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.

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.

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?

A Claim I Will Never Make

It is a claim I will never make,
an accusation I will never deny,
the power I possess scares me,
leaves me too terrified to even try

to make a choice, to take that step,
to find a way to ascend,
releasing all my crutches,
no longer having to pretend.

You are my One,
You are my Only,
How could I think
choosing You’d make me lonely?

The closer I get,
the warmer Your embrace,
the heartbreak I always feared,
suddenly so much easier to face.

My ‘I’ has driven me to torment.
Allow me to fully unpeel and dissolve.
Let my ‘I’ die before dying.
Oh Beloved, please help me evolve.

This pain is a most torturous ally,
a disguise for ecstasy, most sly.
It is a claim I will never make,
an accusation I will never deny.

The Ultimate High

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.

Still,
I keep coming back for more.
What tasteless mire
was I eating before?

Clouds

Each day begins with Ar Rahman*, Ar Raheem**,
as you float in and out of my window screen,
lighting the world brighter each time you leave,
Or shading the world, providing reprieve,
a thermometer of mercy for our ailing atmosphere,
Both majestic and mild, opaque yet sheer.

When overwhelmed with grief,
Al Muquit*** becomes chief.
Your heaving tears lash the wayward sky,
pouring onto plants, your plentiful supply,
seeping through their hardened skin,
nourishing the life of their kith and kin.

But when Al Jabbar**** appears at the drop of a hat,
your electrical power combines in a vat
of energy that can strike, any moment, any place,
trees charred, homes burnt, human lives effaced.
With a fury, the wind begins to whip.
To a torrent of floods, you say, “Let ’er rip”,
adding thunderous applause all on your own
drowning out people’s screams, prayers and moans.

When you are As Salam***** though,
there is no greater peace and flow
than to gaze upon your billowing forms,
reminding us of time’s passing charms.
If only we paused our mindless actions,
looked towards your ivory abstractions,
adjusted our frantic pace to match yours,
laughed at your changing shapes and contours,
got lost in your ethereal wisps and wonders,
as you reminded us daily to rethink our blunders,
that what at first may appear solid and real,
is only an illusion, another layer to peel,
heavenly ephemera through which we’ll one day fall
into the realm of Divinity, keen to answer the Call.

This poem incorporates a few of the 99 names of Allah. Their meanings are as follows:
*Ar Rahman – The Beneficient
**Ar Raheem – The Merciful
***Al Muquit – The Sustainer
****Al Jabbar – The Compeller
*****As Salam – The Embodiment of Peace

I Need This Prayer More Than You Do

I need this prayer more than You do.
It brings me solace.
It stills time.

I need this prayer more than You do,
to distract myself from all other distractions,
hide away from the incessant noise,
tuck myself into child’s pose,
connecting with the earth
and all its myriad wonders.

I need this prayer more than You do.
It gives me discipline,
reminding me where I came from,
and to where I will return.

You say I must pray,
despite infinite angels at Your behest,
despite knowing the exact state of my soul,
the direction of my journey,
the judgement that awaits me.

Sometimes I remember to pray
and sometimes I don’t,
but one thing I know for sure is,
I need this prayer more than You do.

Without it, I wouldn’t know
where to begin,
how to carry on,
or when to finally fall.

This prayer is my refuge.
Each word I recite is a bridge
that I hope will carry me
from here to eternity.

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.