Tuesday, December 28, 2010


my grandmother's name was muna
they called her mna,
she had eyes greener 
than the mint she pressed
into her husbands tea,
hands small as a child's,
stronger than a soldier's
five foot, maybe
if she stretched

she was
a woman

married a boy she knew her entire life,
a pilot's wife, ear constantly tuned towards the radio
for signs of accidents in the sky
slept with her head on his shoulder every night

she was
a wife

life spent in a constant cycle of
kneading, nourishing, and loving

birthed nine children,
two who's faces the next moon
never saw,
countless others
lost in utero,

she loved them all,

she was a mother

never learned to read,
but taught her daughters
a woman must learn to do everything

told time by the way the light
hit the wall

worked with her elbows, knees,
and neck
broke her back
to erect the spine
of a home
she never slept in

taught her daughters
to love with their entire body
but her sons
she loved from a place
low in her stomach,
that roared up and welled over,
that stretched across oceans,
riding on tides
hard and deep,

some nights they still say her name
in their sleep

she was amazing

i never knew her

i only have the stories

about her eyes,
how they were 

greener than the na'anah
she put in her tea,
greener than the sea 
in winter
greener than the grass
in the month before summer,
when the sun comes to make everything dry

i only have the stories

about how her hair 
was two black braids that hung to her waist,
and the way she sat when she ate.

i never knew her

so i wrote a poem
so i could feel 
like i know her

my grandmother's name was muna
and they called her mna

Saturday, December 25, 2010

i wish i knew you

before everyone else thought you were beautiful.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


note: despite what it seems, this is a poem about the boy, not the musician. be who you are, loves. don't throw your life away trying to be something else.


nights spent in a smoky room,
blunt in hand, 
surrounded by ugly people

you think it will make you like him,
like the drugs will channel through you
and possess you with talent, raw, 
like the chemicals will filter into your system,
illuminating like morning light through a stained glass window 
and teach your fingers how to play,
your voice how to sing,
like your brain will rework itself 
into something better than it is

you are not bob marley

you are just a boy 
who smokes too much.

and marley was just a man
who wrote music 
and made mistakes
and smoked too much

he was not god

it is dangerous
to imitate an artist,
they are the most unreliable 
kind of beautiful

artists crack themselves open
to see what pours out,
examine ribs for lost messages
carved by swallowed demons,
trapped, and open veins 
to see what their pulse looks like

like most poets, he never learned 
to love right

made music
that he loved like a woman,
too hard 
to be healthy

you are a boy
in a room
with a joint.


marley turned his soul inside out
trying to find a way back to trenchtown

he was a poet.
he was a musician.
he was an artist.
he was beautiful.

and you are just stupid enough
to think it was worth it. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


you were my intoxicating malady, 
an exotic allurement, 
captivating me,
from conception to completion,
a dangerous intimacy.

you were the pied piper,
and your flute played my
siren song

resting obediently in your basket,
i swayed to your hiss
like a dancer,
using dimmed lights
to hide her face

naive enough to look past your fangs,
until they pierced me,
your guile around me like a vice,
constricting conscious
more than consciousness

you are reptilian. 

the music stopped,
and you swallowed me whole.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

when they're with you, they're with you.

but they won't be with you for long.