An empty space that holds nothing and all

I am the holder of my body
I hold my thoughts
feelings too
Cell by cell, neuron by neuron

Yet I am more
More than the words
the thoughts
the feelings

I am more than the aches and pains
the tiny wrinkles
that gather in the corners of my eyes
when I smile
I am more than this smile
these tears, words and sounds

An empty space that holds it all
and I plan to do more
so much more
with my one wild and previous life

Memories are stories we tell ourselves
I am more than my memories
More than the success and failures
than the hours, days and decades
that have passed me by

I am the sky
An empty space that holds nothings
and it holds all

Invisible friend

I thought of writing
To tell you
That you matter
To me, and
That I have missed you
Connection we had
for those few seconds
Minutes or more
The friendship felt real
Were you real?
Was I?
So I’ve decided
For those few moments
We were, you and I
You were important then
As you are now
And I’ve missed you

Trash

Human waste
Garbage bins line the streets
Trash, recycle, compost
Neatly sorted
To be deported out of sight
From our homes big and small
The rich and poor alike
we make trash
to reach the skies
and back it comes – back to us

and the waste that has pilled on inside my head
Not much to salvage
It belongs to waste
No matter how hard I try to sort it
Writing, reading, walking
Taking, singing, shouting
Packaging, labeling, burning
Suffocating, medicating, poisoning
I’ve tried it all
No pick up days
for the trash pilled up in my head
The garbage in me, stays with me

Will I learn to make less of it?
Will we?
Before it comes back – back to us

Mailbox


There is a box
That sits by the door
Always full
Full of nothings

It was once a mailbox
in it letters
written by hands
wanting to reach mine

Now the hands are tied
and the ink has dried
The distance grows
and we can’t reach anymore

Worlds apart
A mailbox full of nothings
Emptiness
What a waste

From thoughts to words

A while back when I thought of writing these words
the ones I’m about to write
they sounded fine
mighty good indeed if I may say so
and I am not easy to please.
but now
the words are lifeless as they fall upon the page
as do my thoughts
Blah, blah, blah
Not much else

Roots

My roots are gone
But I’m still here
Plucked from the earth of my homeland

Too young to understand
Too old to forget
This is where I land

The road was long and the trip short
Somewhere along the way
We came apart

Now I probe the sky
Looking for untold stories
Wishing to fly

My roots hovering above the clouds
Suspended and weightless
Unlike me shackled without chains

Haunted by the past

The night calls on me
Many happy promises
Full moon bright
Whispering sweet lullabies

But I hear the past
A blackened vortex
Deafening and incoherent
Pulls me to abyss

What crazed dreams
Haunted by fear
My malignant rage
Sheds bitter tears

The past calling me
This but a delicate light
Shattered with gust of death
It wasn’t a fair fight

Weaving a home

The spider’s web
The nuisance of it
I seemingly sweep it up
in a flash
But there is more
one more strand

What do they call
That itty-bitty thing
Hair, fiber, the last life line perhpas
The little spider in its web
Does it hate me back?

Itsy-bitsy spider
weaves herself a web
of many more strands
Undeterred by the war waged on her
and her strands

My web, my home
built on a single strand
Was swept up with a single blow
Was it the wolf?
I wonder and search the land

It is me, and us this time
We must weave again
not one, but many strands
People, spiders and wolves
Together against the faceless man

Insomnia

Where do days go
When they go?
What happens to them
When they end do they die?
What happens to night
When dawn arrives?
I know not
But my eyes track the moon
Stars and the sun
Insomnia

The rules

It is easy to break the rules
The rules that don’t make sense
To me
Growing up in a place
Where cover was a virtue for a girl
Smile was a sin
Where looking down and avoiding eye contact
Was admired
Not being noticed, not being seen

I broke the rules
Only a little
The result you ask?
More than little trouble
More than little shame
When in Rome
I didn’t do as Romans do
I still don’t

Breaking the rules that don’t make sense
Is easy for me
What if I don’t make sense ?
Do they break me?

