I would have given up
if it wasn’t for you.
But you taught me that I can’t move on
if I’m still tethered to the past like a balloon tied to the ground.
You showed me it was okay to let go,
to cut my string so that I could float through the fluffy clouds of life and soar to my dreams captured in sparkling stars.
(and I've never been happier)
I was seven years old when it happened.
I was asleep in my bed. Morning had already broken, and the sun beamed down on me from the skylight above.
To this day, I remember vividly the strange sensation I experienced just before I awoke. It was like I had fallen from my body and was plummeting down to the dark pits of the earth, and then—
The bungee cord, whatever was tethering my soul to my body, went taut, and I shot back up towards the little girl lying on that twin mattress.
Except, I think I picked something up on my return journey.
Perhaps it was a piece of another soul that too was wandering. It latched onto me like a leech, clinging to me as I hurtled through space.
I reconnected with my body and sat up, gasping. Opening my eyes, it was as though I had put on a pair of glasses. Everything looked different, more vibrant. I felt clean, whole, new.
I shook off the feeling and went down for breakfast.
But that leech, whatever it was, began worming its way up my spine and into my brain.
That’s when the obsession began.
Don’t get me wrong, I had always loved books. My mother is a librarian, so I grew up surrounded by them. I recall being dropped off at the library by the sitter and I would fly through the shelves, flipping through colourful pages as she finished work. But it was only after that strange morning that reading slowly became an incessant need. A hungry appetite for words.
When I was younger my parents used to read us a chapter from a book before bed. I was soon sneaking out of my room once everyone was asleep to finish the novel.
I got caught quite quickly. It became very apparent I knew what was going to happen next when I would squirm impatiently as my mother slowly read up to an exciting plot twist. I was scolded and told I was not allowed to stay up past my bedtime to read. It didn’t stop me. My mother has convinced me the reason I need glasses is from straining my eyes trying to read in the dark.
By the time I entered my teens I was reading a novel a day. My parents were concerned about my lack of a social life, but I didn’t care. I was more than content to sit in my room and escape into my fictional worlds. I convinced my parents to buy me a laptop for my thirteenth birthday. They got me a little one, perfect for toting around as I started experimenting with placing my own words on my own pages. It was an exciting time.
Eventually puberty caught up to me. I started wanting to go to parties and boys suddenly became very interesting. I accidentally stepped on my laptop and cracked the screen, something my father had warned me would happen if I kept leaving it on the floor. My reading and writing dwindled. I was told I had to decide what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and I was pushed in the direction of math and science because I happened to be good at them. Life became busy and my desire for words got lost somewhere in the mix.
Seven years later I have graduated with a degree in engineering. Suddenly life is a lot less busy. And I can feel something stirring in my brain. I think I may have found the lost piece. Or maybe it was never lost and just quietly resting until I was ready for it again.
Now it is waking up.
I hope that soul doesn’t come back looking for it. I’ve grown quite attached to my little leech.
She placed several candles by the lad’s bed. The lad just continued on in his own thoughts & dreams.
A moonbeam landed on the lad’s forehead.
’Ah—’the elderly woman uttered to herself, ‘it’s time.’
A mighty burst of wind came from the lad’s bedroom window & blew out the candles. The woman closed her eyes & when she opened them~ her whole body was ablaze.
‘From the ashes of my spirit’ the woman chanted, ‘now my rebirth shall be continuous for many eons.’
The elderly woman burst into a puff of grey matter & was moved toward the lad. She cackled and then smiled as her clan’s task was completed with her final breath.
After a little while the lad woke up with a start. He yawned & stretched his arms.
When he started drifting back to dreamland, he could not sense that something had taken control over his body. Right before he fully closed his eyes, they had changed from his own natural golden like colour to a dark grey.
7Th June, 2020 (SUNDAE)
Does the caterpillar believe
his world is ending
before he’s reborn
and begins to fly?
Is the blossoming tree
after the autumn leaves
wither and die ?
Why do plants
to nourish our bodies
and also our mind ?
This is the cycle
as you are becoming
Are you leaving
parts of you behind?...
She seized with unclean hands
the cusp of a new day dawning,
crumpled it into a little wad
throwing it into clouded sky.
She chose instead to relive
the glory days of their love,
two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle,
a perfect harmony until
they no longer balanced.
He had blackened and charred
while she was still unscathed
in her own demented mind
as she threw gasoline
around his sleeping hulk
and lit a match which flamed
with such exquisite beauty.
The scorched flames arose, as
she clasped vignettes of the past
to her besmirched breast.
Yesterday was smoldering
in the embers while she
had tossed today away forever,
in rumpled shreds of darkness.
