The Ache

Sometimes
the pain is just too much
an anvil on my heart
something missing at my core.
Was it something I lost
or something I have yet to find?
The ache
to be filled
is unbearable.
I feel deficient,
despite knowing
I was born whole.

I take this life too seriously, I’m told.
Lighten up.
Be grateful.
You’re one of the lucky ones.
Don’t be selfish.
Don’t be greedy.
You have all you need.
Then why this ache?
If this pain, as some say,
is somehow molding me
polishing me
unleashing me
why is it
I don’t feel free?

I fill the void
with nothing
but sorrow
anger
shame.
Where has all the love gone?
Was there ever any to begin with?
Or were there only temporary bandaids
me seeking elsewhere
for what should have existed within
all along?
Fill me! Fill me, please!
Love me but
make me believe it too.

Rocks hurled at me every day –
responsibilities unmet
loved ones displeased
my child overloaded –
I try to keep it together
hold it all in
open the dam gates only
when no one’s in sight.
But sometimes
others’ barbs sear me
cut holes into my facade
allowing the ugliness to burst out.
I’m only human.
But
I’m also a mother
scarred by generations of other mothers
desperately trying not
to repeat the sins of the past.

I know You are here and now
but still I feel so alone.
What am I missing?
Is there something You haven’t told me?
Some message You’ve been sending
that I haven’t been receiving
or never learned how to?

Every love letter you sent
I smeared.
Every bouquet of roses
I razed.
Every box with a bow
I re-gifted.
Why?
Why would I do that?
I’m sorry but
love never felt safe.
Love and hurt
were one and the same.
I built walls
to leave love
out in the cold
and inside
act like I had
all the control.

The ache tore that farce to the ground though.
It may have taken years, decades, but
the ache slowly built up to a quake
that unearthed me.
In the wreckage I find
something is missing.
Something has always been missing.
Please show me where to find it.
Please help me to embrace it
without returning to sender
without ripping it to shreds.

You love me
and that is all that matters.
The rest is just fluff
obscuring my view
of all that is beautiful
and true.

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.

Impossible to Love

I see you, child,
with your dimpled smile,
your tubby legs,
your first stumbling steps,
a complete trust in the universe
that nothing will harm you,
even as your harried mother
calculates all potential risks.
I see you grow suddenly
into a self-conscious girl,
with your quiet demeanor,
wide eyes studying the world,
and the slowly unfurling belief
that, surely,
you are impossible to love.
Do not listen to that voice, my dear.
It is not the voice of your friend.
It erupted out of thin air
with one simple mission in life:
to persuade you of this tragic lie.
This voice will say anything
to get your attention.
It will create fear
where once there was only joy,
shame, where there was self-acceptance,
doubt, where there was trust, divine.
Don’t listen to that voice, my dear.
You’re not impossible to love.
Your mother is just too busy
dealing with her own emotions
to register yours,
your father, too preoccupied providing you
the life he always desired.

As you grow into a most well-mannered lady,
with your caring ways
and bookish behavior,
don’t let the lie fester.
Don’t let it solidify.
You are not impossible to love.
Your teacher is just overwhelmed
by the rowdier kids in class,
your friends, navigating their own
positions of popularity,
that boy you like, oblivious
of your affection.
The love you seek from everyone else,
can only be found in One.
That is the One you must search for.
Pay no heed to the lies echoing
daily, inside your mind.

As you grow to develop a false veneer
of self-assuredness,
with your radiant energy
and analytical approach,
you make choices that will dictate
the direction of your life –
what to study,
where to live,
who to marry.
Always remember,
you are not impossible to love.
Your husband just never learned how to love, himself,
your siblings, exhausted from caring for their own families,
your mentors, quietly dealing with their own inadequacies.
You are so busy pleasing everyone else,
you’ve forgotten the One
Who’s always there.

As you enter the daunting world
of motherhood,
you will finally realize,
you are not impossible to love.
Because this tiny being looks up at you
as if you were the moon and the stars.
This child’s love is pure and untainted,
abundant.
This child will love you,
but also,
antagonize you,
challenge you,
taunt you,
harass you.
Stay the course, no matter what.
Teach this child to love,
to listen,
to laugh,
to live.
Teach this child he is loved, inside and out,
not just by you,
but by the Artist
Who molded him to life
with One Breath.

As your hair turns silver
and your skin softens to the touch,
take a hammer to the lie that grew unchecked
within you.
Ignite a fire,
smoke out the debris
and finally see the truth for what it is.
You are loved beyond compare,
beyond measure,
beyond doubt.
Every single trial you faced
was proof of that love.
Every single tear you shed
was a gift from above.
Silence the liar in your head
who wanted only to control you.
And while you’re at it,
proclaim to the world,
to every single boy and girl,
every human, in every corner:
they are deeply and magnificently loved.
Uncover their eyes,
break down their walls,
pull them back from the precipice.
You are not impossible to love, my dears.
That’s the greatest lie ever told.
To you, belongs a Lover
Who has gifted you the world,
the oceans,
the forests,
the mountains,
the meadows.
To you, belongs a Lover
Who asks only for one thing,
and that is to remember Him.
Remember Him,
and He will remember you.
Forget Him,
and He will still remember you.
That is the depth of His love.
Because even though, for Him,
nothing is impossible,
all He ever wanted
was to love you.

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.

God is Dead

God is dead, they say with certainty.
Shhh! Don’t anyone disclose,
I’m hiding Him here in the cup of my hands.
He’s lying in gentle repose.

I’m pouring Him into my crystal ball,
watching Him swivel and swirl,
bewitched by the magnificent tales,
woven into His colors and curls.

