Singapore/Lumpur Tour: Day 7

Posted On September 30th, 2011


I’ve got it. We’ll go
to the top of the tower
and then we’ll jump off.

Singapore/Lumpur Tour: Day 6

Posted On September 29th, 2011

Dyslexic kid’s mom
with tears in her eyes,
“My. Son. Bought. Your. Book.”

Just happened. Now I’m crying, too.

Singapore/Lumpur Tour: Day 5

Posted On September 28th, 2011



Small garage remote

with antenna makes me look

like I’m CIA. 

Because of my appearance, I always tend to get mistaken as a member of either Secret Service or the CIA. If you thought the ponytail would throw people off the trail, you’d be wrong; it just confirms their suspicions, makes it more obvious. As though I’m trying too hard to hide my TRUE identity. Today, after school, I went to a Belgian beer hall with a couple of Canadians and their delightful 10th-grade son. It was wonderful par ce que je suis un moite Belqique (not that anyone spoke French there or that I remember much of my own). The husband’s keys were on the table, and I noticed that he had a foblike device with a tiny retractable antenna. Turns out it’s for the garage door of his house. Nevertheless, I started making covert calls to my fellow operatives on it. If you are worrying that I am not getting to experience the local flavor here in Malaysia, you are TOTALLY JUSTIFIED.

Singapore/Lumpur Tour: Day 4

Posted On September 27th, 2011

Day 4 kicked my butt. I’m still rising at 5 in the morning (except for this morning, technically Day 5, when I arose at 4:45). I’m teaching only four poetry workshops a day, but they’re only 45 minutes each and the biggest ones have 80 kids in them! So I am beginning to lose my voice. Then last night I had to give a performance for the parents association, which was great, but I crawled into bed at 9:30. So here’s a haiku for Day 4.

I am so tired.KL totally kicks ass!
Except it is mine.

Singapore/Lumpur Tour: Day 3

Posted On September 26th, 2011

This is technically cheating, since it’s actually already Day 4 for me, but yesterday, which was my first day teaching, was so exhausting that I couldn’t write even a haiku. Again, this morning I am up at 5 to write and work for two hours before the teaching day begins. Today’s haiku is based on something a young Pakistani girl named Amal said to me; Amal asked why it was that whenever she tried to write about something beautiful, it seemed as if the process of writing about it made it no longer beautiful. I asked her what kinds of things she was talking about and she said, “Oh, you know, like an abandoned tire or a stack of newspapers.” How wonderful is that?!


Writing about them
made them somehow no longer
pretty anymore.

Enjoy the night while I enjoy the day.

Metaphorically yours,


Singapore/Lumpur Tour: Day 2

Posted On September 25th, 2011

Finally arrived in my hotel after 26 hours of travel, mostly easy. Now I must sleep (if I can!) because I teach tomorrow! Haiku #2 before bed.

Oh! This is THAT place!
Never been here before, but
I know this skyline!


Singapore/Lumpur Tour: Day 1

Posted On September 24th, 2011

This tour is not as long as last year’s Bang-Bang Tour, but still, leaving the country to fly to the other side of the world—particularly to two countries you’ve never been to, Malaysia and Singapore—is always daunting. One haiku every day tracking my progress starts today.


Metaphorically yours,


P.S. Sent from the road so forgive odd spellings & apparent curtness.

Wait, what?! Zora Neal Thurston? Who is that?

Posted On September 24th, 2011

I love me some Zora Neal Thurston! Author of “Their Eyes Were Watching TV”?


This is outside Hudson Booksellers at JFK! sheesh.

Tuesday was an anniversary of sorts for me, and this poem came out of nowhere.

Posted On September 16th, 2011


Seventh Anniversary


for Rebecca Tauber Mali


You might be interested to know—especially today—

that I mentioned you in conversation with a woman at a party

named Cynthia, some kind of counselor, who never went by Cindi.


All I said was that my first wife—I called you my first wife—

once bought a sports car so flashy and improbably red

you were aghast to call it yours. I told her how you said,


“I am not the type of woman who would drive such a car!

This car should be driven by someone peppy named Cindi

who dots her eyes with flowers, hearts, or stars.”


I told this woman how you then decided that Cindi was her name,

the car’s, how it seemed—somehow, through the mystery of laughter—

to make her easier to own, flowers, hearts, stars and all.


What I wanted to tell you, what I thought you would find fascinating—

today of all days—was that this woman, this Cynthia not named

after your car, somehow knew that you had died. And what is more,


that while you were alive I loved you very much.


                                                            —September 13, 2011

My first unicycle arrives today! I’m hoping it will help me with balance in the rest of my life! Wish me luck.

Posted On September 14th, 2011

At a friend’s wedding last weekend, one of the guests brought a unicycle, which I have always wanted to try. Perhaps because I have been thinking about riding one for so long, I took to it rather quickly. I’m not saying I went far or could stay up for very long, just that the guy, a professional birthday clown, said he’d never seen someone take to it quite so easily (which made me feel really good even though it may have been the wine!). Basically, in order to go anywhere, you have to let yourself start to fall and then start peddling to catch up! I know there’s a metaphor here.