28 December 2016

28 December 2016

How will I know when it’s come time to move on with things?

What if I’ve already stayed for too long?

In the days before, someone generally came and told me. Like no Naz, you’re not going to that school anymore but rather to this other one over here. Or those shoes are not right for a girl your age, Naz. Or now comes the part where you learn to drive, Naz.

You know. That sort of thing.

But no one does that for me now.

The problem is I am fine with how things are for me. Fine. I believe I have always been fine. Satisfied. Not unsatisfied.

Maybe I’m happy.

23 December 2016

290,091,200,500,000,000 oscillations of the cesium atom

It’s all to come out as stories, then, is it? I would have expected pictures – selfies, perhaps, or bits from childhood – or else religion or politics or musics. It has been a year now, however, unless someone has gone and bungled my posting dates, and stories are all I see.

So stories it is.

I do have my favorites. I am neither neutral nor disinterested when it comes to my stories.

Below you will find my favorites from my first year of blogging. In case you missed them first go-around.

1.         The magic snake. 19 January 2016
 After posting this one, I started having readers.

2.         Sleeptalker / Vegetable man. 30 January 2016
 Living with my sister, in two parts. The story is in two parts, I mean to say. My sister remains in one.

3.         Pomegranates! 27 August 2016
 There are elephants here. And dancing slave girls. But never pomegranates.

4.         Swap. 24 July 2016
 A bit like the magic snake, only better.

5.         Open windows. 2 January 2016
            This is a happy little story. We all need more happy little stories.

That is all there is. Year 2 will be better. I promise.

16 December 2016

The chairs of Abbu

As a child, I was told by my brother that our father had invented chairs, and I believed it.

Not a chair – not some specialized chair, something like might be trademarked and profited from – but rather chairs as in the entire notion of chairs. As in there had been no chairs, not anywhere, none at all, and then Abbu came along and invented one and now there were chairs.

Do not think me a fool. I was skeptical at first and I challenged my brother on his claim.

11 December 2016

What Amy knew

My sister is a student at a school of medicine. This means that she knows how to perform terrible – or, I suppose conceivably, wonderful – procedures upon me, only she’s not legally permitted to do so.

As of yet, as of yet.

This in turn means – although it would not necessarily follow for anyone other than my sister – that it is to her professors she turns in officially diagnosing me with various ailments and subjecting me to frequent and outlandish medical tests.

After my recent migraine blog post, she’s gone and done it again. Here it is in the form A VERY SHORT PLAY:

08 December 2016

A strange start, perhaps

I am going to tell you now about something strange that’s happened to me, a something which, to be perfectly honest, is in the process of still happening to me even as I write these words.

I don’t know how many posts this story might require. Perhaps I will go on to other things and then return periodically to it, as the something strange continues to develop.

Probably I will.

04 December 2016


Mother we call Ammi and she winces every time there’s a curse word on the t.v. Winces, like a you-walk-up-and-pretend-to-throw-something-at-her-head wince.

It’s visceral. 

She is not faking this.

Strange that a woman so smart so strong can be all but taken out by a single “damn”.

Once, in their home, I saw Abbu watching “Die Hard”. Ammi appeared nearly epileptic. And on Thanksgiving this year, Abbu flipping through channels on the t.v. said, “Hey, look: ‘Django Unchained’!” but we all talked him down from it, barely.

We laughed and laughed about it, too, but wow: How I wish the power of words could set off physical reactions in me.

30 November 2016


I awoke this morning still strapped in the chair. This wasn’t a surprise, though the chair had oxidized more than I might have expected.

I promised myself, when this all began, that I would not panic prematurely. That I would not engage in hyperbole. That I would wait, surely I would wait, until something bad actually happened before screaming out.

26 November 2016

Times of migraines

My feet do not always listen to what I have to tell them. In times of migraines, for instance, it’s as though these feet have a mind of their own and yet my mind for its part lacks feet and this soon becomes a problem.

Mostly they seem to want to walk me into a closet.

Into the dark.

And so we have been hiding, my feet and I, for a week now, maybe more – without writing, without keeping in touch, you might have noticed, I don’t really know – but it is not helping. The migraines know I’m here.

