Death Row

On death row
Last night of my life
Yet again
The cross-eyed victim of my crimes
Was unmoved by my plea
I waited for the lethal dose
In sheer horror
That finally woke me up
Before the end

This wasn’t the first time I dreamed about lethal injection. The first time was an end of life decision. I was waiting to be “euthanized” and I received the injection. This time, I didn’t. Both dreams felt uncomfortably real. I am still shaking …
We as people must be better than this. Better than the crimes, better than the criminals. Civility must prevail. This was a fragment of my imagination, a bizarre dream, but it is a reality for many, some of them innocent.


Beneath the Wreckage

What to do when there is nothing left?
When the all consuming sense of defeat
Penetrates through each and every thought

The neurons fire “you have lost”
Body aches, not another step
Eyes burn beneath unrelenting flood of tears
and throat bleeds and throbs
when there are no screams left

Nothing but a fist
Clasp it around a pen and let it tremble
Let it savage the paper
May it bleed
May it shred to pieces
Put the pieces together
Let it reach the pinnacle and
dim into a murmur
Let the murmur trickle down through fingers
Trembling eagerly – reluctantly
Fist embracing the pen
Ink staining the sheet
Tears soaking the paper
Let the words fall as they do

The nonsense that pairs letters, words and sounds
In such way
May have happened before
maybe not

But perhaps there is still something left
Beneath the wreckage

What fuss I make

October first it is
Feels like I have forgotten something
Something important
Yes I think it was – is
Helpless, hopeless
and I can’t remember.

Out of milk again
Untidy rooms
Piles of paper
Wash it
Fold it
Sort it
Tidy the mess

What fuss I make
Over a few unwashed bowls
When there is war, famine and disease
Flooding, drought and disaster

What fuss I make
Over these wrinkles
A few extra pounds of flesh
and my past
When my child drifts further away
into autism

And I have laundry to do
Dishes to wash
Bills to pay
Papers to sort
Hopeless, helpless
I can’t remember

Let Go

Dawn turns to dusk
Yet this day
Is not the sum of its moment
Nor this life
the sum of its days

Defying the rules
moments magnified
thoughts signified
Yet what lingers on
Is the foul one

With lasting impressions
A thousand sweet lullabies
Are forgotten
The bitter words remain
Love dissolves and hate prevails
In this confession

A thousand gentle kisses
Won’t wash away the pain
Deep through the soul
The wounds remain
Till the very end

Yet in the final act
May nothing remain
But darkness of night
And droplets of rain

World Suicide Prevention Day

Today is world suicide prevention day. It isn’t a trendy cause, and not fun to talk about. Nonetheless, it very important to raise awareness about this issue as suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in the world among those 15 to 44 year of age.

Suicide is preventable. Drawing from personal experience, I don’t recall ever being suicidal but I have been depressed. Depression is the leading cause of suicide and annually 20-25% of Americans over the age of 18 suffer with depression. Over 80% of those who receive treatment for their depression are successfully treated.

I’ve seen suicide attempts. As I think about this day and try to make a small positive contribution, thoughts and images pop into my head. One image is that of a Polish nineteen year old girl in the ICU during my first days of residency. I’d like to share this with you.

I first saw her legs as I glanced through the sterile glass walls of the room. Pale porcelain white skin and long legs that just laid there limp and seemingly lifeless. Then I noticed waves of shiny light brown hair fanned over the pillow. I couldn’t see her face as it was covered with the ventilator tube, tape and straps. There was IV tubing coming out of her chest and arm. A black faced monitor had waves of red, blue, green and yellow displayed across its screen and the waves moved. There was a monotonous beeping sound – I can almost hear it now. There were two figures standing by the door. A middle aged woman with short blond hair and a man. Their eyes filled with what I assessed as concern and fear as they stared into the room. I think the intensive care doctor was talking to them. A few other facts pop into my head. She had attempted (unsuccessfully) to end her life with a lethal quantity of acetaminophen. Her liver and lungs had failed and she was clinging to her life. A bitter mixture of feelings swept over me. I read through her chart and though I can’t remember all the scary problems listed, many of them singularly could kill her. This beautiful young girl was barely tethered to her life through tubes and wires. What hit me was a contradictory image of someone so full and devoid of life at the same time.