It takes more than courage
More than a cause
To stand up to rules that don’t make sense
It takes knowledge
It takes resilience
Patience too
I don’t have much of those
But I hope some do

It isn’t enough to break the rules
To disobey them.
We must change the rules
Rule makers must change too
Though they refuse

Changing the rules
Needs many little things
More than me and you
It takes a whole bunch of us
Some stronger than others
Together is the only way
The only way to change what we do

The good news is – that it won’t last

Have you heard the news today?
The lion nursing a mouse
or the one about the puppy
Designed to make you happy

Did you hear the bad today?
An earthquake killing many
must have made you sad
The ship that drowned
cops shooting another man
and killing of a hero in Pakistan

The bad news about happiness
is that it won’t last
but worry not
The good news about sadness and outrage
is that it too goes fast

Being swung from one end to next
The pendulum goes on
puppeteers on top decide
Which way, which one

With no light of my own

I am the moon
No light of my own
But I’m not doomed

See me shine
A luminous silver glow
I am the moon

My gentle embrace
covers darkness with light
mending wounds of sorrow and heartache

I am the moon
The tiniest sliver of me
Ignites the night

and I shine
With no light of my own
I am the moon

Nothing

The one who broke nothing
Built nothing
The one who lost nothing
Gained nothing
The one who mourned no one
Loved no one
The one who tried nothing
Learned nothing

Knowing this
Doing it
living it
That is something
The most important thing of all
Yet I still sit here
timid
Pondering
Wondering
yet nothing

Beautiful Hands

My hands
I look at them
and see ugly

They were never beautiful
Not even in my prime
large knuckled short fingers
With small sunken nails

When did I learn
What beautiful was
Who decided what was desirable
Delicate white hands
With perfectly painted nails
Those were never mine

But these hands
They have held babies
Fed dogs and cats
They have cooked and cleaned
Played music
They have written and played
They have held
Onto other hands

These hands
The only ones I’ve got
How carelessly
I’ve called them ugly
Yet they haven’t failed me
These beautiful hands

Dissolve into Spring

I’m tall
and I shine
as one with the sky
as one with the sun
the rainbow too

A moment I can’t explain fully
beyond limits of my certainty
It defies these hands
my words
my voice

I disrobe and step outside
to dissolve into spring
It will pass and I too
but I’ll be luminous
as the morning dew

Do dreams die?

Do dreams wither and die
as they go unrealized
do I?

was it yesterday
or years ago
when I

had a wish not so grand
to sing and dance
play too

when paint brush called out
my name, “come!”
I heard

never to reach and hold
the hand that sought
mine

piano keys black and white
their music unheard
silenced songs

I thought I had forever
not now I said
later

years went by as they do
my unspoken words
gone too

they did not wait for me
to arrive, they thought
I had died

This poem was inspired after reading Harlem by Langston Hughes. 

A gentle wish

Wivenhoe Park (John Constable 1816)
Wivenhoe Park (John Constable 1816) taken from Wikipedia

It is today
A quiet invitation
to step outside
and see lightest of clouds
sprinkled over the blue
and a mild breeze
gently blowing the leaves

Warm glow of the sun
kissing my skin
with promise of spring

Be happy I say
Be well
my wish for me
my wish for you
and for all

Dream leaden eyes

Gustave Courbet: Portrait of Juliette Courbet as a sleeping child
“Portrait of Juliette Courbet as a sleeping child” by painter Gustave Courbet. Taken from wikiart

Dream leaden eyes
I won’t refuse
you
except this once
A sonnet
a song
a word of any kind
This intersection
between day and night
I surrender
dreaming
in bliss

Rock, Paper, Scissor


Rock, paper, scissor
never though myself conventional
not a rebel
nor a pioneer
the odd one
didn’t quite belong
though tried to
not quite normal
nor overtly abnormal

Rock, paper, scissor
in the wrong times
or right
never thought myself conventional
married
kids
living the suburban life
looking at magazine
cookbooks and such
picking colors
clothes
furniture
way too much
Consuming
Consuming the nothings that come
Moments of my life
Not lived
Consumed
By the monsters within
and those around

Rock, paper, scissor
always the wrong pick
never thought myself as conventional
in this so called life

Dressed for happiness

Dressed for happiness


Silky shawl wrapped around her shoulders
in the streets of Florence
That summer night over ancient roads

Her summer dress
and chestnut colored hair
playfully flows to unsung tunes

Mesmerizing
the sound of her laughter
Penetrats the air

Tapping of her heels
Long legs dancing
On cobblestoned streets

A few steps ahead
miles and miles away
her joy against my bitterness
as our distance grows

“Someday” I thought
Many dresses have passed
and I’m still searching

SAID A BLADE OF GRASS – by Khalil Gibran

Said a blade of grass to an autumn leaf, “You make such a noise falling! You scatter all my winter dreams.”