“They flee the light; the darkness soothes their disease; nor can they bear readily to look upon or hear anything pleasant… The patients are weary of life and wish to die.”
– Arataeus (1st century Greek physician), “Heterocrania”

15 November 2016

A net of stars (the jewels of Naz, part 3)

Now it is night again, so I will get on with what I’ve started:

In my college years, I read practically all of the time, you see, always except when I was sleeping (which wasn’t much) or when I was writing to you (which was more), but practically all of the rest of the time. All this reading had not yet brought me wisdom and had not yet brought me riches, but once, in the moldy dusty cellar of an old world library, it brought me the location of Bostanji’s ancient tower.

The wisdom and riches would come later, in good time, I thought.


13 November 2016

Hide them in the sky (the jewels of Naz, part 2)

Now it is night again and I will get on with what I’ve started:

Bostanji did not have a plan for what to do next, which might be the very best kind of plan, if you think about it. No one else can possibly know what one’s plan is if there’s not a plan to be known.

That’s what I say, and frequently.

12 November 2016

Democracite and bobstones (the jewels of Naz, part 1)

I am asked where it was I got all of this sparkly jewelry and my answer is always the same.

Oh, not precisely the same, it is true. Not word-for-word sameness, for that would be unusual, suspect, and in fact a bit creepy. The story of my jewelry evolves with each telling, but the basic framework remains.

Before the story of my jewelry evolves again, I’m going to tell it to you:

06 November 2016

Donald, I'm ready

If I were to dress every day the way in which I wish to dress every day, you would think I was ridiculous. Perhaps a bit irrational. Mad.

Don’t you know that it’s not practical – it is not feasible! – to celebrate Life with lavish clothes on just ANY old day? There needs to be some excuse. Something official.

That is what I am told, at any rate. 

I believe Election Day to be such an excuse, so this is what I’ll be wearing come Tuesday.    

31 October 2016


“I can’t shake your hand because my thumb was in my mouth and there’s gasoline on my fingers” is something I believed no one would ever say to me in my lifetime, but I was wrong.

25 October 2016


“You’ll never find a husband in the sky.”

I am eight years old the first time Ammi tells me this. Eight! My attention, such as it is at the time, is on a flock of dark birds – migrating, probably – which fills the street loudly. The birds land on power lines together. Immediately dart back off the power lines together. Change direction. Once. Twice. Together.

I assure you, it is far more remarkable than anything happening on the ground.

At eight years old, I am not looking for a husband. I dismiss my mother’s words as nonsense, perhaps a weak translation of some saying that made more sense when her mother said it to her.

But now I am twenty-four and she says it again and it’s still just as stupid a saying as it was when I was eight.

There’s a lot going on up there in the sky and it should be seen. 

Groundling husbands be damned!

21 October 2016

Civic duty

Two weeks until elections and the anger is all around me. It clings to everything, everywhere. Globs of it.

I see red-faced people screaming on the tv. Families who unfriend each other on facebook. I hear talk of Armageddon.

The anger fills our days now. It is gelatinous and it is semi-translucent. Children and dogs and an old lady in the Heights have drowned in it.

That’s just this week.

So far.

Workers with shovels come trying to remove the anger. To cart it away. The workers are tiny. They wear overalls intended for babies, probably. The workers scoop the anger into red wheelbarrows. Into dump trucks and oaken barrels. Tupperware bowls. A cracked CD case for Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Street Survivors. A hollow plastic model of the expanding universe. An old VCR and your mother’s cupped hands.

I wonder where they take it all to.

Someday, many years from now, I suppose, my grandchildren will peer up at me and say, “Zeze” – for that is what they will call me, inexplicably – “what did you do to stop the bad things from happening back in 2016?”

And I will be compelled to admit to them that I, in my great negligence, failed to do anything, to say anything. Perhaps it is not so great after all, my negligence.

In the face of anger and screaming, I could have at least found the courage to post my thoughts on what’s happening instead of writing about chokers and broken keys… 

16 October 2016

The boy in the sequined mask

To the boy in the sequined mask:

I am looking for you. Everyone knows it. You are the pomegranates guy. The one who stood me up on the day of my sister-in-law’s mehndi when I sat all night at the swing with the lilac glow but you never showed.

