I'm just happy to be here.

Tag: houston texas


I ask my body to move, and it moves.
I tell my legs to open their stride, and I glide in the wind.
I beg my breath to stay in control, and my life doesn’t end.

Do I need anymore evidence that I am alive?

Oh, sun. I give all my gratitude to your Tuesday evening gradient.
I repent for all the times I second-guessed your radiance.
Oh, sun. I bet all you ever wanted was a captive audience.

Sweating at sunset, I run with my head held to the sky.
The way my heart knocks against my chest, you’d think
my bones were a microphone.

The faster I move, the more pain I see in my rearview.
I’m not running out of time, I’m running through it.
With miles to go, I surrender to the sky’s invitation.
A voice whispers in the distance and it sounds like
my voice, but six seconds in the future. I’m chasing
the part of the story that has been untold for centuries.

Breathless, I become a disciple of stillness. Still,
I miss what it means to call the chaos home.
Along Buffalo Bayou trail, I catch my breath and lean against
a tree where all the leaves are poems, and
the way my heart knocked against my chest, you’d think
my bones were a microphone. I stand beneath the Poet Tree,
and read the tiny poems that hold so many voices inside.

Reading each poem to myself, I ask the words to hold me,
and they do.


You don’t walk into the wind, you walk against it
Contrary to the spellbound leaf, thrown around,
lifted up and taken away, unlike you, feet on ground.

Resilient soothsayer, rhythm—with your steps—maker,
Who let the concrete spin the balls of my feet? Ink-blot.
I tip-toe across a puddle and jot down the reflection

The questions I seek are answers in another form.

The wind wants to win but you have legs better than wings.
The rain wants to destroy but all it does is cleanse.
The elements want to touch you then leave, so they do.

But I am tired of losing. Watch me get caught in the rain
with my umbrella hands, malfunctioning inside buildings
I’ve built in my head, opening up, like disbelief in bad luck,

Nothing can hurt me. Not the rain, the gust, rusted lust.
On the highway, a man on a motorcycle zooms past the rest of us
while the storm is rife with hubris, my Uber driver, Asif,

Turns back to me to say, He does not love his life. And for once,
these words do not apply to me. Because I love my life. Yup,
sure do. Sometimes, when no one is looking, I yawp. Foolish talk.

Chalk-teeth. Don’t care if the words will last. I need to speak.
Taking care of my weaknesses like baby teeth, I pull the truth
out of me the same way a knot is untied. Clumsy wrists. Tight-lips.

Walking downtown, I am the furthest from being a leaf.
No, I love my life too much. Exorbitant. Joy, Flood-like.
The last thing I ever want to say will most likely be a

Run-on sentence, chasing the next thought like a promise
I told you’d I keep. Man of my word. I turn sadness into sweet tea.
Have you heard the one about misery? We all need company.

At Phoenicia, one of the chefs and I are friends.
He asks me to call him Abibi. Abibi calls me Cousin-Brother.
He thinks I’m Lebanese, and when I correct him, he says

Lo siento. Then, another time, Adios, Cousin-Brother. Language lessons.
On Sunday, Fi Amanullah, Cousin-Brother. When I ask what he means, he replies
Allah will protect you, then hands me warm shawarma, and I reply,

I’m gonna need all the help I can get it, and it’s true. I take my food, exit,
only to walk against the wind, now knowing, my body is protected.
Nothing about me spellbound or in disbelief. Contrary to the leaf.


I’ve been dancing all night.
Mighty body, light feet.
No part of me is discreet,
only well-kept, only secret.
Meaning is a recipe I keep to myself.
But tonight, I am emptying the shelves.
Forget rationing, give me irresponsibility.
Forgive the past, someone sip hard liquor.
Fear is a balloon too big for your wrist.
Your body was meant to last,
even if you crash, the crash is sweet.
Look at me, Patron Saint of Self-Pity.
I wrote a new prayer for despair.
Pray with me? Say it with me.
My hips are a spoonful of sugar
pouring moonlight into the sky.
I’m writing my own impact theory.