Said the leaf indignant, “Low-born and low-dwelling! Songless, peevish thing! You live not in the upper air and you cannot tell the sound of singing.”

Then the autumn leaf lay down upon the earth and slept. And when spring came she waked again — and she was a blade of grass.

And when it was autumn and her winter sleep was upon her, and above her through all the air the leaves were falling, she muttered to herself, “O these autumn leaves! They make such a noise! They scatter all my winter dreams.”

~ khahlil Gibran 1883-1931

Tired of divisions

I am
That is it
I am.
no explanation
no apology
no justification
I am.
You are.
no additives
no preservatives
We are.
not this nor that
Tired of divisions
color, race, religion
we belong
we – humans
done with pride
done with shame
We are.
this shared experience called life
trees, mountain and rivers
they are.
no tallest, highest, deepest
without anger, envy or regret
They just are.
We are.
In life
In death
and between the two
the same
that is all
we can claim

Broken with joy

http://shop.kmberggren.com/Depth_Of_Possibility_mother_with_sleeping_child_p/depthofpossibility.htm

Every night
my heart breaks a little
My little one
Softly asleep
Growing ever so slightly

Crib much too grand
On those precious first days
the tiny thing
I held to my heart
You felt not separate
A part of me

Week one became two
Days passed and you grew
my darling
A year and some gone by
so fast

And every night
My heart breaks a little
As it makes room
For the bigger and stronger you

I am a black hole

A black hole
I am.
Infinitely dense
I am
Not knowing it
Not knowing me
But I am
Here

The black
against the light
Burns through
Absorbing me
As I absorb it
Buried deep
Within the unconscious
I am awake

Today is Stephen Hawking’s birthday. Today I read about him and I read this lovely poem i am by dear blogger friend Alice Keys. They were inspiring and I am truly grateful … 

As always, thanks for reading

The hurt feels wrong

So came a new year
Another number as in the past
In the vastness of universe
This insignificant moment
Is something
or nothing perhaps

And the cruelty of mankind
One against another
That hurts
In this shared experience called life
Even if insignificant and meaningless
The hurt feels wrong

Love – Faith – chocolate

Last night I fell in love in a dream.

He was a man of faith (as I came to learn) and worked at a chocolate store. He showed me boxes of beautifully arranged and deliciously made chocolate. The colors and the arrangements were so vivid. He showed me his favorite flavors. I don’t remember them. I remember this one particular dark chocolate creation that was simple, elegant and seemed interesting. I blurted out “it looks like an adorable little black bible!” I immediately regretted saying it. I got this sense that he was a man of Christian faith who would take offense to it. I tried to apologize and followed with “I meant to say a cute little Quran, not a Bible!) He smiled and faded away. I “felt” his disapproval of my comparison, and of me. I don’t know why I remember this as a “falling in love” story. It felt as such.

These days my usual religious views have taken a radical turn to the left. I no longer respectfully disagree with them. I despise them. I see them as a major source of pain and suffering in the world. I don’t know about God. I can’t be sure, but for me, religion is done. The only exception may be Pope Francis and my beloved deceased grandmother who was a devout Muslim.

I do like chocolate though. I can understand the pairing of chocolate with romantic love. But that of religion was rather peculiar!

As always, thanks for reading.

