Hookah Saturnalia

Belly–dancing Friday & Saturday nights
 Ask about our cakes and pastries
 together on the hookah menu
It feels illegal
 this fantastic peace–pipe
 imported from a distant land
 where — I imagine — it is the usual
 mouthpiece playing the timeless tune of friendship
 in some tent with cushions and languishing heat
We talk of brownies
 as we inhale deeply
 blowing dragon’s breath from our nostrils
 attempting Gandalf rings
We talk of communism and kibbutz
 as the silent flat–screen
 entrapped in its frame
 trails on pitching capitalism
Abruptly comes the belly dancer
 sword balanced on head
 smirk balanced on lips
 a knowing corniness goes unheeded
 tables laugh giddy with defense
It feels illegal
 this brazen display
 with its own language it speaks fluently
That middle–aged Persian
 to whom I earlier beamed
 glares at her — all the women do —
 not enviously
 at beauty speaking its truth
 which all possess and most mostly murmur
All part of the act
 dancer coaxes handsome man
 to mimic her poorly in happy embarrassment
 revealing the difference between babble and eloquence
Then the young, curly-haired maiden stands
 and with so natural an expression on her face
 silently undulates a state of grace
 echoing phrases of child’s play
 the staff see her and she is suddenly attired in native spangles
Everyone understands the dance now
 the entire table of Persians join them
 the Africans on the other side of us, too
And me, I wax on
 about the bump and grind
 with a generous tutor
A beautiful woman entreats
 to dance with the dancer
 and share in the speech
O happy buzz, good–natured delirium
 The things we are saying this Saturnalia
 I am always hearing them
Thank you, hookah, magic lamp,
 who cleans the substance’s impurities
 and turns smoke white
for the young maiden’s sweet grace
 and a pleasant night


We all partake in that sacred ritual
To learn that craft
takes sun and moon
 bird and bee
for so much cloth
 through which to thread our hearts
and fashions a garment
 upon our soul to rest
Each knowing so much flair
 decorates so much unseen


I’m living in a spacious apartment. It’s beautiful and well appointed. It’s also expensive and many of the rooms go unused, making it a bit lonely.

Next, I find myself talking to some developers who are roommates with one another. They share a classy apartment in a skyscraper. Rob Lowe is one of the lead developers. The rent is surprisingly cheap: only $430 a month. The lingering caveat is that developers come and go: there is a high turnover of developers moving in and moving out. To confound my considerations further, I had already moved my things into a small apartment across town.

Humane Treatment

Such a pleasant day
I would have you both
 going your wild way
 in this idle neighborhood
only circumstances have tethered
 us together
Such eagerness
 pulling so hard
 you choke yourselves
 weezing in recovery
 only to choke yourselves all over again
Never realizing I just want a pleasant walk

I ponder the cure:
Abrupt turns fore and aft
Until your ears remain half–cocked
 on me
Never realizing my purpose
Just wanting a pleasant walk


Barely able to contain herself
her militant stature holds back
 not understanding why
just some vague remonstrances of the past
 create a tension
so when she braves again to steal a kiss
 her grimaced forbearance
 some biting and tasting
 is either far away or hard–pressed
 lashing out in a constant stream of lacerations
The other: clever, laid–back, self–possessed
 never seems to want for affection
 till her eyes betray her
Only the tenderest kisses will she take
 and over and over, so deep her reception
Perhaps, one morning on a Tuesday
 after such an audience
 one unsubstantial half of tongue slips
 in tacit return

So when clever black stays home
 to rest her lame leg
And bold blonde bolts through the forest
 to terrorize squirrels again
I'm lost —
 yell and yell and yell
  with no recourse
Only when I whisper
 do her sensitive ears melt her heart
 and she comes bounding back
 out of nowhere

Under Auspices

how is it that I am the privileged participant?
Your beauty sings with each subtle movement
Shall we not be friends?
 Let us walk
 Each passing creature
 you know so well
 your sentient beings with each their kingdom
 introduce them to me
 And I shall be so well received
thanks to the auspices of my acquaintance

On Tiptoe to the Nightingale’s Lair

Universe of the stars
 and the silhouettes of trees
The delicate rain of
 new life on leaves
The chorus of whir
 from frogs in the stream
Nightingale, who beckoned me,
 twice I echo your somber call
Only when I quit you
 does the pretty fluting of another
 appropriately answer your question


It’s very nice here
 and nothing changes
 other than an occasional
  here or there
I forget now
 who had whispered in my ear
 “out of place
   out of time”
Well, now, where are we?

Back to doing whatever I do
 in this timeless atmosphere
 only a word or two
  and we are now on the same page
Late afternoon, early spring

Tears on Easter

Why so far from your path
 my little man?
Rest your head in my bosom
Lay your tears upon Mother Earth
Take sustenance from my teat
Be my lover for a time

Time for your medical training
Time to build roads and buildings
and fascinating devices of engineering
My, so busy
Not too busy
To dance and play guitar and sing
 with a gathering every evening
In knowing celebration
 of harvested humanity
Tasty food from the hearth
Long discussions of
 politics and mirth

One day your hairy legs will itch
Your hooves tap and your tail twitch
One evening you’ll silently fade
 back to me
To coax budding women into the forest
and sow boldness in them
so generation after generation
 humans in wilderness
and wilderness in humans

Spring at Dusk

I close my door
 on the descending darkness
A smile gently clings
 to the afterglow of youth’s
 sun–soaked pageantry
Lonely eyes take in their new surroundings
 tired limbs prepare to
 embrace the night
The incessant call of
 a solitary nightingale
 sings so close to despair
as innocent as a heartbeat