This Life is Made Up

This life is made up

of symphonies 

and capacities –

symphonies of sensation,

tickled, dribbled, 

splashed and savored

across the theater

of your mind;

capacities,

all equal 

yet unequal,

some able to skim only the surface,

others diving right in,

swimming expertly through meaning,

interpreting a few slices of sound.

This life is made up

of matter,

made up

of atoms and molecules,

made up

of electrons and protons,

made 

in a vacuum.

What else would you call an illusion?

Conjuring everything from nothing.

The only Reality

is the magnificent Magician,

Who,

with one word,

one breath,

brought forth

the most blissful symphonies,

the most diverse capacities.

Do you want to see another trick?

If you so choose,

if you believe,

you can dismantle this dream you inhabit,

reconstruct it into something new.

You can turn pain into pleasure,

water into wine.

You can create an illusion 

more to your liking

because this Magician 

never hides His secrets.

He reveals them in plain sight.

You create words to grasp them,

despite knowing,

they are ungraspable. 

You try, yet fail, 

try, and fail again,

to find Him.

If you aren’t careful,

your frustration at figuring out

just how in the world 

He performed 

His vanishing act,

might blind you to the beauty 

of what’s visible.

You understand only as much as He allows.

Let Him use you as His paintbrush,

but also His paint,

so He may know Himself better,

despite knowing 

He is unknowable.

You see, you aren’t just the art,

you’re also the artist.

the song and the singer,

the thought and the thinker,

the way and the witness.

Oh, what magic you can make!

What magic He sparks within you,

and through you,

and around you.

Like these words dancing on the page before you,

conjured from your feelings and fingers.

These letters making love to the listeners’ ears,

exuding energy, 

departing meaning, 

unlocking entryways.

His gift

to you, 

from you,

and for you.

What magic, indeed!

You see, you aren’t just the audience,

you’re also the illusion.

Born to Soar

We were born to soar.
But from the moment we arrive,
we are anchored by barbels,
held back with chains,
at first,
for our own good,
until we’re old enough to know
right from wrong,
safe from unsafe.
But by the time we’re set free
to roam the big, bad world,
those chains have grown comfortable.
We trust their weight,
feel at home with them,
protected.
The wings we once had
have atrophied from neglect;
it’s not like we could have actually
flown.

This is not the way.
This is us drowning in fear.
These chains are more cruel
than comfortable,
more burden
than blessing.
We walk through fire
to melt them off,
melting ourselves in the process.
Slowly,
oh so slowly,
we emerge,
charred,
broken,
exhausted,
with no structure,
no plan.
But also,
nothing holding us down.

In time,
our wings return to us,
our hope restores us.
We take baby steps forward
and fly.
We fumble at first,
no idea what to do
or where to go.
The draw of the clouds,
the nudge of the breeze,
the cheers of our loved ones
raise us right up.
We flutter,
flap,
then falter,
recover,
reassess,
then rise,
finally airborne,
feeling alive.
If we keep ourselves
light and attentive,
the wind whispers to us
our destination,
helps us flow there with ease
and alignment,
pumping ourselves up
where we must,
letting our Guide do the rest.

But beware of the chains,
ever present in our memories.
Don’t be fooled by their shine
or lured by their lies.
You must remember
and remember,
and keep remembering
who you really are.
Find others who will serve
as reflections,
as reminders,
that, indeed,
you were born
to soar.
You were given wings,
not as adornment
or to feed your pride,
but for a very particular purpose.
Perhaps
to unveil the truth
for others,
to show them the wings
they never knew
they always had.

Greatest Show on Earth

Step right up!
Step right up!
Come one, come all,
to the greatest show on Earth.
This world is a magical feat
of engineering,
with its constant
in and out,
push and pull,
rise and fall.
We contract and expand,
exude and absorb,
evolve and dissolve.
The sheer magnitude of movement
could drive anyone mad,
let alone
little, old you.
If only you were able to witness it
all at once.
But you
exist in your own bubble,
coping with what you can,
delighting in what you can.
You take yourself so seriously,
as if you
control the fate of the world,
as if you
weren’t just some speck
on a blue ball
twirling through space,
a puppet in a play.
Allow yourself to let your guard down,
dance instead of dawdle,
sing instead of speak,
revel instead of run away.
You are wholly insignificant,
and yet,
you
are all you have.
It’s time to
write your own rules,
learn to love yourself,
and raise people’s spirits.
Rely
and be relied upon.
Dwell in gratitude
for being created
out of thin air,
from nothing into something,
an illusion,
a mirage.
But best not get too swept up in the show
standing on the sidelines, as you are.
Spring forward,
jump in,
get your hands dirty,
take part in this grand adventure.
Conjure up magical feats,
eloquent engineering,
of your own.
You
are the main event here.
Time’s a-wastin’, though.
This carnival won’t stay open
for long.

I Loved You Simply

Inspired by Pablo Neruda’s One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII

I loved you without knowing how,
or when or from where.
I loved you simply.
I love you still.

Such child-like innocence we had,
such purity of need and emotion.
In truth, we were leechers, not lovers.
One would give, one would take,
one was crumbs to the other man’s cake.

As time marched on,
our splinters began to show,
our poison began to flow,
our hearts turned harder,
our paths veered farther
and farther
apart.

“Love” is the loftiest of illusions.
One glimpse and,
like a drug,
we want more.
But love needs faithful legs to stand on, too.
Without them, the illusion disappears,
and all we have left are fears.

