Le serpent blessé

Posted on November 6th, 2007 by george.
Categories: love, poetry.

running fingers through these cracks
tips now dipped in red
edges sharp with stark relief
deeds nigh things we said

 

would that life were black and white
as our hearts and skin
and grey the shades of sidelong eyes
the devil dances in

5 comments.

Laid bare

Posted on October 25th, 2007 by george.
Categories: life, love, photography, poetry.

what makes a man?
is that what I see
in my reflection
the wrinkles of my smile?

these photographs
such perfect screens
on which to project
our fantasies

worth a thousand
cobbled words
to each his own
hobbling interpretation

none of them discerning
the truth of that moment
so shamelessly recorded
but impossible to name

am I a man
at your side?
your raven locks
spilling across my shoulder

or have I become one
since letting you go
upon your way
to forge your identity

in the fire of mistaken passion

the life of us
was a dream
outwardly
and in

the turquoise waters frigid
the sandy crescent a fabrication
the love but a figment
of my intoxication

2 comments.

Given time

Posted on October 16th, 2007 by george.
Categories: epiphany, future, life, love, poetry.

the Sun is always shining
whether you see day or night
your place on Earth does not dictate
the blazing of its light

in point of fact you don’t affect
its fusion in the least
on sunny sides it shares its warmth
with human, plant and beast

likewise I know I’m not alone
when you’re not at my side
you’ve been my wife since long before
the day you’ll be my bride

commitment, love, and truthfulness
are stablished in advance
the steps are learned in practice well
before you toe the dance

and loneliness is just as much
illusion as the dark
the light of spirit does not blind
like passion’s flame and spark

we wail and moan that love is gone
that darkness took its place
but simply turn your head and feel
love’s light upon your face

so don’t be trapped by what you see
what eyes say isn’t there
from darkness inexorably
emerges daylight’s flare

6 comments.

Ojos Mexicanos

Posted on October 10th, 2007 by george.
Categories: enlightenment, epiphany, friends, fun, life, love, photography, space, synthesis, travel.

It’s 11:30. Let’s see if I can crank this out before another midnight rolls around.

I got off the plane in Miami yesterday, and by some miracle sailed through Customs. Straight to South Beach, where I had a panini and an iced cappuccino at the only dedicated Segafredo cafe in the world. Caught the parade on Lincoln Road, then sauntered over to the beach for my first ocean-water ablutions. No visit to SoBe is completed without a cruise down Ocean, and I must say Kashmir was feeling pretty hip with her sunroof open and Air on the stereo. Stopped by the giant sculpture of a hand on the way out of town, only to discover it was a Holocaust memorial. Spent a haunting hour reliving that nightmare in words, photos, music and art. The tour was free and I was undisturbed by any other visitors, thanks to the kind security guard. Took the scenic route out of town through Surfside, Bal Harbour, Haulover, Sunny Isles and Golden Beach, all the way to Hallandale before hopping on 95. An hour and a half later I was in Port St. Lucie, visiting Denise, catching up, eating protein pancakes and discussing the spirituality of extraterrestrials. We talked so late I ended up crashing in the guest room about two a.m. (after posting the nightly obligatory photos to flickr). Up by seven for a quick goodbye, on the road and into work by 9:30. Full day catching up on emails that arrived during my time in Mexico. Had the incredible honor and distinct pleasure of meeting Sunita Williams at the Expedition 14/15 presentation this afternoon. What a singularly amazing person! She is unbelievably kind, upbeat, fun-loving, intelligent, positive and happy. What a joy to meet someone so deserving of astronaut wings.

George, Suni, and Luke

Finished up a work, drove home to catch up on the scuba class I missed Monday. Managed to digest 90 pages of information in 45 minutes; enough to ace both tests today. Got out of class around 10:30pm, quick bean burrito from the border, and now this. I’m starting to get upset that I simply have no slots in the day in which to fit my gym routine. What a great problem to have, eh?

I relate all this to you in order to contrast the experience of the past five days in Mexico. People, I could write a small book describing what happens to me in that place; suffice it to say I took over one thousand photos. And you wonder why I’m six months behind on flickr. Though I will remind you that I’ve been consistently six months behind over the past year. So at least I’m keeping the pace, if not catching up.

