Friday, December 19, 2014


The rock stood sturdy and strong, watching the waves flowing toward him.  His memory was strong and long dating back thousands of years from the time when he was submerged, nestled in the sanctity of the seas.  From a grain of sand to a smooth pebble on the soft bed, he danced to the tune of the currents gradually nudged to the shore.  The music of the waves swayed him further to befriend more grains and merge with the sand.  Centuries spanned as the pebble grew to a rock morphing to a boulder while the waters receded.  Exposed and bare, he grew and found a footing to stay grounded.  The waves tormented, crashed on its sides, taunted him with sleek, venomous clutches and left traces of slippery mossy parasites behind.  The rock stood firm and let the raging seas mock him.  He looked out with pride at the ground he stood, withstood the torments of the waves, keeping alive the memories of when he was insignificant and shielded by the waters.  The world around him changed, but he had stood strong and rooted. Buried deep inside him, encased into his heart the relic of raw past of plants, creatures, minerals. Its memory was as raw as the day he had been born, every mineral, each element honoring all the things past, submerged or forgotten.


Friday, December 12, 2014

I Meta Phor a reason...

Red River

A red river rushing,
gushing down mountain
leading the way
into downtown

raging forward,
it makes its own path
flow not so gentle
it steams like a hearth

reaching a plateau
in the middle of town
pool of sizzling red
drown all moaning sound

flow is steady
determined to make a path
gentle it swerves
snubbing the mountain’s wrath…
into the ocean’s depth.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Ascending Valley - Conclusion

A particularly gray morning, Aditi woke with a start. She jumped out of bed unsure of what caused this stirring within her. A silhouette of a dream hovered in the shadows and she tried to recall it’s scene as she sat on the side of her bed. An image began to form, and as she fixed her mind to it she saw her face taking shape.  It was her face, but different, more serene, determined, intensified.
Aditi started her day as usual with gym, cooking for the day before heading out to work. Nothing had changed at the office, the phones continued their buzz persistently, her staff attended professionally and deferred complex issues to her, and her father in his office managing the accounts. Before she could grab a cup of coffee, the first crisis of the day was already knocking on her door. A customer package had not arrived and as she researched she learned that the customer had supplied the wrong address. The warehouse needed to be contacted to resend at the correct address.
She had started this ecommerce business from the ground up building it to reach its most profitable year ever. She oversaw the day to day operation making herself available at all odd hours, while managing everything from the front office to the back office and everything in between. As her parents had helped her with the initial financing, they managed the money. Their hold on her changed from the glass castle to her job.  A job that was more to her than anything else. It was her baby that she had given birth to, built from ground up, and nourished it into a healthy life. She reveled in the joy of pleasing her parents, accomplished beyond their or her own expectation. Every day she walked into the office hoping this would be the day her parents will pat her on the back and say, “Well done! We’re so proud of you.” Every day she was disappointed.
She shared her distress with Sunil and he advised her to withdraw from the company. He had a job and he could provide for them. But how could she tell him that it had become more than a salary or any comforts this additional income could provide. This company had become her core, a part of who she was. It had helped her find herself. It had ascended her out of the valley, helped her climb the steep mountain to reach its peak. She was not a princess anymore, but a hardworking, smart business woman who was her own person who will not be pulled or tugged. 

The end

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ascending Valley - Part Two

Planets aligned, moon smiled, earth rolled over and she found herself married to her love. Together they started their humble beginnings, defying society, family, even her parents. Princess reduced her station in life as she toiled beside her husband to endure life’s daily challenges. She carried on each day with a smile and twinkle, even as she glanced at their honeymoon phase through the rearview mirror.
Subtly, gradually, she felt her feet hitting softer surfaces, her steps becoming wearier as she trudged day after day. She felt herself crumbling, sinking as if in a quick sand, a grain at a time. Romantic notions of marrying for love stared at her head on as a splash of cold water from a deep slumber. Reality was that she was princess no longer, no matter how hard Sunil strived in his own way, crudishly sweet as that may be. She had become a commoner, an equal partner of her husband, no longer the rose petal of her parents.
Then things got worse. He lost his job and her slogging increased. Her parents offered their cushions, raise her back to the status she deserved. She acquiesced, became their little princess again and they rejoiced. For a while, she lived with content, her role as wife and daughter, the sweet, innocent princess.
In time, without notice her parents’ role in her life increased. She had become their little girl again where Sunil had no place. The pull and tug began again where she felt herself stretched from ends, to the point of breaking apart. While her parents played games, Sunil retaliated. Aditi forgotten, the situation became a battle of wits. Her descent into the deepest part of the valley complete.
to be continued...