Power of words

Words
Words that I told
Those that I hold
How they hurt
Words
Hurting you
Hurting me
How I wish to cleanse these lips
And to rid this mind
Words
Let them flow
Nothing but gravity pulling them
Away from my soul
Plant them into soil
Deep within the ground
Plant them onto paper
The dagger
Becomes a rose

The disease: Too much, not enough

I live in America
where three cases of Ebola
throws us into hysteria
We buy survival kits
We dress in a hazmat suits

I live in America
Were a common disease
The disease of gun violence
Contagious as sin
sparks no action

I live I America
among the givers of death and its takers
We who do nothing
in the face of this common threat
We become the disaese

Different but the same

PR30
We all smile in the same language

A Jew, a Christian, a Muslim and an atheist go to a pizza place. A jew, a christian, a muslim and an atheist go to a pizzeria. Or was it a bakery? It was a coffee shop perhaps, or the corner bistro …
They go and share a meal, some cake and coffee. When they are finished the muslim says: this was delicious. The christian says: It was devine. The atheist says: Outstanding! And the jew says: “pretty good. Pretttty, prettty, pretttty good”! Different but the same, don’t you agree?

As I was trying to write this, my spell checker autocorrected christian to capitalize C. It underlined jew and muslim but for the atheist, it didn’t bother to do anything. In the eye of Word, and for the “godless”, lower case seemed just fine. I initially capitalized the A of atheist to give it more power, more legitimacy. But ultimately I decided to keep all of them lower case. In my opinion the struggle for power and superiority in any or all these ways of life and philosophies is a problem. The, “I know it better” and “I have it all figured out”. The “my way is the right way”.
I was watching a travel show about a town in Spain where people of different faiths appeared to live together peacefully. The travel guide said something about how people from different cultures and religions were living together at peace. The local person gently corrected that it was people from the same culture but different religions who were living together.

In a way, aren’t we all of the same culture? The culture of humanity. The culture of people. We all eat when hungry, sleep when tired, smile when happy and cry when sad, we enjoy good friendships, fall in love, and strive for happiness. We have so much in common, beyond that of religion, politics, race and geography. In a world where differences are emphasized and CAPITALIZED, I wish to celebrate our commonness. The seemingly ordinary similarities are rather extraordinary.

As for the above image, those are my kids of course, enjoying a lovely autumn day in our front yard.

As always, thanks for reading!

Being me

The art of being me
is not an art
To be me
it takes practice
and many mistakes
Every day
As wrinkles deepen
and gray takes over
I shall perfect the art of being me

Faith

I have faith
that things will be OK.
and if not
they won’t matter as much

I have faith
that time will dilute
the most toxic of thoughts
feelings too

I have faith
not in a supernatural
not in the divine
But that of human resilience

Faith in time
and that of patience
I have faith

The Hole

My daughter loves to read. She has gone through all the books we have at home several times over. Like most kids, she loves to read her favorite books over and over again. She also demands that we read them to her over and over again. Unlike her, we get tired of reading the same stories. So I decided to find her new good books to read. After reading rave reviews I bought “The Hole” for my daughter online. It was praised as a funny, meditative and philosophical book for kids. Once it arrived, it looked interesting. There was a real hole in the center of its recycled cardboard like hard cover. I eagerly opened it and began reading. Well to call it reading is a stretch. It is a picture book and has very few words in it. The graphics are very simple pencil drawing in black and white. It is a very plain looking book about a “Hole”: A guy moves into an apartment and discovers a hole in it and the hole. He (unsuccessfully) tries to figure it out and get rid of it. I hated it! I felt ripped off having spent over $ 17 for what appeared to be a pretentious fluff. I put it back in its box determined to return it.

Later that day, my daughter arrived from school and asked if her book had arrived. I had told her about some books I ordered and she never forgets such promises. I told her it is not a good book. Nonetheless, she wanted to see it. So the box was reopened and to my surprise she loved the book. Since that day we have read this book every night. My daughter taught me how to read it. She showed me things I hadn’t noticed in there. In between those seemingly simple drawing, she saw and understood so much. She found some parts funny and some parts scary but over all she loves the book. I must confess that I do too now! It is funny. It is philosophical. It is meditative. It has layers of depth. It is thoughtful. What an amazing book about a hole! A hole in someone’s life that is initially puzzling and scary. He tries to understand it, to get rid of it, and he does, sort of. The hole comes back, perhaps it never left. He either doesn’t see it anymore, or accepts its existence.

