Could It Be You Love Me

I don’t know why you would
follow me out onto the tight rope.

You scare me
more than me
with questions of sacrifice

What will I do
if you fall

I have the balance bar. I will lead you back
after the catch of us, and I
will give you your own balance beam.

Next time catch me, or
on windy days we
can take the rope bridge.

The other side can wait for crossing.
Today there is a picnic.

But before we eat,
I have prayers
and questions

about Love
about Balance

But maybe not today.
The day is
too warm, and you
too precious for philosophy

eat please
and fall in Love

today there is
a picnic and a kiss.

Caveman On Red Deer

On forest’s edge
my spear seems not steady
stone’s throw away
from missing red deer
gone with cattle, fenced
by plank woods, tame

Still frozen out
on edge
I’ve lost my
beyond the Ice Age

She, a city woman is
like a red deer, but
she will not stray
stays deep in the jungle; it’s

hard to ambush her heart
when I am edgy
my spear heavy

she will not touch
the edge of my brow
the forest of my desire
I meet her for coffee
at the Antelope Hotel
mind my manners —
small spoon on cantaloupe

Her roundness has
astounded me, a
glorious ballet dances her
to our table
ecstasy tableau

The mâitre d’ hôtel
knows her kindness
smiles at us, serves
mixed pleasures
without a raised eyebrow —
he is a fine shaman
uncorks champagne
and venison.

Gorgeous is the evening
when she speaks to me
as hunter of love
knows my appetite profoundly

She strokes
the hair of my back
of my buttocks,
raises me right
with sheep skin
on my rod
to save my genes
for a future
cherished child
when glory would be our name,
dancers of wealth
secretly sharing
with every child who cries
as have we

Never have I seen
such a feast

She is a smile, and
I am a sigh,
my hug accepted.

I am we,
we sing

Ring me forever

Meadow of Doom

Give me my praise
I shall not be wanted

Humble is praise in the valley
where the lambs are abundant; I do
not need to want for chops, and
I’d have no need for stewing.

Give me my paprika, the
shepherdess is at the barbecue

My staff, they comfort me not, for
an office gives me my unjust humor;

though cross, I’d let them
humor me well and lead me

to cross the river Styx into Egypt
and find my sticks, no carrots

do not fail me now, for

I must be at a gate of Heaven
to explain my case splayed out
in the verbosity of the century, yea
I come to praise Caesar and myself in kind

Tell me Caesar is there
and I am ubiquitous in
the quadrillion words of praise.

If I Could Rest

I am too weak and wounded
to march with you. Let me rest
to remember when you removed
your head scarf in secret retreat
where all the young go to
smell the mountain scent
feel freedom’s breeze

Beaten down
Hard to breathe

I count my breaths
but remember me by the mountain stream
where a breeze caressed your secret hair
and I dared to smile on the giggle of the day
blessed conversation
revelations and a kiss

I miss it on
this last day when
I count my breaths, but
leave me now to green the day

Leave me for Enghelab street
or Azadi Square, or
wherever you will be
to kiss freedom for me

But be so careful — please,
could you
not be the
last martyr

I need you to come back, brave dear
to let me
give you my praise, because

I could breathe you in
and whisper I love you

Cook Book

I had been trying to be a shooting star
in some quadrant of the sky where she’d
been dreaming of me I hope, and then
she found me in my favorite coffee shop, and
I knocked over my coffee cup, but
she smiled when I touched her hand, and
I watched her finish a morsel of food
as if it were me and she said don’t worry.

I bought a cook book
and invited her over
And I loved when I made her apple pie
even though I prefer cherry and peach
just because she noticed my cinnamon

and she wanted to teach me
how to bake love

so I so much wanted
her to be the chef
if we could cook together.

But I didn’t mind, because
we were both taking off our hats
and stirring thoroughly naked in the sauce

Cooking Gyros For Swat Valley

We used to be
the Switzerland of Pakistan
many orchards
much fruit
much minding.

In my mind I see
the mulberry trees,
see much fruit, the
plum of the valley
minding apricots, damson
cracking walnuts like jewels
minding a fig leaf
a grape, the jujube
minding these and the olive tree
in my dreams of Swat Valley

We thought
like fruit flies
insurgents could be thwarted
could be swatted

In exile, my
restaurant work is a meditation
chopping lamb into chunks
into pieces, coalescing
thoughts for peace
charcoal broiled
hoping coalition forces will
bring a peace home, but I
am mashed chick peas
and tahini: the skeleton of
the sesame seed, fallen, my
kernel floated and crushed
feeling pasty, stuck in New York
rolling out an unfamiliar phyllo flat
with pistachios and honey sadness.

Oh the strutting about,
the grazing on tables where
all the world’s a
thoughtless stage, confused
the size of Delaware
the size of Swat
valley of rotting fruit
and war.

Stand up for Swat Valley
the Switzerland of Pakistan

The Taliban
have kidnapped
my Father, and

from here in refuge
I work to earn a ransom, the
flowers of my Swati meadows
in my mind, my eye,
the charcoal smell of my
burnt house wafted in a nostril

Oh Pakistan,
for every truce I die,
while every envoy
seems to fiddle
with Shariah at the door.


I was drawing with chalk on the sidewalk unappreciated
thought I saw you peeking behind the corner,
but a sudden rain washed all away,
too many falling sky erasers lately.

When the Sun comes out,
hide where I can find you
in secret sand-castle places
under my blanketed regrets,
surfing for your love
in seaweed long ago washed —
salty youth.

Give yourself away with a giggle, but
wear an adult smile

Draw me, and
dance where I can see you.

Never too many peek-a-boo days
for sunny buffing stuff,
birthday suited or not.


Oh I sent her a plant
as if my love could infiltrate by flora
and I thought:

when the blossoms would open
she would think of me as beautiful

Not that I’m handsome, but
I have an essence
I could share, probably.

I suppose I’m a little less than perfect
maybe a little quirky, but

when I stand on the stage to read
she is the only one in the audience
whose clap I want to hear, and

if there be a heckler
I will hear her laughter, and
I will smile and think

yes I know someone
who loves me always

and the edits will be easy
so much so that
I will love the hecklers too
but not so much as the flower


She was stalked by pepper chocolate
hot flashes in search of renewed romance
pausing men now to fast forward them later
when the cocoa of old
would soothe the savage heart
and rewind the visions of youth
before confections were bittersweet

By the day of bloody youth
the noon of menopause
the dry night of age
only chocolate is left
for her celebration
beyond what he knows