Deer without hands

What is it, sweety?


I saw a deer.

You saw a deer?



In my room.

There was a deer in your room?

I saw a deer in my room right there.

What did the deer do?

It went down the stairs.

Did it use the railing?

No, it didn’t have hands.

The deer didn’t have hands?

Were you scared?


Did the deer say anything?

No, it left the room with it’s friends.

What friends.

There were two other people.


Over here.

There were two other people in your room?


Did they talk to you?

No. They left my room and went down the stairs.

Did they hold the railing?

No, because they didn’t have hands.

The two people didn’t have hands?

No, and they couldn’t hold the railing.

Were you scared?


Did the two people have black hair?

Blonde hair?

Were they men or women?

Did they look like me or like mommy?

They looked like you.

(And hair stands on end.)

Subways and Stairs

I wake up to cabs screeching on the road.
Words that should not be spoken by very angry drivers.
Bright and early.
Good morning, New York City.
I walk with my dad to a bakery. L'imprimerie.
I get a shot of espresso. 
Enough to jack me up on caffeine and make up for my loss of sleeping in.
We leave, and walk around for a bit. 
We talk so much that I hardly notice my agonizing feet.
We eat pizza, pretzels, and lamb.
Credit to the food stand on North 3th street.
Then, Dad and I head down to the subway and hop on.
We arrive at Central Park and wait for my mom.
She arrives at around 1:00.
I say my greeting to my brother, and we play in the park.
Meet some other kids my age. Play a little bit of baseball,
The usual.
After Mateo and I are not able to move or breathe, Mom calls a taxi.
We go into Brooklyn and go shopping.
Mateo and I beg for something that is useless and that we will forget in a day.
But she still says yes, and we have joy for a few minutes.
Until one of us starts a fight.
Couple bruises, couple sore spots.
Also the usual.
We get home, and start the treacherous journey up the 13 stair cases.
Oh goody.
We get to our apartment, and eat some dinner.
Afterwards, we watch a movie (sometimes we eat dinner while watching the movie).
We say goodnight, and I head to bed.
Another beautiful day.
I fall asleep to the honks and yells.
Goodnight New York.

Rafael Zafir (age 13).


Only surround yourself with things you find beautiful. With things that bring you joy. If you are in your home and see something that does not give you joy… throw it out. get rid of it, donate it, offer it to a friend, but hurl it the fuck out of your window into the streets in a garbage or recycling can. It does not belong with you. It is not on your journey.

Look at this desk. I built this desk. I did not build the desk but I gathered the materials and told someone else exactly how I wanted it. Yes those shelves were already put together I only ordered them. Yes, my wife picked the color. I chose the wood on top. It WAS from Ikea. I think they’re normally used for a kitchen table. But I decided where it would go and I decided that it would be in this house. Now we are leaving this house and I am sorry that I am taking this thing with me. I love this thing. I love this furniture. I love this piece. It gives me great joy. I have worked very early in themonring and very late at night on this desk. I have provided food for my family on this desk. My wife provides food and clothes for our family from this desk.

Hey desk, maybe no one will mourn for you when. you die, and maybe you will never die, but one day soon you will have a different owner and for that it will be a death to me. I love you so much. I love everything you’ve given me. You have always been there. You have never faltered. I hope I brought you joy. I hope I deserved your beauty, elegance, and grit. I will always remember you. You were there when I rehearsed my lines, wrote my plays, poems, emails, and talked about changing the world while my fingers smashed down on a tired old keyboard. That word means nothing to you. Maybe all these words mean nothing to you. But you mean something to me. And I will forever be grateful.

I love you, and I know you will bring someone else joy. That is the meaning of you life, I think.

Everybody: Performance #2

Everybody 2
I was selected as EVERYBODY tonight, and I hadn’t played it in a week.
A lot has changed since that week.
We have been rehearsing the play right up to, and on opening night.
We have made changes in staging, choices in acting, changes in blocking.
Pretty much the gambit of what it takes to make a great night of theatre.
And it’s all par for the course, and you can whittle away at a piece of wood till it no longer exists, or a painting you can add dimensions to, and when do you stop? Do you stop?
I played EVERYBODY last night and it was such a great feeling.
I must remember that when
Continue reading Everybody: Performance #2

Everybody opened last night

Everybody Cast
Everybody is quite strange play.
Normally when I’m in a play, I always think that the offstage antics (induced by the play the company is performing) could very well be the impetus for another play. But ESPECIALLY for this one.

Five actors memorize five roles. And those roles are chosen by the actors through a live lottery onstage. No one knows who they will play, any night, ever.
This is an incredibly challenging feat for actors.
Most audience members Continue reading Everybody opened last night

Ode to Angry

(an Ode I wrote to my cast members of Twelve Angry Men)

Oh, rare and radiant men,
With whom I shared a cage;
Tis time to bid farewell,
To this classic of the American Stage.

Quiet, precise, and timely like the Swiss
Brandon was pensive and special.
His gymnastic notation as we improvised blocking;
Any wonder he writes in pencil?

