This gorgeous sunflower we call Emma.


I had the pleasure a few years ago of befriending a young, spirited, sunshine-filled tough warrior called Emma. She had moved to Beirut to study Arabic. She played capoeira with us. She wrote poetry and attended the Poeticians and read her lovely poems. She danced and befriended men from the refugee camps, and gave us laughter and naughty twinkly eyes and music CD’s and memories of beach front parties. She supported me through tough times, and applauded my first book. She is a gifted lovely young woman, and today she is in another continent, probably spreading just as much mischevious love and laughter as ever.  Here are some of her poems. Her bio is under the Poets page.

at twenty-five

i’m all wild eyes n unrepentant hips

burn my tongue on this rush of youth

reach out to touch that reflection

fearless, unrecognizable

out my window the city stretch electric

into dirty sundown n churning concrete

arteries of light roil n buck against the night

the mirror image offers no apology

she listens to no warnings about the thick

undertow of desire in glances caught across

streets turned to jumping rivers,

she walks through this city apocalyptic

with rain sucking on burnt fingers


you orange blossom & diesel

red nail polish

5 am call to prayer

you salt on my lips you

slicksong arak back alley kiss

burning tires & hands held under the table

you cornerstand ice cream & bones

hot wax, tear gas

dreamlilt midnight fairuz radio

rocket launchers & the corners of my babu’s eyes

snipers on the roof

sweet coffee

our honey skin oh backseat

blacklace gold chain sweatgames

ya beirut

homeforeign & aching

sweet mint, dabke boom & return

you hope you high heels you

gardenia you smoke

home from kirkuk,

my third grade love said

the freakiest thing

is that so many of them

hanging from doorways

looked just like

your dad


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