I’d like to ask you why you did that. Just so I know, you know?

After that? Maybe love or maybe revenge. One or the other, I should think. Definitely. Or there might exist other alternatives, and reasonable, too, though I have never been one to discount the possibility of the unreasonable.

I do not have much to go on in my search. A private investigator told me that. His name was Harry and he called himself a tracker, presumably because he lacked the proper licenses to call himself anything else.

Still I believe Harry the Tracker was correct.

The pertinent facts, as we have reconstructed them, are as follows:
1.   You (the boy in the sequined mask) were present at a certain named Desi event hall at 2 pm on Saturday, August 20th;
2.   You had eyes changed by something you’d seen. A burning bush, perhaps, or a four-headed angel with a flaming sword. Something along those lines;
3.   Your accent was soaked in Islamabad, though you worked hard to hide it; and finally,
4.    You wore a silver sequined mask. 
This is not a lot to go on. Yet it is more to go on than many dreams have at their start.

I have a plan. 


10 October 2016


Of my obsessions, what can be said? They flow through my life like water, filling every nook and cranny they can fill.

I can pick up something casually – something entirely new – say on a Thursday afternoon, just to see if it holds an interest. Then I look up at the clock and it is 4 a.m. and I have not eaten dinner, prayed, or gone to bed and I come home at lunch time to get in fifteen more minutes where I can.

My current obsession involves making chokers. It does not just involve making chokers, the obsession is the actual making of chokers, you see, but this in itself involves a ceaseless search for beads and threads and clasps and fabrics.

It’s a problem.

This very blog has suffered for this obsession.

Yet I’m heading in the general direction of getting good at them, I believe. 

06 October 2016

Reasons to wear a headscarf, part 783

I came upon a hummingbird.

He was lying on the ground and appeared as though dead.

He was not dead, for if he had been, I would not be writing this blog post about him. Believe me: I know of no good stories to be told involving dead hummingbirds. Perhaps this just shows some lack of imagination on my part.

This hummingbird in question – this one about whom I do have a story – looked dead but felt alive. When the sunlight reflected on his tiny chest, it twinkled like oil on water, how one color instantly becomes another and you cannot take your eyes off it.

I cradled him in my hands and my hands looked huge at last.

I suppose he was in shock but upon reaching my office, he came unshocked and darted straight up and into the fluorescent lights in the ceiling. It is not an easy thing, catching an unshocked hummingbird who slams himself against ceiling lights.  

Like a madman, I leapt upon my desk and climbed atop a teetering cabinet. My thin pink headscarf I used as a makeshift net with which to capture and retain the hummingbird. We made the trek back outside for his happy release.

I was happy, at any rate. It seems he, for his part, should have been more satisfied with his lot in life than when I’d found him there on the ground. I have no real understanding of hummingbird emotions, I admit.

I opened my hands, unfolded my headscarf, and the hummingbird shot up and out, over the people, over the cars, and over the buildings of downtown Houston.

The chances of our meeting again were negligible. 

30 September 2016


When I said that I clean when I am down, it was a sort of half-truth I’m afraid, which is nothing more than a lie, in the end, as my mother taught me.

I should not have lied.

I apologize.

The truth is that I clean every chance I get, regardless of mood. Despite or because of mood, even.

Truly, cleaning is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Sweeping, mostly. The kitchen tiles but also, to a lesser extent, those of the bathrooms, the latter being lesser pleasures only for their having fewer tiles to sweep.

My Shark Rocket ultra-light upright vacuum with swivel steering comes in a close second, for with it, any number of astonishing household chores can be achieved. The attachments allow for everything from cleaning out the fan on my laptop to reaching that frustrating spot where the ceilings meet the walls and dust accrues.

I like rubbing away the smudges from around light switches and organizing the contents of my lipstick case, my hanging shoe rack, and my underwear drawer by color. I declare to you with confidence that the transparency of my windows rivals that of any windows in this city, and perhaps in the whole state of Texas.

