Coloring the outlines of Ukraine: Conjuring images of beautiful humans like ourselves

The day– all shades of sand
Adornments– rusted beads
So as not to haggle with a beggar
about a pail from Thebes or the Mount of Kadam
you need to become a barbarian

This is the beginning of the poem by a wonderful Ukrainian poet, Olenka Huseinova. I include it in this blog post because of the sad, Continue reading »

‘In a restless world like this is’: A fairy coach’s take


After the disaster of 9/11, Charles Bernstein wrote a moving poem about the confusion that ensued, not just in the days but years that followed. The blurriness of reality is expressed in the opening lines: “Not long ago, or maybe I dreamt it/ Or made it up, or have suddenly lost/ Track of its train in the hocus pocus/ Of the dissolving days; no,” Without the knowledge that the poem was written in response to 9/11, I’d have read these lines as dream-like, as being in daze, as daydreaming caused by some unknown event important in the life of the poet.  Continue reading »

“If I told him would he like it”: how do we communicate?

red lips

We humans are thinkers and over-thinkers. Sometimes, in the name of not making a fuss, not angering someone, not making someone sad, we mull our thoughts over and over. We ask ourselves: “Should I tell him/her that…?,” “is it worth telling them that…?”, “How will he/she react to this?” As children, we don’t have these thoughts–we have acquired them at some point during our social education. Along with directness and sincerity, our spontaneity went out the window. Continue reading »

Abandoning shade, becoming sun: shedding taboos on path to truth


And if sun comes
How shall we greet him?
Shall we not dread him,
Shall we not fear him
After so lengthy a
Session with shade?

This is the opening stanza of a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks, and in my mind it paves the way for the discussion of releasing taboos and breaking stereotypes. The “sun” is the “Truth,” which is also the title of the poem and it opposes the untruth, the lies, and the unawareness.  Continue reading »

Beyond words: Attempts at describing loss

blooming roses

No matter how many times you lose someone or something that you dearly love, the grief is profound and hard to describe. As a writer, I challenge myself to describe various life’s scenarios, some of which I went through, some of which I did not. And I find that describing loss is one of the most difficult things. In the moment of grief, words fail me; in the same way, they fail me when I need to infuse grief into a story. Continue reading »

Before the Storm: A Translation


I’ve been translating Michel Houellebecq’s poetry and just thought to share one of his poems that I found the most exquisite. It is as short as the moment he captures, the time just before the storm. Enjoy!

The fine and delicate texture of clouds
Has dissolved behind the trees;
The blur that precedes the storm breaks out–
Beautiful is the sky,  marled like a marble piece.