Two years went by and I was doing rounds with the gastrointestinal team. One of the names on our list seemed familiar. I went in to see a strikingly beautiful, vibrant and friendly face who welcomed me with a warm smile. She was a liver transplant recipient who had been hospitalized for complications of antirejection medication. Her current condition had improved and she was getting ready for discharge. She seemed happy and filled with joy and optimism. She told me she was recently married to a man “who saved me” and wanted to know about pregnancy as she was eager to start a family. She also mentioned she had immigrated to America from Poland in her early teens with her mother who married an unkind and abusive man and how she had felt neglected and abused by both of them until she couldn’t take it anymore and tried to end her life. It hit me then – this was the same girl.

I don’t know what happened to her after this encounter. I knew her chances of pregnancy were slim as the drugs she was on were very dangerous and contraindicated during pregnancy and stopping them could kill her. I was again swept with a bitter mixture of feelings. What if it had been different, if she had asked for help, if someone had reached out and tried to help her in those desperate times. What if someone had known about her struggles. What if she didn’t reach for the bottle, didn’t swallow the pills, what if her liver hadn’t failed.

When it comes to mental illness and suicide, it is easy to jump to conclusions. To portray a black and white image.  I suspect some may call her a coward, or judge her mother and step father harshly. It doesn’t matter anymore. But we don’t live in a black and white world. There is a little bit of each in the other. It is important to remember that every life deserves a chance. That every feeling must be acknowledged, even negative feelings, and that feelings pass. Someone may feel so overwhelmed with negative emotions that they feel incapable of tolerating them and wanting to escape, even if this escape comes in the form of death. Their thoughts maybe so distorted and impaired in such ways that irrational impulses may appear logical. Based on my few encounters with suicide survivors, they were happy to have “failed”. Those feelings do pass and the people who suffer with such thoughts and feelings deserve our empathy and help. It is important to not marginalized and stigmatize mental disease, depression and suicide. There is help and together we can preserve life and prevent suicide. For more information visit the following sites.

Green Apple

Glancing out my widow
A green apple fell down
I didn’t think much of it
Now I wonder should I?
Did it fall for me to look
Did I look for it to fall
Uncertain as I am
I am convinced of this
The apple is no more
atop the tree
connection is severed
As for me and my past
Had I sunken my teeth
Through its ripened flesh
Perhaps then I would have been freed


I am the queen of detours
Master of distractions
My quest to be informed
Leads me nowhere
Leaves me misinformed
I gather nuisance along the way
How ironic
A mass of nothings
Bent and hunched over
Beneath its weight
I carry a world
Upon my shoulders

An empty space that holds nothing and all

I am the holder of my body
I hold my thoughts
feelings too
Cell by cell, neuron by neuron

Yet I am more
More than the words
the thoughts
the feelings

I am more than the aches and pains
the tiny wrinkles
that gather in the corners of my eyes
when I smile
I am more than this smile
these tears, words and sounds

An empty space that holds it all
and I plan to do more
so much more
with my one wild and precious life

Memories are stories we tell ourselves
I am more than my memories
More than the success and failures
than the hours, days and decades
that have passed me by

I am the sky
An empty space that holds nothings
and it holds all

Invisible friend

I thought of writing
To tell you
That you matter
To me, and
That I have missed you
Connection we had
for those few seconds
Minutes or more
The friendship felt real
Were you real?
Was I?
So I’ve decided
For those few moments
We were, you and I
You were important then
As you are now
And I’ve missed you


