutor of the mind

My Pygmalion?


You gave me a flower

Waved it under my nose

then crushed it underfoot

with a smile on your face.


I didn’t deserve that.


Who are you?

The one who rescued me?

Pulled me from the morass

turned my poverty into middle class?

The one who paid for my life

infusions of money

when I knew there was no bottom?


Who did you think you were to me?

A sugar daddy

A Howard Hughes?


You gave me a home

Pushed me inside

then trashed every belief I held

while protesting your love.


I surely didn’t deserve that.


I know who I am, I know what I am worth

Much more than you ever knew

I know I didn’t deserve those slights

But you, all of you, don’t know anything

Because if you knew, you wouldn’t have thought it so grand

and you would have come back for more


So here we are; I know my worth yet you don’t know anything

I’ve been slighted

and you’ve disappeared.


Stay gone.


“chaiyya chaiyya”



“jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya, jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya”

“Walk in the shadow of love, the shadow of love”

Thump, thump, foot stamp with clear rhythm of the open train they ride

beautiful man and sensual woman twist and turn around each other with smiles that match the pastoral landscape surrounding them

more men dance beneath them, turning, bending, clapping with bright clothing,

swinging dark hair so far as to lose their head-coverings

“jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya, jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya”

“Walk in the shadow of love, the shadow of love”

and the train continues through a landscape of breathtaking beauty

beauty matched by the lone woman thrusting her hips

instinctual, not sexual

enticing, not arousing

the man smiles, snapping his neck in time with her torso

“jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya, jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya”

“Walk in the shadow of love, the shadow of love”

Thump, thump, a solid march that does not climb nor descend, but steadily moves forth

as the train rounds a bend, displaying the dancers almost as parts of a machine

machinations of joy and celebration

the singing not matching the actors but somehow enhanced by the incongruity

finding the video and clicking on it to watch for the first time

“jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya, jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya”

“Walk in the shadow of love, the shadow of love”

heartbeat matching the dhol thumping pounding like feet stamping in unison

sweat beading on my face, breath shallow and short in anticipation,

lean forward, not enough screen for my eyes to drink in the event

thoughts cascade

how can they do that? how can so many strangers fit on that platform without falling? dancing waving their turbans, banging their heads, twitching in time,

footsteps pounding still,

Thump thump

words I don’t know, can’t know, but familiar from other songs

man’s voice drops down, conspiratorial whisper, speaking of wearing his love like a charm, a way to keep her heart with him at all times

he kisses his own hands and touches his cheeks in reverence for the love so spiritual for him

head bowed, eyes closed the music seems to pause even as

Thump thump, footsteps marching still

Thump thump

song swells, man bursts with his proclamation of devotion, strange to this American as his climactic moment is singing about friendship, not lust

arms thrust to the sky, train swiftly moving still all around him lift their arms in agreement

A song, a video, a movie, a dance…. all this is playing out before me on Youtube. This piece, clip, part, excerpt plays and the past unfolds…

being pregnant and chair-bound, watching videos for new music,

stunned, elated, tears of joy

Holding onto my chair, trying to dance in my ninth month because the rhythm will not be denied


suddenly my boys, teenagers all, are with me, writhing and hopping in their gangly gawky way

but elation from me becomes frenetic haste in them

we jump in unison

Thump thump bare feet stamp a beat that threatens our poor carpeted floor

Thump thump

all together, so rare for us, nearly desperate to push the feelings out of our bodies and into our feet

“jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya, jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya”

“Walk in the shadow of love, the shadow of love”

words are mouthed with the notes even though we know nothing of the language

English, for my boys, is no less mysterious, syllables to trip over in attempts to reach out to other humans

music sounds beckon like a crooking finger in front of a revolving door

THUMP THUMP heart slamming along until there is no discernment of time, of bodies, of separation

together all four of us jerk, twist, nod and shake out all the connection we cannot put to words in our quiet moments of mundane life