Strangers howl at me with their sweet teeth,
mistake me for the incandescent croon of la luna,
la luna, white balloon, silver truth, lonely ghost,
who roams above the sky it once lived beneath,
never once haunting, only reflecting its cratered longing,
wanting to return, la luna, who once belonged
to the same earth, as both you and me,
your friends, your family, all of us together
belonging to the same dirt I’ve been kicking up all night.
Everyone has their own path to follow, but tonight it is easy.
My hips are a spoonful of sugar
pouring moonlight into the sky.
The people I love who are afraid of the dark
do not have to hide, instead, watch how
My knees hurl commands to my heels,
My heels speak for my feet,
My feet reach back and forth, traveling so fast,
I’m floating above the ground, flirting with friction,
Looking at the future like a dance floor I already kissed.


Lemon tart to start,
brass manifesto for lunch,
sunlight whispering
touch me, touch me, touch me,
though glass windows.
This life is enough, this lie is enough, is,
i.e., no, no, no
who is there to trust?
i.e., no, no, no, not who, but what,
what is there to trust?
Lost body of lost boy lost by the majesty of it all.
I know my heart, your heart
may be long winded, but
the war within has ended
all of us have won
you now have permission to
lift your heads
The war within is won.
Do you see what I see?
The gold spun sun spins
while we sit on our hands
to relearn our stillness,
even our sins sit in silence,
silenced by the lineless pink brushed sky
speaking in another language, and this is
no good time to talk, so I am listening,
no longer lifeless, but a lightweight, as in,
I curve around the dark without so much as a sound.
Just your friendly neighborhood noiseless witness
shucking the dusk, trying to steal the miracle
of any moment slow enough to reveal itself.
Do you hear what I hear?
The voice of my dreams is a soft stream of hushed light.
I break out into a peal of commotion, like I’m in concert
with the cathedral bells downtown, performing in free-fall.
Lost body of lost boy lost by the majesty of it all.
When I think translation, I hear misunderstood.
I think misunderstood,  I see the invisible cost of loss
lure me back into conversations
where all I do is crawl beneath the
Lost body of a lost boy lost by the majesty of it all.
Is it so bad to be half-made of worry and honey?
Do not talk to me about half-truths when your mouth is full.
My mother texts me to say, mijo, you are blessed—
don’t ever question it, referring to the ways in which
I keep arriving, the path in front of me, paved by
the sleep I do not get, labored by the hands that
do not quiet, cannot quit, only furiously stick to the
changing script, shuffling papers like the spirit
of the hero following my fingertips, realigning lines
until my finger print is fine print, wishing for someone,
anyone brave enough to read the sentences I’ve written,
to bear witness to the way I have reshaped the invisible
back into instruments, until the first thing I hear is
the story of your bravest moment, when fear stopped
being so mysterious, when you yourself learned the
definition of ephemeral, how eternal things are unchanged facts,
how you are not ephemeral, not a disappearing act, not a
Lost body of a lost boy lost by the majesty of it all.
Don’t ever question that the first of you is the last
of something extravagant [synonym for generous]
opposite of meager, [your survival is never an understatement]
You can stop hiding from yourself
is the last prayer I whisper when I pass a mirror.
This is how I define radiate.
This may come as a surprise to some, but
you don’t have to hear your heart beat
to know you are alive. No, no, no—
I’m not trying to prove the truth to you.
I’m simply trying to say,
you don’t have to be afraid
of what the truth will do to you.




