29 May 2018

haikus about men i have slept with: set thirteen

I wanted escape.
Bus rides through the desert; and
just playing pretend.

Fast, past cafe lights
Freedom, if just on your moto.
Then we broke your bed.

Your thick black hair and
my multiple orgasms
were squashed by culture.

XXXVI on hold indefinitely. To read more of this series click here.

31 May 2017

haikus about men I have slept with: set twelve

Its cool to not care.
My voice broke into the phone:
"You aren't a nice guy"

Kiss me, deep and long
(the iman sent you to me)
once more, inshallah.

Netflix and take-out.
Your apartment was so dull
I was distracted.

it has been awhile since I wrote some of these. to read more of this series, click here

12 February 2017


Haiti right now is
clean, slippery floors,
cheek pressed kisses and
everything upstairs. A guesthouse
that is my own,
permanent hotel living.

Haiti is puffs of smoke and
charcoal stoves, sips of
rum and bottles of bleach. Haiti is
nothing, yet. Need more seconds, more
steps forward and over.

My heart
Will it ever stop? Will

will Haiti...

I don't know.
To do:
Learn Kreole,
fix heart.

02 January 2017

Alice the astronaut

Alice was an astronaut.

She had long, thick black hair and twinkling eyes. She learned her own birthday when she was only 2 and a half years old. "April 2nd!" she would exclaim, with confidence and gusto.

She always wanted to be an astronaut. She studied long and hard. Her black hair fell into her face over dozens of astrophysics text books, with the sun shining bright outside the library.
"You are 4.6 billion years old," she would say to the bright yellow blinding light.

Alice was so happy to go into space her first time. It was new and intoxicating. "You will float free up there," they would tell her. "Just like a jello mold! It is so freeing!"

She loved it. She bathed in it, the feeling of being in space, in this deep void, in this eternal darkness, in this weightless expanse.

But then, a bright day, during one time at home on this human planet, she met Jake.

He was a lumberjack from Nebraska. Very tall, and strong, with a beard like sandpaper and horsehair. She loved him. He would always walk into the woods with beaver carcasses strapped to his belt. The beavers were lined with full, glimmering bacon strips.

Alice would say "Jake, my love, please do not walk into the woods with the beaver carcasses. It is so dangerous and I worry about you!" She would then toss her black hair over her shoulder and sigh, and he would bend down and kiss her sad eyes and promise to never do it again.

For months they lived in a happy utopia of love-making, meat-smoking and endless evenings under the millions of stars. Alice would point out all the constellations and Jake would cut wood for their sparkling campfire.

Then Alice got the call. She had to go to space again.

"I have to go to space," she told Jake.

"I cannot sustain it," he said.

But they both knew it had to be done. So she took off, like a bullet to the sky. She thought about Jake and about his boorish, unpolished beard. The force of the take-off was a jolt to her, unlike the many times before. She pictured his lumberjack face, his lips robbed of her kisses.

She floated in space, like usual. She was familiar with the cosmic radiation. But this time, despite her weightlessness, her body felt heavy and burdensome.

She called Jake, from the farthest reaches of the universe. He would answer, half engaged, and tell her he had begun wearing the beaver carcasses into the woods again. She would tell him about the mirogravity pulling her body into a million directions, and the issues she was having with her rinse-free shampoo. He did not seem interested, and much farther away than millions of miles. She would fall asleep restless, her heart feeling pulled in as many directions as her spine.

Then she learned the truth. Jake had been eaten by bears. There was not a single scratch of him left on planet Earth besides one thumb and a shrivel of a flannel shirt. "But why did he go into the woods covered in beaver carcass and bacon???" she moaned into the metal enclosure of her shuttle. "Why would he do such a thing???"

She came back to Earth and swam in the lake where they lived, and ate from the blueberry trees they planted. And when they asked her to go back to space, she said, "Will it feel more and more heavy every time?"

17 December 2016

crystal ball 2017



look closer

coffee, cotton and...

yes, sugar.

needs and salt water

mountain tops


what's that?

babies. babies everywhere.

03 December 2016


i feel like writing again.

i want to put more energy here. it has been too long.

thanks to anyone who still reads this.

i'm not dead, just a little dulled, like usual.

