Thank you to Life and Legends for publishing “The Hollow Women”

The Hollow Women

“Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow” (T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men)


We are the hollow women.
We are the stuff men leave behind.
Laden with ill-begotten parcels,
our voices crack the firmament
like spider webs. We are quite mysterious
as we digress from the conversation,
return to the table, eat off a hand-held mirror

Sit with us, and you will see our shaded
landscape of tapestries and fruit trees.

Silence has started to return the lies,
but our debt is not what we cling to.
Dismember us; we will not tell.
Night is lost, but only as the hollow women.
The stuff men leave behind.


As if I had a seat
in their free kingdom,
in their civil potential.
There, sons and daughters
climb into their father’s lap.
There, bees get stuck in sonnets,
and women are busy
winding grandfather clocks.
Near misses, near so many
thinly-veiled discretions.

Limit me, and tear
the kingdom limb from limb.
Limit me, and all is not well.
Fat, bloated, no skin, no nails
In between beheaded and dead
No tears –

No tears in their free kingdom.


This is Dad’s land,
badlands cut like diamonds
free from tongues in cheeks,
free from the suck of implication,
from the fatherly burden of proof.

I sit like this
in the free kingdom.
I sometimes walk alone at night,
arm in arm with a ghost,
bumping hips with foreign
patterns and mortal coils.


We women. We realize fear
where there is no fear.
Highs and lows.
I bequeath this ball and chain
to their kingdom.
Endless fasts.
We grew up together
on a beach void of tombs.
A multitude of lonely men
in shirtsleeves.
Trite anomalies.


We will not sing for you.
We will not sing in the morning,
in the evening or in the afternoons.
You ask, “For whom is the kingdom?”
But we ask, “For whom is the conception?”
You have so many in-betweens,
as if we fall for falling’s sake.
But life is not as long as you think,
and your world, our world, their world
will not end in the sense you think it will,
like a starved dog or a mewling infant.
It will end when we say.



My collaborative poem “A History of Tears” in Entropy Magazine. Thank you to Terry Wolverton for the invite to take part in this mind-altering process.

“The Hollow Women” as published in Life and Legends (5th Edition)

Read my poem “The Hollow Women” published in the very special edition: From the Cradle of Civilization: Contemporary Arabic Poetry

Kalpna Singh-Chitnis, Robbi Nester and the rest of the Life and Legends editorial team need an award! They deserve much thanks and hurrahs for their work with Arab writers from around the world. Read my piece “The Hollow Women” and read an interview with Robert Pinsky! I am thrilled to be published alongside Nathalie Handal, Sam Hamod and other exemplary poets.

Four Poems in Angels Flight • literary west

I am thrilled to announce some good news in my little life. Thank you to Michele Raphael, David Lott and Sherilyn Lee for entrusting me with the associate poetry editor position at AFLW. I hope to learn a lot from these brilliant humans. Here are some of my poems for you to check out on the last day of Black History Month.

Today, I Vote

I blow into empty eye sockets
and hear the whistle of the slave mind;
the hive mind.
When the earth shivers, her spine loosens,
contracts, releases, contracts.
We all stumble around like flees
in her jungles and forests.
We hold on to both sides of the lifeboat
as we flow into her angry breast
Today, the appeals go unanswered,
the rummage sale for Syrian villages and young women.
And everyone will join hands and cheer,
“We defeated fascism! Yay for us! We did good!”
while rubber bullets bruise the Natives,
while slave labor continues in prisons,
while refugees wash up on the shores.
Surely you don’t want _______ to win!
Surely you don’t want _______ to win!
Surely you don’t want _______ to win!
That’s not an election; that’s extortion.
And hey white women,
Sojourner Truth was a suffragette too!
Sojourner Truth was a suffragette too!
Sojourner Truth was a suffragette too!
How many I VOTED stickers will be placed on her tombstone?
Today a girl in Gaza makes buildings out of ash
(this is not a metaphor).
Her name is Majd Al-Masharawy,
and she calls the bricks Green Cake.
Green like grass and money.
Cake like rich, sweet desserts.
I would like to vote for Majd.
How much sugar can I send her?
I would like to send her all the sugar in the world.

Outside the Lines, Grouse Valley, Sequoia National Forest

IMG_1557This valley feels like it was made for us. I know that is how everyone enchanted with a piece of land feels. Nevertheless, the magic of this land, its seemingly symbiotic ecosystem creates dandelions the size of a newborn’s head. There are no telephone poles as far as the eye can see – only grass, redwoods and pines, oak, wild flowers, a body of water nestled between granite hills covered in plant life.
You hear the cows lowing, see them grazing along the lake. Not a human being in sight. No car horns, ambulances or leaf blowers, just a mind-blowing perimeter of pine trees, granite and wildflowers. California poppies appear with their tiny entourages, some yellow, some so bright orange they project coral in the sun, velvety purple lupine, stout morning glories, dwarf daisies, apple trees and tall grass as far as the eye can take it.
The cows here graze during the day, gallop across the field below, drink at the lake, move on. Their voices wake us. On the third day, we don’t hear them anymore. The frogs continue into the evening, and the cicadas follow. Sparrows nest around the two-story log cabin and bring worms to their babies at first light. There are corners of the porch where hornets have made nests. The bees buzz all day, and all the creatures great and small contribute to the music of the valley. Pink water lilies rise out of one corner of the lake, and sparrows skim the top looking for insects and tadpoles. We step gingerly around cow dung and find ourselves in a nursery; baby frogs by the thousands leap towards the sun, jump out of our palms, try to find their way in their new confusion, in their new mucky world of mud and grass. I wonder what they are instinctually aiming for, what is driving them to continue leaping forward. Larger frogs appear at night after the sun has gone, popping out of their burrows. They sing in unison while the cows low, and we sit around the fire and laugh at the what Cheryl calls the bovine symphony.
This weekend is about sisterhood and creative flow, about healing, about being beguiled and understood and ushered into our own power. We try this as women who come from different backgrounds and experiences. Tess, Cheryl, Avonel, Michele, Arminé. The five of us made it here after much trouble on the other side of the lake, off-roading at times, almost busting my Honda open from roots and detritus. Luckily, we edited the poorly-written directions and made our way towards the higher road. Always take the high road!          After using the secret codes to unlock the gate, we continue through juvenile apple orchards and find ourselves at last in front of the Lake Cabin, a large maple tree shading the front. We park and enter like whirling dervishes setting up the kitchen and beds, pouring drinks, laughing, running around the wrap-around porch, gazing gazing gazing out into the wild green before us, the wild blue lake. The mountain ranges continue behind the lake in many shades of grey and ash, like sleeping ghosts.
From the deck, Michelle sketches the valley on a large piece of butcher paper while Avonel and Tess hike down into it for a closer look with their lenses. We play in the sun and shadow of the grandmother tree rooted behind the house. We pose like trees in the breeze. We give ourselves wings and tiaras. At night, with the stars watching, we try to mimic their dead beauty. We allow ourselves to be amazed at our own capabilities.
We eat, rest, light a fire, tell our stories, bare our truths and burn sage. We fold pain into paper and let it burn in the fire. We drink. We laugh. Then, we manifest. We release the rage into the fire. We make room for possibilities. We make room for ourselves.

June 25, 2016