Yahia Lababidi

Emma Kidd’s Monsters

I Get It, Now

Reviewing the drama of my life
sometimes, I pause and wonder
was this or that incident intended
for my enjoyment or torment?

How about this or that person
do they represent pleasure or pain?
And I smile, bitter-sweetly
knowing, at heart, that one cannot

see anything in isolation…
Angels wrestle with demons
in an eternal dance
for our betterment.

Fine, Tuning

Whatever else artists might be
—monster, angel, prophet,
battleground or burial ground—
they are also tuning forks;
struck at every turn and
sounding out the worlds.


The hands were made to clasp
the knees designed to bend
the body created to pray.

What else is there to say?

The mouth was shaped to gasp
the eyes drawn to attend
the soul commanded to obey.

What else is there to say?

The memory was wired to lapse
the heart fashioned to rend
the will inclined to betray.

What else is there to say?

I Ran

I ran hard and far
to outdistance my pain
But, when I got lost
my pain found me —
caressed me, wordlessly
and carried me Home.

Aphorisms are the sushi of literature

Pandemics are also tests of emotional intelligence.

The paradox of success in life is to be aware of your vices, not your virtues.

Radical humility is to entertain the possibility that our worst detractors might be right about us.

Only love can heal the wounds of love.

No respite in the garden without, first, struggle in the wilderness.

The master and the novice are not permitted the same mistakes.

Inspiration speaks in fits and starts—revealing to us only what is necessary, at the time.

To the humble spirit, criticism is cause for self-contemplation.

Wisdom is recovered innocence.

Conversation: an encounter between all that we know and what we are about to discover.

Counting on large miracles prevents us from recognizing the countless small ones, daily, granted.

Unattended temples are reclaimed by wilderness.

One gauge of a person’s intelligence (and interestingness) is their comfort level living with Mystery.

To transcend Time, transcend Self.

Aphorisms are the sushi of literature.

Silence is, sometimes, the charitable answer.

Being frightened by your shadow and making peace with it are not mutually exclusive.

True solitude is not lonely, it is companionable.

Vastness: our only way out of this narrow-hearted mess…


Yahia Lababidi (@YahiaLababidi), Egyptian American, is the author of nine books of poetry and prose. Lababidi’s 2018 book, Where Epics Fail: Aphorisms on Art, Morality and Life of the Spirit, was featured on the PBS NewsHour and generously endorsed by Richard Blanco, Barack Obama’s inaugural poet. Balancing Acts: New & Selected Poems (1993–2015) debuted at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in 2016. His most recent book, the critically-acclaimed Revolutions of the Heart: Literary, Cultural, and Spiritual  was published in 2020.

Yahia Lababidi at PBS NewsHour

Yahia Lababidi at Poets & Writers

Emma Kidd’s Monsters at EIL


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