I just wanted to share with you all that one of my prose poems got published on HerStry. I would love for you to check it out here. Thanks!💕
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!
their hearts suddenly
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.
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.
Once I experienced the Ultimate High,
my life couldn’t possibly hold the same lure.
I could return to a flavorless existence,
or I could keep coming back for more.
Now, prayer is no longer a chore,
but a love letter in motion,
Your remembrance is never forced,
but a daydream to get lost in.
I want every book I read,
every movie I view,
every conversation I have
to revolve around You.
Surrounded by other lovers,
I gaze deeply into their eyes,
looking for my reflection,
till the early hours of sunrise,
talking about sacred whispers,
transcendent states, lifted veils,
facing our inner demons,
enduring our personal travails.
All else pales in comparison.
One taste of You is so sweet,
so divinely succulent,
one bite and I feel complete.
I keep coming back for more.
What tasteless mire
was I eating before?
Inspired by Rumi’s “The Root of the Root of Your Self”
When I tune the whole world out
in order to look in,
I look for the why behind the why behind the why.
Why…do I feel so alone?
When I know that You are with me
everywhere I go.
Why…do I forget Your presence?
When I can see Your signs all around me –
water curled up in the clouds,
the freshest air atop the tallest peaks,
Your grand design woven through the very chrysalis of creation,
as mankind grows and evolves,
sinks and dissolves,
paints the world in ugly colors,
turns its mess into a masterpiece.
Why…do I not see Your signs,
even when my eyes are wide open?
Is it You who placed this veil on my heart,
or my inner demons who blinded me
by lulling me into soulless slumber?
Why…do I still then feel pain,
despite every attempt to be numb?
Is this a punishment for my many transgressions,
or a merciful reminder,
more bitter than sweet,
of the ache,
to be whole again?
If you look for the why behind the why behind the why,
the answer to every question is You,
Your infinite love,
Your magnificent mercy,
Your enigmatic plan.
When I tune the whole world out
in order to look in
what I’m really doing
is meeting You at our favorite rendezvous,
dancing around You like a giggly school girl,
trying to get as close as I can.
What I’m really doing
is looking for the One
Who never gives up on me,
brings me gifts wrapped in pain,
wrapped in pleasure,
sends me love notes in every song I hear,
writes me poems in every word I read,
breaks my heart
only to put it back together again,
reminding me every second of every day
how dearly I am loved.
When the weight of the world overwhelms me,
I just look for the why behind the why behind the why
because that’ s our special spot,
and it’s a date for which You’re never late.
Although I’ve never been the most consistent blogger, today, I’m posting after about six months. The world has been through so much this year. During this time of uncertainty, I hope you’ve been well, and able to take time out to do all the things that feed your soul and help you cope.
One of the things I did during my hiatus from blogging was take a few online courses at the Rumi Center for Spirituality and the Arts, such as The Book of Love (about the teachings of the Quran), An Ocean in a Drop (about Rumi’s poetry), Opening the Eye of the Heart (a poetry writing course), and, currently, Awakenings (about the 99 Names of Allah). Each course created a safe space for me to write and reflect, and share my thoughts with a community of like-hearted individuals. The courses were lovely and I would highly recommend them to anyone out there who’s interested in poetry and spirituality.
I wanted to share some of the poems I’ve written during these past six months. The first one, below, is entitled, I Used To Live For Words.
I used to live for words,
the sounds they made
when strung together,
the epic tales they told,
the deep emotions they evoked.
But with the passage of time,
I find I want to speak less,
and just be.
I want to use fewer words
to speak larger truths,
distill the essence
of my awareness
into a bottle
like a love potion,
to be passed on to others,
from one mouth to another,
till we’re all entranced and intoxicated,
left speechless by Your magical presence.
I used to live for words,
but now I’m the one who
breathes life into language
and must speak from the soul,
hoping each word builds a bridge
towards the One I live to find.
My every breath is for you,
from you –
a gift that often feels like a curse.
You gave me life,
when all I really want is to be with you.
The irony, though,
is that when we re-unite,
I’ll be too far gone to know it.