Human waste
Garbage bins line the streets
Trash, recycle, compost
Neatly sorted
To be deported out of sight
From our homes big and small
The rich and poor alike
we make trash
to reach the skies
and back it comes – back to us

and the waste that has pilled on inside my head
Not much to salvage
It belongs to waste
No matter how hard I try to sort it
Writing, reading, walking
Taking, singing, shouting
Packaging, labeling, burning
Suffocating, medicating, poisoning
I’ve tried it all
No pick up days
for the trash pilled up in my head
The garbage in me, stays with me

Will I learn to make less of it?
Will we?
Before it comes back – back to us


There is a box
That sits by the door
Always full
Full of nothings

It was once a mailbox
in it letters
written by hands
wanting to reach mine

Now the hands are tied
and the ink has dried
The distance grows
and we can’t reach anymore

Worlds apart
A mailbox full of nothings
What a waste


My roots are gone
But I’m still here
Plucked from my homeland

Too young to understand
Too old to forget
This is where I land

The road was long
and the trip short
Somewhere in between we came apart

Now I probe the sky
in search of the past
and I wish to fly

My roots hover above the clouds
Suspended and far
I am here shackled with chains

Haunted by the past

The night calls on me
Many happy promises
Full moon bright
Whispering sweet lullabies

But I hear the past
A blackened vortex
Deafening and incoherent
Pulls me to abyss

What crazed dreams
Haunted by fear
My malignant rage
Sheds bitter tears

The past calling me
This but a delicate light
Shattered with gust of death
It wasn’t a fair fight

Weaving a home

The spider’s web
The nuisance of it
I seemingly sweep it up
in a flash
But there is more
one more strand

What do they call
That itty-bitty thing
Hair, fiber, the last life line perhpas
The little spider in its web
Does it hate me back?

Itsy-bitsy spider
weaves herself a web
of many more strands
Undeterred by the war waged on her
and her strands

My web, my home
built on a single strand
Was swept up with a single blow
Was it the wolf?
I wonder and search the land

It is me, and us this time
We must weave again
not one, but many strands
People, spiders and wolves
Together against the faceless man


Where do days go
When they go?
What happens to them
When they end do they die?
What happens to night
When dawn arrives?
I know not
But my eyes track the moon
Stars and the sun

The rules

It is easy to break the rules
The rules that don’t make sense
To me
Growing up in a place
Where cover was a virtue for a girl
Smile was a sin
Where looking down and avoiding eye contact
Was admired
Not being noticed, not being seen

I broke the rules
Only a little
The result you ask?
More than little trouble
More than little shame
When in Rome
I didn’t do as Romans do
I still don’t

Breaking the rules that don’t make sense
Is easy for me
What if I don’t make sense ?
Do they break me?

It takes more than courage
More than a cause
To stand up to rules that don’t make sense
It takes knowledge
It takes resilience
Patience too
I don’t have much of those
But I hope some do

It isn’t enough to break the rules
To disobey them.
We must change the rules
Rule makers must change too
Though they refuse

Changing the rules
Needs many little things
More than me and you
It takes a whole bunch of us
Some stronger than others
Together is the only way
The only way to change what we do

The good news is – that it won’t last

Have you heard the news today?
The lion nursing a mouse
or the one about the puppy
Designed to make you happy

Did you hear the bad today?
An earthquake killing many
must have made you sad
The ship that drowned
cops shooting another man
and killing of a hero in Pakistan

The bad news about happiness
is that it won’t last
but worry not
The good news about sadness and outrage
is that it too goes fast

Being swung from one end to next
The pendulum goes on
puppeteers on top decide
Which way, which one

With no light of my own

I am the moon
No light of my own
But I’m not doomed

See me shine
A luminous silver glow
I am the moon

My gentle embrace
covers darkness with light
mending wounds of sorrow and heartache