The fire in our hearts,
The master of our cups,
My god, did this woman take a break?
And if it wasn’t ENOUGH,
Continue reading Ode to Angry

How to Teleport

So what do I do now?
This goddamn room.
This goddamn house.
This goddamn life.
So many books, papers, journals.
I found one of my old journals today.
I opened it up to see what my life was like, and it terrified me.
You know when someone tells you a story
“Man, I know this guy
who goes to work
and comes home
and eats crap all day
hates his job
That was me!
There are portions of my life I cringe at.

Here I am with bread baked,
bagels ready to be rolled,
banana nut muffins just outta the oven
and damn—I’m missing you kiddo.
I never wanted this for us.
You weren’t old enough to tell me what you wanted.

Maybe one day it’ll be different.
Maybe one day I’ll be different.
Bu today…

Oh, I forgot to tell you…
i was eating a banana
(I know you hate bananas)
and my daughter claimed up to where I was sitting
and she took a bite,
Then took my hand
holding the fruit
and pushed it to my mouth….
and i thought.
That was really sweet.
You would have liked that,
because it was a kind thing.
And that’s what everyone always says about you.
You’re such a kind
lovable boy I ever met.

Oh. And when i turned on the computer at night?
That’s the page I found open
How to Teleport.
If you ever figure it out
Let me know.

A dad of two, Or all that matters

Elan Zafir as “Hubert” in King John
Photo by Teresa Wood

It’s really challenging to be a great father.
I’m writing a TV show.
I need a new oven.
Money is tighter/more tight than average.

But what I’d really like to discuss today is what happens to me when I die.
What happens to me when I die.
What will I miss.
What am I not going to see.
What AM I going to see.

I just realized last night that in a certain amount of time it’s all over.
That’s it.
No more.
It doesn’t go on.
I am not a part of things.
Did its make me sad?
Not sad.
More empty.
I really felt it last night.
I have a finite time on earth.
Then it’s over.
Nothing else is going to happen for me.
And that’s a strange concept to truly understand.
If everyone truly understood the concept
In a certain/
In a finite amount of time
Nothing is ever going to happen to you again…
There would be…
Something would come out of that.
We’re all gone.
Now, what IF something else happens.
Something happens when we sleep, but not always.
It’s possible SOMETHING might happen to us when we die.
But who will know about it.
Who will care.
Will it be the same characters.
Will I care if it’s new characters.
Will I have a deeper understanding of these characters.
What if the people there don’t know me.
What if I have introduce myself all over again.
What if I have to be a baby again.
Do I have a choice?
IS there free-will?
I don’t know that I want to go away
For so long.


I was writing…

Megan Graves & Elan Zafir
Photo by Teresa Wood
Folger Theatre Production of King John

A Starbucks in Washington, DC.
And this woman who was seated with three other women—were normal enough.
I noticed one asked another table to borrow an iPhone charger.
Nothing weird about that.
If anything, I noticed that she asked in a way that I would definitely give her mine.
It was slow, and cautious.
She took her time with her words.
And the table next to them, let them borrow the charger.
And Okay fine.
There was a woman I was staring at.
She was extremely thin.
but not in a sick way.
In a European—this is me—way.
Whatever, I liked her.
bid deal.
As they are leaving.
One of the four
(No the one I like)
Said “I hope you weren’t listening to our conversations.”
I said “I heard everything.”
Being funny, but also secretly hoping they were talking about me
Then suddenly I could get the European girls number.
For the record I do not think she was European.
She then says “I’m going to pray for you.”
I was so taken aback,
I said “you’re going to what?”
“I’m going to pray for you.”
She touched my shoulder and said

This man needs our help.
This man has had things taken.
This man has had things taken from him.

My mind went absolutely insane.
What was taken from me?
She was speaking in such an incredible hushed tone.
I believed every word she said.
What was taken from me?
I couldn’t even conjure an image in my mind.
I think my life is wonderful.
I’m lucky for everything I have.
I couldn’t think of a single person that’s hurt me.

You know this, Jesus.
And he not only needs what was taken from him.
He will be repaid tenfold.
This man, oh Jesus, needs to be returned payment in FULL.
This I beg of you, Jesus Christ. Master of my Domain.
King of Kings.”

I thanked her.
What else could I do?
It was like a performance.
And she walked away.
She had such incredible power.
Praying really is powerful.
She asked God for help.
For me.

That was so nice.
Though she had such a hard edge to her voice.
I hope no one gets hurt.

I still feel her hand on my shoulder.

she’s on her play-mat

Another birthday come and gone.
A child is five and a half months old.
She is eating breast milk and rice.
Rice cereal.
It’s a single grain cereal.
One child is eating rice.
Another child is boxing.
And again, I’m father of the year.
Keep hearing stories,
“Be careful with your dog!”
“Dog and new babies don’t mix!”
“Like oil and vinegar!”
“Or, cats and paper
Continue reading she’s on her play-mat

Elan Zafir’s misemployment of the run-on sentence