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ascending Valley - Part One

The first time Aditi laid eyes on him, she felt herself falling.  She fell so hard and fast that she didn’t realize what had happened. Luckily, her fall was cushioned by six strong hands. And that was the beginning of it all.
Her love for Sunil was unacceptable. He was all wrong from every angle – cast, religion, class, profession, but as they say, love is blind. Love did not see all that society or her family expected and demanded of her rose-colored future.  Starry eyed she fell for him head, heels and the concrete ground. To make things more complex, his love for her was more than she ever thought anyone outside her parents were capable of giving her. It was quite a revelation.
A beautiful childhood, she expected nothing outside the comfort of her home. There she delved in full attention of her parents as the only child. Princess is what everyone called her and she lived in her glass castle, as a delicate, porcelain doll.  Showered by her parents’ love, spoiled with riches and travels she cherished her reality. She never even noticed the boundaries limiting her interactions outside their insulated circle.
The tiny apple that she was in their eyes grew to be bigger, brighter, beautiful, and the world noticed. Impressed with her charm and good breeding, the outside world enticed her, invited her to step out of her perfect, but limited existence. Content, princess in her palace, she remained with no aspirations to venture out or desire to experience a different life until, Sunil. Her perfect little castle began to show cracks, threatening to shatter her world that had been complete.

To Be Continued... 

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Poem inspired by another character taking form in my head for future novel.

She hears footsteps near
he hears sounds of sleep
her body fills with fear
he steps over her feet 

icy floor chills her bones
bed creaks as he retires
stiff as a corpse she remains
his snoring chords string higher. 

Behind closed eyelids, visions besiege her
his face in her space
she does a reverse pace
his hand bid embrace
she cringes under his disgrace
his fingers dig through her lace
her arm, blue and sore
he tightens his grasp
she cowers into a sphere
he kicks her rear
her mind disappears
as pain excessive to bear;
A new vision appears,
she sees wings fanned
she is unmanned
she flies
     beyond the blue expanse
           where sparkles ignite.
    Light and joy! 

Drone of snores cease
she prepares to appease
he saunters out the room
she braces for doom 

his bellow reaches her ears
she stumbles out and peers
he lay sprawled on the floor
she observed red pool by the door 

a spill, oily and sleek
his desire for floors so sheen
a misstep, an imbalance, a wobble
the iron bar, his head, he was not supple.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Zora's Story - Conclusion

She was alone, but always had stacks of case files to read, letters to write, legal documents to pour over as she nursed her single glass of Cabernet every evening.  Her only break from the demands of lawyering was her insatiable appetite for good, homemade food.  It helped her a moment to think through her cases as she sliced onions, the water in her eyes cleansing her thoughts.   Many a times, the haze from her clouded thoughts about the strategy of a particular case evaporated as the steam from a pot of soup circled up and disappeared into the exhaust.
The day of her 50th birthday started out as routine.  Long day at the office, meetings with demanding and greedy clients, staring contests in staff meeting to see who blinked first, keeping a straight face as her back ached under the strain of 20 years of high heels.  It was then she remembered her new age.  The half century mark and she was feeling every decade in her low back.
Returning home that evening, she decided to take a break from the files and set about making an elaborate meal of lamb biryani with all the frills of raisins, cashews, saffron and real cream.  For dessert she baked a chocolate cake, a recipe she had not touched since her arrival in New York.  It carried too many memories, but tonight she had resolved to purge all things painful, all things past.
Sitting down late in the evening at the small table with a single candle, she blew out the flickering flame and made no wish.  The ambient lights from outside her apartment imposed on her emptiness as a sudden rush of tears invaded her solace.  She cried until she was drained and felt hollow.  Crawling into bed late and finding sleep just before dawn, she finally snuggled into a fitful slumber.  The morning brought a new day and it was business as usual.
A month went by without incident and the familiar ache visited again one evening, until it became a regular visitor gradually increasing its frequency.
Zora looked back up again at the red and yellow light through her window.  She was getting tired of entertaining this unwelcomed visitor.  People were noticing the changes as her quick wit and sharp retorts took longer and adversaries began to foam at the mouth ready to pounce at a moment’s chance.  She started looking at the faces around the conference table as if they were real men, not vultures.  She delayed returning to the apartment seeking company among friends, but she had no real friends in this concrete jungle she called home.
There was only one friend she can call on.  She was dearer to her than her family, but it had been 21 years.  Whether Diya will welcome her with open arms, Zora was unsure, after all that had transpired years ago.
The End