But pay attention, chico! Mexico. Taxco was a dream. There’s no other way to describe it. Imagine waking up one morning and praying for the perfect day, then having your wildest dreams exceeded at every turn. Just wait til you see the photos. It was so idyllic I’m loath to even tell you the name of such a magical place, perched high atop cliffs in lush, pristine mountains. From our meal on the rooftop terrace overlooking the zocalo, to finding a nine-pointed star in the endless silver shops, to wearing one of my fifteen (!) new lucha libre masks through town and creating a scene…well, you just had to be there. Heck, if you want to go, I will take you there. In a heartbeat.

We fit a month into five days. I’m not even beginning to exaggerate. Floating languidly down the canals on a pole boat in Xochimilco. Dancing at one of the hippest clubs I’ve ever seen in Polanco. Racing through the empty, rain-soaked streets of one of the world’s largest cities at the wheel of Lulu’s Liberty at 4am. Quiet dinners and home with my Mexican family. Profound glances. Unspoken truths. Learning more Spanish than most people would in a semester.

Of the hundred epiphanies that were visited upon me during my stay, one stands out: on the last night, as I watched the lights twinkle on the mountains that ring this dream of a city, I realized:  I am a different person here.  Not once had I thought of my home in Florida, or my job, or my mortgage, or my bills, or my obligations. It dawned on me that my personality had changed; I was literally seeing with new eyes. Mexican eyes. What everyone had been telling me was true. “You’re at least half Mexican.” “No wonder you like Mexico, we’re all like you!” “You are my cousin, mi primo.” “You are my brother.” “Te quiero mucho.” “I love you.”

It’s a good thing I came back “home” through Miami. Otherwise I might not have survived the reverse culture shock.

8 comments.

Over you

Posted on September 24th, 2007 by george.
Categories: love, poetry.

would have been your key
were there a lock to be found
in your paper heart

4 comments.

Serendipity

Posted on September 17th, 2007 by george.
Categories: enlightenment, epiphany, food, friends, fun, future, history, life, love, music, prayer, synthesis, travel.

Fere, Farah and Sarah

If there’s one thing I’m learning about writing it’s that when inspiration strikes, you must strike back, while the iron is hot. Some of you are probably wondering after the whereabouts of that potentially controversial essay I planned to write on Thursday, the day Lazi got into a car accident that left her and her friend upside down, hanging from their seatbelts. Don’t worry, she’s ok. But you see how easy it is to get distracted? Now it’s three a.m. after a life-changing weekend and my head is full of five pages that I can’t afford to sacrifice sleep to commit to words. God forgive me, but I feel I must resort to the dreaded bullet list. Behold: as many highlights from the weekend as I can remember. Rest assured there are hundreds more my poor brain is already forgetting as the cup overfloweth.