I am the moon
The tiniest sliver of me
Ignites the night

and I shine
With no light of my own
I am the moon


The one who broke nothing
Built nothing
The one who lost nothing
Gained nothing
The one who mourned no one
Loved no one
The one who tried nothing
Learned nothing

Knowing this
Doing it
living it
That is something
The most important thing of all
Yet I still sit here
yet nothing

Beautiful Hands

My hands
I look at them
and see ugly

They were never beautiful
Not even in my prime
large knuckled short fingers
With small sunken nails

When did I learn
What beautiful was
Who decided what was desirable
Delicate white hands
With perfectly painted nails
Those were never mine

But these hands
They have held babies
Fed dogs and cats
They have cooked and cleaned
Played music
They have written and played
They have held
Onto other hands

These hands
The only ones I’ve got
How carelessly
I’ve called them ugly
Yet they haven’t failed me
These beautiful hands

Dissolve into Spring

I’m tall
and I shine
as one with the sky
as one with the sun
the rainbow too

A moment I can’t explain fully
beyond limits of my certainty
It defies these hands
my words
my voice

I disrobe and step outside
to dissolve into spring
It will pass and I too
but I’ll be luminous
as the morning dew

Do dreams die?

Do dreams wither and die
as they go unrealized
do I?

was it yesterday
or years ago
when I

had a wish not so grand
to sing and dance
play too

when paint brush called out
my name, “come!”
I heard

never to reach and hold
the hand that sought

piano keys black and white
their music unheard
silenced songs

I thought I had forever
not now I said

years went by as they do
my unspoken words
gone too

they did not wait for me
to arrive, they thought
I had died

This poem was inspired after reading Harlem by Langston Hughes. 

A gentle wish

Wivenhoe Park (John Constable 1816)
Wivenhoe Park (John Constable 1816) taken from Wikipedia

It is today
A quiet invitation
to step outside
and see lightest of clouds
sprinkled over the blue
and a mild breeze
gently blowing the leaves

Warm glow of the sun
kissing my skin
with promise of spring

Be happy I say
Be well
my wish for me
my wish for you
and for all

Dream leaden eyes

Gustave Courbet: Portrait of Juliette Courbet as a sleeping child
“Portrait of Juliette Courbet as a sleeping child” by painter Gustave Courbet. Taken from wikiart

Dream leaden eyes
I won’t refuse
except this once
A sonnet
a song
a word of any kind
This intersection
between day and night
I surrender
in bliss

Rock, Paper, Scissor

Rock, paper, scissor
never though myself conventional
not a rebel
nor a pioneer
the odd one
didn’t quite belong
though tried to
not quite normal
nor overtly abnormal

Rock, paper, scissor
in the wrong times
or right
never thought myself conventional
living the suburban life
looking at magazine
cookbooks and such
picking colors
way too much
Consuming the nothings that come
Moments of my life
Not lived
By the monsters within
and those around

Rock, paper, scissor
always the wrong pick
never thought myself as conventional
in this so called life

Dressed for happiness

Dressed for happiness

Silky shawl wrapped around her shoulders
in the streets of Florence
That summer night over ancient roads

Her summer dress
and chestnut colored hair
playfully flows to unsung tunes

the sound of her laughter
Penetrats the air

Tapping of her heels
Long legs dancing
On cobblestoned streets

A few steps ahead
miles and miles away
her joy against my bitterness
as our distance grows

“Someday” I thought
Many dresses have passed
and I’m still searching

SAID A BLADE OF GRASS – by Khalil Gibran

Said a blade of grass to an autumn leaf, “You make such a noise falling! You scatter all my winter dreams.”

Said the leaf indignant, “Low-born and low-dwelling! Songless, peevish thing! You live not in the upper air and you cannot tell the sound of singing.”

Then the autumn leaf lay down upon the earth and slept. And when spring came she waked again — and she was a blade of grass.

And when it was autumn and her winter sleep was upon her, and above her through all the air the leaves were falling, she muttered to herself, “O these autumn leaves! They make such a noise! They scatter all my winter dreams.”

