Roots and Wings

My Dear City, I write this love letter to you:

A starry-eyed girl I was when I came
full of intrigue, aspirations, and lust –
but you ate me alive as you challenged my soul
and slowly devoured my trust.

It was sin to give in though
so I stayed with resolve,
determined to find why I came;
meanwhile, I fell in love with your secrets –
then stayed for the love of the game.

You bit and you chewed
then you swallowed me whole
but from inside you seemed to be glowing;
I suffered and starved as you fed and I died –
but never did it stop me from knowing –

There was a purpose for me here
(I knew I would find it)
though when, how, or what stayed unclear –
so I trudged through the mud, mostly blind,
and at times
fell face-first – but now I am here …

On the other side, eight years later, I stand
so grateful for lessons I’ve learned;
I’m honored to be blessed with the perspective you gave
and the changes for which I had yearned.

Oakland, I Love You – I won’t forget
how I made you my nest all these years;
you nurtured my roots, my wings, and my mind
and forced me to conquer my fears.

To my city, my Love, it’s now our time
to part ways and say our goodbyes;
from you I emerge a new woman and take
all the strength that I gained in disguise.


 > my heart💗is in oak <

Ode to Luís Gongora 

i always find it weird
when a human life disappears
and remnants of their flesh is cleared

when hazmat crews clean
and vanish
last remainders of a soul

sometimes leaving strange reminders
blue latex glove here
caution tape there
and there –

and the world moves on
Life Lost
and wiped away

just ghosts stay
behind, confused
as if to say,
“what happened here?”

when tragedy strikes
trains hit
or cops shoot
sometimes folks dont
where they went

but they left anyway

one less soul

on the tracks
in the streets

of this Earth –

another mother
forced to cry –
because even
when they are nobodies


Left behind.

the hiding game 

across the tracks
wearing sunglasses even though
we’re inside
you’re propped in your own world
as am i –
on the train, heading
opposite directions
we glimpse
for a few seconds while
our worlds pass by –
each other: two women
in silent reflection, each
hardened from outside
bonded by
shroud of city –
forced anonymity –
we carry
this burden
when others try to get in
(though sometimes they win)

doors open
and reveal
my fellow femaleforgedinsteel
across the platform and
i can see
your invisible coat, like
purposeful indifference
your layer, built
for protection –
and we nod
ever so slight but
acknowledgement strong –
laying low, separate trains,
calm, behind shades
worlds away …
but aren’t we one
and the same –
both players –
both experts
at this hiding game.

F the Fright

how many times

did i start over
think i’d landed
believe this was my grip –
my toehold –
i’d finally made it to
my life

just in the last seven years
just in the last city

of dreams
wrapped in a nightmare
i didn’t recognize
and muse:
who’s life am i living?
this unfamiliar
how did i get here
and how to get back

to the familiar strange:
i could make sense of …

(how many times)

how many chapters
did i
live through
how many lives
in this city and before
…and here i am again…

fresh at a start
trying to learn from
my heart
seeking to make real, this time
what before i couldn’t find
is this the one
the one where it starts –

how wary am i
so often fooled
like a noose it grips tight –
i beg to run forward,
on: fuck the fright

the miracle

when the earth spins

mandalas grow

webbed with our intentions

dancing spirits around a flame

burning, the core

(inside our names)

… and the moon watches over us

carefully and grins

as our stories begin

then die, and recycle again –

its gleaming eye bearing witness of

our chants

blessed with dreams while we dance

and the circles flow

mandalas grow:

illuminating life within

we have yet to know. 


(although written for someone else – worthy to share.)


her Majesty, le félin féminin,
empress of black
and fur –
egyptian goddess of night –
saved the day preemptively
when I was just eighteen
fourth of july is our anniversary, she nodded
and nuzzled
time flies with no fright
with rhythm, despite
our cries to the moon while
we get it just right – and
fill contempt with Light, it
does not compare
are we aware
time knows no
boundaries –
on the moon with a spoonful of jello
and we
dined among the STARS
cried among the STARS
we do our thing
gangster – in the spring
blossoming –
le félin féminin
purrs again . . . menu changes
her majesty  of mystery
sometimes we just do our thing
let’s live in the mountains, I say
romance the sparklies . . .
eat the numbers
is there any other way
surprise!  the cycle goes…
’round the sun
but isnt it fun:  we’ve begun –


spins to win
we die to our rhymes
a little at a time




M is for…Monster

has anyone made me feel
as badly
as you

…yet I refused to let you go

you haunted me, I
clutched onto my terror
as you became my nightmare
dysfunctional love,
our unison: bound
in spiritual roadkill, together

we killed each other
sometimes softly
always returning for more
your anger soared
my innocence departed
yet somehow
I loved you more —

has anyone expressed
burning through their eyes
while they looked into mine
like you

…yet I forgave you each time

quietly trembling
in a silence of hell
my heart would snap
body a statue of frozen matter

and you knew your strength
your predator power
stifling my breath —
undercover —
conniving wretch

M is for Methodical.
a demon wrapped in Manners.
Monster hiding in plain day.

What’s that.. ? a Bible name, you say…?

…how soon I would forget
existed any other way.