Cleaning is perfect. I can see – I can know precisely! – that moment in time in which a task is complete.



A friend calls me on the telephone and asks if I want to go out and have fun tonight. I say to her, “I can’t. I have to stay in so I can clean my house.”

But inside, secretly, I am thinking, “I get to stay home and clean my house tonight!” 

22 September 2016

Muslim is the new Catholic

Way back in the days when I was in school, I spent a semester once taking classes at a Catholic seminary.

This sounds somewhat weirder than it was. I don’t mean the classes, for those were weirder than they sound: Synoptics. The Desert Fathers. Theological Anthropology.

What I mean, rather, is that it might sound weird that I’d be there, in a Catholic seminary, at all. It wasn’t.

One course I remember was called The History of Catholicism in America. We learned about how, back in the 19th century, Catholic immigrants to America were often seen as swarthy, bearded, bomb-toting unionists who refused to learn English or to try and fit into American society. They were “papists” whose divided loyalties meant they would never be real Americans.

This all sounded a bit familiar to me, somehow.

We read a book called Catholicism and American Freedom: A History in which John T. McGreevy wrote:
 “The idea that American Catholics… threatened the foundations of the nation-state became a truism in some religious and intellectual circles. Either American Catholics must renounce the Vatican, one minister explained, or they must ‘renounce their allegiance as citizens.’ A writer for The Independent was more blunt: ‘The comprehensive lesson is that Romanism is incompatible with republican institutions. Like slavery, it is a hostile element lodged within the nation, gnawing and burning it like a caustic’.”
I think about this sometimes. I think about it when I’m told by people (mostly online and probably even Catholic, to boot) that I cannot be a good Muslim and a good American.

17 September 2016

The rise and fall of Mr. Shah

His tenure at the company was brief. His tenure at the company was spectacular.

Possibly he is not remembered by the others at all, by now. I remember him.

This is the story of Mr. Shah.

I never knew Mr. Shah. He officed behind the heavy wooden door at the end of the hallway. It was the same heavy wooden door our previous supervisor had officed behind before our previous supervisor was moved to the new Dallas location.

We arrived Monday morning to find the heavy wooden door already shut.

We heard the bangings and the hammerings that come with moving into a new office. Slightly more noise than we’d expected, to be honest. Yes, more noise, yes, but still, we knew Mr. Shah had arrived.

The emails began immediately.

Each of the emails was signed “Mr Shah”. There were many of these, with instructions. The instructions bore little in common with the jobs we had, up until then, been performing.

I worked late that Monday. I remember. Mr. Shah was still arranging his office when I left.

Tuesday, the arguments on the phone began.

They were probably arguments. From behind the heavy wooden door at the end of the hallway came a voice, hoarse and pained, like a man lost in some remote place wailing for rescue. It might have been in the Finnish language, for I do not know Finnish.

At the conclusion of each argument, we’d hear the sound of the phone slamming down, then more banging and more hammering from the ongoing move-in.

On Wednesday, our IT guy contacted a friend from the next tower over, and using a telescope, attempted to peer into the office window of Mr. Shah.

The results were disappointing.

On Thursday, we received an email in which our job duties, our work hours, and even our individual offices were completely rearranged. Curiously perhaps, this email was bereft of punctuation and signed “shaw”.

I began to fear that panic would ensue within the office. Thursday, however, was payday that week, and upon seeing our direct deposits had occurred as usual, we continued to do as we were told to do. Told to do by Mr. Shah, I mean. Or maybe Mr Shah. Or maybe just shaw.

By Friday, he was gone, his office cleared of everything but a desk, an orthopedic chair, and a single scrap of paper upon which someone had scribbled the word “VANQUISH”.

I sent everyone home.

Later, I received an email from our new Dallas office. It announced the impending arrival of a Mr. Khan as our new supervisor.

11 September 2016

Put it on

The times when I am down and at my darkest, those are the times I am at my most predictable.

I clean the house. I shop for clothes.

A person could chart my mood through the years using nothing more than my credit card statements.

I’m out today – shopping, obviously – and if I don’t start feeling better soon, then I fear it won’t be long until I run out of closet space.  