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Zora's Story - Part One

Zora sat in her spacious New York apartment facing the three panel windows.  Red and yellow lights from the Chinese restaurant across the street flooded her darkened room on the seventh floor.  A siren blared its way through the street below, rushing to put out a fire or rescue a lonely jumper.  She felt the familiar ache in her chest, right below the ribs, as if an invisible hand had reached in and squeezed her from the inside.  There was no pain, just tightening that set in motion these new moods until her whole body became limp.  She had no desire to go out, be with anyone, or do anything.  Unsuspecting tears slowly found their way in her eyes before starting their journey down her cheeks.  The streams turned into waterfalls until she was exhausted and the rivers had run dry.  She felt utterly alone.  In this fast paced, vibrant city, Zora felt as if she was lost in the crowd.
            It all started nine months ago, when she turned 50.  Her life till then had been cookie cutter.  Out of law school into a prestigious law firm.  As investment banking business boomed, she set her mind and soul into helping large firms succeed.  Before long, Zora had reached higher ranks where only the cigar smoking, cognac drinking men mingled.  She gradually received acceptance and became part of the prestigious inner circle.  Becoming partner at her firm was just a formality.
            The journey was not easy, competition cut-throat, back stabbing, stepping on shoes to climb the higher rungs of a steep ladder, Zora was determined.  She had set out to prove to the world, her family, to herself and a certain someone, that she can make it on her own.  Armed with a mind of her own, a zeal to succeed, and a razor-edged vengeance, she set out to prove wrong all those who had wronged her.  Her physical presence that turned heads, sharp gaze that demanded attention, she captured minds and hearts.
            Men listened intently to her strong, powerful voice that carried a hint of British accent and a deep conviction.  Her professional attire offered copious amount to the imagination as she dressed in suits tailored to define her contours.  Heels added to her decent height and many average men were forced to look up to her or have an entire conversation with her ample breasts at cocktail parties.  She exuberated confidence from head to toe and succeeded in her subtle ways to coerce her customers, peers or adversaries into deals she brought to the table.

            Any out-of-line advances from men, she nipped them in the bud, the whole idea of fraternizing with that gender revolting her.  She was determined not to be controlled by them anymore, in fact was on a mission to out-power them and beat them in their own game. There were peers she socialized with, customers she shared drinks with, industry professionals she golfed with, but at the end of the day, they all went home to their families and she returned to her empty apartment.

to be continued...

Note on "Diya's Radiance" and "Zora's Story"

Both, "Diya's Radiance" and "Zora's Story" are not short stories.  They are my musings on two different characters and may become beginning of a new book.

Wanted to share these on my blog to get some feedback, so do send me your thoughts.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Diya's Radiance - Conclusion

In the wake of the storm, a new sky appeared, clear with hope.  Smoke pirouetted happily from chimneys as hearths warmed up kitchens and stoves balanced pots with water dancing in them.  A flurry of activity exploded around the tiny kitchen as the cook got in the way of the helper, who crossed paths with the dishwasher, who hindered the servers.  Diya ran from the kitchen to the dining hall to the patio, her long skirt flowing with her movements, its bells chiming to her steps.  Radiant smile followed her everywhere enhanced by the bright red lipstick, eclipsing the creases between her brows.  Her jangling bangles drowned out the sound of her gritting teeth as she hid all her concerns in the shadows, behind the fire in her eyes.
Tourists seemed to have besieged her restaurant unseasonably and she flittered like a butterfly, charming her guests.  On the patio, she heard the absence of music, only the sound of crackle from the speakers and twirled to look for Cary.  Spotting him by a table indoors talking to some guests, she walked towards him.  After several distractions, somebody needed a fork, a table had a water spill needing immediate attention, and a server had trouble understanding an accent, she finally made it to where Cary stood.  His blond curls danced on his forehead, while his green eyes remained cool even as the temperature of the conversation seemed to be climbing.  Catching a few slurs and unreasonable demands from the guest, Diya realized that Cary had his hands full.  She flagged down the new guy, currently helping out in the bar, before making her way into the kitchen.
At first sight, the scene in the kitchen appeared chaotic.  But she knew, there was order within that chaos, her team had it all under control.  Scanning around the small room, through the tight space, behind steel shelves, through the steamy haze, she looked for her baker.  She tried the refrigerator room and found no sign of the sweet girl who whipped up fabulous sweet treats with precision and creativity.   A dribble of sweat began a journey from Diya’s temple down the side of her face, which she managed to flick away with a determined flip of her long hair.  Just as she was about to go back out to the main floor, she heard the back door squeak behind her.  Her baker was sneaking in, bringing with her the odor of cigarette smoke.  Diya rolled her eyes, let out a slow breath, and walked out to face the room full of tourists and their demands.  Running right into Cary, she looked up into his smiling eyes and understood that once again, a drama had been averted.
At last, the evening began to wind down as few guests dawdled, then finally stepped out of the restaurant.  The staff cleaned and packed while Diya and Cary took a breather.  They sat at the bar, basking in the much needed success of the evening.  He enjoyed a glass of bourbon, while she nursed a cosmopolitan between slender fingers.  They raised their glasses and with a clink cheered, to the evening, to their partnership, to their love. 
Diya set her empty glass down and turned sideways to rest her left elbow on the bar.  With her head resting on her hand, she gazed into her husband’s eyes.  She reflected on their journey together, the path laden with mudslides and thorns and petals of roses.  They had trudged along, traversed together, and danced their way, hand in hand.  Their son safe and settled in college, they could finally live their dream and look ahead.  Cicadas started their music as if on cue, as the stars gazed down from the sky to admire the journeys below.  Returning her gaze back to her husband, Diya saw the gleam in his calm eyes and smiled.
From the corner of her eyes, she sensed a shadow rise behind him.  Her gaze shifted to look up over his shoulder and it froze. Cary looked at his wife and exclaimed, “Diya, you okay?”
“Zora.” Escaped from Diya’s lips as her face turned white.
the end - stay tuned for Zora!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Diya's Radiance - Part One