• Working extra hours in advance to leave work early Friday for Savannah to attend Louis and Shezel’s wedding
• Picking up Sarofsky and Justin in JAX
• Seeing happiness in the eyes of the four parents of the bride and groom
• Meeting Louis’s and his father Michael’s brothers
• Meeting Cara and Rob from Orlando and learning about life at Guantanamo and the difference between an interior decorator and an interior designer
• Bonding with Justin
• Bachelor party laser tag
• Gourmet brekkie at the posh hotel downtown, included with the room
• Getting half price on said posh hotel
• Meeting Brittany, the vibrant soul with light in her eyes, a lilt in her voice, spring in her step, and heart in her service, a senior in interior design and our cashier at the sandwich shop
• Hearing the words “Standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona” sung by a local artist at an outdoor cafe the moment we rounded the corner to the sandwich shop
• Making it to the wedding in advance to help set up
• Enjoying the honor of reading 1 Corinthians chapter 13 during the ceremony from the microphone between the bride and groom, their silhouettes framing the faces of an audience brimming with love and support for the couple
• Reuniting with members of my local Brevard County family on the lawn
• Meeting Brenda and Nancy, kindred spirits, by the hors d’oeuvres as the sun went down on a beautiful day
• Sharing tough but enlightening conversations with Ladan and Ramzi and family
• Witnessing the impossibly beautiful blending of the cultures of two different families manifest itself on the dance floor
• Busting several moves on said dance floor before the rug-cutting was cut short
• Listening to Darrell dedicate his poem to his little brother
• Eating wedding cake in honor of Mom (it’s her favorite dessert)
• Throwing Persian “rice” at Louis and Shezel on their way to the limo
• Finishing off the last of the wedding cake
• The Saturday night misadventures of $20 covers at bowling alleys, full car sing-alongs, and visiting the beach at Tybee Island for the first time at 2am, spending hours splashing in the ocean, looking at the stars and talking about the universe
• Waking up late Sunday to bid farewell to so many wonderful new friends (including the third interior designer!) like Navid, Adeeb (my new cousin), Shawn, Mona, Nissa, Cheryl, Sarah, Jalil and Sina
• Eating leftover wedding cake before lunch
• Enjoying lunch on the sidewalk in downtown Savannah with Sarofsky, Farah, Fere and Justin
• Justin’s eagle eye spotting Brittany walking straight toward us from across the street
• Marvelling at the serendipity of meeting a complete stranger twice in two days in a major city, embracing the second time and realizing you are old friends
• Hitting the road like Juan Valdez in order to make it to St. Augustine by 7pm for the once-a-year 1905 Day at my favorite restaurant in Florida: The Columbia
• Arriving at 6:35
• Being informed that no more reservations are being taken
• Sweet-talking the hostess and getting a table for 8:45
• Stepping outside to inform the group that we need to wait two hours and can enjoy the city, the second wonderful historic Southern town to introduce Justin to in the span of two days
• Being caught by the manager just before we set out and being taken to a table right away
• Enjoying the best gourmet Spanish food this side of Spain and paying 1905 prices (Cokes were ten cents, soups fifty cents, salad a dollar, entrees $2.05)
• Paying the tab without blinking and tipping the waiter double the bill
• Enjoying the ride home with my sisters Farah and Fere accompanied by good music
• Thinking the night was over only to be introduced to five religious refugees from Iran, family of local Baha’is who arrived in the United States 10 days ago
• Welcoming them to our community, learning about their lives and their journey, sharing stories and gaining amazing insights about prayer and destiny
• Being blessed with tangible evidence of the undeniable unity of all humans in the form of five brilliant souls
• Mentioning the five sisters and noticing the five-pointed star on Mehrvash’s necklace
• Listening to Siroos translate from Persian to English, and noticing that Kazim used the word “rouhani” several times in Persian
• From what I can tell, rouhani means “spiritual”
• Rouhani is Shezel’s maiden name, bestowed upon her family in the early history of the Baha’i Faith
• Kazim had never heard of the Rouhanis until tonight
• Thanking God for the limitless divine outpourings accrued over what must be recorded as three of the most intense days of my life, three days which are a direct result of the spiritual journeys taken last weekend in Texas
• Witnessing firsthand the soul-stirring, foundation-shaking, happiness-inducing, resolve-solidifying, purpose-endowing power of the Tablet of Ahmad, the Fire Tablet, and the Tablet of Visitation of Abdu’l-Baha

9 comments.

Beloved

Posted on September 3rd, 2007 by george.
Categories: enlightenment, epiphany, future, life, love, poetry, travel.

praise each dusty step
along this vast expanse
from scalloped ridge
to gnarled branch
from scorpions to ants

time is drawing nigh
a meeting soon at hand
our faces lit
in reunion
eternal golden strands

bitter makes the sweet
distance draws us near
without this time
apart from you
love couldn’t be so dear

now the city lights
dance happily below
down this mountain
through the vale
our kindled hearts aglow

4 comments.

Withhold not thyself therefrom

Posted on August 18th, 2007 by george.
Categories: enlightenment, epiphany, friends, future, life, love, space, synthesis.

There is undeniable, infinite power in prayer.