07 September 2016


In my naiveté, I failed to plan ahead suitably for my trip through the revolving door. I see that now.

I thought it would be but a simple thing. I assumed I was leaving nothing to chance, whereas in reality, nothing could have been further from the truth.

I pressed against the push bar with my forearm, the way I always did in revolving doors when my hands were full. My hands were full. In my left, I held some papers and my eyeglasses and the strap to my purse. A hot cup of coffee occupied my right.

But hardly had I begun pushing, completing two full steps forward, when I noticed something was wrong. A great assemblage of people filled the bank lobby within, just sort of standing about. Loafing, perhaps. Blinking white lights on the interior walls indicated something.

Fire drill or fire or robbery.

It was too late for me. The door leaf against which I pushed was by now even with the interior opening of the door, while the door leaf behind me was already well past the front opening.

People inside the bank waved for me to stop. To not enter.

I could not stop. I could not stay where I was, trapped within the door. That was entirely unsatisfactory to me.  But neither could I go backwards.

To my way of thinking, backing up was not an option for two reasons: First, I was not entirely certain that revolving doors were capable of revolving both ways, clockwise as well as counter-clockwise. Second, with my hands being so full, I was not capable of now pulling the push bar that I – up until just that moment – had been pushing.

The only way for me, therefore, was forward, much to the visible chagrin of the people inside the bank lobby, many of whom by this time were noticing the difficulty I was having in the door.

I pushed my way in and I kept pushing. I smiled and I pushed. I waved hello to them with my coffee cup and I pushed. Circling back around towards the front sidewalk now, I could hear a great laughter behind me.

Laughter at me or laughter with me.

I’ll go to my grave never knowing for sure which. 

03 September 2016

New things

When I was a child, someone somewhere told me once that if I played tennis, I would wind up with one arm freakishly larger than the other. Being the great lover of symmetry that I am, I’ve therefore refused to go anywhere near a tennis racket ever since.

Today, I am fully grown and wonder: How many other things do I fear doing because of something someone somewhere told me they’d heard about it once?''

27 August 2016


He was beautiful, or rather, I imagined him to be beautiful behind that mask he wore.

A silver sequined mask.

Of course it was the mask. Of course it was, for my imagination far exceeded any reality. Or, if my imagination did not exceed reality, then surely my assumptions regarding the limits of beauty did.

He was walking. I walked into the event hall as he was walking out and he was masked. What else could I do? We spoke, though why and of what I do not recall. Something simple, I am sure. Simple enough to be spoken of while privately contemplating beauty.

He would return, he promised, after the end of my sister-in-law’s mehndi. We were to meet at the swing in the lilac glow so I sat in the swing in the lilac glow and I waited and pictured his imminent return.

He would arrive on a throne, I decided. Yes, masked and on a throne.


And though normally, that might seem pretentious, I’d hardly even notice it here, for the throne would be atop – or more precisely, held between – four enormous and bejeweled elephants.

His cortege would consist of five thousand Persian charioteers in five thousand chariots (scythed), ten thousand mounted warriors, and fifteen thousand of the finest archers in the land. Before the chariots would come his trusted tnunshi and chief officer, wearing a ceremonial lion skin robe, resting on a somewhat smaller but no less noble elephant than those of my masked friend.

Then would come his silver-thighed cup bearers, mamluks playing bamboo flutes, dancing girls from India, and Sufi poets reciting verses of love for me. His personal mathematicians, his astrologers, physicians, philologers, and logicians would ride, biting their fingers in astonishment at the ostentatiousness of the display.

The perfumes and the flowers – oh, how could I forget the perfumes and the flowers? – the silks, the rugs, embroidered tapestries, lavish vestments from throughout the known world and beyond! Cartload after cartload of fruits and exotic foods from far distant orchards. And more sturdy oxen than you could shake a stick at, if you had a stick and wished to shake it at some sturdy oxen.

All of the royal court and all the regalia of empire, marching along just for me and singing.

I would join my mysterious stranger at his throne and we would all ride off together, off and to a river valley, where we’d listen to melodists from Kabul or from Kashmir (I forget which) and eat pomegranates until morning’s light.