27 July 2016

Ramadan Salah

Sometimes in the daytime we would see each other on the street, hiding under the fat green leaves that line mainstreet and wide-brimed straw hats to shelter ourselves from the blazing Ramadan sun. People shuffled around us, hungry, hot and tired, from stretches of sweltering hours without food or water. I shook your hand, maybe a moment too long, and glanced a few seconds too many at your handsome face.

Later you would come to my door, with your own key on your own time, and lay in my bed after the Maghrib prayer. The mosque shook and thundered with the prayer that released everyone from their fast. Every night you would pray, then eat eggs and dates and salty fried bread, then barely knock on my bedroom door before entering and devouring me with more hunger than the evening's breakfast. And that is where we would stay, unclothed, huddled together in front of my fan, as the streets filled with children and families reveling in the late hours.

They were just four stories down but seemed a lifetime away from my shuttered window. I would kiss your face, bury my head in your shoulder, sometimes cry, sometimes laugh. We listened to music and made love for hours.  Your skin was so soft and dark, your beard so harsh and clean. It started with a casual ease, because I was intensely sad and needed to be held. But by the end you could make my body shake like someone I had loved for years and I counted the seconds listening for the Imam to send you to me.

When I first moved in to this apartment, I would joke about what a princess I felt like high above the center city streets. Sometimes I lock myself in for days at a time to get a break from the bustle of the souk and the schoolchildren endlessly coming and going from class. But I never felt more isolated than in those times waiting for you. The minute hand dragged in extremely long ticks lingering for you, knowing you were out there, knowing I was waiting.

And the one who sent you to me would take you away, calling out from the minaret that it was the time to have juice and cookies and prepare for another long day of fasting. As the sun peeked back into the sky I was always alone, stretched out in my now empty bed, dreaming of your kisses on my back.

29 April 2016


I don’t get why you think I don’t understand you as a person. I know who you are. I have spent the last 2 years being in love with you, something that I do not take for granted. You have been of tremendous help to my head and my heart, and I am grateful for every single second of love that I have felt since I met you, and all the love that you have given me during our time together. You say you don’t even know who I am anymore, but you know who I am. I am the same man that you fell in love with. The same man that ate macaroons and played ukulele for you in the park. The same man that held, kissed, and drank champagne with you in the pool. The same man that made love to you seven times in one day in the “drug den” and ate mussels with you while listening to Mac DeMarco. The same man that would tell you how you beautiful you looked every time he saw you. The same man that dry humped you at Kroger when no one was looking. The same man that swam with you in Santa Marta and ate arepas de huevo. The same man that visited you in Morocco, ate msemen, and celebrated eid-al-fitr in a tarbouche and djellaba. The same man that celebrate new year’s eve with you in Paris and ate steak frites and escargot with you. The same man that took bubble baths with you and cuddled you in bed even though you were soaking wet. The same man that wants to be your husband, and the father of your children. 
The same man that broke your heart. And then same man that will stitch your heart back up and make you the happiest woman in the world.

you said
everything in your life
was happy;
except for me

so i assume
is perfect, now.

23 April 2016


i wonder when i will start to look old
when my face will look like the skin on old pudding
and i'll look back at pictures of sunburt Morocco
and think
how young i was then!

i wonder when the letter will come
that tells me what is coming next
when that breeze will blow by
and take me floating off on it

i wonder when i will stop thinking of him
stop hating him
stop thinking at all
until i see pictures of violet Colombia
and think
how dumb i was then!

i wonder when the
spining will starve
and the trees will stop rustling
and the roosters crow softer

in between
all the time
and a little bit behind

22 March 2016

I hope I look as good as you when I am 31

I am trying to remember what I thought people in their early thirties were like when I was in my early twenties.

To be honest, I don't think I knew very many people at all at that age during that time. If I did then they were probably people who hung around college kids, in which case my perception was greatly skewed.

I probably thought about women in their early thirties as moms or as serious professionals. I thought they were old, I guess. Any man in his early thirties who persued me was definitely thought of as old. And creepy. Which is smart and true and accurate.