Last Monday I intoned the words of one of the most potent prayers ever revealed to humankind at the spiritual focal point of the Holiest House of Worship on planet Earth, the Mother Temple of the West.  There were no immediately apparent effects beyond the tranquility of my spirit and that of my companions.  Then, within an hour, completely at random, I was reunited with a man at a restaurant miles away.  I had first met this man, and last seen him, nearly a year prior:  in that same room where I uttered prayers then and now.  Last year he told the story of that room while we sat in it.  I had always been inexplicably drawn to it; I had gone there last year to say prayers of spiritual growth and nearness to God.  It was then that, directly after his story, our prayers, and spontaneous song, I set aside my ego and declared my faith in and servitude toward Baha’u’llah.

At the restaurant he did not remember me.  But he did tell me that he and his wife were expecting.  After I congratulated them, he mentioned that they were going on vacation before the baby was born.  Just before I left the restaurant for O’Hare to return home to Orlando, I asked where they were going.  He said they were leaving in two days.  For Orlando.

That Saturday I met the man, his wife, their unborn child, and their friend from Winter Park at the Kennedy Space Center to accompany them on a tour.  Throughout the day, as I explained to them the wonders of space exploration that surrounded us, I would suddenly become aware that a stranger was standing near us, listening in, patiently waiting to ask a question.  These people seemed to come from nowhere, to appear out of thin air.  They had somewhat puzzled expressions on their faces.  One could tell they weren’t quite sure what had brought them there, but they knew they had a question to ask.  Within the span of five to fifteen minutes we would share conversation that was far beyond that of strangers, and sometimes that of well-acquainted friends.  Then they would gather their family and move on.

At the end of the day, and before I proceeded to a local interfaith devotional on the topic of peace, I parted ways with the man, his wife, their child and their friend.  The man looked at my hands quietly and told me he had much to tell me.  He said it would have to wait until the next time we met.  We did not make plans.  I have no idea when I shall see him again.  But I am anxious to hear what he has to say.

Now it is seven days since that Saturday.  In the past week, one of my dearest friends informed me that she has decided to become a Baha’i.  I have known this person for two months.  I have never met her.  She has never met a Baha’i in person.  And yet I am convinced that she will be one of my closest friends in this life.  From the moment we met we have interacted as if we have been friends for decades.  I dare say we are as family.

In the past week I have reconnected with another of my dearest friends in a way that I have been dreaming possible, working toward, and praying feverishly about for nearly a year.  Steps have been taken, apologies made by us both, new paths chosen.  It has been an answer to months of daily prayer.  I am overjoyed; a shackle has fallen from my ankle.  A massive weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

In the past week I have experienced an ironing-out of the wrinkles in my everyday life.  My vision is clearer.  My motivation has returned.  I have tapped a vein.  Chores come easier; opportunities present themselves in my career; my eyes are on the horizon.

I am not filled with resolve; I am become resolve.  I commit this to words; I entrust it to you.  I know what I must do.  In light of these revelations, the following may seem trivial, but I shall nonetheless put it down:  in the near term, I seek to explore the piloting of airplanes, helicopters, and racing vehicles.  I will explore every avenue of opportunity in my career.  I will find ways to continue to learn more languages.  I will further refine my diet and work toward greater physical fitness.  I will continue with the pursuits that bring me joy.

In the long term, and much more appropriate to this trajectory:  I will seek to consort with every human that crosses my path in the purest possible spirit of humility, peace, kindness, understanding and equanimity.  I will endeavour to become the embodiment, to the fullest of my limited abilities, of love toward my fellow human.

To those who seek, I shall share the secret of the Source of my happiness.

Peace be upon you, my fellow human beings.

14 comments.

Omicron & Epsilon

Posted on May 12th, 2007 by george.
Categories: friends, future, life, love, poetry, synthesis.

The thunderbolt just struck
So close it shook my seat
I stepped outside to leave
But rain came down in sheets

Emerging from a dream
Your voice in soft, hushed tones
A vision out of time
Now real and on the phone

In just the nick thereof
To heal my bleeding heart
Our love again affirmed
The ending in the start

I shared a little tale
Of lessons learned and taught
You smiled until it hurt
At treasures never bought

I bid you fond farewell
Relinquished you to dreams
Then heaven flashed anew
Life’s more than what it seems

5 comments.

Upon waking

Posted on May 9th, 2007 by george.
Categories: life, love, poetry.

how will this message
reach you if the bottle keeps
floating back to me

8 comments.