The island held a mysterious vein that travelled from the depth of the mountain belly and echoed through the forest.  Fluid secrets absorbed in the luminous water streamed down the mountain to be immersed into the ocean.  The excursion was short and sweet as its echo skated over river rocks that had been smoothed to perfection over centuries of flow.  Journey of each element lucid as energies mingled. They offered allegiance to the salty air and reverberated, like a song rising high into blueness of the sky.

Music resounded in the forest where the hibiscus and orchids smiled, butterflies danced around, and mockingbirds chanted.  Stanzas of confidences rang in ears of the frogs who croaked to the lizards, which slithered down to the army ants, who marched it to the houses on the edge of the forest. The inhabitants on the coast absorbed the melody before letting it submerge in the ocean to be soaked in with the sea creatures.  People danced on the soft sand and sang, with pride over their land and arrogance over their abundance, as they created more energy. 

Charges ignited in the air that even the thunder gods began to pay attention.  Soft, white clouds shoved aside, darkness began to surround as rain-laden clouds hung over the island.  All creatures looked above and humbled, retreated to the sanctity of their abodes.  A torrent fell to the earth, cleansing the spirits, making way for fresh air and new beginnings.

to be continued... 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


An excerpt from my unpublished novel, BEYOND BOUNDARIES.

Taara sat on the family room area rug in her Minnesotan suburb.  Head bent over her sketch pad, pencil in hand, and tongue twisted out to the side of her mouth, she drew lines, erased, and redrew.  As she worked, glow from the fireplace cast shadows around her.

Dimple sat on the sofa and stared into the fire.  Her thoughts traveled to her valley, the place of her birth, her home of 18 years.  She remembered how Ammaji had sat her down one afternoon.  An old friend, Kalavati from Kandhar days, was coming for tea with her nephew, more like her son, orphaned at a young age.  Ammaji had picked out Dimple’s emerald green salwar kameez shirt pant with white thread embroidery.  A chiffon chunni scarf had been draped shoulder to shoulder over her breasts.  Balancing a tea tray, she had walked into the drawing room, her eye lids lowered, her steps measured.  Kalavati had invited her to sit next to her on the wicker sofa.

Dimple had felt his presence in the wicker chair adjacent to her.  From the corner of her eyes, between stolen glances, she had noticed his thick dark hair and bushy eyebrows over intense eyes.  He sat with a polite smile pasted under a full moustache, listening to the old women reminiscence.  She poured elaichi cardamom tea which he quietly sipped.  As she offered pista biscuits, he took one from the plate and thanked her, as he looked into her eyes.  She could feel his gaze following her as she moved to the other side of the table to offer the biscuits to Ammaji and her friend.  Dimple took her cup, found her seat, and sipped the fragrant, creamy tea.  The chatter of the older women continued as a background chorus to the melody in her head.  She stole a glance in his direction from the corner of her eyes, but his look held her there and she felt hypnotized.