“Naz,” a voice from somewhere said. “Naz, the hall is closing up. Come on. I’ll drive you home.”

There stood my sister. At the swing in the lilac glow.

There were no pomegranates.

There were no pomegranates and no melodists and no oxen and no tapestries and not a single elephant to be seen anywhere.

There never are any pomegranates, are there?

23 August 2016

After the wedding

We tried a bit of everything else first. Eventually we phoned the EMS.

The people who emerged from out of the ambulance were women. Women! Three of them, too, and giants at that. Nephilim, I suppose. The men of our party looked ashamed for having resorted to women in the exercise of strength at hand.

It wasn’t only that our guest was large, you see, though certainly he was that and more. Having once managed his body, with great difficulty and with the huffing and the puffing, down into a chair, he found himself then unable to get back up and onto his feet.

The party screeched to a halt. Everyone to a person stared, like he was a car accident or an entertainment spectacle for us or like something just on a screen and unaware that every eye in the room was observing his predicament and judging him.

The EMTs grabbed hold and a-one and a-two and a-up onto his feet and then everyone clapped their hands but me. The poor man. What a nightmare for him! He’ll probably never venture out in public again!

I felt so sad for our guest that for a moment – only a moment, I grant you, but a full moment, still – I nearly forgot that this was the same man who’d tried to buy me off my father when I was just fifteen. 

19 August 2016

The gong show

When you come to the week of your brother’s wedding and when you’ve stayed too busy to sleep in weeks and when everyone is gathered in together for the Mehndi and when the bride and groom are missing and when the bride and the groom are missing because they’ve had a wreck and when the crowd is bored and when the crowd is looking to you, bored


maybe you decide to take the bull by the horns and maybe you decide to entertain and maybe you decide to dance and maybe you decide to dance with your sister and your cousin and maybe I’m talking full-fledged Shakar Wandaan although maybe it’s not so good and maybe no one even pays attention and maybe this goes on for like fifteen or twenty minutes.

Well, maybe you don’t do any of that.

Maybe it’s just me.

12 August 2016

A dream?

It is a dream, or most probably a dream. I cannot be certain, for I am in the same place within the dream as without, as is my habit.

But yes, it must be a dream, after all. I am almost certain of it, now, as much as I can be certain of it, which is to say nearly not at all.

The bird that ruins my nap has a green body and a blue head. It taps. It taps. I get up to shoo it off and it stares at me through my window.

The bird is my friend, Arun.

I know right away what this is. A spell has been cast – on Arun, I mean to say – and now to all the world, it is as though Arun is a bird. Scared and alone, he has flown nine thousand, five hundred-odd miles in hopes that I might recognize him and solve his dilemma. I recognize him.

“Come in, Arun,” I say and I slide open the window. “You have traveled far. Rest and find comfort here while I bring water for you.”

A spell is only a trick. Maybe a trick of the mind. Maybe hypnosis. Still, in the end, only a trick. Myself, I have a way with puzzles and mazes and riddles and I can break this. I can!

It is a simple matter, really, just a matter of coming at it from a different angle. The unintended angle. The illusionist waves his right hand before the crowd so no attention is paid to what his left hand is doing. That's all there is to casting or breaking a spell. 

I can break this spell.

This is my sort of game exactly.

I walk back to the room, water glass in hand, and find my cat, Qasurah, Lord of the South, up on the window sill. The scattering of feathers around her does not look promising.

It seems my cat has eaten Arun.

Yes. Yes, it is only a dream.


07 August 2016

A report from the green party convention

I sat across the hallway, mostly. People-watching.

I am afraid that I did not participate in any meaningful way.

Despite my standoffishness, friendliness abounded. Attendees approached me offering political literature, which I accepted gladly. A man congratulated me on my “magnificent” nose.

I sat on a windowsill. I sat cross-legged, which is not to say I suffered from some sort of affliction – not walleyed or club-footed, pigeon-toed or hump-backed – but I mean to say rather that I sat with my legs crossed.

What an appalling word! Cross-legged. Like an impairment or very nearly so: “I am sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Patel, but little Sanjay is going to be cross-legged for life. We can have him fitted with leg braces.”

