Creative Writing Workshops feature Deenaz P. Coachbuilder

I have forgotten you

After Pablo Naruda’s “If You Forget Me”

At first we were planets
that collided and consumed
                                    each other.
I bit off a chunk of your shoulder,
                                             you sheared off my hair
and knotted my thighs.

I wore a rainbow ring
  around my finger.
     lacing together
        our laughter
      and our lives.

The years like moonbeams                                  the worms of the world.
                                              cocooned us from

The years they wore away
our celestial cloak.
They sundered us
and flung us apart
you into the sky,
      the rest
of me.

I will forget you.
The way your voice                    for          e
                                  searched              m
when you entered the house
   at the end of a work-a-day world.

I will forget
the way I always knew those friends’ names
you had predictably forgotten,
always read
the sudden knotting of your brow
the depths       of a frozen smile,
your p e r f u m e,
             from     a f a r.

I have forgotten you,
forgotten you,
beyond the day
      I die.

The green hedge

Far from above, none of the sounds
of Mumbai city can be heard.
The setting sun drenches the tips
of balconied skyscrapers.
In the distance, crowded streets
border the landscape.
The dome of a mosque pierces the sun.

Through the glaze of dust and heat,
a quiet emerald oasis ascends.
Nine palms fringe an oval green lawn,
a cool breeze turns over the leaves
to their dark undersides,
while gulmohor boughs dally together
as they sway.

Here children chase each other,
shod in muddied designer shoes
across the manicured terrace
while maids watch hide-and-seek.
Pedigreed playmates barter video games
amid the scrap of roll and tease,
and scattered nursery rhymes,
as they bask in secure childhood.

From behind a green hedge
dark eyes watch the games.
Her only dress scarcely covers scarred knees.
Scabbed fingers tap longingly
in time with the infectious jingle of pop tunes.
Every day she sits on the outer side
of a gossamer hedge.

Spawn of an unschooled
vagrant woman who haunts
the crowded corner traffic stop
for spare change from captive cars,
she escapes each evening to
crouch down beside the emerald hedge.
She tells herself she doesn’t care
when they don’t call her to play.

Tomorrow’s fantasy hovers quietly
beside her, where her shouts and laughter
might merge with theirs in a swirling whirl of happy cries
as quivering rainbows twine through their hair.

The house of loneliness

A swath of light hair falls across her brows.
Short and petite, straight nose and high cheek bones
frame a fine line of lips that slant
delicately down at the edges. Soft eyes,
a quiet voice with a clipped style of speech
muscular arms held akimbo
when she strides along the street.

What do you do after work, I inquired.
Exercise at the Y, she replied.
And then? I hesitantly asked.
I go home, I’m tired.

She lives in a high ceilinged home
amidst seven acres of Port Orchard woodland
bought seven years ago.
Clear water from her own well
glints in a fine jug that rests
on a granite kitchen counter.
Two large dignified cats play in contentment,
encircling each other between the legs
of hand carved cherry wood furniture.
On most days she hears the blue jays squabbling
on the spacious hardwood deck.
Next summer she will plant five fruit trees
along her driveway.

sunrise against the mist

my brother’s hand
curled around my finger

romping across the years
teenage conflict
then, he grew
taller than I
sibling rivalry turned
into shared secrets
bonds of the heart

but jealous waters
captured him


my flaming youth tempered
to steely caution
burnished metal
into supple sandalwood
golden days etched
deep gray
a subtle sprinkle
of wisdom
the world’s winter land

years of love
and life
down the corridors
of time

Death parted the curtain
I entered with delight
to search for him
yearning for his
youthful embrace

the stars were smoothly silver
the winds most welcoming
those gentle spirits
drew aside
as I
hurried by

a faint glimpse
against the vast mists of space
drawing close
I called
and leapt toward
to touch
his well-remembered hand

he turned

but did not recognize me


Yesterday I danced with revelry.
I slept and dreamt in silvered peace,
waking abruptly to a nightmare,
brackish, dense with pain,
devoid of reason.

I slept, whole, contented,
assured of family, fortunate in friendships,
awoke to treasures sundered,
husband, son, disconnecting
bonds of love and blood.

Empty rooms
tears that slide silently
the moaning heart
a changed world
elusive dreams.

Waste not this moment,
all is but ephemeral,
our signposts evaporating
into a shifting stream.

The nightingale sings
but for one night.


DeenazCoachbuilderDeenaz P. Coachbuilder has been a resident of the Riverside area in California, since 1981. She received a Doctorate in Theater Arts from Brigham Young University, an M.S. in Communicative Disorders from Utah State, an M.A. and B.A from Bombay University in English Literature and Language. Deenaz is an educator, artist, poet and environmental advocate. She is a retired school principal, and professor in Special Education at California State University, San Bernardino, past president of Committee for Community Action and Environmental Justice and India Association, of the Inland Empire, and a consultant in Speech Pathology. As a Zoroastrian by religion, Deenaz is actively involved in the Zoroastrian Association of California and is writing a poem on the birth and evolution of the religion and its adherents, extending to the modern period. She is a published poet in the U.S. and India. Most recently, her poems have appeared in The Sun Runner, Sept. 2012; Inlandia: A Literary Journey, Summer 2012; Woman Writing Nature, A special Edition of Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Sept. 2012; Parsiana, June, 2012. Deenaz exhibits her paintings in oil, enjoys reading, gardening, going for long walks, relationships with family and close friends, staying involved in the Indian American community of Riverside and San Bernardino counties, and particularly cherishes being a wife and mother.

Deenaz is a Fulbright scholar, and the recipient of several awards including “Principal of the year,” Council for Exceptional Children; “Distinguished Service Award,” Phi Delta Kappa, and California Speech Language Hearing Association. She received President Obama’s “Volunteer Service Award” in February, 2011. Deenaz is currently working on a publication of her poems.