shenaz patel


camels crossing through corn fields


It all began with the cicadas

Cicadas tirelessly circling

Their broken-bicycle stridulation

Heard but never seen

An unfamiliar and ever-present sound background


Is that what feeling unhomed

Is all about?


At home, I always trace the Southern Cross at night

Here I don't know the stars




It takes some days to adapt one's steps

To the calmness of a city

Where you can, they say

Be arrested for "disorderly behavior".

A city full of young people

Jogging, cycling, learning

Happily flocking around in black and yellow

Black and Yellow

Black and Yellow

A city where the river, sometimes

Attracts the sorrows and despair

Of some youthful student

Who feels like not seeing another sun

Just the muddy shadows

Of a silent river



I look at chipmunks scurrying across well kept lawns

Squirrels bringing nuts with both hands to their mouths

Seagulls floating across the Mississipi river

Dog-riding-monkeys in a tri-state rodeo

Where men parade in full cowboy attire


Up on tiptoes to pluck golden apples

Dancing in an old barn

Sipping aloneness under a floating moon

Picking up feathers, and stones along the way

Finding a Sense of Place at Molly's Cupcakes

Discovering that man is a chromosomic error

(Not me saying, just a dada performance)

Singing home-going songs in a car



Mad House Hotel in Iowa

Going around the laughter, the doubts, the fears

The daily un-routine

Where each has to find a place, a space

Measuring one's own demons

To an incommensurable offer

Of humanity

And just plain, beautiful, fulfilling




Birds flying in threesomes along the river

Wild geese migrating

Is it this time of year already?

Time for herding off

To other locations, other faces

Other realities


Does it have to last to be beautiful?

Just asking

In Chinese, brevity is beauty she says


Words venturing a glimpse

Words stretching arms, limbs, fragile neck

Am I a poem?


It took some time to adapt

To that feeling of moving in herds

What, are we sheep?

No, camels

Just camels crossing through cornfields

Smuggling small things from place to page

Humpback full enough

To caravan through weeks and months

Shall we venture to say long years

Drawing on the sentience

Of that home found in words

Carried through the worlds of so many other lives

And offered here

Just offered here

36 different ways

Of saying wonder

And gratitude



Iowa City 10/12/2016