Tomorrow would arise
like a burning phoenix
as would her new beginning
out of the strewn ashes
vacant without him.
The colors were weak; dry; dusty like chalk, uninspiring like second hand tea. Searching for life would be a task fit for an army of surveyors down on their knees in charge of a suicide mission, recoiling from rebound, coming up short, wallowing in the reverie of failure.
Valiantly aloft, the runaway bride of darkness arrived with her mighty sword of leadership, cloaking the sky in totality, inviting renewal, signaling the vow of revival upon the horizon.
Jaws of life released the torrents pelting the gray cracked earth into submission, accepted without hesitation, cleansing the stench of death. Fingerlike streams worked fastidiously against gravity, burying the dead dry dust.
The north star looked down amused, understanding the dawn of commencement, watching the earth imbibe, impregnating into a bud, a blade, while the earth worm's second chance ignited.
I Bear Witness
I've been moulting. Since the start of the pandemic, actually. I couldn't access my dermatologist, so I just stopped using my prescription face cream. My skin began to peel, tiny bits of translucent deadness, falling off as I detoxed. I didn't realize there was something alive underneath. Underneath, the skin is pink, tender and fresh. Having seen it, I know I will never return to unthinkingly slathering on my prescription. There is too much to which I've now born witness.
What are these things? They are things that surrounded me every day, that I never thought to explore. On my walk this morning, grand trees that stand firm in the ground, they have bark that is
gray brown but tinged with poison green lichen
and their leaves are of
green and white
dark green fragrant with peach colored tulip flowers.
They have stood sentry before the pandemic and will remain. What deity has made this world that I have never seen before with my eyes? Who could be so powerful as to make a sky that changes color by the hours, clouds that are pinkwhitegold and fluffy or lavenderneonorange and flat? Who could build a planet that self sustains, with rain that falls from the sky, part of a light and sound show thunderstorm on a hot summer day? When the sun shines, I feel it now, on my walk. I know that when I walk through a shadow it will be colder, but warm again when I emerge. I know that there are creatures that fly through the air in different ways
birds that fly
butterflies that flutter
hawks that soar
bees that zzzzoom
insects that hop and leap
kestrels that dive
flies that land and fly and land and fly and land.
I never saw them before. Well I did and I didn't. They were lumped into a category called "Nature" that I spent a passing second on before thinking about how the workday went and what time practice would be and who would get the kids to their annual doctor visit and what we should bring to the picnic and whether my coworkers pissed mood was about something I did or something else entirely.
But now I bear witness.
Unlocked, I have time to be curious, to try new things. First, a papaya, long and sweet and floral. A spaghetti squash, which is bright orange and filled with thousands of strands, sardines filleted in olive oil, rich and salty. Theses were things that were not part of my routine before, so I never noticed them in my shopping-fugue.
Curiosity only fed my hunger for more. There are books to read, music to hear and study, history to learn, all have always been available to me. If I'd only cared to make inquiry. How did I have the audacity to live in this miraculous world, so ripe and abundant with color, sound, sensation, texture and yet block and close my eyes, my ears, my mouth in the name of
doing what everyone else does.
No more. I have my pink, raw skin and I will never go back to being dead. That grey coral inside my skull has brined in the warm bath of the pandemic and found it life-giving.
I won't be worrying any more about who I may have pissed off or whether or not I'll know what to do with that strange fruit at the grocery store. I am unlocked now. I bear witness and I will taste and explore.
My Home Is Burning (I wish it were fiction)
Fire always comes in twos.
Out of sight,
Out of mind, old news.
The world burned once the whole land through.
Then we picked up our torch and lit it anew.
My Golden home burned once in ninety-two.
And now my home burns again; the fire grew.
The fire once swept America to turn father on son.
Centuries later, we’re still there. The burning’s not done.
The burning isn’t done.
We don’t learn the first time,
But we rise
From the ash
But we hold onto it, the filth, the grime.
Not even a Phoenix lives forever.
Someday we’ll burn to the ground
In the dirt
And then fade away without a sound.
Never to rise again.
We are Phoenix.
We were born not to die,
But to Fly.
The Time Between
Ashes to Ashes
Dust to Dust
Let me say something useful
Let me make a change for the better
I will learn to be better
I will listen to be better
Yesterday is gone
Burned to nothingness
Tomorrow is unknown
A fog covered expanse
Today is here
Today is now
Today is present and active and moving
I will live in today
Tell me how to change
Tell me how to help
Tell me what to do
Tell me what to say
I have been changed
I have been reborn
My hands are open
Tell me how to use them
To build a new world
A better world
A brighter world
From the ashes, I was born
To the ashes, I return
The time between
That belongs to you