This report of mine is a travesty, bogged down in talk of cross-leggedness and no way to extricate myself from it now. This is why I avoid political reporting.

At least I didn’t say “sitting Indian style.”

Dr. Cornel West ran from me, I believe.
Wikileaks' Julian Assange spoke via satellite.
This young man came in second in the Florida
Green Presidential primaries. He is 17.
In the end, the convention nominated these two individuals
to be President and Vice President.

30 July 2016

Electronic mail

Miss Iqbal, Why you only tell half the story? Like mooslems don’t do anything wrong. The mooslem world is all happy people and flyng carpets?

I'll read you when you tell the truth.


Dear truth-seeker:

This blog is a happy place. I hope it is a happy place. It’s a place full of magic snakes.

There are strange skies, sleepwalking sisters, and impossibly small faces here, too. I put them here. If tomorrow I were to begin posting, let’s say, clips of terrorist beheadings, this could not help but spoil both my vibe and my brand.

I am cultivating here, sir!

Places do exist, online, where you can go should you wish to watch the latest beheading. Wish to watch, wish to watch. I cannot imagine why you would, really, as it seems like a poor way to spend one’s precious time.

If you wish to read of Middle Eastern people doing bad things, I recommend Headscarves and Hymens, which Mona Eltahawy wrote. This book is certain to put you in a suitably awful mood.

I have always doubted the safety and practicality of carpets as a mode of transportation.

Thank you for reading and writing me.

I hope your time here glows.


24 July 2016


Have I told you yet about Nice Old Mary?

We used to do household chores for her in exchange for hearing her stories, my sister and I. Dusting, dishes, that sort of thing. Nothing too laborious.

Nice Old Mary was nice and old and spoke with an accent which I can still imitate but have never successfully identified. Her stories were of her youth, full of creatures and places long vanished, for she was impossibly ancient, I should think.

If she knew of the distant past, then it only stood to reason to me that Nice Old Mary should know of the distant future as well.

I said, “Nice Old Mary, tell me of my future husband. How handsome will he be? How strong? How rich?”

Earning such a story meant clearing out her garage, a task encompassing three days’ work.

When these three days were completed, my sister and I were then made to search out and capture a particular variety of black spiky worm. A caterpillar, in fact.

The next order of business was to find ourselves a leaf of medium size. Not a tiny leaf, no, that would not do, but neither was it to be an elephant ear sized leaf, for that would be superfluous to the old woman’s purposes.

Nice Old Mary’s instructions were quite firm. I wish to be clear on this. I was to print my question upon the leaf, which was medium-sized, and feed it to the caterpillar, which was black and spiky. This I did without complaint.

I still had no answer regarding my future husband.

The caterpillar cocooned.

All seemed lost.

A creature emerged at last from the cocoon, weeks later. A moth. Pale yellow. Upon its wings were hieroglyphs in Nice Old Mary’s native tongue.

My sister and I squealed. “What does it say, Nice Old Mary?” we said.

Nice Old Mary turned the moth around. To read the glyphs right-side up, you know.

“It says your life will be a happy one,” she said. “It says you will be smart and strong and successful, with or without a man.”  

The moth flew away.

“What the hell is this?” I said. I was indignant. “What about my husband?”

Nice Old Mary shrugged. “Don’t blame me, kid,” she said. “It was your damn caterpillar.”

20 July 2016

Number sixty-two

It’s been seven months and sixty-two blogs for me.

Here, at “Groves of Spears.”

I’m having loads of fun and meeting great new people. You’re not new people but you’re new to me. I know you were around somewhere else before you were here.

Thanks to all of you for stopping by to say hello like you do. I will try to make this blog better and better for you.

Now here’s a picture called “Motherships” by an Iranian artist named Maryam Hashemi.

17 July 2016

My super power

Listen to me. I tell you that I’m always wrong. I’m quite certain of this.

It’s not that I am a liar, no; I’m just a poor guesser. If it should so happen that you are talking with me and it turns out that I am right about something, then you can be reasonably confident that it is not me you’re talking with but rather someone else entirely.