THUMP THUMP is the chant of our feet as video plays forgotten

nothing but the music, the unknown syllables turned to one more instrument to flick our attention to

man and woman, voices tease each other, nearly touching in their words and tune, wrapping around each other like caduceus – separate but climbing upwards, ever upwards

break in the song twinkles with promise, the beat sits behind different movements

unevenly other sounds move forward, retreat,

man’s voice breaks in like peeking through curtains

surprise again as woman’s voice answers the man once, only once and together they continue their spiral towards climax

But we can’t stop now, our bodies are not done,

I click “repeat” before anyone can move

and  the keening of the start soothes our firey nerves, stopped too soon

introduction done, we resume our consensual march

Thump thump, family soldiers we are, building an intimacy so elusive there is no name for it now

“jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya, jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya”

“Walk in the shadow of love, the shadow of love”

Then time resets in my mind and I fall into another memory

sitting in my armchair, nursing my newborn,

exhausted confused from the sadness which threatens happiness and is answered only with silence

finding the song and playing it again, and again, private, headphones, only for me

so that I might not see my husband grind his teeth once the music begins

moments of stolen release, leaning back with my babe sleeping soundly on my breast,

lost in the voices and beat that create a space familiar and sweet

I crawl into that dark corner and let the waves flow over me, imagining the dance I’ve seen so many times

careful not to move, wake the babe and no song in the universe will bring back that gentle moment

yet still my muscle strain, begging to be given permission to fulfil the promise of the song

Thump thump, swaying so slightly, still in heartbeat time like so many playings before

“jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya, jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya”

“Walk in the shadow of love, the shadow of love”

yet another time, baby gone, no one around today, given an afternoon to be free in my house

with almost guilt the video beckons me

new speakers cry for their true purpose

click “repeat” and wheel the knob all the way up

THUMP THUMP feet, MY feet this time, cannot slam the wood floor hard enough now,

head jerks hard enough to cause pain for later but now,


“jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya, jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya”

“Walk in the shadow of love, the shadow of love”

THUMP THUMP body takes life from the song and tosses it back from every limb a piece at a time

with no one to see, no one to know, the dance is mine all mine

the energy coursing through

so powerful it surprises, almost frightens

but no time, no time to think

move, move, MOVE, THUMP THUMP, throw every part away, snap every part back, jump jump, thump thump, flick eyes, whip hair, snap arms, crack knees

there cannot be enough force to let the song come out

until finally

four plays later

the body concedes defeat

and exhausted I sit again in the chair

the same chair I first watched the video

the same chair I used to support myself while pregnant and wanting to move in time

the same chair I sat in to nurse my new baby

the same chair I sat in to watch my boys perform chores when I could not walk

it holds me again, connected to that song, that video, that dance

silly really

So now, so much farther along

click “replay”

feel the same push, the same forceful jerk, the same desperate need to throw the music out of my body

but I have the wrong chair

and there are no gawky lanky boys frantically dancing beside me

no newborn at my breast while I sway ever so slightly

Thump thump

it sounds almost hollow

and tears no longer of joy

but loss

this song is no longer ours

the song is just a memory

always,  I can hold it,  shine it, smile at it, with tears so fresh yet so old

Someday, this song will play for me when I am ready for my last dance

Thump thump,


The Questions I Ask

“Do you love me? Tell me you love me”

my thoughts aloud, whispered on the cusp of our gaze

“Tell you love me and I will blossom, grow and become more for you, if only you tell me you love me”

Words called forth, the moment beckons, hands clasped, leaning forward until our faces no longer see the distance between us.

Gifts exchanged freely, with joy and hope, this moment will ring in my memory.

“Do you love me? Show me you love me”

my desire made plain, shown at the height of our meeting

“Show me you love me and I will bend, move and be one with you, if you only you show me you love me”

Words without sound, the silence heavy, eyes locked, bodies curved until our breathing is a  rhythm of one.

Turns taken instinctively, with fervor and depth, this night is etched in my past.

