A Sparrow Who Ate the Universe: A Hundred Pounds of Poems in a One-Pound Book is an anthology of poetic contemplations and reflections of the heart. The origin of these poems finds its way to you through a life shared deeply with and among many. They are colored in broad brush by metaphor, assonance, alliteration, and rhyme. But the true meaning of this collection is found through you, for within the soul of the beloved reader is a patient universe waiting to be written. Indeed “the poet creates anew the universe” wrote Percy Bysshe Shelley.
This anthology has four chapters, each of a different genre.
- Chapter 1 is a collection of love poems. As straightforward as it sounds, the quest both for and by human love is a fathomless topic. These poems tell stories of the following kinds of love: lost, true, divine, new, unrequited, longed-for, and love with a lowercase (“l”) and uppercase (“L”). Most are catalyzed by a blend of romantic reflections, but the journey of reflective introspection traverses between the heart and mind, leading to deeper states of self-disclosure. These poems are about everyone and anything that somehow completes the archetype of “love” within the understanding of being human.
- Chapter 2 explores the mysteries of love and the love for Mystery. I first discovered the word “Khamosh” in 2013 during a period of personal transformation and self-awareness, inspired by auspicious events and accompanied by the most remarkable and beloved friends and family. Like a pebble dropped through the surface of still waters, the impact of these experiences continues to ripple outward into unheard harmonies just waiting to be written and someday it will, God willing. “Who you are, what is your purpose, and what is its meaning” are questions that arc across the universe in search of answers that will finally embrace the associated longing and guide you into ecstatic completion. These poems resonate along the nexus of self and spirit and are seasoned with explorations of Sufism, philosophical studies, and other ontological jaunts taken over the past few decades. It is a spiritual read if you are a spiritualist, a religious read if you are a religionist, and a philosophical read if you are a philosopher.
- Chapter 3 is comprised of lighter, softer-sounding poems; character sketches; self-portraits of a writer (and reader); and poetic musings of the human condition that shimmers across lives and relationships. These pieces reveal deep sentiments through the unraveling of nostalgia, an intoxicant to most writers and poets. It is indeed baffling and amazing how nocturnal sounds, natural lighting at dusk, or a sucker punch to the heart sends us spiraling back through the passage of time. May these poems be kind to your heart.
- Chapter 4 includes pieces written rapidly under more austere writing conditions that reflect episodes of sarcasm, mischief, frustration, self-loathing, disgust, boredom, or playfulness—and all these from observations of the world going on around me. One might hear these poems as spoken word versus the more melodic and soft poetic diction seen elsewhere in this anthology. The language is occasionally strong, but it’s not to honor the profane word. It’s rather employed to illustrate the harsher nature of being among all humankind and how we cannot always tune our filters to sift out the chaff without losing some of the nutrition of the wheat.
You may find inspiration and disagreement here. They may leave you curious or informed. Whatever the case, spring forth from these as a writer, an opponent, a comrade, and a lover of the divine. As the writer, I only own the words. You own the meaning.
This book’s title, A Sparrow Who Ate the Universe, comes partly from a poem contained within this book, not one of particular notoriety, mind you, but I always found it interesting. While eating al fresco one day in New York City, I was observing a sparrow hopping inquisitively around a large loaf of bread left on top of a recently vacated restaurant table. The loaf was so heavy. There was no way even a larger seagull or raven could carry it off. The bird was all alone with this huge feast to herself. But then she jumped out from her orbit around the boule and landed on the ground below the table. She began nibbling up the crumbs fallen from the loaf. I sensed this immense joy in this tiny animal’s movements. And I thought, with so much bread on top of the table, the real fulfillment for the sparrow comes from the remaining tiny crumbs on the ground beneath it, with which it now fills its belly to its limits and beyond the limitless capacity of the spirit.
The universe responds to the capacity of our need from its unfathomable bounty and not beyond that. The sparrow is not drawn to the amount of bread that fills the universe; rather she seeks to fill her soul on the simplicity of “bread-ness” there among the attributes of the cosmos. Whether a few crumbs or the entire loaf, bread is bread.