I wonder why I like it now. Do I like it because my daughter likes it? Did she teach me how to like it? Did she teach me how to see it?  Other than the story of the Hole, I learned that my perception and impression of the world, and the things I like or dislike are highly unreliable and ever changing and that is not such a bad thing.

The tree

Once upon a time there was a tree.
It lived in small yard.
It had little fruits each summer, lost its leaves each fall, slept in the winter and grew little green leaves in the spring.
It wasn’t the tallest tree and didn’t have the greenest leaves. It didn’t give the most fruits.  
One day, they chopped it off.
Soon there was a pool in its place.

Inaction

I almost didn’t see it
and wish I hadn’t
Such tiny
baby animal
A rat or
A possum
A rodent of kind
Waiting to die
On the ground
So passive
Yet alive
Rapidly fluttering chest
Tiny little thing
I turned my head
Too late
Momma rodent
Come on back
Your baby is
Dying like a rat
I hate this woman
That I am
This privilege
that I have
I glance in my rearview mirror
My four year old happy in her seat
And the pregnant me
With the fetus who kicks
We are alive for now

This was a year ago …

Beautify

Nip here
Tuck there
Shave off
Peel that
Pluck this
Pull it taught
Tweeze and tweak
Paralyze here
Inject there
Cut to please
Only if they could
nip the bad
Tuck the ugly
Cut out the rude
Peel off the nasty
Remove the insecurity
Tweeze out meanness
Inject some sense
Only if
But till then
Cut away at the flesh
It only costs money
and sometimes lives

Ugliness

There is so much ugliness
In me
The polite me
The pretty me
The one who nods
And behaves nicely
There is so much hate
And anger
So much shame
Full of flaws
Only if I could
Wash it away
Peel it off
Cut it out
Only if

Two days ago I talked to my daughter’s daycare teacher Ms. T. She was baby sitting for us so my husband and I could go out and celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary. Ms. T is half black, half filipino. Her son is a few months older than my daughter and used to go to her school. Every time I saw him, I secretly wished my daughter could be more like that. He is the cutest little boy who was always smiling and was very polite. He listened to his mom and other teachers, a very “proper” little boy.
Her mom told me one day when they were on the bus going home, she noticed he was rubbing his arms rigorously. She asked if he was hurting or itching or something. He replied he wanted to “wipe off” the color. That he did not want to be this color anymore and to be the same color as his friends in school. After further probing he told her some kid in school made fun of his color. He was 4 years old at the time.

I am outraged and saddened and ashamed. I don’t know how to convey what I want to say. There are so many thoughts and feelings and words are not cooperating. This poem came as I thought about him, about how I idolized his “proper” behavior and about all the character flaws I have. I must clarify this is not a poem about him.

Thanks for reading.

You in my embrace

You in my Embrace

A lump of joy
stuck in my throat
Making my eyes tear
and my heart float

A million little thoughts
dissolve in my mind
I have no words
as emotions rise

Gazing in your eyes
With a love so strong
I weep and laugh
this is where I belong

Many unspoken words
in so small a place
contain all the riches
you in my embrace

A lump of joy
A million little thoughts
Nothing but this moment
I hold you in my arms

Sick and well

When I’m sick
That’s all I am
I’m no longer “me”

When I feel ill
That is all I feel
My other senses
all disappear

I merge with sickness
No way to escape
This thing I became

That is how it goes
A sick and whiny thing
It becomes my fate

Yet when I feel well
Sick is forgotten
Gratitude gone

Is there a way
To take some of ill
Back to wellness
For gratitude
If for nothing else

The pencile

Once upon a time, there was a pencil.

It belonged to a little boy.

He drew picture in a big drawing book.

Ever day, the pencil grew shorter.

Every day, more pictures appeared on the book.

Until one day, there was no more pencil left and all the pages were full.

A beautiful picture book.

– The end

 

I wish I could draw or illustrate. I have the images in my head but I can’t bring them onto the paper. There is a little bit of that pencil in me, a bit of that book and the little boy too …