Ammaji and Kalavati slipped out of the room, taking their musical refrain with them.  Her grandfather’s clock ticked away in its place on the corner table, each staccato note at a time.  He cleared his throat and leaned forward, empty cup in hand.  She reached for the teapot but he held up a hand and placed his cup on the table.

He cleared his throat again and said, “What does religion mean to you?"

Teapot still in hand, she set it back with a louder thud than she had intended.  She sat at the edge of her seat, kept her back straight, and placed her hands on her lap.  Keeping her gaze on her hands, she spoke softly, “Family.”

From the corner of her eyes she saw a smile appear on his face.  She looked up and noticed a biscuit crumb on the dark hairs of his moustache.  She smiled with him and had the urge to reach out and brush the crumb away.


Dimple slowly traveled back to her cozy home in the Minnesotan suburb, her gaze fixed on the flames in the fireplace.

“Mummy.”  Taara repeated.

“Hmmm…?”  Dimple said dreamily, a smile pasted on her lips.

“Mummy, what are those flowers called?”  Taara pointed with her pencil.

Dimple looked toward the sun-bathed corner of their family dining room.  The glass of the sliding double doors welcomed the warm rays inside and left the snowy chill outside.  A large pot sat by the window balancing a trellis.  Ivy of green leaves crept over and around it.  The tropical plant had rooted itself firmly into the new soil.  It flourished and even bloomed in the winter, flaunting its heart shaped purplish flowers with a hidden tiny white flower within.

“Bougainvillea.”  She told her daughter and went back to staring into the fire.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Obscure Memories

Inspired by a scene from Amy Tan’s “Valley of Amazement”

I can never forget the day Rosemary died.  My very special, constant companion who kept me amused all day long. Her face was soft with pinkish tones, as if she was always flushed.  Her eyes had a mix of sly and timid with the permanent sideways glance under long, blond lashes.  Her rose colored lips pouted together into a permanent pucker.  Father had her especially manufactured for me in his porcelain factory. I asked mother to sew her dresses to match mine, so we could be like twins. 

I took Rosemary everywhere, even on that fateful day to the mountain top picnic spot. The day was picture perfect under the bluest sky I had ever seen in all of my nine years.  Its blueness hovered in the backdrop to jaggedly edged, brown, sandy peaks in the distant.  Our luscious picnic spot was carpeted with greenness speckled with wild purple, yellow and red blooms.  A stream sauntered down the mountainside in a lazy lull. Its musical notes serenaded us as we munched on ham sandwiches, nibbled on the potato salad and sunk our teeth into the juicy watermelon slices. My brother Michael made a game out of spitting the black seeds, measuring the distance to the farthest throw he could accomplish. Some of them even went as far as the sharp edge of the cliff, down into an abyss.
Sated, Rosemary and I left mother, father, and Michael in their grassy spot and walked toward a shadowy corner by a large rock. I had dressed her in the lavender dress with white laced edges, an exact match to mine.  Her long, blond hair swayed in the breeze but kept away from her face with a sparkly headband, just like mine. We sang and danced, twirling on the rocky floor as my Mary Janes thumped the hard ground. Music rang in my ears that transported me to a grand dance hall, just like the ones Mother and Father attended. I stayed in the shadows and danced with Rosemary exactly as I did when the grand events were hosted in our Manor. A whirl, a pirouette, a skip and suddenly, before I realized it, Rosemary was snatched from my hands.
The music stopped just as the dance hall disappeared.  I was back on the mountain. I turned around to see a pudgy faced boy grinning from ear to ear. Malice floated in his glassy, blue eyes as he threatened to throw Rosemary in the air. Before I could react, I saw her flying, high towards the clear blue sky.
I shrieked and rushed to catch her on her downward journey. The chubby boy pushed me aside, his red cheeks flaring as he caught Rosemary just before throwing her up again. I kept screaming and crying out for him to let me have her back. He ignored me and continued with is vicious game. I did not see my brother, Michael, come from his grassy spot and try and catch Rosemary for me. Before I realized what was happening, I saw the two boys on the rocky ground, fighting over Rosemary. Each had her by an arm, trying to pull her apart. I could not see her being tortured and shut my eyes tight as tears rolled down freely down my cheeks. I heard myself scream that they were hurting her, to let her go, to stop fighting. I heard their voices, sounds of scuffle, a pebble being kicked, thumps, and then there was silence.
The wind blew my hair off my tear stained face, it brought the smell of lavender to my nostrils, and it fetched my screams back bouncing them off from the far off mountains with their jagged edges. I also heard screams that were not mine. My eyes opened and I saw an odd looking bird sitting on a rock. I turned towards the shouts and saw my mother screaming and a strange woman in white pants crying uncontrollably. Father and a pudgy old man stood frozen, silent, and far apart with no expressions on their faces. The pudgy man’s cheeks flared red, its color spreading all the way down to this neck.
I walked up to mother and tugged on her skirt to inquire about Rosemary. She didn’t respond and continued to cry. I walked to father and asked where Rosemary was. He ignored me and walked over to the edge of the cliff and proceeded to look over into the abyss. I ran towards him and was soon dragged back by mother screaming, “not you too”.  She held me close to her body, digging her fingers into my arms as she held on.
The End