I had a whole altar set up
in your name –
your face and mine, dancing
adorned by crystals and flowers
space dedicated to you –

I Love You
where have you been
don’t you remember
you were my partner
in lives before

but now there is nothing
where did you go
I call your name you don’t answer
as if I hurt you
as if I killed you

you have taken from me
your entity
yet we both walk this earth
until we find each other –
why this time
do you force us apart

my human ego was so hurt
I said goodbye long ago
what is this disgust you show
I’m here too
don’t you know –

I had an altar.
Forgotten now
from a friend that once was
and a sister before –

how many lives must we live
in this spiral ’til you see
what you seem to like
to do to me

let me go
or love me too
our karma is too deep
for my spirit to let you keep
the abandonment, the power
bloom then dead
like a flower

Tell me once then no more
whisper it – you whore
we switched places in this life
you gave me your strife
and this duty I’ve borne
while you judged and looked on;

but it all means nothing.

On the infinite scale we’ll keep going
until time stops, or we do…
until next time

when we start again and we find
traces of what we’ve left behind

perspective (and poetry)

two days ago, early in the day, i wrote a poem:

“Morning Commute”

the baby screams
we’re stuck in a tunnel
white boys talk too loudly
the baby screams
stuck in a tunnel
someone plays music on their phone-
stuck in a tunnel
the tracks squeal
the baby screams-
a kid bumps shitty house to himself
and we’re stuck in a fucking tunnel
faces stuck to screens
bloodshot tired eyes
… and
white boys talk too loudly.
dressed with no clue. hair stuck up like glue.
the rest in solo silence, subdued
to not be stuck in a tunnel.
to forget about baby screams.
to forget this morningfuckingcommute.

(it wrote itself. i just scribbled it down after.)

.     .     .

then, i spent the next couple hours reading about the two people (on average) who’ve died every day since new years’ eve just three weeks ago — in frigid cold water by drowning, across the world and a few thousand hells from here — just because they were trying to escape a war they didn’t start. all these souls. people just like me, younger than me.

thinking about spitting angry poetry lyrics over something not even threatening my life suddenly overcame me as incredibly distasteful, small-minded, privileged, and BULLSHIT. i was mildly disgusted i could’ve so easily thrown my spewn, simple frustrations to the internet winds without a further thought; carelessly professed what was — in reality — a safe and uneventful transportation ride for me and everyone else as such a giant pain in my ass while, at the same time, somewhere-other-than-here, people are paying everything they have just for a blind chance to cross an ocean in some janky inflatable raft they know they might never walk out of.  fuck.

a couple weeks ago i learned my life will soon be making another huge shift. there is a lot of unknown, a lot of details i can’t control; in fact mostly all of it is currently unknown and not in my direct control. as i’ve begun adjusting to this next major turning-of-the-tides being so close on my horizon, while also feeling inadequate to steer myself as strongly as i’m used to (or comfortably at all), i’ve begun to fight that squeamish feeling — the one that keeps you up at night, the one that burrows itself in your gut during the day.

but here, let me interject: i’ve immense gratitude for the timing of all things in my life, for all the ways the universe has conspired to protect me in life thus far, and for all of what’s to come; i’ve steadily made effort to grow and learn from my journey, and have had both a deep trust/inner guidance i relied on heavily, and a crippling fear that showed up when it was (sometimes violently) beaten out of me; and i’ve learned how to grow my spirit back from the depths of some pretty nasty voids after it seemed crushed to oblivion — and i am thankful for all of these lessons. and — i do have a healthy love of good mystery… so a part of me is completely fascinated by the fact i’m about to step foot into the next part of the-rest-of-my-life and, even though it’s right around the corner, i have no clue what it is yet… 

but — that’s because what i’m choosing between right now is mountains or city. alone or with someone else. this state or another. how close to my family do i WANT to be. 

i’m not leaving my country knowing i’ll never see it again. i’m not leaving behind all i know and everything i own, or even my pet. i’m not running so i don’t starve or get murdered. or worse.

i know what it’s like to have what i need, and i know what it’s like to be lost; i’ve known comfort and safety and struggle, what it feels like when you have a grip, and the spell of terror that can follow when you lose it: to be adrift in unknown water; but i have NOT literally had to float across a strange dark and freezing, deadly ocean to fight for my life. i’ve been paralyzed with fear. i’ve frozen in the face of danger instead of getting the fuck out of the way. i’ve fought back when i shouldn’t have. and so it is (as it should be) incomprehensible to imagine how terrified these people are feeling in order to gamble their lives into the hands of human-smugglers — their babies’ lives — instead of choosing to stay where they are.

.     .     .

one story i read yesterday talked about how, in a small raft crammed with 45 people — some without life-vests, even ones who couldn’t swim — the motor gave out only five minutes into their journey. they floated over six hours, temperatures below freezing, most of the small children unable to handle the cold and succumbing to severe hypothermia, at night in the dark until the current brought them to Turkey. there, a guard turned them away and even beat some of them with wooden planks until, luckily, one of the young men in his twenties — an auto mechanic back home in Syria — was able to get their shitty outboard motor running and they were able to leave, trying one more time for Greece.

another reporter spoke of how he’d witnessed, of rafts bulging with people as they came ashore, a stunning, chilling silence among all who had made it — as if their collective trauma had hushed their spirits in unison, leaving behind just shells of discarded humans.

.     .     .

…and then those ghosts with wet clothes and shocked minds have to somehow keep moving. survive. be strong for the little ones. 

…why do i feel like i’m writing an account of some historical event?? how is this really happening, right now, in twenty-sixteen… while the world watches…

.     .     .

so here i am — just on the other side of the world and a few million hells away — and i am deeply humbled for a stroke of birth-fortune i didn’t choose; for the fact i have a choice (no matter how limited the resources) of what to do next with my life.

so i decided to post my poem anyway. but to include the inner commentary that came shamefully tumbling behind it; hopefully it can help remind some of you, too, how important it is to remember perspective. 




the journey of me.


this howl i sing, from my wolf within.


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