~ khahlil Gibran 1883-1931

Tired of divisions

I am
That is it
I am.
no explanation
no apology
no justification
I am.
You are.
no additives
no preservatives
We are.
not this nor that
Tired of divisions
color, race, religion
we belong
we – humans
done with pride
done with shame
We are.
this shared experience called life
trees, mountain and rivers
they are.
no tallest, highest, deepest
without anger, envy or regret
They just are.
We are.
In life
In death
and between the two
the same
that is all
we can claim

Broken with joy

Every night
my heart breaks a little
My little one
Softly asleep
Growing ever so slightly

Crib much too grand
On those precious first days
the tiny thing
I held to my heart
You felt not separate
A part of me

Week one became two
Days passed and you grew
my darling
A year and some gone by
so fast

And every night
My heart breaks a little
As it makes room
For the bigger and stronger you

I am a black hole

A black hole
I am.
Infinitely dense
I am
Not knowing it
Not knowing me
But I am

The black
against the light
Burns through
Absorbing me
As I absorb it
Buried deep
Within the unconscious
I am awake

Today is Stephen Hawking’s birthday. Today I read about him and I read this lovely poem i am by dear blogger friend Alice Keys. They were inspiring and I am truly grateful … 

As always, thanks for reading

The hurt feels wrong

So came a new year
Another number as in the past
In the vastness of universe
This insignificant moment
Is something
or nothing perhaps

And the cruelty of mankind
One against another
That hurts
In this shared experience called life
Even if insignificant and meaningless
The hurt feels wrong

Love – Faith – chocolate

Last night I fell in love in a dream.

He was a man of faith (as I came to learn) and worked at a chocolate store. He showed me boxes of beautifully arranged and deliciously made chocolate. The colors and the arrangements were so vivid. He showed me his favorite flavors. I don’t remember them. I remember this one particular dark chocolate creation that was simple, elegant and seemed interesting. I blurted out “it looks like an adorable little black bible!” I immediately regretted saying it. I got this sense that he was a man of Christian faith who would take offense to it. I tried to apologize and followed with “I meant to say a cute little Quran, not a Bible!) He smiled and faded away. I “felt” his disapproval of my comparison, and of me. I don’t know why I remember this as a “falling in love” story. It felt as such.

These days my usual religious views have taken a radical turn to the left. I no longer respectfully disagree with them. I despise them. I see them as a major source of pain and suffering in the world. I don’t know about God. I can’t be sure, but for me, religion is done. The only exception may be Pope Francis and my beloved deceased grandmother who was a devout Muslim.

I do like chocolate though. I can understand the pairing of chocolate with romantic love. But that of religion was rather peculiar!

As always, thanks for reading.

Power of words

Words that I told
Those that I hold
How they hurt
Hurting you
Hurting me
How I wish to cleanse these lips
And to rid this mind
Let them flow
Nothing but gravity pulling them
Away from my soul
Plant them into soil
Deep within the ground
Plant them onto paper
The dagger
Becomes a rose

The disease: Too much, not enough

I live in America
where three cases of Ebola
throws us into hysteria
We buy survival kits
We dress in a hazmat suits

I live in America
Were a common disease
The disease of gun violence
Contagious as sin
sparks no action

I live I America
among the givers of death and its takers
We who do nothing
in the face of this common threat
We become the disaese

Different but the same

We all smile in the same language

A Jew, a Christian, a Muslim and an atheist go to a pizza place. A jew, a christian, a muslim and an atheist go to a pizzeria. Or was it a bakery? It was a coffee shop perhaps, or the corner bistro …
They go and share a meal, some cake and coffee. When they are finished the muslim says: this was delicious. The christian says: It was devine. The atheist says: Outstanding! And the jew says: “pretty good. Pretttty, prettty, pretttty good”! Different but the same, don’t you agree?

