04 октомври 2016

Labor Day

Manhattan slows down. September
Sunday,
last ice cream truck on the streets of
SoHo, warm days still, a faint breeze maybe,
gentle sun. Quiet.

I cross Broadway, going west. The cars halt with
a subdued screech. Mind roams still. Last night there
was an explosion; a small fire and shrapnel.

The woman in the street with her coffee in one hand,
cigarette in the other, stops in the middle of a pull.

12:49pm.

I cross Broadway, going west. Cars halt with
a screech. Roams.

The motionlessness spreads like a filter until it hits

The halal guy on the corner
wraps up a purchase with
urgency, thank you, see you, takes
off his shoes, careful it's a ritual
steps
away from the cart on the sidewalk where he
sells some dangerous chicken over rice and onto
a piece of tin foil. Late - but only a bit late.
Away from the stream of human traffic.
He reverently bows, whispers. I know
he is facing
the Ka'aba.
A prayer.

Manhattan slows down. 12:49pm, in the middle of a pull.
I stop.

The middle of a rush, a pull. I pause.

For the first time in months, I pause.

My heart slows down.

Manhattan slows

down.


Last night there was shrapnel, fires. Today
all there is
is the peace that we have learned
to cultivate.


01 март 2016

Prism



I know the exact look on her face, the first night she used my toothbrush. The next day, I brushed my teeth like thirtysome times, 'cause I didn't want to let her go. You have to understand when it hurt to love her, it hurt the way the light hurts your eyes in the middle of the night, but I had to see, even through the ruin, if what we were burying were seeds. There were so many plants in our house, you could rake the leaves even through that winter when I was trying to make angels in the snow of her cold shoulder. She was still leaving love notes in my suitcase; I'd always find them.


The day before I left, I remembered a story her mother told me. She said, Andrea, when Heather was a little girl, she couldn't fall asleep without tying a string to her finger all night long, she'd give that string the tiniest tug to make sure I was still there. And I'd tug back. That was love. That was love. As easy as that. Sometimes. Sometimes. 

07 ноември 2015

Let That Shit Go

Two days after he raped me, I went to yoga.
In the middle of the day, 14th street, day off my corporate job.
I expected to be forced
out
by outbursts of laughter because I am too cynical – too smart, really,
for layman philosophy and also because
my body wasn’t mine.

I couldn’t recognize it. Looking in the full body mirror in my roommate’s bedroom I matched my motions to the motions of the person against me, unconvinced.

The forty-eight hours prior I had spent walking through. Were the lines somewhat blurred? Maybe he didn’t know what he was doing. Maybe instead of freezing in my catatonic terror I should have

Maybe when the next morning he said I hope you didn’t have nightmares that was

The ends never tied together.

At the yoga studio, I lay on my back and stretched those newly unfamiliar joints and tendons.
The yogi wasn’t much of a talker. All she said was,
“One thing they taught us in training was,
You gotta let that shit go”

And that was really fucking profound, because
until that moment, in those 48 hours I had accumulated a heavy stack of excuses for him
that he couldn’t bother to even make for himself. I was pretending the pieces would somehow
fit.
I was planning on carrying around that stack of excuses
until it broke me, vertebra by vertebra.

Let that shit go.

I knew why the ends didn’t tie together.
It was because the lines are perfectly clear, because
I had no part in what he did and what he did was not my fault and what he did was wrong.

I can choose what to do with the heavy stack, turn it over to the police or write a dissertation or burn it,
or turn it into something of a poem.
But it has to go.

And it didn’t happen the same second, or
the same month really
but moment by moment, my cheeks and lips, my arms and calves,
my thighs
my pelvic bone
started to feel mine again, attached
to my brain, attached
to my soul.

10 септември 2015

The Words

My words dry me
up. They are

matchsticks I light,
more than once I touched them with the wet
tip of my tongue to smother the
flame, only to swallow
them, still burning.

Accidental fire eater. And for the duration of the flame, I am
a firefly.

(The last time I saw one I was with you, at Princeton.
Glowing in the dark humid air, their electrical
firefly bodies. Pre-storm.
...


I swallow them
up. It's no accident.

Unspoken, my burning words are
an incomplete circle.

A resolution that may exist
but remains undiscovered, like
that one time you lost your forgiveness for
me through a hole in your
coat's pocket.

In the Alphabet City,
a woman is burning alive.
With my glowing bones cracking burns every
last page,
every stop sign,
every ending so you'll never
have a trace of peace.

11 юли 2015

десет пъти жив

учителката ми по математика от прогимназията е починала вчера. изключителен човек. и беше млада, сигурно нямаше 50. и умна. търпелива. надъхваща. даде ми любовта към науката, но и към труда. хъс.