“Do you love me? Change how you love me”

my belief so strained, held fast in this time of frailty

“Change how you love me and I will lift, guide and be strong for you, if only you change how you love me”

Words made hollow, the plea familiar, echo again, bodies tense until our feelings are spent.

Hopes propped up endlessly, with fear and confusion, this loop will play forever.

“Do you love me? Let go of how you love me”

my desperation full force, thrust in your face

“Let go of how you love me and I will soothe, help and heal you, if only  you let go of how you love me”

Words drop dead, the last of their kind, upon the floor, bodies inching back until we find our own spaces.

Death pronounced instantly, with grief and mourning, this duality  is no more.

The Moon (2002)

The Moon is a woman and so am I
Different faces to different viewers
Sometimes shining, glowing, turning
Other times cloudy, scarred and scary

We move through the emptiness that is void and fearful
Without once looking, planning or choosing decisively
The path seems familiar, set and sturdy
but every night it flexes, bends and gives

I am a woman and so is the moon
A process unfolding for all to see
At times dissolving, always evolving
Proving that every change has two doors

We share stardust in our atoms
Something that gives hope and despair to know
All my trials are not new
For that globe, that rock, that cold lifeless stone
Has so much greater history

The woman in me is the moon
Fullness within and mystery without
Like the phase I move through,
Murky and moody until it envelopes my world

What I carry in me is only potential
That reflects what the moon cannot give

Did she give it up somewhere in the shaping of this world?
Are there enough romantic notions to tell that story?

What else is it that draws us together?
The shine, the coldness, the potential
Could create fear, longing, love
and that is the connection I feel
That beginning, that grand split that shows the essence of creation

Because I can give life, nuture life, and dream of the future so easily
While the moon can only remind me
of all that was sacrificed to create everything I see
when I look up

love poem 2

One night
in slow motion
twisting and turning
creates the commotion

Once bright
For my body flows like ice
solid liquid floating past
beholds a secret spice

One sight
the floe is just beneath
waiting for a bit of warmth
a tiny charge
electrolytic feast

Won night
with my prize
sugar surging, heart pounding, muscles melting as lava
I claim this for my own
no more worry, fuss and hurry, anxiety or bother

Dark night
in soft cushions
Her face behind my eyes
glowing like a cherub,
promises are made of this
my love, my life, my harem

Long night
in our caves
sweet long lashes brush her cheeks
I want them on my skin
sliding strong hands
exploring the terrain
love is not a sin

Hold tight
to this vision
my heart explodes into dust
glitter on my soul
for all the longing come to this

Majestic night
in starry windows
one glance and I’m amazed,
without light the heavens shine so bright
and every inch of her is praised

One night
with my love
our breaths in unison
sliding further, rising higher,
moving closer, burning pyre,
our space is now undone

love poem 1

for a beautiful girl

That night
when I laid with you, as so many times before
arms wrapped around me
so many threads of a web collapsed
Your face against my neck
eyelashes flickering tiny kisses
straight to my soul
filling up the room
with the haze of my desire
and the gentle push of my want

My want
when I laid with you, as so many times before
breath hurtling together
so much rhythm -more than our hearts
moving closer and slower
feeling myself melt
and turn into you
nothing but beauty and light in there
arched neck, lashes thick against your cheeks
lips drawn apart with a subtle blush

That moment
when I laid with you, as so many times before
skin brushing hair, fingers grazing skin
closing the gap between us
building to a crest that crashed against my life
billowing blowing blushing
and crushing
all my doubts
about who we had become

All night
while i laid beside you, as so many times before
thoughts ceaseless and harsh
taunting and cruel
bringing fear and sadness back from the depths of our past.
For all the love I had
could not hold you to me
when the rocks would fall
and they did fall
as they always do
and I would watch your diminishing form
holding all the memories and sweet notes
you took for the next in line
and that one moment, that night, that want,
was all I had left to keep
and one night, one moment, one want,
-not enough to keep us together
-just enough for me to hold
and know that you did love me
if only for one night