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mystical Masterpiece

Slice of a lake
    where lilies skate
       slight immersed mist
             my painting it assists

Hues emerge bit by bit
      blackness to when it’s lit
          luminous returns to dim
              defining just the rim

Silhouettes expressed
   egret somehow appears
      alighted by a cove
         conversing with a dove

Ripples form the center
     core of the senses
       stroking to evoke
          emoting to provoke

Nuances pour and stream
     spread through the misty steam
       supple in its advance
          appearing only by chance

Haze rises and disperses
     displaying white blossoms
        budding lilies wave in concert
          calling for attention

Greens, whites and blues
     blend in to subdue
       stunning on the surface
          serene in the essence

Lines remain blurred
    limits linger as slurred
       stillness appears disrupt
          design seems obscure

The final image transcends
      to tranquility, an essence
             that exceeds beyond senses.



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

HOME - Conclusion

Street life had been hard and I had to fend off many such assaults. Setting up home in this quiet alley, next to the self-talking man and a sad Golden Retriever had been heavenly compared to events past. My room was tattered, leaky, musty, but it was home and it was mine.  No more houses that many called a safe place.

My three new friends left, leaving behind a set of brand new clothes, blanket and toiletries. A week later, the daughter returned alone, dressed in jeans and t-shirt. She wanted to take me to her home for dinner, to thank me for helping her. Her home was warm with a soft sofa and cozy kitchen. The running water in the bathroom was heavenly and when I asked if I could take a shower, she smiled and nodded. I let the warm shower run through my hair, my bare back down through my toes over the foamy, slippery lather that smelled of spring and flowers.
Fresh and clean I sat at the dining table across from my host, taking in the aroma of a hearty meal. After a delicious fill, we sat and watched some TV and she told me about growing up with an ill father who taught her many things. I felt like talking about my parents and shared some of my childhood memories. We talked and talked and pretty soon it was too late to go back to my home. She invited me to stay in her spare room. The bed was soft, warm, dry and smelled of fresh rain.
I slept all the way till lunch time and the nice girl didn’t mind. We ate and went to some stores where she bought me more new clothes. I didn’t want any, but she forced me to try them on. Next she took me to her friend’s home where we had tea and talked some more. The friends were nice and reminded me of my parents. They asked if I wanted to stay the night and even showed me their spare room with its colorful walls and large bed with hundreds of pillows. I said okay, but only for one night. Soon it was seven nights, then 30 until finally I lost count. They asked a kind old lady to come home every morning who helped me with books. I read stories, learned my numbers and lots of new things. Soon my new room was surrounded by so many books and I read them all, sometimes even more than once.
My new home had a lot of things new to me. My bed was big where my new puppy, a golden retriever and I slept. The walls were surrounded by bookshelves filled with so many books which took me to so many places. I even had a closet with so many new clothes that were clean and sweet smelling. Most of all, in my new home, I had a new mom and dad and they were very nice to me and loved me very much.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

HOME - Part Three

A week after the new girl’s exit from our neighborhood, the Golden Retriever returned. Her skeletal figure limped towards her old home, now empty.  I brought bread and water and nursed her back to health.  She followed me everywhere as I roamed the streets, walked on the beach, loitered about on walkways. She sat with me on the pier watching the sun set and the birds fly home. She warmed my feet on cold nights and cuddled with me on stormy days. From the time I can remember, I finally had somebody my own, another soul who cared for me.