You’ve given me this gift of the human experience,
that I may be aware of pain and pleasure,
that I may chart my own path,
creating heaven or hell on earth.
You’ve given me distractions, too,
responsibilities and relationships,
agonies and enchantments.
You insist upon this gulf between us,
making sure that when I get embroiled in this earthly existence,
I will forget you.
But, here, too, your penchant for irony abounds,
because if I don’t forget you,
then how will I ever know the ecstasy that comes
with awakening to your memory,
of realizing I’m not alone,
and never have been?
Like a child in her mother’s warm embrace,
a lover in her partner’s adoring gaze,
I will feel the relief that comes with surrender.
No matter how far you send me,
I will find my way back.
Being apart from you is excruciating
but exquisite, too.
You are the only thing
that fills the void within.
I see you everywhere –
in the people I love,
and the people I try not to hate.
I see you in the movies I watch
and the books I read,
in mankind’s evolving knowledge of science and space,
their growing wisdom of the mind, body and spirit.
I see you everywhere
and all I have to keep for myself,
as undeniable proof of your love,
is your gift.
I will honor this breath as best as I can.
I will honor this breath as best as I can,
but even when I can’t,
when I mix up my realities
and mess up my priorities,
your gift will still be with me,
I’ll know that as long as I follow the trail of that breath,
and remember you in my every step,
I will never be lost.
In this moment,
with this breath,
I am yours.
I am yours.
I am yours.
We are one.
Whether it’s a Regency-era novel or reality TV, self-help books or Sufi poetry, indie movies or Insta highlights – every story we read/hear gives us a peak into someone else’s life.
The story might be set in a past or future landscape, and take place halfway across the world from you. It might be an encapsulation of one person’s emotions or her description of a moment in time. Whatever the story, each one shows us another perspective, another life into which we could have been born. But just because we weren’t, doesn’t mean we can’t try to understand what it’s like to be “other”.
Stories create empathy. They allow us to see ourselves in others. And if we can truly see our reflection in another person, or in several other people, or, indeed, the whole of mankind, we would realize that we’re all the same. We each have a human body with a soul or consciousness. We all go through the same cycles of life and experience the same laws of nature.
If you walked down the street today, and passed by someone who looked exactly like you, perhaps you’d be more likely to smile and say “Hi!” If your enemy suddenly transformed into your mirror image, you’d probably be more likely to resolve your conflicts and forgive him. What if you saw yourself on the news, being attacked or oppressed in some way; wouldn’t you be more likely to help yourself? To speak up, to tell your story, to call out injustice. To create an uproar.
We are one. And like some idiot who hammers nails into his feet and sets his hair on fire, we’re only hurting ourselves by not taking care of each other. It’s only natural for our world to be in pain right now. It’s a symptom of all the damage we’ve inflicted on each other. What’s unnatural is for us – all of us – to not be screaming out in anguish.
Dayton. El Paso. Chicago.
Kashmir. Palestine. Syria.
The Amazon Forest. Our polluted oceans. The toxic atmosphere.
There is no lack of stories to be told, people and places to be cared for. And the great thing is, there is no lack of love in this world, or positive energy with which to spread that love.
So next time you’re walking down the street, see if you can spot yourself – your thoughts, your emotions, your experiences – in the person that passes you by. Then take a moment to wonder what that person’s story might be. The tingle that you feel in your heart? It’s called Empathy, and it’s just another word for Love.
About nine months ago, I shared a prose poem with all of you entitled, “Bare Naked”. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, you can find it here. Today, I’m sharing a video of myself for the first time, in which I’m “performing” it. This is new to me, so thank you, in advance, for your views and comments!
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like
to evaporate into the air,
transform into a molecule of oxygen and join the rush of wind
as it enters my house through an open window,
flowing past me in a wave of ecstasy,
before rushing out again.
I wonder what it would be like to fly,
to feel the coolness of the breeze and the warmth of the sun at the same time.
But not just to feel the breeze,
to be the breeze,
leaving everyone I pass in a state of bliss.
I wonder what it would be like to feel my own self so fully,
my own little universe in my own tiny molecule,
but also, to be a part of something greater than myself,
the collective expanse of air that makes up our atmosphere.