спомням си, когато загубихме П. и си казах. това да ти е за урок. да вдъхваш живот, не да го крадеш.

и когато се изплашихме за майка ми. и си казах. имаш възможности, но имаш и отговорности. трябва да имаш приоритети.

във втори курс ходих в някакъв фризьорски салон в града до колежа - богаташки град, повечето съпруги не работят, не им се налага. на долния етаж на салона сме само аз и една жена на средна възраст. тя разказва за депресията си, която била примесена с тревожност. и как дъщеря й имала известен приятел. как дъщеря й била толкова добра, че продала шала си на Ермес за благотворителна кауза. после се обръща към мен, и ме пита коя съм и откъде съм. и й казвам, от българия, уча в колежа. реакцията й: "ти си голяма късметлийка!! от българия?! на стипендия?!!?"
нищо не казах, разбира се. но тогава си помислих, надали аз съм късметлийката. може би просто съм умна. може би бачкам здраво. може би съм надъхана. това късмет ли е?

и сега, след две години, и с дипломата в ръце, ми е ясно какъв ми е късметът. родила съм се в семейство, където да уча за изпити се смята за инвестиция, не за разход. никой не ми държи сметка колко езика уча, къде си влагам времето. и когато нямахме пари, майка ми винаги казваше - за уроци пари има. и дори когато не сме съгласни едни с други, усещам подкрепата им, вярата им. това е лукс. че сме живи и заедно е лукс. че мога да помагам вкъщи - дори като просто не бивам тежест. че им казах, че ще кандидатствам в САЩ, и ме оставиха да се опитам - дори да значеше, че ще сгреша жестоко. че на 23 съм имала много шансове, единствено защото съм се родила в семейство, където да си вироглав се смята за добродетел.

защото всичките тези хора - учители, приятели, родители, са ме възпитали на труд. на хъс. на вяра. моите умения, стремежи, и надежди, са просто комбинация на тяхната отдаденост, на техните усилия.

и никога не съм била по-благодарна и смирена.



07 май 2015

Time famine

You're probably married, maybe a kid
or two. Not very shy.
Your eyes transfixed
upon me, cutting
the distance into atoms.

It's 3am and I am walking home, heels
in my left hand, hair reeking of
smoke. They really should stop letting
people smoke at bars but. That,
too, feels like home.

As does the asphalt under my
toes, still warm from a
periwinkle sun.

As do the steel street lamps, the
stray cats.
Constants in the dying
town where I was born, the
only place where
I know how to find peace.
And I’m leaving tomorrow.

You're on your balcony, looking down
at me, a total stranger.
I gaze at you. My feet sink into the warm ground.
We say nothing.
Your cigarette burns your shirt.
You let it burn.

I am a theorist of beginnings.

You’re probably 25,
got your bachelor's in the capital.
Didn't like the city much, met a girl.
Came back here.

I'm barely 22, still
in transit.

An anxious engineer of endings.

In this extended fraction of a moment,
we are each other's torture, the lives
we won't get to live.

Beyond this second, bent like
a cat's spine,
the distance extends to infinity.

A woman's voice calls
your name. You go back inside.

I walk back home.


Ruse, Bulgaria -- Boston, MA

09 април 2015

Easter

I learned God doesn't exist before some children
learned about Santa Claus.

Matter-of-factly, my mother explained
rain
was science and Christ
was a story.
At 5, there was no room for nuance, a
baptism into skepticism.

It's a family tradition, she
told me,
atheism, the way Sunday service
is tradition for our neighbors,
we are rational
and they pray before dinner.

My great-grandmother, the small-
scale rebel, was banned 
from the church. When her
friend died, the priest still would
not let her in. 
So she screamed 
and she screamed
and she banged on the doors
and she caused this great scene
till he did.

Easter is a pagan ritual, my mother
continues. The painted eggs are
on the counter, drying,
pagan, the sweet bread, pagan.

She takes the reddest egg,
and with it draws
the Holy Cross
on my forehead.

4/09/2015


31 март 2015

The Turn

The magician's assistant is
here, cut in three. 

I am the famed magician.
I am the one you came to see. 

This is my first and only show.
The rumors move fast and I move slow. 

I don't try to compete with time.
My tricks are real and I don't lie.  

Here is the greatest trick I know: 
What you came to see.
My assistant cut in three.

Be a good sport and 
volunteer. 

And don't worry about any 
piercing pain.

And don't dream about any 
artistic fame.

As far as I know you are just a prop.

And these people out there,
they are rooting you drop. 

The touch of 
death is nice and soft.

Volunteer. 
Be a good sport.

Here's the greatest truth I know:
My tricks are real and my 
magic frail.

The lady that I cut in three
will never be.

3/30/2015