My age was definitely one of my major concerns about joining the Peace Corps. Would I be the old one? Would everyone else be white boys with dred locks fresh out of college, waving around their prehistoric basket weaving degree like they know everything in the world?

When I studied in the south of France at the age of 19, there was a married couple who also came on the same program. The husband was in school for art and wanted to take his wife with him to study abroad. Her name was Laura and she was magical. She had short brunette hair and an infectious laugh. I gravitated toward her like foam to the surface of an ocean wave. I would cry to her about my mean boyfriend back in the US, and how I missed my mom, and how humiliated I was at the store buying jambon fume with my shy French. She would then cuddle me, and serve me wine, and pour out good olive oil with pepper into a little dish for a fresh baguette. She had her bachelor's degree in social work and was married to a handsome artist. And she never made me feel silly or young for my frivolous little spells or fits.

She was like a mother to me. Looking back now, she was probably around 26 years old.

So I probably did think women in their early thirties were old.

My roommate in Morocco at our orientation hotel and I were talking the first night of our arrival and when she put together some of my timeline she whispered, almost under her breath, "how old are you?"

"31," I said.

"Oh wow!" she exclaimed. "Me too! I thought I was the only one!"

I felt a rush of relief. I had met other volunteers in our group who were older, but just to find someone my age was like a little miracle. "She understands me!" I thought to myself.

Then our other roommate came in.

"It is so funny," I said to her. "We just discovered we are both 31!"

"Really?" she said. "I hope I look as good as you when I am 31," she stated, with an aura of disbelief.

I know she meant well. I know she was trying. But the way she said it- the way she looked at me with big eyes- the tone in her voice told me "you look so young! how are you so old????"

So I guess I need to accept that most of the people here are younger than me. And they will probably look at me like a sweet grandmother. But I can find a tribe of 30-somethings and rest knowing that my experience will be different (and in my opinion, better) because of my age.

Except there is the matter of overnight trains to Venice.

When I was younger and pretending to be a member of the new Lost Generation, galavanting around Europe without a care in the world, I would hop on trains often. The way we dealt with night trains was easy- drink enough wine that you are warm and sleepy and then wake up (hopefully) in Brussels! Or Munich! Or wherever you were supposed to go. "Why pay for a night of hotel when we can sleep on the train?" was a common philosophy.

To be fair, I am sure at that age I complained of being cramped or cold or impatient, but I remember none of it. I just remember being happy and rosy cheeked and eating up the world like a mortadella panini. So last year when I planned to visit Venice for the first time with an illfated paramour it seemed like a no-brainer to take the overnight train down from Munich, arrive awake and happy and ready to take on the canals.

This did not go as planned.

The train cars were sold out, and we did not book a sleeping car. So we attemped for about 10 minutes to squeeze into one of the six seats of the car, rubbing knees with the other passengers. Giving up quickly, we moved to the luggage car where I lay my coat on the cold metal floor and sat, shivering, listening to autobiographies on tape for the entire night while cursing my life and counting sad, tired, 30 year old sheep. The travelers who had also decided to crash there (probably without tickets) made video blogs and drank whiskey and then passed out curled together in a heap. I envied them. When the train finally arrived in Venice I said to my travel companion, "I am just getting too old for this." And I felt a little part of me die inside. I then promptly started snoring on the small banquette in the lobby of the hotel where they were preparing our room.

It is true I am not the same person I was when I slept in hostel rooms with 12 other people or hid in bathrooms to avoid train ticket fares. The question I had to ask myself then was if I was still the kind of person that would join the Peace Corps. Luckily, after many nights awake staring at the ceiling, I decided that: yes, I am still the sort of person who can join the Peace Corps.

Just because I know what being pampered feels like and in most cases I prefer it does not mean that all my rough and tumble training has fallen by the wayside. I can do everything that the newly college grad can do, though maybe not yoga or marathons, at least not as well. I know how to make the saddest apartment a lovely place to live with just a sewing kit and a vision. I know how to make great friends who will make me feel at home whenever I am with them, and I can return the favor by cooking them shrimp and grits or making art together. I know how to brush things off, like the power going out for random intervals or the shower going cold for 3 days.

I may not always like it, but I can handle it. I can handle it and I will. Even at 31. Lookin' good.