A life's moment of measure

4:34am             (@ Conca di marini on the Amalfi coast)
I’m leaning forward on the metal railing of a terrace a balcony seemingly in suspense between heaven and earth The top of the cliff a thousand steps above my balcony The Adriatic Sea seven hundred below heaven and sea are connected here only by a winding string of stairs whose existence is contingent upon stray reflected lights of the night.
Here and now. this is a place of intimate grace like no other I have been …a stirring of the senses a purring within the soul like a gentle breeze that causes the chest to flare and the eyelids to close Not to see what they cannot see But to lend vision to an exploration Of being, cause, reason, soul, spirit and life.
…All is in good measure here there is no overload of the senses no urge to fight nor to flight emotions stretch toward introspection but gently No rush to determine or feel Only to bathe in the temerity of the moment and the solemnity of this grace A spiritual transaction more potent perhaps by t…

Why do i fear the sea?

I fear the sea…
my terrestrial heart is not in sync with it
unaccustomed to that fluidity
untrainable to its uncertainty
the instantly erased footholds
and constantly switching currents
of changing tides
and planetary pulls

My heart is borne of but one need
a desperate lust for stability
the knowledge of locus and direction
of latitude and longitude
to imagine trajectories
to chart courses…

The sea
my sight confronts it on the shoreline
ahead of me it appears
a single organism, massive
swelling, writhing, glittering
inviting, threatening, dark
all at once.
I am reminded of ships and airplanes
held within
of sailors and swimmers
pulled within
There is no oasis in this watery realm
to steady my step
or reassume my mind
It is unlike everything I know instinctively
the very antithesis of terra firma
a reality that denies comfort
an interaction that defies grasp.

And yet…
they say
I am three parts water
and one part clay
…so there is something of me in it
and something of it in me
By t…

Weeding 101

“Make sure you pull out the weed with its root”, my grandfather would instruct me lovingly, over the garden sounds of the water sprays emerging from hoses, whistling leaks at the garden faucets and the chirping of birds in dark trees silhouetted against the dawn.
I was but a teenager or younger, impatient to boot, loving our time together in his garden but unappreciative of his requirement for thoroughness.  Both, my years in boarding school and my demanding parents before and since then had appeared to care only about one metric, one measure of success… “Was the job you set out to do completed?” If the evidence suggested that it was, then it was proof enough. So without knowing it, and without anyone intending it, my reactions, even my instincts were honed to present successful, quick and efficient completions. It didn’t always matter that I didn’t pull every weed out by its root or wash every dirty dish with soap or clean the tires on the car at the end of the long carwash ritual.…

The Chai realities

How many cups must a chai lover drink
before he can wake to the morn?
How many cups must he drink when evenin’ falls
before he can peacefully lie down?
The answer my friend is written in the leaves
the answer is written in tea-leaves…
The biggest fear
as the month of fasting rushed head-on
tearing thru the calendar on my laptop…
…How am I going to give up my Chai?
Ohh! the headaches
of chai withdrawal
Ohh! the mental fogginess
of a chai less mind
Ohh! the jitteriness
of a chai less life!
…And now that fasting days are almost over
I am faced with the eternal question
that every human must answer from within…
Do I go back to 2 cups or one?
Science tells me I need less
my Soul tells me I need more!
Chai in the morning
bulldozes the debris of yesterday’s happenings
sets the stage for a confrontation with life.
Chai in the evening
settles the mental scores for the day
sets the stage for a capitulation to the night.
Who cares to define, what chemistry this is?
who cares with a…

No zero sum game

the everyday kind...
I realize
NOT a zero-sum game
because quite often, everyone loses

the rights of a disabled sister
of a well-meaning family
and a protective mother
each remain unfulfilled
For weeks my sister inquired about the upcoming Eid celebration
in her own partially-grounded-in-reality, expectant manner.
Looking forward to the holiday
holding no specific expectations
but for the one big one…
The one
of spending her day with family
playing with nieces and nephews
the excitement of dressing up in traditional clothes
the rare chance to eat a home cooked meal.

this (Eid) morning she called
to ask about today,
about our plans?
I could not get myself to answer the phone

How do I explain? …
to her with an intellectual disability
the mental disability of another, her mother…
Our mother,
her personality disorder recklessly navigating her life
at once unpleasant, suspicious, accusing
convinced of the malintent of others
and raging re…


I watched in disbelief as women in sub-saharan Africa
spend four hours each day getting water into their village.
I then switched off my reason and my empathic self,
got back to my life and drove two hours to work.

A Meditation on Aging...

I saw him stumble and reach out for my hand
one so sure-footed that others had always reached out for his.
I heard him panting and gasping for breath
one so strong that it had appeared he never rested.
I felt him grasp tightly, my arm for balance
one so independent that he had seemed to need no help
I saw him tear up as he reflected on of his life
one so driven that he’d seldom looked back
I heard him talk about the feelings and hurt
one so formidable that we’d never considered his pain
I felt him turning spiritual and philosophical
one so practical that he had appeared only to see the material.

He thinks today’s is the last suit he’ll ever buy
a man who seldom acknowledged endings
He recapped simple instructions as we drove
a man who knows how to do everything
He said things that are obvious and apparent
a man who had little patience with chit-chat.
He thanked me today for a suit I bought him
a man who bought me every suit I’ve ever owned
He wondered aloud why people are mean
a man …