Neighborhood life carried on with comings and goings and minor incidents over some troublemaking new folks. Some nights I woke to the sound of sirens and a large group from the new settlement hauled away in the back of a van. One morning I woke to a police car parked in front of my home, its siren turned off. The Golden Retriever barked and ran out to greet the visitors. Bleary-eyed I stepped out and recognized the girl, the daughter of my former neighbor.  She was in uniform, her hair neatly tied back into a bun and a wide smile on her face. Behind her stood a tall, clean shaven man with dark brown hair and familiar blue eyes. He stepped forward and hugged the dog before moving towards me. I took a step back, uncertain who he was. His warm smile stopped me in my tracks as I recognized him. My old neighbor! My eyes shifted from him to the girl in uniform, back to him. The girl stepped forward and explained.
Her father had disappeared from home several years ago when he went off his Schizophrenia medication. Their family dog had followed him and kept him company until the night of the incident, when a few guys kidnapped him. These men had recognized her father from his previous employment as the chief research scientist on the verge of a breakthrough in a biological experiment. Her father had abandoned the project when he learned of the company’s intentions of using his experiments to develop biological weapons. He decided to disappear.  Without his medicines, his mental state took a turn and he ended up on the streets. Going undercover was the safest way for his daughter to find him and thanks to me she tracked down the blue car. The kidnappers were arrested on various charges including hit and run resulting in murder of the poor, old bag lady.
I was happy to see that my neighbor was safe, yet sad to see my new companion leave. The daughter offered to take me with them too, to a new home, a safe place. My head shook profusely. That’s what the nice lady at the hospital had told me four years ago, when my parents had died. I lived in that house they called safe, for four months. There were other foster children there, some even younger than my nine years. Each child walked about the house unsmiling, their eyes vacant, their hope diminished as they went about the chores assigned to them. I kept to myself and quietly cried to sleep every night. One night as my sniffles had run their course, I heard footsteps behind my cot. Pretending to sleep, I froze my body in its place.  A hand reached out to stroke my hair. I thought of my mom, coming to tuck me in with her goodnight kiss. The hand stroked my arm travelling down to my hips and before it could go any further down, I turned by body around and landed a kick up his groin. As he cowered in pain, I ran out of the room, out the door and clear out of town.

To be continued....

Thursday, July 31, 2014

HOME - Part Two

Continued from Part One
I spent more and more time in my room, thinking about the bag woman’s last breaths. Each vibration rang in my ears over and over refusing to let go. Her blood still soaked my skirt and had begun to dry up. It must have been a month or more before I realized that I had not seen my neighbor or his dog. His home stood in its place, but a new face sat at its entrance. She had a sweet face with big, innocent eyes welled up with fear.  I stopped in front of her and smiled. She cowered back and disappeared into her room. On my way back, I left a loaf of bread at her opening and went to my home. From the slit in my room, I watched her warily step out, grab the loaf, and chow it down ravenously.
In time I befriended her and learned that she was the self-talking man’s daughter. Her search had begun a year ago in various neighborhoods until she finally arrived here, but found her father’s home empty. As soon as she found old photographs with their clean, smiling faces scattered in a box in the corner she was exhilarated. She loitered around a while, awaiting his return eventually moving in, hoping, anticipating, yearning then despairing.
When she mentioned it had been a month since her arrival, on a night when all was quiet, not a soul on this street. I recalled it had been a month since the incident, the poor bag woman and how everyone hovered, watched, collected around the scene. I recalled the car with its screeching tires, the blue bumper, a face in its back seat as if a motion picture started to play in my head.  Suddenly, I leaped up and announced that I knew of her father’s disappearance. The license plate number of the blue Chevy remained imprinted in my memory that I had ignored all this time.  I related the events of the night and gave her the number and details of the car. She was on her feet in no time and the last I saw her was running out into the other world.

to be continued...

Friday, July 25, 2014

HOME - Part One

My new home had a lot of things new to me. A twin mattress, tucked away in the corner of my cozy room was soft and plush. A corner table sat at another end on top of which I placed my hair brush, an old clock, and my shell collection. My jacket occupied the space below it along with some old newspapers, a notebook, and a pencil. My roof was low and sagging, but mostly kept the elements out. A small tear in the wall became a window, bringing in cool breeze on hot summer evenings, a fresh spray on those stormy nights, tiny visitors to keep me company as they buzzed around the room.

The neighborhood had become crowded over time and always changing with new people plonking new homes, or some old ones disappearing into the night. My next door neighbor was a guy who talked to himself. But his Golden Retriever looked up at me with sad eyes, her shaggy fur drooping over them while her matted tail wagged with enthusiasm. I always bent down to pet her and even shared my bread whenever I could. The man always shoo-ed me away, just as he did everyone else including unseen monsters. Further down the street, newer homes had popped up, as colorful as the people inhabiting them.