I want Him all to myself, you see.
Every day, I watch His beauty unfold,
I taste the sweetness of His very existence,
I bathe in His bitter and bold.

Slowly, this solo exchange grows lonely.
After all, what’s the point of my knowing
bliss that cannot be openly shared,
union that is felt and free-flowing.

So I release Him
from my crystal ball,
and wait for what will
most surely enthrall.

He flies into people’s eyes,
He veers into people’s ears,
He kisses their lips,
brings to life their gifts.

He’s here! He’s here!
they exclaim,
their hearts suddenly
bursting aflame.

He’s the unchecked joy in children’s laughter,
He’s the love in every parent’s heart,
He’s the contentment of souls in solitude,
the thrill of reunion when we part.

He’s the sting of rejection,
He’s the bottomlessness of loss,
He’s our dancing partner through life,
He’s our grit, but He’s also our gloss.

He is truth and pain and anger and shame
all rolled into One.

God is dead, they say with certainty.
Sure He is.

He’s dead the way that love is dead,
the way that dreams are dead,
the way that dead is dead.

But even things that die
eventually return to life,
and when they finally do,
His presence is divinely rife.

God is dead, they say, with certainty.
That’s just because they’re scared.
‘cause if God were alive, what does that say
‘bout how their faith and fealty have fared.

Their folly is thinking God is only wrath,
not realizing He is kindness, too,
forgiveness, compassion and mercy,
a balm for any bedlam they’ve brewed.

God is more alive than life itself,
He is deader than infinite shrouds,
He is heavier than our collective sorrow,
He is lighter than diaphonous clouds.

He is.
He is.
He is.

And if you know only this,
you know all that matters.
God is not dead,
it’s their faith that’s shattered.

Let us love them and hug them and hold them tight,
let us soothe their wounded hearts,
let us guide them away from God’s gravestone,
t’wards the ease that our oneness imparts.

Bliss

Sparking magic and wonder in an innocent child’s eyes,
autumn trees swathed in emeralds, rubies and citrine,
summertime sunsets reflected in still waters,
the sound of steam rising from a kettle,
sharing long-held secrets with a trust-worthy confidante,
stolen kisses with a long-time love,
gentle breezes skirting past during evening walks,
and the tingling sensation of reuniting with your Beloved:
this
is
bliss.
Moments borrowed from heaven.
Moments that make you wish
you weren’t so numb.
Moments that make you yearn
for the courage to feel
these blissful reminders
of Bliss itself.

The Beginning of the End

The beginning of the end for me
was the day I finally saw You for You.
Before that, you were just a name to bandy about,
a pacifier for those who had no clue.

You were to be more feared than loved,
that was simply the order of the day.
At least, that’s what I had been told,
and I wasn’t one to disobey.

Ironically, the moment
I felt You close by,
was when breaking the rules,
this I cannot deny.

Yet still, You revealed to me
a deep truth from within,
hidden under layers
of worldly din.

I believed at the center
of my lonely, lonely heart
that You didn’t love me,
I was somehow apart.

That belief shaped my actions,
my relationships, my core.
How could I flip this thought
so deeply stitched into my lore?

The answer is slowly and gently,
bouyed by the strength of Your love.
Could there be a stronger force
in this earthly world or above?

Now that I know You are on my side,
anything and everything seems possible.
An entire lifetime has been examined,
motivations analyzed and found tossable.

Frameworks have been readjusted,
future plans left open for guidance to come.
Some things are ending, others just beginning.
It feels like I’m mourning, my heartstrings a’strum.

As I bury my former self in the ground,
I wonder how long this grief will last.
I beg You, please, don’t give up on me,
as I overcome my treacherous past.

What will the other side look like,
I ask every day.
You present me with options
to choose from, but nay!

This time,
we’ll chose together,
You and I.

We’ll rebuild this life from love, not fear.
Even when I’m alone, I’ll know You’re near.

And this I can say
one hundred percent,
my heart has grown porous,
there’s no more cement.

I live only for You
and whatever good I can do,

till the end of time,
till the end of mine.

The Dancing Bear

Whenever I danced for my audience,
I received cheers and hearty applause.
That sound filled my heart with untold joy.
I felt like I was living for a cause.

For as long as I can remember,
I’ve belonged solely to my trainer.
He was strict when I needed discipline,
tested me till my act was a no-brainer.

And when I performed well, which I always did,
he’d reveal his softer side,
presenting me with the choicest treats,
petting me publicly with pride.

You see, I am a dancing bear.
I’ve always lived to please.
At first, my trainer kept me caged,
until he trusted I wouldn’t flee.

As I grew bigger in size,
less flexible and friendly-seeming,
he left me to my own devices,
found others to trap in his dreaming.

It was the first time I thought,
if I could no longer perform or please,
then who was I, really?
My trainer simply taunted and teased.

He made me feel unwanted, worthless.
One day, he flew into a rage so great,
I clawed and cowered in trembling despair,
before planning my stealthy escape.

I ran and ran for miles,
no direction or planned destination.
One morning, I woke in a grassy knoll,
the sun embracing me in salutation.

Despite having no clue what I should do,
in that moment, I finally understood,
this was a chance to live my life anew,
in as honest a way as I could.

Over the months and years that followed,
pure love blossomed from within.
When next, I came across my old trainer,
all I could do was mildly grin.

Now, I only felt sorry for him,
but immensely grateful, too,
were it not for his abominable actions,
I wouldn’t have discovered You –

the real audience for my deeds,
the One I was truly meant to please.