If you uncurl your fist against
Sixty miles per hour wind, outside
the driver-side window, you change
the weather pattern of your whole life. This afternoon,
half of my arm extended into the April air,
like the last good idea I will ever have. I open my hand,
like a valley, and gratitude arrives early, gathers, into a river.
All of it, earned. All of it, mine.
Today, I think of what the wind picks up,
and include myself within this strange history of elemental hustling.
I open my hand and become an expert at temporary emptiness.
I open my hand and the possibility of touch travels
back to me like music, for once.
This time, I open my hand and the wind
picks me up, carries away the rocks stealing me from the surface,
from sunlight, all these stones stacked into a sturdy sadness,
but I can feel my hardness eroding into a whisper,
disrupting silence softly like a hum yet to happen. Alas,
this soft skin of my hand, finally a sail, an open invitation. Alas,
the wind whittles my heart into an instrument. Alas,
I open my hand into the pouring wind and my heart lifts
out of the dust, is recast into the sky, is light like the April air. All of it—



Here is my body.
The heart inside my chest
is not a hypothetical, but non-fiction
like when walk into Half-Price Books
and buy a book at-half price.
From the window next to me,
the horizon is under-construction
each morning, the downtown sky begins anew,
another crane creates a new sky
line to look above, while beneath,
so much is going on. Look, to your left,
a man sleeps beneath Texas 527-Spur.
In front of you, your law school,
a building of privilege set in stone,
you walk out the doors and your head
is heavier with something new, what’s with reason
all of a sudden? Has this always been the standard?
I say law student
When I mean trial by fire
The amount of smoke lost in my chest
makes me want to replace my lungs like engines.
Intellectual curiosity
has ten syllables between the two bodies, and I find
comfort in the pieces needed to make a thing whole.
This day is a mouthful until I know I am not alone. Look, to your right,
Another man lays his body out on the sidewalk as if
he were only a shadow dozing off into the cement,
His eyes finally closed beneath the weight of all he has
lost in the slumber of improvement, in the name of
new buildings growing up just tall enough to block out the sun,
as if their bodies were meant to absorb negative space—the lightest form
of darkness.


The breath entering the trumpet
is not the same as the breath
that leaves the trumpet.

The brass body of a trumpet
has the physiology of grief.
Both are an instrument,

Enduring the fractured sickness of breathlessness
until this miraculous sound leaps out, the falling sky
dismembered no more and finally, something broken goes unforgotten.

A black man beneath the green screen paneled gazebo
fills Root Memorial Square Park
with his own-echoed-lung composition.

His breath swam into the trumpet the same way
sadness always enters unexplained, and always, upon exit,
glides through the swamp of ache, finding a way to

Avoid the eulogy of what’s always at stake,
but this week alone, too many of us are losing,
this week together, too many of us have a history of loss.

I speak to a man from Nepal
who gathers with his Nepalese community
to remember too many who have been lost.

He tries to explain the catastrophe
Asks if I know what happened
I want to comfort him with something

More than sympathy, assure him I’ve listened
to NPR, have read the reports but what does
this failed attempt at understanding have to do

With knowledge, with his knowing desecration
of his most beloved, the homeland his heart
occupies outside its own quaking body

The earth dismembered in its
fractured sickness, the toll
of the dead rise but the bodies that remain

Are still trying to sleep
Are not yet done weeping
Are lighting candles for the shadowless.

Here I am, caught in a nation’s weeping
The Spirit of the Hero wants to fill my fingers
but if etymology has taught me anything, it’s this:

All around, flowers, plants, the scene
smiles in green, attests to
the effectiveness of spiting death.

If you listen to the colors of spring speak, they’ll tell you:
Through the history of evolution,
Photosynthesis is the earth asking for forgiveness.


Lightning is all the sky talks about
Houston has a clapping chatter mouth,
bayou tongue, thundering teeth.
I drive by a series of buildings all dark
except the dance studio second-story window
where I see an elderly couple
so this
is the face of love’s
rhythm after it has grown?
I am almost crash the car
in a flash of grace.
I’ll never be the same.
The rain makes it so easy to fall apart.
Stay inside of yourself.
The trees flurry with reason
Weather is all about rhythm
Nothing trembles for trembling’s sake
I can sleep through thunder
I can dream through thrashing
Why is nobody impressed?
What’s left of my body besides
the crumbs of love?
If you don’t know the answer,
Don’t guess.

How A Mango Makes A Man, Again

Friends! This is a poem of mine I performed at Write About Now, a poetry organization in Houston Texas who hosts weekly open mics and poetry slams at AvantGarden.