I wonder what it would be like to fly through the world,
and go anywhere I wanted,
not rooted to any spot,
not bound by the limitations of geography
or the human body.
I wonder what it would feel like
to own this world.
All my life I have felt unanchored,
adrift at sea,
in a way that disturbed me when I was growing up.
The fact of the matter is,
I’m still growing up.
I used to spend each day
trying to figure out why I felt this way,
why I couldn’t feel at peace in the security of my family,
the walls of my house,
knowing that I was loved
knowing that I was taken care of.
Why wasn’t that enough for me?
Now I’m starting to think
I was never actually meant to cling to anything so tightly in the first place.
I was meant to be free,
I just never understood how.
Why would I want to hold on so fiercely to things,
to concepts of home,
that are all just constructs of my imagination,
none of them permanent?
No matter how precious they are to me,
I have no control over any of them.
In fact, I have no control over anything.
And that’s why I need to learn to be okay
with just being that free-floating molecule of air,
whether I’m lying stagnant on a hot summer’s day
or whipping about in a fevered frenzy,
or even being thrown from one side of the world to the other
in what feels like a catastrophic storm.
I have no control over what happens in this world.
So why am I trying to grasp so fervently onto what are,
reassuring and ephemeral,
beautiful yet banal.
I need to learn to let go.
I need to learn to let go
and just enjoy the ride.
Maybe then being unanchored will feel more like freedom.
I am larger than what my body allows me to be.
I am a force of nature, bursting at the seams,
as if I’m trying to get out,
not out of this world, mind you,
but, out of my body.
I’ve always known that there was something precious inside me –
inside all of us –
but for years, I hid it away like a dirty secret
under all these layers of my own making
and now that I’m trying to strip away those layers
and tear down those walls,
that sparkling and buoyant Being is expanding inside of me.
It wants to grow larger than humanly possible.
It wants to bend reality and challenge the limits of my imagination.
It wants to break free,
as if this combination of body and mind is some kind of prison,
but it’s not.
At least, it doesn’t have to be.
It’s only a prison if I allow it to be one.
It’s meant to be a vessel that I borrowed for a short time
which will help me experience what it’s like to be human,
to experience pain and pleasure and everything in between
the way only a human can.
But this growing Being inside of me
isn’t quite content with this arrangement.
It wants to be free.
Of what, I’m not sure.
How can I be both a human of this world,
and a Being far harder to describe, from some other world,
at the same time?
One foot here and one foot there.
How can I be in two different places at once,
two different beings in one?
Please help me
to be both human and spirit at the same time,
to find the balance to float freely between worlds,
as seamlessly as the wind blowing in and out of my window.
Please help me to unanchor myself from my limited understanding of the world,
and to be okay with it.
I long for the truth,
but I don’t need to know it all,
at least not yet.
Please help me let my Being evolve as much as it can,
even if that means it grows larger than the confines of my body,
as enormous as the Earth itself,
as inexhaustible as the universe.
Who says I can only be a human who exists inside the universe?
Why can’t I be something greater?
Something shiny yet invisible, full yet free, everywhere and nowhere at once,
with the universe inside of me?
Do you know what it’s like to feel fragmented?
Like your brain has been chopped up into several chunky pieces and simmered into stew.
I can almost see the steam rising out of my ears,
as the wheels in my head churn endlessly,
processing all the data being thrown at it,
from a child’s tantrum to a boss’s email
to the 100+ Whatsapp messages waiting for me each night.
When did I start using my head more than my heart?
My poor, simple heart,
that yearns only for one thing:
The same connection we’re promised when tricked into buying fancy phones and faster Internet,
shiny cars and sappy Mother’s Day cards.
It seems like everything advertised these days promises a feeling of connection,
which never really comes,
So instead, the head tells the heart to be quiet and stop whining;
it’s distracting the head from calculating, assessing, judging, and overthinking everything.
The heart learns to be quiet and wait patiently,
but wait, it still does.
For a miracle, maybe.
For a feeling of oneness that will render the mind speechless.
Then we’ll see whose turn it is to be quiet.