One time when I was coming back home late in the night, the woman who I always saw carrying an assortment of bags was crossing the street. I heard a screech and a car swerved sharply away before it sped off. I looked at the street and there she was, center stage under the spot light of a street lamp. Her bags were scattered around, her body half on the sidewalk half on the road on its side, and her eyes closed as if she was sleeping. From under her head a pool of blood expanded as more drained from her head and her fragile body. Neighbors stood around watching, waiting. They waited for what, they did not know, perhaps for her to die, or for police or ambulance to arrive. We all knew death will come before the help. No one had called 911, none of us had means to. Gradually, the crowd dispersed until we were left alone. I sat on the sidewalk with the woman’s head on my lap. I sang softly to her as her heartbeat became less labored and too weak to be felt, and then it stopped completely.
Next day started as usual, everyone in their own direction, no one remembering the episode of the previous night. All evidence of the crime had been cleared away. Before sunrise, an ambulance had arrived and taken the lifeless body away. How they learned where to come, none of us knew or cared. Our world was our own and each day was new, a gift that we had survived.

To Be Continued...

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Two mourning doves perched on a fence. He fluttering his feathers, flitting his tail, doing the dance on the balance beam. She watching, stepping away in her dainty steps, turning around to look the other way. For three hours the birds performed, a live theatre under the clear blue sky and our very own sun as the spot light. They flew off with the breeze, perhaps to carry on their courting for a new audience, on a different fence, or branch of a tree, or on a poolside patio.

A cicada killer wasp, nestled between the window and the screen. Slid half-way up, the glass holds the creature back from invading the indoors. Secured on all sides, the screen keeps it from its freedom. Its waspy body crawls up and then down, right and then left unable to escape. It’s long, translucent wings, instruments to call its mate flutter in desperation, their music without any sound. Encased within two barriers through which it can see the high ceilings of the indoors or the open sky outside, the creature quivers, paces, finds an opening and takes flight. Liberated it soars and returns to its seasonal music that sounds like the rattles of the desert snake.
An innocent squirrel scurries across the fence, leaps onto a tree branch, traverses down the trunk towards the birdfeeder. Gorging down the seeds on the ground in a hurry, spent, it falls flat on its stomach. It’s mouth bulging, stomach packed, energy depleted, desire unsated. Moments later it scuttles back to its home in the tree only to be tormented by the mocking bird that calls it home as well. A Roadrunner act comes into play as the squirrel dashes across the yard with the bird hovering overhead, it scurries across the fence under the squabble of beak, and it hides in the branches only to be assaulted within their canopy. The scene plays on for hours, fusing from Act 1 into 2 and 3. The two dash through yards, front and back, between houses, across boundaries unrecognized in their world. Then suddenly, a truce is called and each go their own way, until next time.
A blackbird loiters by the pool’s edge, its chlorine blue water shimmering in the bright day. It spots a June bug floating in the center whose slim legs wave in the air. The bug drifts on its back, helpless on the cool water’s surface. The bird tilts to the left, then to the right grasping the edge with its dainty feet and in a flash its wings open up and it glides to the center of the pool, diving just a smidgen. Failed to grab the helpless bug, it flies to the other end, re-evaluates and dives again. The June bug is rescued from drowning and becomes nourishment for a little blackbird.
A rabbit treads out from under the rosemary bush, strides toward a shady patio and watches a human sitting on a chair, book in hand. It plods forward stopping to admire the scenery at every turn, its mouth moving constantly, nose sniffing incessantly. Picking up a familiar scent creeping up from its rear, it scampers forward, decides a left turn, changes its mind and turns around in a circle with the beagle close on its tail in hot pursuit. It sprints to the far end of the yard, from the side of the pool, does an eight around the two trees and runs back into the rosemary bushes. The beagle maneuvers the course as an Olympic champion, curves around the bends expertly and keeps pace with the tiny creature. His bulk around the belly, long hours of rest and comfortably secure life contributing to his handicap in this chase his breed was born to perform. The beagle buries his nose, face, half his body, in the fragrant bushes, lying in wait for a tiny movement or minute mistake by the little creature. Several minutes tick away as all that is seen is the Beagle’s tail upright like a flag, waving, wagging, wiggling, until he gives up and returns to his interrupted nap under the cool breeze of the ceiling fan.
This kingdom under the sun and moon where there is game, much romance, fight for survival and a lot of dance. Each day is new with renewed verve and vigor to stave of starvation. Each night is fearful and then thankful for not becoming the hunted. The cycle endures, theatre persists, acts performed and we the humans, sit back and watch. If the actors come too close for our comfort, encroach into our turf, we complain, shoo or whack them away.

But whose turf is it really?
Who is the one really intruding?
Who is truly wild?