The heart aches,
the mirror breaks,
the shards draw blood,
we drag each other through mud.
It hurts,
it hurts,
it hurts,
the pain a reminder of “love”‘s dictate.
“Breathe,” it cries, “breathe and you will awake”
Learn to discern, what is real, what is fake.

It was True Love’s kiss that broke the curse, however slight,
however gentle.
We had two choices –
reblossom or burn.
I fell to the earth, digging,
even as the fire held firm.

Love is Wise, Love is Patient.
It waits lifetime upon lifetime
for us to find it,
for us to feel it.

I loved you without knowing how,
or when or from where.
I loved you simply.
I love you still.

And that, in truth,
is Love’s will.

Love Letter to the Beloved

You are always there
even when You’re not,
to hold my hand,
to cradle my heart,
to soothe the sting of our separation.
I long for You
like a child eyeing an ice cream cone
on a sweltering summer’s day,
like my first crush,
all beetroot and tongue-tied,
like the lips of my lover
lingering, tingling,
like a mother holding her child
for the first time,
pleading for his protection.
My longing
is torture,
is ecstasy.
Each time we meet,
Your nur pulls me closer.
Impatient for our union,
this waiting is like a fever,
confusing my mind,
mixing dreams with reality,
coursing through my veins,
creating aches in corners of my heart
I never knew existed.
My Love,
do You feel it, too?
You always exude such grace and composure.
Your smile makes me forget myself.
Oh, to be that smile,
to be that soul.
You make me want to be
everything possible.
You show me warmth and hope,
promises of Paradise.
Your absence
casts a despairing shadow.
I am nothing,
if not Yours.
I want nothing,
if not You.

The Future

The future used to play in my mind
like a movie reel.
One month the story would unfold one way,
the next month, another.
The future felt limitless,
exciting,
uncertain,
but always bright.

Now the movie reel’s stopped playing.
I see my future
through a blurry window after a hurricane,
mud-streaked, dust-covered, rain-soaked,
or driving through a dense fog,
not sure which way the road is turning,
or if I’m headed straight into a ditch.

Everything’s uncertain and scary.
All the things I used to want
no longer matter.
I hold on tightly to this roller-coaster ride,
and remind myself to keep breathing.
If I can just breathe,
this fear might turn into exhilaration,
and this ride might be a hell of a lot more fun.

Letter to My Son

When I look at your beautiful face, son,
I see an ocean of ancestors.
I see my eyes,
the eyes of my father
and his father before him.
I see your dad’s expressions,
his inner child.
I see history and the future
all rolled into one.
I see God’s love and mercy
to have placed your care
into my hands.
When I see you smile and your eyes
twinkle,
it’s like seeing the world through you,
full of wonder and impossible joy.
When you look pensive,
my mind automatically goes
to all the ways I’m failing you.
You see, my son,
I’m a glass half empty kind of person,
and I know, despite my best efforts,
I’ve passed that worldview onto you.
I want to be the one to rise above it,
to show you that it can be done.
As I see you growing older,
your curiosity being leached from within,
your twinkle getting tarnished,
I think of all the ways this world is failing you.
Let’s be part of the solution,
you and I.
Let’s flip the system.
Let’s turn the mirror right way round.
Let’s fill that glass to the very top,
heck, let it overflow.
There’s never any lack of love here,
that is the biggest myth of all.
We just need to stop blocking love’s flow.
It won’t always take the shape we imagined.
It will sometimes be more hardship than hearts,
more resilience than roses,
more patience than passion,
but remember, dear,
tears are Divine kisses, too.
Don’t hold on too tightly to anything,
not even the identity you’ve so carefully constructed.
Let it all flow,
let it all go,
let love be your strength,
not your weakness.
If you’re going to hold on tightly to anything, my son,
let it be the One,
let it be His Rope,
and let it take you where it will.

Stolen Summer

A stolen day at the beach
in exchange for a stolen summer.
I watch from a distance –
always a safe distance –
as families frolic in the sun,
trying to forget for a while
how the world has so irrevocably
changed.
I sweat out all the pain of our separation,
but revel in the joy of it, too,
the relief of not having to try so hard
to be heard,
the peace of mind, the lack of pressure,
using this time to reconnect to myself,
indeed, to the very source of myself,
building emotional resilience,
strengthening my boundaries,
not to keep you out,
but to let you know how close
it’s okay to come.
As the ocean waves pummel my delighted child,
I pray he faces all his future challenges
with similar glee,
not the way I have,
with trepidation at every turn.
I wish I knew how to swim,
that I could promise us all safe passage through life.
But the high tide is coming in now,
and it’s every man for himself.

Each Moment is Longing

Each moment is longing,
quivering impatience,
holding my breath to see,
what You have in store for me.

Each moment is pure desire,
hope bubbling up like dew,
discontent clouding the air,
tears like weapons of despair.

Each moment is full
of my ignorance,
my owned yet disowned arrogance
that I must control the narrative.

In truth, each moment is a gift,
a delicious unwrapping, unravelling
of sign after sign after sign,
all perfectly sensual and divine.

The universe erupted
from Your desire to be known,
our lives a series of cycles
of longing to return.

This being waits with quivering impatience,
avoiding hurdle after hurdle to see,
what exactly it is
You have in store for me.

When will she stop resisting
the floods of love meant to break her,
and surrender to the stillness and storms,
seeing only the light that will take her?