As I was trying to write this, my spell checker autocorrected christian to capitalize C. It underlined jew and muslim but for the atheist, it didn’t bother to do anything. In the eye of Word, and for the “godless”, lower case seemed just fine. I initially capitalized the A of atheist to give it more power, more legitimacy. But ultimately I decided to keep all of them lower case. In my opinion the struggle for power and superiority in any or all these ways of life and philosophies is a problem. The, “I know it better” and “I have it all figured out”. The “my way is the right way”.
I was watching a travel show about a town in Spain where people of different faiths appeared to live together peacefully. The travel guide said something about how people from different cultures and religions were living together at peace. The local person gently corrected that it was people from the same culture but different religions who were living together.

In a way, aren’t we all of the same culture? The culture of humanity. The culture of people. We all eat when hungry, sleep when tired, smile when happy and cry when sad, we enjoy good friendships, fall in love, and strive for happiness. We have so much in common, beyond that of religion, politics, race and geography. In a world where differences are emphasized and CAPITALIZED, I wish to celebrate our commonness. The seemingly ordinary similarities are rather extraordinary.

As for the above image, those are my kids of course, enjoying a lovely autumn day in our front yard.

As always, thanks for reading!

Being me

The art of being me
is not an art
To be me
it takes practice
and many mistakes
Every day
As wrinkles deepen
and gray takes over
I shall perfect the art of being me


I have faith
that things will be OK.
and if not
they won’t matter as much

I have faith
that time will dilute
the most toxic of thoughts
feelings too

I have faith
not in a supernatural
not in the divine
But that of human resilience

Faith in time
and that of patience
I have faith

The Hole

My daughter loves to read. She has gone through all the books we have at home several times over. Like most kids, she loves to read her favorite books over and over again. She also demands that we read them to her over and over again. Unlike her, we get tired of reading the same stories. So I decided to find her new good books to read. After reading rave reviews I bought “The Hole” for my daughter online. It was praised as a funny, meditative and philosophical book for kids. Once it arrived, it looked interesting. There was a real hole in the center of its recycled cardboard like hard cover. I eagerly opened it and began reading. Well to call it reading is a stretch. It is a picture book and has very few words in it. The graphics are very simple pencil drawing in black and white. It is a very plain looking book about a “Hole”: A guy moves into an apartment and discovers a hole in it and the hole. He (unsuccessfully) tries to figure it out and get rid of it. I hated it! I felt ripped off having spent over $ 17 for what appeared to be a pretentious fluff. I put it back in its box determined to return it.

Later that day, my daughter arrived from school and asked if her book had arrived. I had told her about some books I ordered and she never forgets such promises. I told her it is not a good book. Nonetheless, she wanted to see it. So the box was reopened and to my surprise she loved the book. Since that day we have read this book every night. My daughter taught me how to read it. She showed me things I hadn’t noticed in there. In between those seemingly simple drawing, she saw and understood so much. She found some parts funny and some parts scary but over all she loves the book. I must confess that I do too now! It is funny. It is philosophical. It is meditative. It has layers of depth. It is thoughtful. What an amazing book about a hole! A hole in someone’s life that is initially puzzling and scary. He tries to understand it, to get rid of it, and he does, sort of. The hole comes back, perhaps it never left. He either doesn’t see it anymore, or accepts its existence.

I wonder why I like it now. Do I like it because my daughter likes it? Did she teach me how to like it? Did she teach me how to see it?  Other than the story of the Hole, I learned that my perception and impression of the world, and the things I like or dislike are highly unreliable and ever changing and that is not such a bad thing.

The tree

Once upon a time there was a tree.
It lived in small yard.
It had little fruits each summer, lost its leaves each fall, slept in the winter and grew little green leaves in the spring.
It wasn’t the tallest tree and didn’t have the greenest leaves. It didn’t give the most fruits.  
One day, they chopped it off.
Soon there was a pool in its place.