I thought I owed you,

‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’

‘Where are you going dressed like that?’

‘Who is he?’

‘When are you coming over?’

‘Can I buy you a drink?’

‘Will you take minutes?’

‘Could you listen to them?’

‘When will you have kids?’

‘Why aren’t you married?’

I truly thought I owed you,

So, I walked while looking over my shoulder,

Kept the memory of your hands, body on me, hidden,

a gift to the demons that plague me.

I thought I owed you,



Before the clock strikes midnight,

Say my name.

Call it when your soul is still,

Yes, say my name.

Say it when it feels like the universe is bent on keeping me away,

Say it, because I’m afraid if you do not,

I will.

Before the clock strikes midnight…say my name.

Call me into a new dawn, an assurance that wherever my soul may be,

It will always smile upon you.

Gray Steel Kerosene Lamp
Gaurav Kumar Verma took this photo/


My love is like a flame.

It knows your name,

Accepts your shame,

Keeps you safe from blame.

My love is like a flame,

It knows how to ignite,

Even when we don’t fight,

It gets you just right.

Woman with Face and Body Paint

My love is like a flame,

Forget those lines up there and know that it knows how to keep the temperature right, a little bit of heat, a little bit of zing, a slow burn, or full on roast.

My love is like a flame, isn’t it odd that I am the one who gets consumed by it?

You know I love you

You know I love you right?

I could probably say it better, make it mean more than just a confirmation of a declaration, but when it comes to you,

Oh, you unsettle me.

You scatter my wits and where my head reigns you reside.

You know what’s mine before my heart declares it.

We live in words, thoughts and sometimes…we choose to come undone in the consequences.

I live for peace and understanding,

But you who know that what’s written by you can be erased, do not…

So our words come and go but the traces of their presence lingers on.

I love you.

I knew I did when I was eight…and over the years you’ve been a friend, a solace, a confidante…a ruler…

Now here goes my heart, for my mind’s far gone and I seek to venture into my mind to write another story.

You know I love you right?

You know I need you right?

You know that of all I’ve said, only one word rings true, right?

Now be a dear and let’s write.

black pencil on ruled notepad beside white ceramic mug and gray laptop computer

Send Me a River

Send me a River, won’t you?

A slow, steady provision of water, for every tear I’ve shed,

Replenish the salt with fresh pure water,

Slow steady meandering around rocks, ferrying twigs, leaves, branches downstream.

Send me a River, will you?

To be the strength I need when you’re gone,

To be the light I need when you’re coming home,

To be the joy I need when you get home.

To be everything but me…a river would do that.

body of water

Send me a River, can you?

To make up for the years you’ve been away,

To soak up the war you carry in your head and heart,

To silence the war in you, and bring back the one I sent out,

To prove that war changes a man, but not his soul…to make me stay up at night praying for you, for your smile…for I’d trade that River for your smile…for your fear, for your anger, for your bitterness, for everything that war did unto you…you know I will.

So, send me a River, that I may wash away these sins…these sins that we wear as our skins, oh that they may not scar our children….

Send me a River.

Salt shaker

I’ll write you a story; a good story.

I’ll throw in similes; as sweet as honey, a dark as night, as proud as a peacock and watch you become as gentle as a lamb.

I’ll paint your days dark and color your nights yellow.

I’ll write you a story, yeah, you bet I will. When you hold your phone closer to your face in the matatu, or scroll down your computer screen…you’ll know that it is about you.

Your laugh, smile…how you cross your arms above your chest, how you look at me when I am not looking at you. How you have been trying to decipher me. 

I’ll write you not one, but two stories and watch you shed your worries. Is this real? Are you for real? What are your plans?

I’ll write you a story, because I’d rather write than utter,

For I fear I might falter and stutter,

But…but…but, here’s the deal, I’ll write and you’ll read.

You’ll read and these words would sink in,

You’ll read and these words will get you thinking that maybe, just maybe I’m talking to you.

You’ll read and a part of me will be shaken, shaken like a salt shaker,ready for some seasoning.



You look great. I love your hair.



I love your shoes.



Wish you’d have a worn black, it’d tone down the colors.

Have you ever thought of having a nice weave?

Is it not a chore combing your hair everyday?

Wait, and have you tried some facial cream?

I know this great soap that helps with rashes.

I also don’t take lots of dairy, it messes up with your face you know!

How can you eat fries every day and not have a pot?

What? Ati you weigh 53kgs? Do you workout?

How come you don’t have a guy?

Don’t you get lonely, like what do you do for fun?

Wait, how come you like motorbikes and X-Men? Guys are into such stuff, I never thought a chick could dig that stuff!

Do you write using a ruler or something? How come your handwriting is so neat?


Walk away…slow steady steps away from the dark to the unknown…slow, steady steps.

Give an eraser time to delete the pencil work before they catch up to the ink.


When you lie down, think of what it was that you felt when you closed your eyes.

I heard you say, “drifting,” as though I was in Africa while you were in Antarctica. 

You said we were not connected, and I thought of an electric grid that none has ever understood its complexities;neurons,synapses, memories,motor skills…I drew a Map of us, a map that was a blank as the look on your face when you finished talking.

“So, what do you have to say?”

I drew a map. 

I am certain of it. I drew a very good map. 

Tonight as I drift to sleep, I stare at my finger, I cannot seem to close my eyes for this piece of silver might disappear and I may just wake up to “Congratulations,” and that, my beloved, makes me want to have a deep conversation with my shadow at 2A.M.

If I Were

​If I were a scent how I’d love to be Jasmine, something exotic and sweet.

If I were a drink I’d be Scotch in the morning, Water in the afternoon and Coffee in the evening.

If I were a color, I’d be just as your eyes view me and so much more: Red, Blue, Green, Orange, Black, White, Brown but not Purple, please not purple!

If I were a book, I’d come plain, a canvas awaiting a creation, no ruled lines,so you can never tell where your scribbles go and how much I can take.

If I were an experience, I’d be Fanta Orange and crank up the Bamboocha in you,

If I were a flavor, I’d be ice cream, Vanilla flavoured.

If I were a letter, I’d be Q, so you know I’m a Queen…

If I were a song, honey you’d love me a melody, sing me a feeling and tune me a rhythm.

If there’s this, then there’s more.

If I were anything less than this, 

If I were anything,