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Wednesday, October 30, 2013


There was a subtle sillage of her essence 
created by her smile and friendly nature
left in the air like waterfall mist 
Not a scent, but like a scent, 
made of wow 
this light and witty banter 
would be my downfall
infusing my life 
with magoa, 
what the Portuguese call 
a heartbreaking feeling that leaves 
long-lasting traces, 
visible in gestures and 
facial expressions
moving me from whole to broken 
“She knows the fever that burns 
inside me: this desire for travel and exploration,”
thoughts of her baltering around my mind
Dancing in and out of other thoughts
Misplaced and unexpected
Captivated and capsized by 
the ghostly silhouette of a 
chance encounter 
Counting the moments until 
my counterpart appears, 
a part of me already?
Of course. 
We are two 
engaged in word pornography
Seduced by each other’s intelligence
Trying to make the world better 
from the inside out 
by laughing.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

We walked away

We walked away
absent the light of day
she grabbed my hand
in a way that seemed more than
like our hands were
meant to be
one, two, three, four
I declare thumb war
Laughing and walking
moving just as much
side to side as forward
surrounded by the quite
stillness of
desert skies and
an almost full moon
living a lifetime
with every step
I held her hand
feeling each finger
like a lifeline
pulling my heart
and my pace
to salvation
and grace
So we walked.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


My head spins
Arabic winds
promised love
nightly sins
new found friends
intoxicatingly begins
wishing that it
never ends
a broken heart
always mends
when our soul

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Learning to Think

The recent shutdown of Congress is teaching me how to survive in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I am often frustrated by living in a place that disregards logic and chooses aesthetics over functionality. But then I look at the mess going on back home and realize that we don't always choose function either.

As for the Kingdom, there seems to be a decided push towards how things look to other people rather than how things work. Most of my students have never been taught critical thinking and I suppose that makes sense. Why would or should one think critically in a society that makes decisions for you; decisions based on appearing pious rather than improving quality of life? I have already written about the traffic and pollution problems. Everyone seems to operate on a "it only matters that I get what I want" mentality. Every one is in a rush.

However, when it comes to the administration of the life here, nothing is done quickly. I have been here two months now and still have not received my ID card, or Iquama. This ID is needed for everything: to travel, book a hotel, get a sim card, open a bank account, upgrade internet, book an airline ticket, send money to the USA, and many other basic needs. Tomorrow is the last day before a 10 day holiday and me and the other teachers who started when I did will be stuck here without the ability to travel or be productive in making life more manageable for the duration of the holiday. Form over function can blow me.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Anything You Choose to Do is Almost Always More Enjoyable Than What You Are Forced to Do

I have written about my first two months here in Saudi both on this blog and on facebook. When I look back at the things I have written, I get the feeling that I complain a lot. My goal is not to be a closed minded American who only values the way I have always done things. That being said, I will probably continue to complain.

Riyadh is what the USA would be if the religious right wing conservatives ran the country unopposed or power checked. I have never expected every country to be the same or offer the same way of life. I have also never been the sort to run around going "America, fuck yeah!" But recently, I have come to appreciate the idea of choice much more than I ever have before.

Saudis don't have a lot of choices when it comes to how to live life. Well, I suppose they have choices, but not as many as I am used to (not just in the States, but during my time in SE Asia and Europe as well). Because the religion and the government are so closely related, religious mores are codified as law. There is very little in the way of secular laws as a matter of fact other than basic traffic and contract laws. For the most part, the law and the religion are one and the same.

To be fair, there is some distinction. There is a regular police force and a religious police force. Personally I have not had contact with either, but I observe how they operate and read the local news. Back to choice. Things that are banned in Riyadh:

Public music
single men and women mixing
single men and women ordering from the same counter or area of a counter in restaurants
women driving cars (no real ban but there are fatwas against it)
non Muslim holidays including Halloween and Valentine's Day
long hair on men
women wearing regular clothes in public
single women out alone in public (unless foreign)
Women showing their hair or ankles or anything in between except hands and eyes. (only in public)
The Bible
Converting away from Islam
movie theaters
bars, night clubs, concerts
Basically, if it is remotely fun, it is probably banned.

This is where I have a problem. I truly believe that every person deserves the right to live as he or she sees fit as long as they do not hurt others. But in this place, this bastion of religious piety and hypocrisy, people don't have a choice. Anything you choose to do is almost always more enjoyable than things you are forced to do.